The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson

This is a stirring account of the Western Allied invasion of Europe in World War II. It contains memorable quotes and character profiles, and riveting accounts of harrowing combat. But this book made me feel really bad. It was a stark reminder of what a hostile and dangerous place the world is, and also of the fragility and precariousness of human life. Seven hundred and sixty pages of non-stop violence and horror is a bit hard to take. It definitely cured me of any desire to be a hero or experience war myself. The world is a better place because of the young men who fought on the beaches of Normandy and beyond, but I don’t know how much consolation that is to the ones that didn’t make it back. War is a constant throughout history; this book is a useful antidote to mankind’s unfortunate appetite for it.

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