"A detailed, gripping account . . . the remarkable story of two tank crewmen, from opposite sides of the conflict, who endure the grisly nature of tank warfare."--George Petras, USA Today (four out of four stars) "This singular book is redolent with war. I cannot remember another narrative in which my abiding sensory experience was tasting grit and smelling smoke so often."--Philip Kopper, The Washington Times "A superb book that combines a firsthand look at war with a story of healing."--Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post
"Strong and dramatic . . . Makos established himself as a meticulous researcher who's equally adept at spinning a good old-fashioned yarn. . . . For a World War II aficionado, it will read like a dream."--Kim Curtis, Associated Press "A compelling, exciting adventure . . . an in-the-moment re-creation of the Allied breakthrough of the West Wall into Nazi Germany by a remarkable cadre of tank crewmen of the 3rd Armored Division."--Kirkus Reviews "An engaging story of blood, sweat and tears . . . a wonderful homage to the Greatest Generation."--David Kindy, The Providence Journal "The tension, death, and courage that were everyday experiences for American tankers fill the pages of Makos's book. This moving story of bravery and comradeship is an important contribution to WWII history that will inform and fascinate both the general reader and the military historian."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The New York Times Bestseller
'Brilliant... Gripping' Wall Street Journal
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner's journey into the heart of the Third Reich.
At first, gunner Clarence Smoyer and his fellow crewmen in the legendary 3rd Armored Division - 'Spearhead' - thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: the lead tank always gets hit.
After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art 'super tank', one of twenty in the European theatre.
But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: now they will spearhead every attack. That's how Clarence finds himself leading the U.S. Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the 'Fortress City' of Germany.
Battling through the ruins, Clarence will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.
As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are confronted by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable: to face his enemy, one last time.