Jeff Shaara has done it again. He has written another masterpiece, this time on the often forgotten war that set the future of the Twentieth century and beyond. Shaara deviates slightly from his usual style in that, this book is essentially two books in one. It can be divided into three parts. The first 1/3 of the book deals almost exclusively with the air war focusing mainly on the heroics the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen and the French born American ace, Raoul Lufberry. In the middle 1/3 of the book, Shaara introduces Gen. Pershing and a young marine private named Roscoe Templer, which begins the second book as the first concludes with the deaths of Richthofen and Lufberry. The final 1/3 of the book focuses exclusively on the exploits and perils of the ground war.
When it comes to the descriptive narrative of the horrors of war, I have always felt Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage set the standard. Shaara has surpassed that standard and has broken new ground with all of his books, this one included. Anyone who has ever served in the military will appreciate the detail of Shaara’s narrative of the horrors that both the flying aces and the doughboys endured in World War I.
As with all of Shaara’s books, it is really a shame to call this a historical fiction as it is meticulously researched and historically accurate to the letter. Shaara captivates the reader by making history read like the best of literature. As with all of Shaara’s books, this one is a must for the history classroom. Of course, it will probably never see the light of day in public schools, but home-schoolers should certainly utilize Shaara’s gift for putting accurate military history in the form of intriguing and captivating resources for expanding ones knowledge of the events.
Whether you are a novice or a World War I aficionado, you will love this book. If you have never read Shaara, this one will captivate you and have you soon reading his other fine works. You don’t want to miss this book. Add it to your library now. You won’t regret it.
- Maxwell and Shaara are back in the Civil War business, just not with each other (pastinthepresent.wordpress.com)