The No. 1 Bestseller: Hitler's ill-fated final stand, from the bestselling author of Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day. On 16 December, 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the sw-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes. He believed he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp, then force the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back. 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. While many American soldiers fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance. 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 which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.
Antony Beevor is the author of Crete - The Battle and the Resistance (Runciman Prize), Stalingrad (Samuel Johnson Prize, Wolfson Prize for History and Hawthornden Prize for Literature), Berlin - The Downfall, The Battle for Spain (Premio La Vanguardia) and D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (RUSI Westminster Medal). His books have appeared in thirty languages and have sold more than seven million copies. A former chairman of the Society of Authors, he has received four honorary doctorates and a fellowship from King's College London. He is a visiting professor at the University of Kent. He has received the Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, and the Medlicott Medal for services to history. Ardennes was shortlisted for the Priz Medicis in France and he was made Commander of the Order of the Crown by the Belgian Government.