Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble

“Impeccably researched, insightfully observed and superbly written” The Sunday Express
“A sweeping, sobering read, written with all the confidence and aplomb that Beevor fans expect” The Independent
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On 16 December, 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back.

The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe. American troops, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians fled, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While many American soldiers fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance.

The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the eastern front. And after massacres by the Waffen-SS, even American generals approved when their men shot down surrendering Germans. The Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.

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“Ardennes 1944 is a book that plays very much to Beevor’s strengths, combining the view from the top with the view from below and vividly portraying the dark realities of military combat. Indeed, there are many distinctly ‘Beevorian’ vignettes... it is satisfying to see that the author has not lost his cinematic eye... Beevor has delivered another perfectly judged episode of the second world war, a worthy companion to the works that made his name. Yet again, he has shown that he has the gift of alchemy; that he is able to turn the sometimes dull gun metal of military history into something much more attractive.” Roger Moorhouse, Financial Times
“Beevor has the art of preserving the individual perspective on the battlefield while placing it among the perspectives of platoon, regiment, division, commanders, politicians and civilians. The pointillist whole that emerges is convincing as a portrait of war and startling in its detail. Beevor cares about the soldiers and the readers and the truth, an old-fashioned set of concerns that is balanced with modern literary skill. This book clarifies, without simplifying, the human experiences and political stakes of the battle for the Ardennes in December 1944 and January 1945, bringing realism to the battlefield and coherence to the larger history of the war.” Timothy Snyder, The Guardian
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United Kingdom Viking Penguin
United States Penguin
France Calmann-Levy
Germany C. Bertelsmann
Netherlands Uitgeeverij Ambo-Anthos
Spain Critica
Sweden Historiska Media
Finland WSOY
Norway Cappelen Damm
Denmark Lindhardt & Ringhof
Portugal Bertrand
Italy Rizzoli
Poland Znak
China China CITIC Press