Monday, January 24, 2011
The Magic Army
By Leslie Thomas
Before the D-Day invasion of German-controlled Europe during World War II, the Allied planners realized that their troops would require many weeks of rehearsal before they could attempt such an invasion. Apparently beach invasions are almost never successful. Since the beaches of England were very similar to their counterparts across the English Channel, it was decided to practice for the invasion in England. It was also decided that the troops would be training under fire of live ordinance. So the powers that be ordered that all the locals in the training area be removed, for their own safety. Suddenly, productive farm land and little country villages are abandoned and American troops are moved in, setting up camps, security, mines and guns. This is the story of that time, when the United States invaded and took over a large section of the United Kingdom, much to the chagrin and disgust of the locals.
This sounds like it is a combat story, but it really isn't. It is more concerned with the interactions between the locals and the Americans and how the two different populations came to view and to understand each other. It is a very fascinating story, often touching and often funny and I enjoyed it tremendously. It was a very good read.