Review

The Rising Tide

by Jeff Shaara



For years, Jeff Shaara has been blending fiction and history into
compelling and emotionally charged story devices for readers.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Michael, the winner of
the Pulitzer Prize for his historical novel THE KILLER ANGELS,
Shaara has impressed common readers as well as historians with his
portrayals of the Civil War, World War I, the American Revolution
and the Mexican War. Now, with THE RISING TIDE, he begins a journey
into the very heart of World War II, and his opening volley in this
three-book series is explosive.

May 27, 1942 is the starting point for this endeavor, buried in the
sand of the Libyan Desert. German commander Field Marshall Erwin
Rommel is pushing across the dunes with his Afrika Korps and
striking against the British Desert Rats. Hitler overruns France
and begins to set his sights on Russia. With the Germans focusing
their attentions on two separate fronts, the Allied Forces make
ready a strong blitz in Northern Africa with the ultimate hope of
invading and overtaking Italy. This all builds up to a grand
scheme: a decisive invasion of France in an effort to sweep into
Europe and destroy the German army.

As with all his previous novels, Shaara weaves together solid
historical fact based on tireless research and a vast array of
resources, and sprinkles in fictional men for us to relate to. It's
one thing to be in the presence of Roosevelt, Churchill or Hitler,
seeing through their eyes on a level we as normal, everyday
citizens cannot fully comprehend. It's another to see the war
through the eyes of Private Jack Logan, a simple tank gunner, or
Sergeant Jesse Adams, a simple paratrooper. Yet even these men are
not so simple, and they are saddled with great burdens and the
weight of the world.

The true beauty of Shaara's writing is that history is
entertaining, enthralling and invigorating. His introduction, which
is an outlining of the elements leading up to war, the political
powerplays and maneuverings, could all come across as dry and
heartless grade school textbook fare. Here, however, he infuses
that history with a passion in the telling that jumps from the page
and will captivate even those who previously bore no real interest
in World War II.

Once he gets into the heart of the story, the tale of the great and
savage battles, the life-altering and world-bending decisions being
made behind closed doors and on foreign fields, Shaara's work
shines. Reading about what Rommel did in a history book pales in
comparison to Shaara's ability to get into his head, to study his
thought process, and to actually be with Rommel as he maneuvers his
way through the desert. The challenges of Patton, Eisenhower and
Montgomery are breathing moments instead of flat historical
regurgitation.

THE RISING TIDE is, quite simply, a must read for anyone who cares
for quality work, for history, or for both. In reading this novel
you will learn as you are entertained, and you will not feel that
you're being schooled as you turn the pages. The greatest
accomplishment, however, is that with this book, Shaara has taken
the momentous and the brave who have so greatly deserved our
respect and gratitude, and made them human and approachable --- and
in doing so has made them all the more extraordinary.

Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on January 23, 2011

The Rising Tide
by Jeff Shaara

  • Publication Date: September 4, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 034546138X
  • ISBN-13: 9780345461384