Military history

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A splendid book... The emphasis throughout is on the human drama of men at war."―The Washington Post Book World

The liberation of Europe and the destruction of the Third Reich is an epic story of courage and calamity, of miscalculation and enduring triumph. In this first volume of the Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson shows why no modern reader can understand the ultimate victory of the Allied powers without a grasp of the great drama that unfolded in North Africa in 1942 and 1943.

Opening with the daring amphibious invasion in November 1942, An Army at Dawn follows the American and British armies as they fight the French in Morocco and Algiers, and then take on the Germans and Italians in Tunisia. Battle by battle, an inexperienced and sometimes poorly led army gradually becomes a superb fighting force. At the center of the tale are the extraordinary but flawed commanders who come to dominate the battlefield: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Montgomery, and Rommel.

Brilliantly researched, rich with new material and vivid insights, Atkinson's vivid narrative tells the deeply human story of a monumental battle for the future of civilization.

PROLOGUE

PART ONE

Chapter 1. PASSAGE

A Meeting with the Dutchman

Gathering the Ships

Rendezvous at Cherchel

On the Knees of the Gods

A Man Must Believe in His Luck

Chapter 2. LANDING

“In the Night, All Cats Are Grey”

In Barbary

VILLAIN

To the Last Man

“Glory Enough for Us All”

Chapter 3. BEACHHEAD

A Sword in Algiers

A Blue Flag over Oran

“An Orgy of Disorder”

Battle for the Kasbah

“It’s All Over for Now”

PART TWO

Chapter 4. PUSHING EAST

“We Live in Tragic Hours”

A Cold Country with a Hot Sun

Medjez-el-Bab

Fat Geese on a Pond

Chapter 5. PRIMUS IN CARTHAGO

“Go for the Swine with a Blithe Heart”

“The Dead Salute the Gods”

“Jerry Is Counterattacking!”

Chapter 6. A COUNTRY OF DEFILES

Longstop

“They Shot the Little Son of a Bitch”

“This Is the Hand of God”

PART THREE

Chapter 7. CASABLANCA

The Ice-Cream Front

Speedy Valley

“The Touch of the World”

The Sinners’ Concourse

Chapter 8. A BITS AND PIECES WAR

“Goats Set Out to Lure a Tiger”

“This Can’t Happen to Us”

“The Mortal Dangers That Beset Us”

“A Good Night for a Mass Murder”

Chapter 9. KASSERINE

A Hostile Debouchment

None Returned

“Sometimes That Is Not Good Enough”

“This Place Is Too Hot”

“Order, Counter-order, and Disorder”

“Lay Roughly on the Tanks”

PART FOUR

Chapter 10. THE WORLD WE KNEW IS A LONG TIME DEAD

Vigil in Red Oak

“We Know There’ll Be Troubles of Every Sort”

“One Needs Luck in War”

“The Devil Is Come Down”

Chapter 11. OVER THE TOP

“Give Them Some Steel!”

“Search Your Soul”

Night Closes Down

“I Had a Plan…Now I Have None”

Chapter 12. THE INNER KEEP

Hell’s Corner

Hammering Home the Cork

“Count Your Children Now, Adolf!”

Tunisgrad

EPILOGUE

NOTES

SOURCES

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS