A while ago, I read the 887-page third volume of historian Rick Atkinson’s liberation trilogy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945.”
I highly recommend it to those interested in the history of World War II.
Just last night, I finished the first volume, “An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943.”
It opens like this:
“Twenty-seven acres of headstones fill the American military cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia. There are no obelisks, no tombs, no ostentatious monuments, just 2,841 bone-white marble markers, two feet high and arrayed in ranks as straight as gunshots. Only the chiseled names and dates of death suggest singularity. Four sets of brothers lie side by side. Some 240 stones are inscribed with thirteen of the saddest words in our language: ‘Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God.’ A long limestone wall contains the names of another 3,724 still missing, and a benediction: Into Thy hands, O Lord.”
Next on my “to buy” list is volume two, “The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy.”
But first, I’ll dabble in some fiction. Since visiting Ireland last year, I’ve intended to take on James Joyce’s formidable “Ulysses.”
The time may have come.