The Liberator

One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau
Author(s): Alex Kershaw
Original Publish Date: Oct 30, 2012
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (11.03 hours)
Product Number: Z100026273
Released: Oct 30, 2012
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780449012666
Narrator/s: Fred Sanders
Publisher: Books on Tape
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The true story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War: the battlefield odyssey of a maverick U.S. Army officer and his infantry unit as they fought for over five hundred days to liberate Europe - from the invasion of Italy to the gates of Dachau. From July 10, 1943, the date of the Allied landing in Sicily, to May 8, 1945, when victory in Europe was declared – the entire time it took to liberate Europe – no regiment saw more action, and no single platoon, company, or battalion endured worse, than the ones commanded by Felix Sparks, who had entered the war as a greenhorn second lieutenant of the 157th "Eager for Duty" Infantry Regiment of the 45th "Thunderbird" Division. Sparks and his fellow Thunderbirds fought longest and hardest to defeat Hitler, often against his most fanatical troops, when the odds on the battlefield were even and the fortunes of the Allies hung in the balance – and when the difference between defeat and victory was a matter of character, not tactics or armor. Drawing on extensive interviews with Sparks and dozens of his men, as well as over five years of research in Europe and in archives across the US, historian Alex Kershaw masterfully recounts one of the most inspiring and heroic journeys in military history. Over the course of four amphibious invasions, Sparks rose from captain to colonel as he battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the diehard SS on the Fatherland's borders. Though he lost all of his company to save the Allied beach-head at Anzio and an entire battalion in the dark forests of the Vosges, Sparks miraculously survived the long bloody march across Europe and was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria to hunt down Adolf Hitler. In the dying days of the Third Reich, Sparks and his men crossed the last great barrier in the West, the Rhine, only to experience some of the most intense street fighting and close combat suffered by Americans in WWII. When they finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Hitler's first and most notorious concentration camp, the Thunderbirds confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason. With victory within grasp, Sparks confronted the ultimate test of his humanity: after all he had faced, could he resist the urge to wreak vengeance on the men who had caused untold suffering and misery? Written with the narrative drive and vivid immediacy of Kershaw's previous bestselling books about American infantrymen in WWII, The Liberator is a story for the ages, an intensely human and dramatic account of one of history's greatest warriors and his unheralded role in America's finest achievement – the defeat of Nazi Germany.

All formats/editions

Author(s): Alex Kershaw
Product Number EB00154505
Released: Dec 27, 2013
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: #9780307888013

Professional reviews

"In WWII, the now legendary Thunderbird Division moved from Sicily through Italy to France and beyond, fighting at such well-known sites as Anzio, "the Bulge" (France, Luxembourg, and Belgium), and the high, bloody mountains leading to Bavaria. Their efforts ultimately led to the liberation of Europe. This book focuses on Colonel Felix Sparks as he rose in rank while the unspeakable horrors of infantry war raged around him. His was the first regiment to reach Dachau and learn its secrets, with repercussions that are debated to this day. Narrator Fred Sanders manages to insert a sense of urgency into the narrative--which is not easy in a book that is largely devoid of dialogue. He makes only occasional attempts at a foreign accent but somehow makes the ghastly events seem up close, horrible, and real. D.R.W. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine"

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