(Viking, London, 2015)
Hardcover: 451 pages
From the bestselling author of Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day, Antony Beevor’s Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble tells the dramatic story of the Germans' ill-fated final stand.
On December 16, 1944, Hitler launched his “last gamble” in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in Western Europe. American troops, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians fled, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris.
The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the eastern front. And after massacres by the Waffen-SS, even American generals approved when their men shot down surrendering Germans. The Ardennes was the battle that finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.
About the author
Antony Beevor studied under military historian John Keegan, and is a former officer with the 11th Hussars, who served in England and Germany for five years. He has published several popular histories on World War II and the 20th century in general.
His best-known works, the best-selling Stalingrad and Berlin: The Downfall 1945, recount the World War II battles between the Soviet Union and Germany. They have been praised for their vivid, compelling style, their treatment of the ordinary lives of combatants and civilians and the use of newly disclosed documents from Soviet archives.
Beevor’s expertise has been the subject of some commentary; his publications have been praised as revitalising interest in World War II topics and have allowed readers to reevaluate events such as D-Day from a new perspective. In 2015, Russia called for banning Beevor’s books, accusing him of Nazi sympathies.
Beevor is a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He was also awarded an Honorary DLitt from the University of Bath in 2010, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent in 2004. He has been recognised with the 2014 Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.
Beevor is a visiting professor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London.