Into Dust and Fire
Rachel S. Cox
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Buy *Into Dust and Fire: Five Young Americans Who Went First to Fight the Nazi Army* by Rachel S. Coxo nline

Into Dust and Fire: Five Young Americans Who Went First to Fight the Nazi Army
Rachel S. Cox
NAL Trade
352 pages
April 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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This is the untold and true story of five young Americans--friends who, for reasons of patriotism, adventure and idealism, leave the Ivy League campuses of Harvard and Dartmouth to fight the good fight against the Germans alongside our British cousins.

Much has been written about the Americans who went to England prior to America's entry into the war to fly and fight in the RAF. The famous Eagle squadron was made up of such volunteers. However, much less is known about the other young men who volunteered and joined the British Army to help destroy the Nazi steamroller.

In the spring of 1941, still six months before Pearl Harbor, the European continent was consumed by war and fully overrun by the Germans. Britain stood alone against the Nazi menace. The United States was still fooling itself into a false sense of security via isolationism. This strategy would cost our country and the world untold human lives until our great engine for war production was finally brought online.

While America's overriding philosophy was "It is not our war," there were individuals who felt for a variety of reasons that they needed to be involved. This is the story of five of those extraordinary and young Americans. They would all leave lives rich with potential and opportunity because they felt the pull to do something greater. The Nazi global threat was too evil to ignore.

What is very interesting about the story was how hard it was to simply join the British Army. Bureaucracy threatened the five every step of the way. Apparently red tape never sleeps.

Once firmly ensconced with the Brits, they went through training in preparation for the serious and dangerous field work awaiting them in North Africa. They joined the Desert Rats, the 7th Armored Division of the British Eighth Army who were battling the best the Germans could field: Field Marshal Rommel's Panzer divisions.

The Yanks would lead their British troops into combat at the Second Battle of El Alamein. That 12-day slugfest would eventually signal the turning point for the German's expansionist aspirations in North Africa.

This is a well-written and enjoyable book. It touches as much on the life and feel for that intense period of time as it does on the actual combat all of them would eventually see. They were an idealistic and adventurous group and made remarkable sacrifices because they loved their country. Looking back at the sacrifices they made--for whatever reasons--gives the reader pause. You draw a sense of admiration and respect for their dedication and amazing sense of duty and responsibility.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Mick Rosen, 2014

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