Welcome to the Book Blitz: there will be multiple book posts over the next few days.
Jerome Corsi’s No Greater Valor tells the story of the Siege off Bastogne in World War II. I find the work worthwhile for the personal reflections on the war alone, without delving any further than that into the work. World War II is moving from memory to history, and efforts to secure as much memory into a recorded form are worth commending.
Knowing that I favor the overall effort of getting history in print, I am predisposed to like No Greater Valor. I have not read any of Dr. Corsi’s other books, so I cannot tell you if this fits his typical style. I will first highlight my chagrin that, once again, a nonfiction book has been saddled with endnotes rather than footnotes. I like references, and I like them on the page they are noted.
Overall, the writing here does feel a bit disjointed. Corsi presents the various Allied units involved in the Battle of the Bulge, but of necessity there is a great deal of chronological shifting. Some events are grouped by people involved, requiring a flashback to an earlier time to catch up on what is happening outside of the earlier chapter.
Having read various history books, I have seen some that follow this method and others that follow a strict chronological method. Either works, though strict chronology appeals to me when trying to learn. The harder to trace narrative of No Greater Valor makes for a better casual read.
All in all, Corsi has mixed his analysis with both first-person quotes and information from the official records. There are the accounts of both generals and corporals, observations from those inside Bastogne and those outside.
I like this book. There are a few typos, and a few events could be narrated more clearly. If you have a textbook-type knowledge of the Battle of the Bulge, and specifically of the Bastogne events, this definitely puts more detail into that knowledge.
Various people rotate through the spotlight. Patton takes several turns in it, as does McAuliffe. So do chaplains like Father Sampson and Chaplain O’Neill. There is a photo section in the middle of the book which broadens the understanding, but it is not specifically tied to the writing.
The one concept that causes me hesitance about this book is made clealry in the concluding pages. Corsi broadens the historical lesson from Bastogne to include the need for America to retain strong moral character and Judeo-Christian values. While I agree with the need for these, I am unconvinced that the book strongly supports this as the conclusion. It feels tacked-on as a conclusion.
Is it worth reading? Absolutely.
Free book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for the review.