I don t know too much about WWI so this was a pretty decent introduction However be aware that this mainly deals with Americans in the war so you miss a lot of what went on in the first 4 years before the US officially oin Only Jeff Shaara can take a possible info dump and mold it into a gripping and captivating novel To the Last Man recounts the experiences of American and German troops in the air the trenches and command during The Great War We intimately follow Black Jack Pershing an American Marine in the trenches the Red Baron and American pilot Lufbery to develop a better understanding of the real plights and thoughts of those involved in the War to End All Wars I cannot express this enough I respect this work with every fiber of my being Shaara researched each of the men this novel follows extensively It shows The images created are so vivid I ve yet to read a historical book that has put me into the the shoes of the men who have experienced the event discussed like this Shaara uses BOSH!: The Cookbook: Simple Recipes. Amazing Food. All Plants. just enough creative liberties to make this novel readust so but does not sacrifice historical accuracy in the slightest It is absolutely wonderfully written That being said one star is missing from this rating This star was taken away because a book this stupendous can afford to be rated critically The missing star is due to a craving left unsatisfied within this novel I understand that Shaara writes his novels to put American history in the limelight but I so wish that some of this novel followed a German foot soldier The chapters dedicated to The Red Baron where phenomenal but they did not shed very much light to what the life of the common soldier would have been like There is a lot of war for Shaara to have packed into one book but I wish it would have been slightly longer in order to expand the experiences the reader walks through I never thought I d say that a 600 page book wasn t long enough If that isn t testament to how beautifully this novel was done I don t know what is I can t recommend this novel enough I enjoyed every moment of this read and if you are also a history buff I know you will too I m sure many Gods and Generals fans will disagree with me but I truly believe this to be Jeff Shaara s finest novel to date Although the first two thirds can be on the educational side with less action the fact that he spent any time at all on early aviation is extraordinary As my dad was a pilot I find the incredible achievements of the Red Baron awe inspiring for such primitive planes The first American combat pilots were reuired to use machine guns placed on the roof so as not to disturb the propellersIt only gets better as the focus changes from the air to the ground As everyone begins to die around the main character you really get a fell for what it was like for the WW1 soldier Gripping account of the horrors of World War 1 From Black Jack Pershing who was the US Commander to a doughboy in the trenches and 2 airplane fighter pilots the story wove facts of actual people in the war with brilliant dialogue Was sad to finish the bookOne of the top 5 books in 2016 for me highly recommended if you want to know abou To the Last Man was a frustrating read for me especially the first half of the book The author fell into the trap of writing WWI historical fiction about well known figures John Pershing the Red Baron and to a lesser extent about Patton and Von Hindenburg The book didn t really dispense much information on WWI or in the case of these figures approach the drama of at least a dozen great books on WW1 non fiction or fiction This is a serious book and the tone matches it so it is no amateur hack ob The problem however with selecting well known figures and attributing all the fictional dialogue to them is that the characters must be drawn exceptionally well for there to be any point of it I know of only a handful of authors have done this well Gore of only a of authors who have done this well Gore and Robert Graves to name a few There is a lot of information about the Red Baron already available Pershing even won a Pulitzer prize for his autobiography of the war Unfortunately for Shaara his rendering of their personalities etc was unconvincing In the case of the Red Baron I am not convinced that the author knows much of anything about WWI aerial combat or at least how to describe it in lyrical terms that isn t so dry and factual There are other books on aerial combat and flight mostly from other war periods that are captivating The one area in this book that shines is the story that follows the fictional or at least anonymous character Pvt Roscoe Temple Temple is a farm boy from the South who fights his way through Belleau Wood and the Meuse Argonne battles The character was well drawn and Shaara s descriptions about trench warfare no mans land and the other horrors of war that resulted from these late war offensives were top notch and convincingJeff Shaara has the tools of a serious writer and has written many best sellers It seems however that this book is in that milieu of Newt Gingrich and Bill O Reilly type of historical fiction that I don t especially care for There are many different points of view presented If the book had focused on one anonymous soldier from each side it would have been much better for the reasons stated above I give the book three starsHere is my ranked list of books on WW1 that I can highly recommend all 5 stars 1 Good Bye to All That An Autobiography by Robert Graves2 The Collected Poems of Wil. Jeff Shaara has enthralled readers with his New York Times bestselling novels set during the Civil Poems of Wil. Jeff Shaara has enthralled readers with his New York Times bestselling novels set during the Civil and the American Revolution Now the acclaimed author turns to World War I bringing to life the sweeping emotional story of the war that devastated a generation and established America as a world powerSpring 1916 the horror of a stalemate on Europe’s western front France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire a fierce German army is on the other Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible–a “Tommy” whose innocent youth is cast into the ,
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Is unit and was a very good ace as well shooting down nearly as many planes as his world famous older brotherOn the other side there is Gervais Raoul Lufbery a FrenchAmerican fighter pilot who volunteered to go to France to fly airplanes for the war effort while the United States was still neutral Unlike von Richoften he is a whiz at mechanics and takes a very active interest in everything mechanical about his plane even polishing his bullets before inserting them into the belt of the machine gun He loves walking in the woods and searching for mushroomsWe also meet German Generals Ludendorff and von Hindenberg Ludendorff does the heavy lifting for von Hindenberg whom the soldiers admire and love There is also British Field Commander Sir Douglas Haig The Russians are also fighting the Germans and Austrians with the autocratic and aloof Czar Nicholas II in command He is an awful military leader There is much dissent and political unrest in Russia Even the soldiers are beginning to rebel under the influence of men like Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin Essentially the Russian forces have given up the fight Once the United States finally decided to get into the war they seemed to be slow off the mark Endless meetings and a failure to name commanders organize troops and arrange for the ordnance and materials needed to conduct a war were the routine of the day Even six months later the Americans were still dragging their collective feet They thus entered the war totally unprepared When General John J Black Jack Pershing named the overall commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe arrives in England and France he is utterly shocked and amazed at what the British and French believe about his mission In fact the French even have it in writing from Washington His closest aide and friend is then Captain George Patton Major Billy Mitchell is appointed the leader of the American Air Service under Brigadier General William Kenly When he meets Lufbery s Lafayette Escadrille he is honest with them There is no air force they are it for the time being He offers them the option of flying for their own flag the United States Raoul Lufbery and his friend Bill Thaw are promoted to Majors and take on the task of teaching the new American recruits to fly Eddie Rickenbacker is one of the new menAnd then there was the ground war After many delays and much bureaucratic nonsense the Americans are finally on the move in France We meet Private Roscoe Temple whose initiation into the war are drastic and horrific He sees old buddies shot and killed and makes new friends in the attempt to drive the Germans out of Belleau Wood He moves on through France with the other men in his battalion their numbers dwindling by the day He must deal with hunger exhaustion new replacements new officers and most of all the mighty German Army The fierce and fiery then tank leader George Patton is in the thick of battle Even wounded he is still bellowing orders One thing that astounded me was the Sedition Act and its effect on everyday citizens who spoke against the war even in mild terms The reader has the experience of being in the battle with the Marines Mr Shaara describes being in the battle with the Marines Mr Shaara describes terrain the weather and the men s sheer terror and determination to survive This is a fantastically well written book The characters are colorful and interesting and very true to life I have enjoyed Mr Shaara s books for a very long time from the Revolutionary War and right on through the Korean War I am hoping that he does a treatment for the VietNam war as well My war so to speak The disclaimer should read sucker for historical fiction I found this book to be packed with historical detail but not historically overwhelming This is a book about the men who fought the war to end all wars from both sides of the trenches Have you always wanted to know about the Red Baron and wonder why Snoopy has a fixation Have you wondered about Pershing probably not who remembers these days The Sopwith Camel the fly boys of the Lafayette Escadrille Here are riveting answers laced with emotion and the reality of what I ve always considered the most stupid of stupid warsHowever that said the stupid part I learned uite a lot about how PR began to frame the public view of war how early fighter pilots thought about engaging the enemy how the US was ill prepared for entrance and fought a battle of national identity against the Brits and French who wanted to merely add the American soldiers to men already mired in muddy trenches My grandfather fought in tanks in France and returned from WWI I have his helmet many pictures and his diary which is in code and I can t read it drat I ve always been attracted to this war uestioning and wondering about events and men death and survival nations and generations lostJeff Shaara creates a world of personal interaction getting into the heads of the real characters Red Baron and Pershing and several amazing fictitious characters who seem so real we should be able to find their names in the history books I switched back and froth from listening to an excellent narrated version to reading the big book doing
Time On The Treadmillon the treadmill we re ust finishing a harsh winter in Vermont one day and sitting with a cozy dish of popcorn and a warm blanket the next I read myself to sleep each night and couldn t put the book down for long without wanting to pick it up again to discover
what happened next even though I knew the ending before I started. “Blackjack” Pershing and byhappened next even though I knew the ending before I started. “Blackjack” Pershing and by 1917 the first wave of the American Expeditionary Force arrives in Europe Encouraged by the bold spirit and strength of the untested Americans the world waits to see if the tide of war can finally be turnedFrom Blackjack Pershing to the Marine in the trenches from the Red Baron to the American pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille To the Last Man is written with the moving vividness and accuracy that characterizes all of Shaara’s work This spellbinding new novel carries readers–the way only Shaara can–to the heart of one of the greatest conflicts in human history and puts them face to face with the characters who made a lasting impact on the wor. .
Fred Owen3 All uiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Enriue4 The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman5 The Zimmerman Telegram by Barbara Tuchman6 The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart7 The War Poems by Siegfried Sassoon8 The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford9 Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington10 A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway11 The Curse of the Narrows The Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Laura M MacDonald My goal in reading this book was to gain a bit of a general understanding of WW I I want to study this war in detail because my knowledge and understanding of it is very limited I like Shaara and I figured that this would be a good place to start And it was Beautifully written in the style that Shaara uses so well history written like a novela novel written like historyThe book doesn t cover the whole war ust the main conflict on the Western Front between Germany and FranceBelgium But there is certainly enough there to give one the basic gist of what was going on and how it all came to be I now have my bearings enough to start looking into some straight history on this conflict in order to study it s specific aspectsI certainly gained a greater appreciation for the horror devastation and heartache of WW I Jeff Shaara continues to be one of my favorite authors and I look forward to reading from him in the future One of the things I most appreciate about Jeff Shaara is the organization and alternating point of view that he uses in all of his novels It allows the reader different perspectives and allows the author to cover ground with the ability to location hop with ease When one is writing about war this is a handy tool to have at one s disposal When you are as uneven a writer as Mr Shaara it is a necessary oneTo The Last Man starts off with an engrossing chapter depicting a new English recruit arriving at the front lines in Belgium in 1915 It literally starts out with a bang and uickly draws the reader into the text and the war Most of the first third of the book is from the perspectives of Baron Ricthofen later the Red Baron and Raoul Lufbery an American pilot in the Lafayette Escadrille I easily confess that I liked Mr Shaara s focus on the aerial war for much of the novel Other reviewers have been greatly bothered by it He portrays aerial warfare and its birthing pains as a means to make war with skill and suspense and I sailed through the first part of the text Occasionally he waxed a little too philosophic for my taste with the musings of Baron Richtofen but I uickly forgave the flourish and to Shaara s credit I have vivid images of these two aviators in my head and that is a result of his creation on the pageUnfortunately historical novelists are limited by history and these two pilots did not survive the war Upon their deaths Shaara all but abandons the aerial war and the last part of the book is divided between American infantryman Roscoe Temple and General Black Jack Pershing The chapters from Temple s perspective are engaging war writing and also informative as the historical Temple had the unfortunate luck to be in the front lines at many of THE BIG BATTLES THAT THE AMERICAN big battles that the American participated in However Shaara focuses a lot of time on the behind the scenes maneuvering between the Allies and the politics that are always a part of war The bad news is that he has no skill doing this He is out of his element and it shows His rendering of Pershing and the political and military leaders of the war are tone deaf and didactic Shaara s Pershing does not talk he pontificates and as a result the reader uickly comes to loathe him His inclusion in the novel seems only to me to make the point that the Allies would not have won without American intervention With his tin ear for realistic dialogue anyway this was a dangerous ground for Shaara to explore and I don t think he succeededStill despite the characterization of Pershing and the grinding halt his chapters bring the novel to and some historical inaccuracies in the novel s Afterward I enjoyed the text At times I really loved itMr Shaara is a decent and prolific historical novelist and I will continue to read his works Can t rate a book about two aviation heroes less than 4 Stars Four historic characters form the backbone of the story Manfred von Richthofen Raoul Lufbery John Black Jack Pershing and Roscoe Temple a Marine rifleman Shaara weaves an excellent story around these figures and you get an understanding of what they must have dealt with Really liked the flying history and gained new respect for those aviators Pershing s story was interesting and you will understand why the AEF was so determined to keep the American Army together the Brits and French desperately tried to get the Americans to fill out their ranks Temple s story was ground level no big picture ust bloody fights Excellent history with ust a little fiction thrown in Liked it 5 starsIn this fantastic book about WWI we meet Manfred Baron von Richoften the Red Baron who single handedly shot down over eighty planes for Germany He might be mechanically inept but oh can he fly He loves being up in the air He has a Great Dane that follows him everywhere and they seem very well suited to one another The British pilots were to name Richoften s suad as Richoften s Flying Circus for the colorful ways in which each pilot decorated his plane Richoften
s was painted completely red I found it particularly interesting that his younger brother Lothar oined Ell ofwas painted completely red I found it particularly interesting that his younger brother Lothar oined Ell of terrifying warIn the skies meanwhile technology has provided a devastating new tool the aeroplane and with it a different kind of hero emerges–the flying ace Soaring high above the chaos on the ground these solitary knights duel in the splendor and terror of the skies their courage and steel tested with every flightAs the conflict stretches into its third year a neutral America is goaded into war its reluctant president Woodrow Wilson finally accepting the repeated challenges to his stance of nonalignment Yet the Americans are woefully unprepared and ill euipped to enter a war that has become worldwide in scope The responsibility is placed on the shoulders of General John. ,