... lean and effective ... As in his earlier works, like Blood and Champagne and The Liberator, Mr. Kershaw’s strength is his ability to place characters within their settings and tell their stories honestly ... Focusing on a well-chosen selection of warriors, The First Wave brilliantly sweeps the arc of fire that was the Sixth of June.
The hallmark of a great writer is one who can keep a reader in suspense while recounting an event whose outcome is already known. Master storyteller Alex Kershaw has done just that ... Kershaw’s skill as an interviewer of veterans is impeccable, and he uses it to great effect here. As you read, you’ll cheer on the men portrayed so vividly both as warriors and as human beings ... To the author’s credit, he, like fellow WWII historian Rick Atkinson, is willing to expose the atrocities committed by Allied soldiers in the frenzy of combat and its aftermath. While the men of the 'first wave' surely helped liberate Europe, the ways in which they did it were often grim and gruesome ... At the same time, Kershaw acknowledges the cause for which the Allied brave gave their lives and celebrates their heroism. In this regard, his book is quite balanced ... Readers who enjoy military history will find this a worthy contribution to the many D-Day volumes that already exist. Like the author’s other books, The First Wave is accessible and, in spite of the horror it depicts, is an enjoyable and exhilarating read.
Kershaw builds on his many previous WWII books to present an especially vivid D-Day narrative. This incredibly detailed account profiles a broad spectrum of participants in this essential, now legendary battle ... Kershaw presents war in all of its ugliness and horror even as he emphasizes the commitment of the young fighters to their comrades. The First Wave, a welcome and fresh take on one of the greatest and most significant of WWII missions, marks D-Day’s 75th anniversary.