An Army at Dawn

  • by Rick Atkinson
  • Narrated by Rick Atkinson
  • 7 hrs and 1 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the first volume of a remarkable trilogy, Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Atkinson provides the definitive history of the second world war in North Africa.The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is an epic story of courage and calamity, of miscalculation and enduring triumph. An Army at Dawn begins on the eve of Operation TORCH, the daring amphibious invasion of Morocco and Algeria. After three days of hard fighting against the French, American, and British troops push deeper into North Africa. But the confidence gained after several early victories soon wanes; casualties mount rapidly; battle plans prove ineffectual, and hope for a quick and decisive victory evaporates. The Allies discover that they are woefully unprepared to fight and win this war. North Africa becomes a proving ground: it is here that American officers learn how to lead, here that soldiers learn how to hate, here that an entire army learns what it will take to vanquish a formidable enemy.Many great battle captains emerged in North Africa, including Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and Montgomery. Atkinson brings these commanders vividly to life. He takes us to the front lines of every major battle - from Oran to Kasserine to Tunis. In North Africa, the Allied coalition came into its own, the enemy forever lost the initiative, and the United States - for the first time - began to act like a great power.Atkinson casts a clear eye on the dark tragedies that haunt every war. The first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, An Army at Dawn is history of the highest order - brilliantly researched, rich with new material and surprising insights, the deeply human story of a monumental battle for the future of civilization.

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What the Critics Say



Pulitzer Prize Winner, Non-Fiction, 2003
"[An] intellectually convincing and emotionally compelling narrative." (Publishers Weekly)
"A fascinating story...that is hard to stop reading, even though one knows the outcome." (Library Journal)
"An absolute masterpiece....This book is storytelling - and

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Abridging too far?

As an avid WWII buff and audible.com listener, I was looking forward to this history of the US Army in it's earliest campaign in the Atlantic Theater.

The first part of the campaign was a near-disaster, and it was fortunate the Americans had barely motivated Vichy French forces as its first oppenents. The Americans improved, but unfortunately, the British Allied Command retained their negative first impressions of the American Army until very late in the war. Eventually, thanks as much to advantages in air superiority and cryptological intelligence (both subjects not brought up much, although touched on - it is a history of the <ib>Army</ib>, after all) as to improved fighting qualities, the Allied forces prevailed.

The story is well told, albeit briefly. As someone who already knows the general outlines of the campaign, I was looking for detail and new analysis. I didn't get much, listening to this book.

I was interested enough in the book to take a look at it in our local B&N, and I found that the book is far richer in detail - and also had some decent maps, always a help in understanding. So, in my case, I found the abridgment too severe.

One other point: as the previous reviewer suggests, the author is not a professional narrator!

In conclusion, "An Army at Dawn" is interesting, and worth a listen, but it could have been much more. beta inappVoteInfo
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- Jeremy

Army at Dawn or Yawn

Good informative war audio but lacking something. Maybe it's the
narrator's somewhat monotone presentation or maybe it's in the
repeating stories of conflict which sound familiarly the same.
As a history lesson it's OK but not overally interesting.
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- Roger

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-13-2002
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio