To the Last ManJeff Shaara

To the Last Man

4.5 star

Total 221 Ratings

To the Last Man by Jeff Shaara Book Summary

Jeff Shaara has enthralled readers with his New York Times bestselling novels set during the Civil War and the American Revolution. Now the acclaimed author turns to World War I, bringing to life the sweeping, emotional story of the war that devastated a generation and established America as a world power.

Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe’s western front. France and Great Britain are on one side of the barbed wire, a fierce German army is on the other. Shaara opens the window onto the otherworldly tableau of trench warfare as seen through the eyes of a typical British soldier who experiences the bizarre and the horrible–a “Tommy” whose innocent youth is cast into the hell of a terrifying war.
In the skies, meanwhile, technology has provided a devastating new tool, the aeroplane, and with it a different kind of hero emerges–the flying ace. Soaring high above the chaos on the ground, these solitary knights duel in the splendor and terror of the skies, their courage and steel tested with every flight.

As the conflict stretches into its third year, a neutral America is goaded into war, its reluctant president, Woodrow Wilson, finally accepting the repeated challenges to his stance of nonalignment. Yet the Americans are woefully unprepared and ill equipped to enter a war that has become worldwide in scope. The responsibility is placed on the shoulders of General John “Blackjack” Pershing, and by mid-1917 the first wave of the American Expeditionary Force arrives in Europe. Encouraged by the bold spirit and strength of the untested Americans, the world waits to see if the tide of war can finally be turned.
From Blackjack Pershing to the Marine in the trenches, from the Red Baron to the American pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, To the Last Man is written with the moving vividness and accuracy that characterizes all of Shaara’s work. This spellbinding new novel carries readers–the way only Shaara can–to the heart of one of the greatest conflicts in human history, and puts them face-to-face with the characters who made a lasting impact on the world.

To the Last Man (Jeff Shaara) Book Reviews

Best modern war novel ever writtenFrom the prologue, to the very last words, this is by far Shaara's best..Score: 5/5

PloddingResearched well enough so that there is a narrative you can easily follow, but there's a very timid approach to the historical characters. It's easy to understand how he could have produced a work of this length, since much of it is a recapitulation of the well-known facts of WW1. Maybe a fictional character or two, beyond the poor guy in the first section, should have been added to supply a little emotional heat. A couple of cautions: there are some errors in the text ... One where a 1916 date is inserted into the middle of spring 1917 events. Another one, very early, gives the wrong date for the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. I assume these were publisher errors. A stylistic sentence construction may get to you after a while, also: Subject, verb then verb then verb. It's used too much: "He had seen men arrive at the field full of confidence, had watched the confidence erode, had seen the exhaustion line their faces, had stood back silently as drinking and carousing took hold of them." ( that pathetic sentence is my own, but you'll notice the overuse of that pattern, I think. -- used maybe 2-3 times per page in many sections). There's a book entitled "Over There" by Thomas Fleming from a few years back that follows Pershing and others! Some fictional. I thought it superior to this one..Score: 2/5

Amazing work!This was an incredible and very entertaining read. Obviously well researched, Mr. Shaara has brought figures to life that have been overlooked or brings new, fresh perspectives to others that are well known in history. The portions on the Lafayette Escadrille alone are well worth reading the book yet it offers so much more! The details of the US 2nd Marine Division makes you feel like you're right there alongside Roscoe Temple, Dan Parker and Gino Scarabelli. Wholeheartedly recommend reading this book. You won't be disappointed..Score: 5/5

Excellent readI always enjoy Jeff's novels and I thank him for reintroducing me to the historical fiction genre..Score: 5/5

Longer than the war itselfThe mechanism was the same for all Shaara books, the docudrama style so effective in previous titles, of pulling the reader into a more personal interest within the historical context. That said, this book is longer than the war itself, with dialogue often so wooden that it was a real effort to persevere. In the end the book defeated me, like the Kaiser, through attrition, and I capitulated. It is a big topic on a grand scale, but sadly for this effort, boring. By the time I was immersed in tar-like conversational flirtations between young Richthofen and his nurse, I was ready to volunteer to go over the top. Lots of buildup for what I'm sure was a crashing climax, but it was not worth waiting through that many long hours of filler to find out for sure..Score: 1/5

So very compellingA moving and very well written tribute to the troops who paid the price then and continue to so today. Captures the hidden injuries in gut wrenching fashion without the gore or the glory. I learned much of WWI that I didn't know..Score: 5/5

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