Book Review: No Greater Valor

No Greater Valor: The Siege Of Bastogne And The Miracle That Sealed Allied Victory, by Jerome Corsi

[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Press in exchange for an honest review.]

Coincidentally enough, I read this book on the 69th anniversary of the day that Patton’s [1] Third army broke through the divisions of Panzergrenadier and Volksgrenadier that had surrounded the city of Bastogne, Belgium, ending the German advance in the Battle of the Bulge. At that point, given the lack of reserves and the desperate nature of Germany’s war with Russia, Germany really shot its last bolt with their Watch On The Rhine campaign, and this book does not really explain the larger context of Germany’s fight, or even much about the larger context of the Battle of the Bulge except on the highest levels [2] when it leaves the confines of the 10th Armored or the 101st Airborne. In many ways, this particular book is a bit nearsighthed, talking about small villages and their combat and the Allied side of the grand strategy involved, but not mentioning much about any German strategy.

Likewise, this book, in its attempts to show off its research, tends to go on a few tangents. For example, in writing about Patton it decides to give a short discussion about Patton’s religious beliefs (which included reincarnation) as well as some of his controversial actions during the Sicily campaign. The access to so much research in the past, and the aim of defending a divine providential view of the Battle of Bastogne, and this means that the author gives credence to “Christmas miracles” that seem to imply that God was blessing America for what may have been a mere tolerance of superstitious belief without any blessing in the timing. Saying that the battle was full of divine providence, which does appear to be the case, does not in any way imply that God approved everything about the cause of the soldiers, or an endorsement of their practices in all walks of life. People are too complicated for blanket endorsements, and the workings of divine providence are similarly complex [3].

That said, although this book can at times be somewhat undisciplined, and even if it simultaneously asks too much and too little outside knowledge on the part of its readers, it is a very excellent read. It is full of warm and personal stories and wrestles honestly with such contradictory accounts as it finds of various matters. It speaks eloquently about prayer and courage and loyalty, including the loyalty of local Belgian citizens to the Allied soldiers, even in extremis (which is not hard to understand). Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the book is that it ends without any discussion of either the Eastern front or the aftermath of the battle. The book discusses the siege of Bastogne and its lead up in great detail, and the course of the siege is similarly discussed in detail. Yet once elements of the Third Army break through, the story abruptly stops. Whether this means that the course of the battle, aside from the successful defense of Bastogne, is not of interest to the author, or whether this book is intended to be part of a series, is difficult to say. Either way, the narrative suffers a bit from having an undeveloped third act. It is still a worthwhile read, for all of its flaws, for someone who wants to see the workings of divine providence in a particularly noteworthy battle, but its flaws should be recognized for what they are.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/book-review-patton-and-rommel/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/the-military-historian-and-the-fog-of-war-a-case-study/

[3] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/divine-providence-in-the-book-of-ruth-part-one/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/divine-providence-in-the-story-of-naaman-the-syrian/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/a-meditation-on-the-divine-will/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/ive-been-knocked-down-but-i-wont-be-broken/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Book Reviews, Christianity, History, Military History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: No Greater Valor

  1. Pingback: Today In History: On December 26, 1944, The Siege Of Bastogne Was Broken | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Why The Germans Lose At War | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Book Review: The German Army In War | Edge Induced Cohesion

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