The Steel Wave

Published September 7, 2013 by myliteraryleanings

the steel wave cover

Review of The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara

Overview from General Dwight Eisenhower once again commands a diverse army that must find its single purpose in the destruction of Hitler’s European fortress. His primary subordinates, Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery, must prove that this unique blend of Allied armies can successfully confront the might of Adolf Hitler’s forces, who have already conquered Western Europe. On the coast of France, German commander Erwin Rommel fortifies and prepares for the coming invasion, acutely aware that he must bring all his skills to bear on a fight his side must win. But Rommel’s greatest challenge is to strike the Allies on his front, while struggling behind the lines with the growing insanity of Adolf Hitler, who thwarts the strategies Rommel knows will succeed.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Jesse Adams, a no-nonsense veteran of the 82nd Airborne, parachutes with his men behind German lines into a chaotic and desperate struggle. And as the invasion force surges toward the beaches of Normandy, Private Tom Thorne of the 29th Infantry Division faces the horrifying prospects of fighting his way ashore on a stretch of coast more heavily defended than the Allied commanders anticipate–Omaha Beach.

My Review:

The Steel Wave is the second book in Jeff Shaara’s World War II trilogy. I read and reviewed the first one, The Rising Tide a couple of months ago and like it in spite of the fact that it was different from the stuff that I normally read. War novels are not normally my thing but I found these first two books compelling so far.

This one picks up not long after we left off the first one. Herr Rommel has been sent to France in spite of the fact that he is drawing more ire from Hitler every day. Adams has been put back in action just in time for D Day along with all the troops under him, including Unger. Eisenhower is going nuts trying to make the British and American sides happy, all the while planning D Day and fielding complaints about Monty. And Monty and Patton are, well, busy being Monty and Patton.

The Rommel story line on this one gets really interesting here I think. I always thought he was a fascinating character since the first novel, especially when I would be reading the story and finding myself secretly rooting for him despite the fact that he was working for the other side. Shush, don’t tell anyone. Even as I was reading this one, I kept thinking to myself: What’s going to happen to Rommel? He just seems to have some very likeable qualities such as his affection for his wife and later, his son.

Anyway, in this one Rommel is presented with a plot to assassinate Hitler. It’s incredible really. I mean he is a high-ranking German officer and people are asking him if he wants to help assassinate Hitler. A couple of different people keep trying to convince him throughout the course of the novel, citing some really excellent reasons too. It will be good for the country Field Marshal. Hitler is dragging Germany down. If Hitler is dead we can make peace with the Allies and end this unwinnable war.

However Rommel just can’t do it. At first he is only worried about getting caught. But in the end he says killing Hitler wouldn’t make a difference. He would just be replaced by some other nutcase and the war would go one. But will his indecisiveness help him? Or will he go down anyway?

Of course, there is also the whole story of the D Day invasion. And there is a lot of fighting and drama there. Everybody hates Monty it seems. Maybe that could have been a TV show to go up against “Everybody Love Raymond.”  Ha, ha. Sorry I couldn’t resist but seriously Ike seems to spend the bulk of his time defending the guy who doesn’t seem to deliver half the time. Everyone, even Churchill himself, is just begging him to complain about the guy so that Churchill will have a reason to fire but Ike doesn’t take the bait.

All in all, this was a great read, even though I didn’t understand what was happening half the time nor could I keep track of which weapons were which.

The only downside was the swearing. I don’t know why but it seemed like there was a lot more of it in this one. Maybe it is just me though. Still I liked it. Have you read it? What did you think?

Contains: war violence, foul language


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