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Crusade in Europe Paperback – June 6, 1997
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"Lifting examples or trying to quote from this brilliant account is almost like tearing threads from the Bayeaux tapestry in order to analzyze its beauty... Rich in lessons and satisfaction for soldiers, statesman, and plain citizens of every country."(Commonweal)
"This non-ghost-written book is as simple and as forthright as the innumerable admirers of its author have every right to expect it would be."(New York Herald Tribune Weekly Book Review)
"Eisenhower gives the reader true insight into the most difficult part of a commander's life."(New York Times)
"[A]n orderly, objective, well-documented account of the war in Western Europe."(Saturday Review of Literature)
From the Back Cover
Five-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower was arguably the single most important military figure of World War II. For many historians, his memoirs of this eventful period of U.S. history have become the single most important record of the war. Crusade in Europe tells the complete story of the war as Eisenhower planned and lived it.
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But, I did enjoy reading Ike's book at long last, recognizing that it was one of the earliest descriptions of the war in Europe, and his problems and solutions in waging it. I do think he went a bit light on the causes of the huge loss of American lives at Omaha Beach, Monty's shortcomings in his "Market Garden" campaign, and the way the Battle of the Bulge was allowed to happen (Ike does have one sentence about that, which places the blame on himself). Still, this was good insight from his point of view.
Having read so many other books (including Atkinson's ones above) which portrayed British Field Marshall Montgomery as a general pain who was always carping and criticizing, grasping for overall command, and clearly making Ike's job harder, I admired Ike's restraint in hardly mentioning any of that, and not making more than a passing issue of Monty's sometimes over-caution, and other failures. In fact he was generous with his credit to Monty in several cases. I thought it was a pretty darned good book from a man who was not a professional writer, and had many other issues on his mind after the war.
I was born before Eisenhower got the nod to become supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe, and in my early years I was a fan of his when he made his bid for the presidency. You could get, for free I’m sure, campaign buttons that said “I Like Ike,” and I had one of those and wore it to school. There was considerable push back from my classmates, because Texas was strongly Democratic at the time.
Anyhow, I was in grade school when Eisenhower became president, and when he left office I was serving aboard an aircraft carrier in the Navy. A lot changed in the country during that time, and Eisenhower’s presentation and his mannerisms had become a familiar part of the American fabric. Reading the book brings a lot of that back. What is most noticeable is that he wrote just like he talked. In contrast to Eisenhower’s reserved tone, Winston Churchill’s delivery in The Second World War is almost shrill. This book would put you to sleep if the subject matter were not so intense.
Up front I’m going to give the plot away. We won. At the time George C. Marshall was Army Chief of Staff, and Churchill, though he admired Eisenhower as a commander, was sure that Marshall would get the job of commanding Allied forces in the invasion of France. It was Franklin Roosevelt’s choice, and it turned out to be the right one.
The complete review can be found here:
One of the more interesting threads in the book was his friendship with Patton. His praise of Patton as an individual was effusive, his loyalty to Patton was obvious. And yet, Eisenhower gave little credit to Patton for his exploits on the battle field. Contrary to the popular viewpoint, Eisenhower gives little credit to Patton for the Battle of the Bulge. The Normandy breakout is not attributed to Patton, but is broadly ascribed to many commanders. My father, who fought as a corporal in Patton's 3rd Army from D-Day through VE Day, gave Patton more credit in his account to me. I wonder who is right, the soldier or the general?