f you're a history buff of any age, you will not be disappointed by The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won. Stephen E. Ambrose, a world-renowned author and historian, trumpets the feats of unsung American heroes as he chronicles the major military campaigns in Europe, Asia, North Africa, the Atlantic and Pacific arenas. Significant events including the Manhattan Project, the holocaust, the war conferences, war crimes trials and the Marshall Plan are woven into the fabric of this comprehensive WWII compendium.

In our age of technology, smart bombs, Star Wars movies and missile defense strategies, the younger generation will be astounded to learn that our armed forces trained for combat with wooden rifles, flour bags for grenades and trucks for tanks. Even the most knowledgeable reader may be struck by how unprepared the United States was for battle. By all accounts, we should have lost the war; but we didn't. It is with heart-swelling pride that Ambrose attributes our ultimate success to the determination, initiative, commitment and courage of America's fighting forces. Specific examples such as Operation Husky profile an American soldier who declined individual recognition and promotion to remain with his regiment. These men fought out of duty and loyalty and succeeded because of faith in a cause greater than their own. Authentic WWII photographs are very effective in tandem with the written account of events. Together with numerous maps, there are 38 full-page photos plus quarter-page photo inserts on the text pages. All of them are moments of triumph and reflections of devastation that transport the reader to another time and place.

Ambrose's The Good Fight is a stunning portrait of America's innate goodness as a beacon to freedom that could not be extinguished or even diminished by the world's most ruthless tyrants. America rose to meet its greatest challenge and therein lies a lesson for us all.

C. Elizabeth Davis is a former marketing director for the education division of Turner Broadcasting System.

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