The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

Author(s): Alex Kershaw


On 10 July 1943, Felix Sparks arrived with the Allied forces in Italy, a captain in the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Division - nicknamed the Thunderbirds. Just twenty-five years old, Sparks soon proved a leader of immense fortitude and stamina, participating in four amphibious invasions and leading his men through the mountains of Italy and France before enduring intense winter combat against the diehard SS on the Fatherland's borders. Sparks' entire company had been sacrificed to save the Allied beach-head at Anzio and, tragically, his rebuilt battalion soon found themselves surrounded and overcome in the dark forests of the Vosges. Miraculously, despite numerous brushes with death, Sparks survived the long bloody march across Europe and in the last days of the Third Reich was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria to hunt down Adolf Hitler. But what Sparks and his men would find as they finally reached the gates of Dachau, Hitler's first and most notorious concentration camp, would be a horror greater than any they had so far experienced.
With victory within his grasp, Sparks had to confront the ultimate test of his humanity: after all he had faced, could he resist the urge to wreak vengeance on the men who had caused such untold suffering and misery?


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Told for the very first time, The Liberator is the remarkable true story of one soldier's extraordinary journey to World War II victory, from the invasion of Italy to the liberation of Dachau.

"[Kershaw] is a captivating narrator, hammering home the chaos and carnage of war, sparing no sensory detail to paint a cohesive picture. [His] portrayal of his subject (based on interviews with Sparks, who died in 2007, and other survivors) makes for a riveting, almost epic tale of a larger-than-life, underappreciated figure." - "Publishers Weekly" (starred review)

"This engrossing wartime narrative offers a fresh look at the European campaign and an intimate sense of the war's toll on individual participants." - "Kirkus Reviews"

"A searing, brilliantly told story of the heroism and horror of war, Alex Kershaw's "The Liberator "is a book that's impossible to put down. A must read for anyone who loved "Band of Brothers"." - Lynne Olson, author of "Citizens of London"

"Alex Kershaw, long acclaimed for his terse, lightning-fast narratives of true wartime action and heroism, reaches his full maturity with this sweeping saga of a legendary infantry unit and the leader who spurred it to glory." - Ron Powers, co-author of "Flags of Our Fathers"

"A literary tour de force. Kershaw brilliantly captures the pathos and untold perspective of WWII through the eyes of one of its most courageous, unsung officers - a great leader, who always put his men first. "The Liberator" is a compelling, cinematic story of the highest order." - Patrick K. O'Donnell, combat historian and author of "Dog Company"

Alex Kershaw is the author of six previous books, including the bestsellers The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter. He has written for several British newspapers, including the Guardian, Independent and Sunday Times. Born in York, England, he now lives in America with his wife and son.

General Fields

  • : 9780091943943
  • : Cornerstone
  • : Hutchinson
  • : 0.824
  • : October 2012
  • : 240mm X 156mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : December 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Alex Kershaw
  • : Hardback
  • : 940.54
  • : 320