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The Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II [Kindle Edition]

Jeff Shaara
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $2.00 (20%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jeff Shaara's No Less Than Victory.

Jeff Shaara, America’s premier author of military historical fiction, brings us the centerpiece of his epic trilogy of the Second World War.

General Dwight Eisenhower once again commands a diverse army that must find its single purpose in the destruction of Hitler’s European fortress. His primary subordinates, Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery, must prove that this unique blend of Allied armies can successfully confront the might of Adolf Hitler’s forces, who have already conquered Western Europe. On the coast of France, German commander Erwin Rommel fortifies and prepares for the coming invasion, acutely aware that he must bring all his skills to bear on a fight his side must win. But Rommel’s greatest challenge is to strike the Allies on his front, while struggling behind the lines with the growing insanity of Adolf Hitler, who thwarts the strategies Rommel knows will succeed.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Jesse Adams, a no-nonsense veteran of the 82nd Airborne, parachutes with his men behind German lines into a chaotic and desperate struggle. And as the invasion force surges toward the beaches of Normandy, Private Tom Thorne of the 29th Infantry Division faces the horrifying prospects of fighting his way ashore on a stretch of coast more heavily defended than the Allied commanders anticipate–Omaha Beach.

From G.I. to general, this story carries the reader through the war’s most crucial juncture, the invasion that altered the flow of the war, and, ultimately, changed history.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This keystone of the bestselling WWII trilogy dramatizes D-Day and ups the bar for military historicals, demonstrating that Shaara (The Rising Tide) has hit full stride. The epic-scale novel opens on January 25, 1944, with British commandos gathering soil samples on Omaha Beach to assess landing sites. Shaara gives the Americans, called the great waves of steel by the Germans, their due portion in the grisly, brutal Allied invasion, and the experiences of the grunt soldiers—most notably the indefatigable U.S. Army Sgt. Jesse Adams—offers a field-level view of D-Day and afterward, generating more suspenseful reading than the matter-of-fact accounts of the big-brass dealings of Eisenhower and Churchill. The Allied leaders' personalities emerge with agile clarity, while German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel embodies the good soldier laboring under a delusional Hitler and German High Command ensconced in cozy Berlin. Rommel's ambivalent complicity in the assassination plot on Hitler is convincingly rendered and paves the way for the final act. The muscular prose, deft sense of military drama and relentless pacing are well suited for this crackerjack saga. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This is the second volume of Shaara’s planned trilogy of novels dealing with America’s role in World War II in Europe. Here Shaara’s topic is D-Day, the Allied effort to begin the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe by amphibious landings on the coast of Normandy. With decades of hindsight, the success of the Normandy invasion may seem inevitable and a tribute to Allied forces. As Shaara’s fine novel illustrates, however, success was far from assured, and the planning fell short in numerous ways. Paratroopers missed their drop sites by miles; air cover for the debarking troops was sporadic; and units became quickly separated on the beaches. On the German side, similar confusion reigned. Although this is technically a work of fiction, Shaara again relies on actual historical figures to tell his story, including Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, Rommel, and von Rundstedt. Although the dialogue is invented, Shaara knows the men and the material so their thoughts and conversations are credible. In the end, it appears, Allied success was due to the actions of hundreds of ordinary soldiers, who combined courage with the ability to improvise when the best laid plans broke down, as they so often do in war. --Jay Freeman

Product Details

  • File Size: 1082 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (May 19, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0010SKU4C
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,598 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
126 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real history becomes absolutely compelling fiction December 1, 2006
Format:Hardcover
In his (now regrettably past) prime, W.E.B. Griffin concocted wonderful war adventures from blending real people and events with fictional characters and circumstances. Jeff Shaara has gone miles beyond Griffin in taking real people, real events, adding just a bit of imagination and turning actual history into great fiction. Truly great fiction.

"The Rising Tide" is the first of a planned trilogy about WWII. For the first few pages, I wondered where Shaara was going. It was more on the order a well written history text. Then it segued to Rommell in the desert . . . and then it dawned on me.

Shaara is bringing us into a part of the lives of Rommel, Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery, Bradley and ordinary soldiers that we can't touch: the internal happenings of their minds. Shaara's goal is audacious and his success breathtaking.

Most of Shaara's words are spent on the leaders, like Rommell and Eisenhower. Good move: Shaara is able to provide the big picture, the sweep and scope of the war. In less competent hands, I doubt that it would work. But Shaara makes it seem real. The frustrations of Rommel, faced with a deteriorating situation in Africa, the jealousy of other German generals, the incompetence of the Italian leadership, the increasingly delusional Hitler and his own declining health. Shaara puts you in Rommel's mind, so to speak, and he does it well.

The same holds true for Eisenhower, as yet untested as the leader of a never before attempted coalition. Eisenhower is not sure of his own capabilities, but he has virtually no one to confide his fears in. Shaara makes leadership the lonely place it is.

Without spoiling it for the reader, it is difficult to convey Shaara's triumph.
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79 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and well-written historical fiction July 30, 2008
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"The Steel Wave" by Jeff Shaara is the second novel (following "The Rising Tide") in Shaara's planned Second World War historical fiction trilogy. The theme of this novel is the planning and execution of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Northern France. In this piece Shaara uses his now-familiar technique of examining the time period in question from the perspective of historical figures -- some eminent indeed, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, others less exhalted, i.e. a sergeant of paratroopers. In this novel the approach works superbly, because this novel passes the first critical test--it is one extremely engaging read. The novel moves along at a brisk pace, never loses the reader's interest, and has the ring of realism about it.

The other notable trait of this novel is that once again, Mr. Shaara appears to have done his homework. Shaara's insights into the problems faced by General Eisenhower, the various political leaders, and the men in the field, go well beyond the superficial. Here, the reader truly appreciates the risks and uncertainties that faced the planners and fighters of Operation Overlord. Shaara takes us into the infighting, indecisions, and ultimate risks with which the Allied generals had to contend. My sense is that here, Shaara is fairly evenhanded, although *very minor spoiler* partisans of British General Montgomery will probably not be pleased. And of course, Shaara does a creditable job showing us the invasion from the perspective of the incredibly brave men who actually undertook Operation Overlord and made it a success.

Overall, this is excellent historical fiction about a great subject, that is very well told. Highly recommended.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A room with a view and Marvelous People! November 19, 2006
Format:Hardcover
"The Rising Tide" (historical fiction) is the first of a trilogy by Jeff Shaara. This is a magnificent book - full of intimate and spell-binding details based on World War II. I thoroughly enjoyed it and eagerly anticipate the next book.

Mr. Shaara is a master of this type novel. Earlier works included spectacular depictions of the Civil War and eloquent portrayals of World War I. Like many of you, I did not think there was anything more to learn about World War II - due to countless movies and books on the subject. I was wrong.

The author manages to grab the reader's attention through an invigorating mix of key players. I encountered the usual suspects, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, etc. However, I was captivated by an interesting assortment of obscure characters - which brought texture, warmth, and appeal, to this exceptional read.

The chapter on Erwin Romnel (sometimes called "Desert Fox") kept me riveted. It had more action, suspense, and adventure than a James Bond movie! In the foreword, the author states his goal is to find a few voices, tell the story through their eyes, and put the reader in the same room. I visited that room, met some exceptional people, and had a memorable time. I encourage you to do the same.

Reggie Johnson, Success-Tapes.Com
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb historical fiction June 18, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Jeff Shaara is unequaled in his ability to turn the dry stuff of history into compelling fiction.

In "The Steel Wave", Shaara turns his attention to the WWII D-Day period, the time leading up to and shortly after the invasion of France over the beaches of Normandy.

He tells us the story through eyes of only a few protagonists: Eisenhower, Rommell and to lesser extents, other leaders such as Churchill, Bradley and Patton. But the bulk of the story rests on the shoulders of Sergeant Jesse Adams, a soldier of the 82nd Airborne Division, whose troops were the first to drop into occupied France.

Shaara's skill is taking the dry stuff of history and turning it into fiction. Here we have Eisenhower in the well documented meeting with meteorologist Captain Stagg deciding whether or not to launch the invasion fleet on June 5, 1944 despite the awful weather. Every one of us who has studied WWII history knows this scene well. But what Shaara does is infuse emotion to Eisenhower that we don't read in the histories. Invented? Yes. Plausible? Wrapped in Shaara's words, very much so.

And so we see things through Rommell's mind as he attempts to carry out his orders to make all of Western Europe's coastline into an impregnable barrier to Allied invasion. Again, the obstacles Rommell faced are well known to history buffs, but it is Shaara's dramatization of Rommell's thoughts that makes for compelling reading.

When Shaara deals with Patton, although to a lesser degree, every student of history will recognize the words and deedsa of Patton as published in a number of books, but what makes this different is Shaara's treatment of Eisenhower's thoughts as he deals with his brilliant, but difficult to handle general.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars great narrative
Really enjoyed the historical and fictional interchange. Even when exploring Wikipedia or other resources I found the books historical narrative to be pretty accurate.
Published 1 hour ago by Patrick R. Mcfall
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Couldn't put it down! Very realistic account of the Normandy Invasion as seen through the eyes of the infantry and 82nd Airborne.
Published 2 hours ago by John
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Shaara always tells a compelling story.
Published 6 days ago by Michael S. Matlock
5.0 out of 5 stars These books were recommended by a former history teacher at West
This is the 2nd book of a trilogy. I am now reading the 1st book. These books were recommended by a former history teacher at West Point
Published 9 days ago by Buckeye
5.0 out of 5 stars Bets civil war writer
What can I say he is a great writer
Published 13 days ago by chs1955
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best works
For the first time, a Jeff Shaara novel has disappointed me. I don't think he has the right feel for tank battles.
Published 14 days ago by C. Schnaubelt
5.0 out of 5 stars Jeff Shaara is one of the best war" author there is
Jeff Shaara is one of the best "war" authors there is.. I had the opportunity to have some of my books signed at "The Iron Heritage Days" in Danville, PA a few weeks ago.. Read more
Published 20 days ago by hanky
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific historical novel
I've read several books about the Normany campaign and this is one of the best. Shaara's fictional accountings of the day to day of leaders and ordinary GI's seem very credible and... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read.
Published 26 days ago by Terry Langan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great history and intriguing story.
Published 28 days ago by terry stein
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More About the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure-two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father's Pulitzer Prize--winning classic The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.

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