This book makes clear from its beginning that the conduct of World War II involved politics as much as military strategy. In 1943, the United States and Britain agreed to sponsor a joint invasion of France the next year. The Russians sought by all means in their power to make this plan a reality, since a strike at German-occupied France would relieve fighting at the Russian front.
The British, suspicious of the Russians, favored a cautious approach to implementing this plan, called OVERLORD. General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, turned a deaf ear to the objections of the British, viewing the plan as vital to the retention of Soviet goodwill.
Eisenhower clashed constantly during 1944 and 1945 with Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery, commander of British forces in Europe. Montgomery’s acerbic personality, egotism, and constant denigration of Eisenhower’s military ability posed a challenge of surpassing difficulty. Eisenhower’s skill in personal relations proved a match for Montgomery’s intransigence, however, and Eisenhower successfully deflected Montgomery’s demand for a major Allied strike at Berlin in September, 1944.
As the war drew to an end in 1945, Eisenhower held steadfast to his policy of cooperation with the Soviet Union. He allowed Soviet troops to take Berlin, Vienna, and Prague, rejecting British protests. This decision, long a source of controversy, receives extra-ordinarily detailed treatment in this book.
The author, who is General Eisenhower’s grandson, has produced a scholarly study based on careful perusal of primary and secondary sources. Not at all a work of hagiography, this sympathetic yet objective account seems likely to achieve recognition as a major work.