What impressed me the most about The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams is the excellent and loving research that has gone into the writing of this novel.
The book mainly fills in the blanks in the non-technical side of the moon landing, the political environment which fostered at the time, as well as how leaders at high levels encouraged or derailed the program based on their own goals and/or selfish reasons.
The book follows the battle of Okinawa through the eyes of the grunts on the ground and the commanders of both the American and Japanese forces.
The last part of the book follows the days leading to dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima mostly through the eyes of President Truman and pilot Paul Tibbets.
The book begins after the Normandy invasion. The allied generals are confident that the war will be over in a few weeks, but Hitler is not so sure. Despite the advice of his generals, Hitler launches a desperate counteroffensive in the Ardennes Forest surprising the Americans.
The story is told through the eyes of Eisenhower, Patton, private Eddie Benson as well as Germans Gerd von Rundstedt and Albert Speer.
The topic for this book is the events leading up and after D-Day (January through September 1944) seeing through the eyes of the aggressor (Eisenhower), the defender (Rommel), the generals (Bradley, Patton, von Rundstedt) and best of all, the ordinary soldiers (Sergeant Jesse Adams, a paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne and Jack Logan, a tank gunner with the First Armored Division).
The day to day lives of the fighting men in the unforgiving Libyan dessert were tough. Not only fighting heat and exhaustion, but the British Army Dessert Rats, the Australians and New Zealanders were battling the Dessert Fox (Rommel). Rommel used what he knew about other generals to his advantage and the results were German victories.
The story moves on to 1943 where the Allies believe that Italy will be a piece of cake and they could move on the Germany. Italy did surrender but the Nazis kept on fighting. The book ends after the battles in Naples and Salerno where the Allies paid a high price for the victory and the beginning of the plan to attack the French coast.