Across the Rhine
Casemate, Philadelphia, 2020, 192 pages
Book Review published on: September 18, 2020
Author Simon Forty has written numerous books on military subjects. His latest work, Across the Rhine, covers the Allied offensive following the Battle of the Bulge to the destruction of Germany. This book can best be described as a battlefield guide, capable of providing a reader a historical overview in which to derive context for a visit to the battlefields.
Across the Rhine begins with the aftermath of Market Garden and the Ardennes and then brings the reader to the Rhine, its crossing, and the Allied advance into Germany. Each of the chapters is an operational phase, which is subsequently divided into subareas that are only a few pages in length. These subareas correspond to the operations of the major Allied armies during the chapter’s phase. For example, the chapter on the advance to the Rhine covers Operation Veritable and Operation Blockbuster (First Canadian Army), Operation Grenade (Ninth U.S. Army), Operation Lumberjack (First U.S. Army), clearing the Saar-Palatinate (Third U.S. Army), and Operation Undertone (Sixth U.S. Army Group). Each of these subareas provide a brief overview of the major army’s operation and is illustrated with maps, diagrams, and pictures. The text associated with the pictures provides not only information about the photographs but also some additional detail and interesting facts about operations, weapons, or tactics. Both contemporary and period maps linked to the major army’s operations provide visual reference and context for the reader, although some maps are small and can be difficult to read.
The strength of the book are the photographs. Across the Rhine is lavishly illustrated with interesting photographs associated with the major army’s operation, with the most interesting being the photographs where the author uses a “then and now” format to show a period picture and then the same location today. This provides the reader a visual reference if they wish to visit this location in person and put their visit into historical context.
Across the Rhine is a unique and interesting book. I recommend it for readers interested in an overview of this period of the war or anyone planning a visit to the battlefields of this time frame.
Book Review written by: Robert J. Rielly, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas