How not to make a movie. Opens with mournful orchestral music (lots of slow violions) incomprehensible slo-mo CGs, almost 9 minutes before the first word of dialog. 2 hours, 15 minutes of jaw-dropping boredom. Long pointless scenes of the wedding reception from Hell (not funny Hell). This is an "Emperor's New Clothes" movie so trying to impress by its obvious artiness that not even a child would dare cry "This is Unwatchable!" I usually give a DVD 30 minutes to catch my attention, which isn't hard to do. This one made it to 28. And against my better judgment. Hope the actors were all well paid. Next time they need money this badly they'd find more honor in street-walking. Save 2 hours lost from your life and READ something, even a cereal box, instead!
Despite its well-respected author, this book's several clear factual errors in the early pages made it unreadable for me. For example, on page six the author made the un-footnoted assertion that the US Army had "only 51,000 trained fliers as of June of 1940. On the other hand, the Royal Air Force had 500,000 pilots, and the German Luftwaffe had a million pilots." June, 1940 was prior to the Battle of Britain during which the RAF was so desperately short of pilots that it put kids with less than 10 hours of solo time into combat, leading Churchill to say famously in the House of Commons that "Never in the course of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few." Emphasize "few." I haven't checked the primary sources but I'd say the number of pilots in the RAF and the Luftwaffe are exaggerated by a multiple of about 100, somewhat less, perhaps, for the figures for the US Army.
The author also confuses the terms "warship" (a generic term for naval vessels designed primarily for combat rather than other purposes, e.g. transportation) with "battleship," traditionally the largest type of warship primarily armed with guns rather than aircraft and defined by treaty prior to WWII in terms of displacement and gun-size. On p. 16 the author states that the original "cash and carry" plan for providing support for Britain "... was radically altered so the British could 'borrow' old American battleships and other war materiel and pay the U.S. Government later." In context this appears to be the famous "Destroyers" for bases" deal in which Britian received 50 mothballed US WWI destroyers, not battleships, in exchange for 99-year leases on bases in the Western Hemisphere. These old and small destroyers were far smaller than contemporary battleships, only approximately one-twentieth their displacement. In short, battleships are warships but not all warships are battleships and battleships, although they can destroy, are not destroyers.
On page 46, the author refers to the British mounting a counteroffensive against Gen. Erwin Rommel and his 16th Panzer Division. The two panzer divisions in Rommel's Afrika Corps at that time were, famously, the 21st and the 15th, not the 16th.
These mistakes are all quite obvious to anyone with an elementary familiarity with the subject matter but escaped the author, his credited research assistant and the editor. Although perhaps relatively trivial in the broad subject matter of the book, they left me with the impression that the scholarship was less than rigorous and concerned that I might not recognize other, perhaps more important, errors.
The first of Cornwell's Shape series, actual events of Britain's Peninsular Campaign against Napoleon through the eyes of a rifle officer. A must read for the military history buff.
One of the finest and most important memories of a WWII US fighting man. Up there with To Hell and Back except Leckie actually wrote this autobiography.
A well-written narrative of an often-overlooked period in American colonial history. The beginning of an American consciousness.