As usual, Max Hastings has produced yet another brilliant study on the little known aspects of WWII. Wearing his historian hat, Hastings takes us into an obscure theatre of the war where the once crack SS Panzer division, Das Reich, was assigned to help hold Normandy against the D-Day invasion. It was June 1944 and Hitler and the German High-Command was looking to bolster the Atlantic Wall against what was sure to be a heavy attack from American-led forces. Das Reich was a corps of well-trained, fiercely loyal, and battle-honed soldiers who could be relied on to plug the gaps and keep the enemy at bay. But there was a problem that the German High Command did not fully anticipate: how to get there battle ready and on time. As the book describes, the 2nd Panzer Division would have to cross southwestern France, through hostile territory full of villages run by the local Maquis(French resistance)and prepared to fight for the liberation of the country. With Hastings’ attention to detail and objectivity, we get more than one side of the story as this group of German warriors made their way to the battlefront for one more stand on behalf of the Reich in its hour of need. There will be fierce battles, massacres, and snafus during this 500 mile journey to a western battle zone. Encountering them on the way, through the dense forests and hills of Dordogne, will be SOE(British security forces), various partisan cells, and patriotic Frenchmen and women intent on stopping a formidable fighting force dead in its tracks. The question here is how effective were these small forces in changing the course of the war during the D-Day invasion? This author has a thesis that he investigates, with both written and oral evidence, to a satisfactory conclusion.