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Nations at war
O'Keeffe, Timothy J.
Battle Yet Unsung: The Fighting Men of the 14th Armored Division in World War II
Havertown, PA: Casemate, 2011
Pages: xvi + 320
See also more books on the same topic(s):
Fourteenth Armored Division (US)
United States: Histories of armored divisions
See also references to this book:
Reference in news archive January 2011
Feedback from visitors
Feedback from Jim Lankford on Monday, 9 July 2012
Rates this book:
Battle Yet Unsung is literally riddled with historical inaccuracies. Commanders names are often incorrect or transposed with those of other officers. Units on both sides are frequently misidentified, and on several occasions the author manages to include units that simply never existed. Other units are identified as being in the wrong places at the wrong times. In one instance the author tells his readers the 71st Infantry Division was operating in the S. Vosges Mountains in late November 1944 when, in fact, that division did not land on French soil until February 1945. The list of historical errors is simply far too long to provide in this review. Suffice it to say the book contains so much inaccurate information that it is essentially useless as a source of information on the combat history of the 14th Armored Division.
In addition the book is highly derivative of previously published materials. Although they provide valuable eyewitness accounts, the majority veterans' stories were, for the most part, previously published. The author also relied far too heavily on published sources. One especially egregious example is his citation of the History of the 14th Armored Division by Captain Joseph Carter no less than 60 times in three consecutive chapters. Worse still is his rather evident attempt to obscure this fact by referring to Capt. Carters book using three or four distinctively different methods of citation. And even worse, at one point the author apparently tired of writing his narrative actually tells his readers to read Capt. Carters history if they wish to know what the other two thirds of the division was doing during it drive to the Rhine River in late March 1945. Similarly, he relies a great deal on material taken from the 14th Armored Division Associations official newsletter, The Liberator. Oddly enough, he used this material without the permission of the Association.
Battle Yet Unsung is a prime example of a military history written by someone who is unwilling, academically ill-equipped, or both (the latter choice seems most probable) to perform the research necessary to develop even a marginal command of the relevant sources, primary and secondary. Resultantly, the author demonstrates no facility whatsoever with the subject matter, and little, if any, command of even those sources from which he so liberally borrowed.
Publishers of military history certainly deserve to receive just and reasonable compensation for their products, but they bear an ethical and even moral responsibility to produce works without the significant numbers of obvious and easily avoidable errors of the sort found in Battle Yet Unsung. It is impossible for this reviewer to assign Casemate Publishing any motivation for releasing such a heavily flawed history except one -- money.
For these reasons I cannot recommend this book. If anything it does a great disservice to the combat history of the 14th Armored Division, and by extension, the men who served in it ranks.
former National Historian
14th Armored Division Association
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