Review – Eisenhower’s Guerillas by Benjamin F Jones

Disclaimer – I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Eisenhower’s Guerillas is a book which is dedicated to the stories of the group called the Jedburghs (aka Jeds) which were a multi-national force of guerillas who went into occupied France after D-Day to work alongside the French resistance, the Maquis.

A great majority of this book is given over to the politics of war, and the battles which occurred at the highest levels of the command structure,  as well as between the political leaders who had very differing ideas about how the Jedburghs should be used.

I must say that I was slightly disappointed in the book, in that it was so focused on the chess game of the war, that it often failed to deliver on the individual stories of the men involved on the ground. At the end of the book, for instance, it reveals that there were some 190 teams of Jedburghs who were either deployed, or were trained for deployment, and I can respect that it would be an impossible task to capture all of these men’s stories. Certainly there were highlights of the action on the ground in bits and pieces, but I felt like the fog of war had descended over the book, with intermittent descriptions of battle, which seemed – for all intents and purposes – to take place in a void.

Another aspect which I found difficult to parse was the often-dizzying array of acronyms which were obviously in use at the time. Having to jump back to a reference guide, or looking up on the internet while trying to read a book isn’t the best thing in the world.

Much of the story of the German side of the conflict is glossed over. Probably the most cohesive and interesting section of the book for me was the final chapters and the epilogue, which nicely lifted the fog of war and actually tied it all together.

I have a serious level of interest in history and war; and as such am willing to give a book a bit of leniency, particularly where it is dealing with an aspect about which I was otherwise either unaware, or under-read. However, I came away from the book with only a limited increase in my understanding, due to the way that the information was presented. I fear that this is perhaps too dry a tome for the average reader, perhaps aimed at the academician.

2.5/5 stars.

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