By Christopher Miskimon

The U.S. 1st Infantry Division, nicknamed “Big Red One” for its distinctive shoulder patch, fought during the entirety of U.S. combat involvement in the North African, Italian, and European campaigns. It landed in Vichy France in November 1942, and continued to serve until the end of the war, finishing its service in Czechoslovakia in May 1945. Seventeen soldiers from this division received the Medal of Honor for their actions during the war. The unit’s battles list among the most important of the war: Tunisia, Sicily, Normandy, Aachen, the Ruhr, and elsewhere. Like the rest of the U.S. Army, it entered combat raw and untested; its officers and soldiers had to learn hard lessons and improvise in action and during the all too brief lulls. By war’s end, however, the 1st Infantry Division was second to none.

The author is a retired U.S. Army officer with several good works on the service to his credit. This examination of the division includes numerous accounts of unit members, from privates to generals. The author also uses his experience and reasoning skills to make this book one of analysis as well as history.

No Sacrifice Too Great: The 1st Infantry Division in World War II (Gregory Fontenot, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri, 2023, 571 pp., maps, photographs, appendices, bibliography, notes, index, $39.95, HC)

More World War II Book Reviews for Fall 2024