A chance encounter with an American WWII veteran leads John Gimlette, the award-winning travel writer, on an astonishing journey through France, Germany and Austria. This contemporary odyssey relives the last months of the war, passing through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, and through cities that have risen from cinders."Panther Soup" is the story of that journey, a tale as rich, bleak and absurd as war itself. There's a colourful cast of survivors showing the way. But it's the American veteran, Putnam Flint, who served in the 824th Tank Destroyers (The Panthers), who guides the author through the emotions of that time. Now 86, he had been one of nearly three million Americans moving across the face of the continent. It was a journey of unimaginable scale and complexity, an armoured migration, a wheeled city rolling through Europe. For most of his life, Flint has lived with the memories of a tank-mangled sludge (the "Panther Soup") and finds himself once again speeding up the Rhone valley, re-living the camps, visiting the villages he'd shelled, and meeting the children of the battlefield, now elderly themselves.
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