#GuestReview for Images of War – The Americans from Normandy to the German Border by Brooke S. Blades #ImagesofWar @penswordbooks

This classic Images of War book takes up the story of the massive American contribution to the campaign in north West Europe during the autumn and early witner of 1944.

Following the dramatic breakout from the Normandy bridgehead, events moved fast with the liberation of Paris quickly following and the Allies closed in on the German border.

But the apparent collapse of the Nazis was illusory. As lines of communication lengthened and German resistance stiffened, the Allied High Command was divided on the right strategy. The ill-fated Operation Market Garden brought home the reality that the war would continue into 1945. The Siegried Line was penetrated and Aachen fell but the American First Army suffered heavy casualties in the Hurtgen Forest. As winter set in, the third Army crossed the Moselle River and into the Saar. The stage was set for the costliest battle in American history – The Bulge, to be covered in the Third and final volume of this trilogy.

With his superb collection of images and grasp of the historic significance of the actions so graphically described, Brooke Blades’ latest book will be appreciated by all with an interest in the final stages of the Second World War.



Today I am delighted to be able to hand over my blog to my husband, Mark so he can share with you his review for The Americans from Normandy to the German Border: August to Mid-December 1944!

“This book forms part of the successful “Images of War” series.  I own a number of these publications and I consider them to be invaluable when conducting preliminary research into a ‘new’, and /or specialist element of the broader Second World War narrative.

The book follows the traditional structure synonymous with the series. The contents of this particular book are broken down as follows:  An Army in France; Inferno in Normandy, the day the war should have ended, To the border When in doubt, lash out, Not one shall forgotten, we need more ammunition and the men in town are going to take a beating.  The author provides a brief, but informative treatment of the subject at hand which is then accompanied by a selection of photographs accompanied by captions of varying length and intensity.

In this work, Brooke S Blades appraises the Post D-Day landing campaigns fought by the ‘the Americans’, principally the Third Army in the initial chapters, before moving onto various Airborne and Infantry divisions as the Allied grip on Occupied Europe strengthens.

This truly is a story of tenacity and incredible bravery as the Third Army soon found itself  at the forefront of some of the most ferocious resistance the defending Nazi’s could offer. The initial (and relative) respite offered  by the break out from  killing fields of the Normandy beaches was soon obliterated by engagements of both offensive, and counter offensive nature whilst marching towards the Siegfried Line via the Falaise  Gap; Hurtgen Forest and the borders of the Reich. The accompanying photographs go a considerable way to underpin how brutal the Normandy campaign was, with the trail of human and mechanical destruction painfully evident.

Perhaps one of the most striking chapters covers the liberation of Paris. Questionable on a tactical level, the capture of the city inspired a rollercoaster of contrasting emotions. The endless procession of thankful Parisians embracing the troops as they roll through the city is heart-warming, and the expressions of the faces of those present are particularly poignant. Juxtapose the joyful scenes with the images documenting the retribution meted against the ‘Collaborators’ who were shaved; marked and then paraded through the very same Parisian streets is a testimony to the combination of revulsion and vendetta  which underpinned much of the offensive and counter-offensive operations of the concluding phase of World War 2.

This book encapsulates the reasons why the Images of War is as successful as it is. Incisive and informative commentary underpinned with carefully selected photographs. This book, along with its fellow Images of War counterparts could either be read as a standalone quick read for the curious or as a foundation for further readings in this field.”