The Liberator is the story of one mans war, Felix Sparks, from his recruitment into the US Infantry’s 45th “Thunderbirds” Division right through until VE day. Most observers only think of the US Army involvement in the Second World War from June 1944 and the Normandy Landings, but some units such as Spark’s had landed in Sicily and already endured 12 months of fierce fighting against the German Army at their strongest and most confident all through Italy and Southern France.
The Author, Alex Kershaw, has skilfully merged Felix’s own personal journey, with the wider story of the Allied fight back in Europe. From a third person perspective we learn of Spark’s personal battles, not only with the enemy but, at times, with his own superiors.
He experiences the shock and mayhem of the front line and the loss of friends and comrades and we feel the heart-ache of his separation from his wife and the child he has never seen.
We also learn from the Authors research, the bigger picture of the Generals plans and how the pressure of command has affected them and some of the friction and one-upmanship between the Allied forces. Some of the commanding Generals quotes and actions are really enlightening.
It’s a fascinating and informative read, I hesitate to say enjoyable, as the final days of the war bring Spark’s unit to the town of Dachau and “Hitler’s first and most notorious concentration camp” is discovered. The horrors and experiences the Liberators encounter is truly shocking.
Felix Spark’s was clearly a man with a story to be told and I am so pleased that his memories have been recorded for future generations to experience. Kershaw has done a great job of capturing the “odyssey from bitter beginning to victorious end.”
Reviewed by @pedromansky
I would like to thank the publishers for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review.