THE STEEL WAVE
by Jeff Shaara, 2008
The Steel Wave is the second volume of a trilogy begun with The Rising Tide, that tells the story of the Second World War in Europe. As Jeff has done so many times before, this story is told through the points of view of some of history’s most colorful and dynamic characters. “The Steel Wave” focuses primarily on the Normandy campaign, what we more commonly know as “D-Day,” the Allies’ invasion of France…
Readers of The Rising Tide will again see the story through the eyes of General Dwight Eisenhower, who once again commands a diverse army that must find its single purpose in the destruction of Hitler’s European fortress. His primary subordinates, Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery must prove that this unique blend of Allied armies can successfully confront the might of Adolf Hitler’s forces, who have already conquered Western Europe.
From The Rising Tide another voice returns, German commander Erwin Rommel, who has been assigned to fortify the French coastline, to prepare for the invasion he knows is inevitable. Eisenhower and Rommel know each other well, and both men know they must bring all their skills to bear on a fight crucial to both sides. But Rommel’s challenge lies not just with the enemy to his front, but the ever-present conflicts in the German High Command, made worse by the increasing insanity of Adolf Hitler. If Rommel’s Atlantic Wall holds, the Germans could win the war. If the Allies can secure their beachheads and drive the Germans back, they will open the door for a massive thrust by Eisenhower’s most controversial and colorful general, George Patton, who waits in England, anxious for his opportunity to secure the destiny he believes he deserves.
Also returning from Shaara’s previous saga is Sergeant Jesse Adams, a no-nonsense veteran of the 82nd Airborne, one of fourteen thousand paratroopers who must lead the way by dropping straight into the teeth of the German positions. The chaotic and desperate struggle is a story rarely told, the allied paratroopers enduring more than a month of continuous combat against some of the finest soldiers in Rommel’s army.
As the invasion force surges toward the beaches of Normandy, Shaara carries us into the mind of Private Tom Thorne of the 29th Infantry Division, who faces the horrifying prospects of fighting his way ashore on a stretch of coast more heavily defended than the Allied commanders anticipate – Omaha Beach.
From G.I. to general, this story carries the reader through the war’s most crucial juncture, the invasion that altered the flow of the war, and ultimately, changed history.