I wrote a nice three or four paragraph review of this book and then went to save it. Unfortunately for me, PBS was upgrading the site and the review wasn't saved. At least the book description I typed in seems to have been accepted. Of course, I have forgotten what I wrote. So let me try a different approach.
This was not an easy book to read as the author often lists all the units engaged in different actions. And, at the same time, this is not a 'men in combat' book listing the efforts of individual units and soldiers that so many of us enjoy.
What it is is an analysis of the planning, tactics, and actual happenings of Operation Cobra. I especially enjoyed one sentence where the author relates the overcomplicated plan developed by one division commander as the worst thing that he could have done and then states that, fortunately, nothing worked out that way.
The author both praises General Bradley for his concept for Operation Cobra and faults him for his fire control plan that resulted in the loss of so many Americans due to friendly fire. The author also shows how even the corps commanders did not deserve the praise for the operation that they later received. Instead, the author shows that Operation Cobra was not the walk through of bombed out German positions that is often suggested in the histories, but was a confused mess that the regimental and battalion commanders and the individual fighting soldiers, all who had learned their trade in the weeks since the Normandy landings, were able to rescue from an apparent disaster to an overwhelming victory from the confusion of the short bombings, traffic jams and 'fighting without fronts' that led to Operation Cobra's success.
In the end, this is another revisionist history of World War II, and destroyer of some myths, that all might not agree with, but which deserves the attention of all who are deeply interested in the history of World War II in Europe. Operation Cobra opened the floodgates for the rapid liberation of France and more than made up for the slow, slogging fight through the hedgerows of Normandy. And, what I particularly liked, it is yet more proof that the German soldier was not the greatest fighting man of World War II.