Mr. Harding is a journalist – and it shows. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but they have a tendency to pad out isolated events into longer stories or books, as in this case.
The pivotal event is very exciting and well worth reading about. There is even to be a movie adaptation. But Harding gives us potted biographies of everyone in the story which pads out this isolated event into a full length book.
I love to read about World War II and never cease to be enthralled by the bravery and personal sacrifice of all of the participants. Mr. Harding writes about these events with skill and compassion, and his attention to detail is impressive. But I really don’t want to know where every person in the story went to school or who they married.
Notwithstanding the above, one should not be deterred from buying this book. It is precise, erudite and compelling, and well worth the time taken to read it.