The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau – Alex Kershaw (2013)

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Alex Kershaw’s The Liberator is the World War II biography of infantryman Felix Sparks, on his journey from joining the Army when he was broke and starving during the Great Depression to being one of the first few men through the gates of Dachau. The book describes in angry, sad, morbid detail the difficult journey that the American soldiers had while liberating Italy and France from the Axis powers, particularly Hitler’s Nazis. The horrors that Sparks and his men faced did not prepare them for the disturbing, evil things they found when they arrived at the concentration camp, as none of them knew anything about the conce tration camps, nor of the experiments the nazis performed on the prisoners. This book is a hard read, regardless of the anecdotes designed to relieve the tension. The author demonstrates the gallows humour that the soldiers employ simply to survive. As a strong believer in the importance of history, this book is a must read. I have read several books and seen documentaries and films about WWII, but this is the first account that I have ever read that truly describes the horror that the infantrymen who freed the concentration camps faced. 448 pages

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