'History's greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can' -Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call
'An absolute triumph' -James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and national bestselling author of Target Tokyo and Rampage
'The unforgettable human drama of history's most consequential invasion' -John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day-The Big Red One at Omaha Beach
Beginning in the pre-dawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows ten men attempting to carry out D-Day's most critical missions. Their actions would determine the fate of the invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe.
The ten make a charismatic, unforgettable cast. They include the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the only British soldier that day to earn a Victoria's Cross; the Canadian brothers who led their decimated troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; the colonel who faced the powerful 150mm guns of the Merville Battery; as well as a French commando who helped destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach. The book will give authentic voice to the invaders' enemies, the German enlisted men and officers tasked with destroying the Allies as they hit the beaches.
The result is an utterly immersive, adrenaline-driven drama, an epic of close combat and extraordinary heroism. It is the capstone Alex Kershaw's remarkable career, built on his close friendships with D-Day survivors and his intimate understanding of the Normandy battlefield. For the seventy-fifth anniversary, here is a fresh take on the Second World War's longest day.
Praise for Alex Kershaw:
`From the opening pages, when Kershaw...drops us into the invasion of Paris, we know that we are in good hands. This is classic narrative nonfiction, constructed and written like a thriller.' Chicago Tribune
`Exceptional.... balances evocative prose with attention to detail and is a worthy addition to vibrant classics of small-unit history like Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers.' Wall Street Journal
`Kershaw's writing is seamless. He incorporates information from a vast array of sources, but it works--you get a sense of the different voices coming into the story....A gripping read.' Minneapolis Star Tribune
From the author of Fire and Fortitude, a white-knuckle account of the 1st Infantry Division's harrowing D-Day assault on the eastern sector of Omaha Beach--acclaimed historian John C. McManus has written a gripping history that will stand as the last word on this titanic World War II battle. Nicknamed the Big Red One, 1st Division had fought from North Africa to Sicily, earning a reputation as stalwart warriors on the front lines and rabble-rousers in the rear. Yet on D-Day, these jaded combat veterans melded with fresh-faced replacements to accomplish one of the most challenging and deadly missions ever. As the men hit the beach, their equipment destroyed or washed away, soldiers cut down by the dozens, courageous heroes emerged: men such as Sergeant Raymond Strojny, who grabbed a bazooka and engaged in a death duel with a fortified German antitank gun; T/5 Joe Pinder, a former minor-league pitcher who braved enemy fire to save a vital radio; Lieutenant John Spalding, a former sportswriter, and Sergeant Phil Streczyk, a truck driver, who together demolished a German strong point overlooking Easy Red, where hundreds of Americans had landed. Along the way, McManus explores the Gap Assault Team engineers who dealt with the extensive mines and obstacles, suffering nearly a fifty percent casualty rate; highlights officers such as Brigadier General Willard Wyman and Colonel George Taylor, who led the way to victory; and punctures scores of myths surrounding this long-misunderstood battle. The Dead and Those About to Die draws on a rich array of new or recently unearthed sources, including interviews with veterans. The result is history at its finest, the unforgettable story of the Big Red One's nineteen hours of hell--and their ultimate triumph--on June 6, 1944
Few decades have given rise to such potent mythologies as the 1930s. Popular impressions of those years prior to the Second World War were shaped by the single outstanding personality of that conflict, Winston Spencer Churchill. Churchill depicted himself as a political prophet, exiled into the wilderness prior to 1939 by those who did not want to hear of the growing threats to peace in Europe. Although it is a familiar story, it is one we need to unlearn as the
truth is somewhat murkier.
The End is Nigh is a tale of relentless intrigue, burning ambition, and the bitter rivalry in British politics during the years preceding the Second World War. Journeying from the corridors of Whitehall to the smoking rooms of Parliament, and from aircraft factories to summit meetings with Hitler, the book offers a fresh and provocative interpretation of one of the most crucial moments of British history. It assembles a cast of iconic characters-Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Stanley
Baldwin, Clement Attlee, Anthony Eden, Ernest Bevin, and more-to explore the dangerous interaction between high politics at Westminster and the formulation of national strategy in a world primed to explode.
In the twenty-first century we are accustomed to being cynical about politicians, mistrusting what they say and wondering about their real motives, but Robert Crowcroft argues that this was always the character of democratic politics. In The End is Nigh he challenges some of the most resilient public myths of recent decades-myths that, even now, remain an important component of Britain's self-image.
This book is the first to bring together analyses of the full range of post-war testimony given by survivors of the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Auschwitz Sonderkommando were slave labourers in the gas chambers and crematoria, forced to process and dispose of the bodies of those who were murdered. They have been central to a number of key topics in post-war debates about the Shoah: collaboration, moral compromise and survival, resistance, representation, and the possibility of bearing witness. Their testimony however has mostly met with a reluctance to engage in depth with it. Moving from testimonies produced within the event, the Scrolls of Auschwitz and the Sonderkommando photographs, to testimonies given at trials and for video archives, and to the paintings of David Olere and the film Shoah by Claude Lanzmann, this book demonstrates the importance of their witnessing in the post-war memory of the Holocaust, and provides vital new insights into the questions of representation, memory, gender, and the Shoah.
History has tended to measure war's winners and losers in terms of its major engagements, battles in which the result was so clear-cut that they could be considered "decisive." Marathon, Cannae, Tours, Agincourt, Austerlitz, Sedan, Stalingrad-all resonate in the literature of war and in our imaginations as tide-turning. But were they? As Cathal J. Nolan demonstrates in this magisterial and sweeping work, victory in major wars usually has been determined in other
ways. Even the most legendarily lopsided of battles did not necessarily decide their outcomes. Nolan also challenges the hoary concept of the military "genius," even of the Great Captains-from Alexander to Frederick and Napoleon-mapping instead the decent into total war.
The Allure of Battle systematically recreates and analyzes the major campaigns among the Great Powers, from the Middle Ages through the 20th century, from the fall of Byzantium to the defeat of the Axis powers, tracing the illusion of "short-war thinking," the hope that victory might be swift and conflict brief. Such as almost never been the case. Even one-sided battles have mainly contributed to victory or defeat by accelerating erosion of the other side's defenses, resources, and
Massive conflicts, the so-called "people's wars," beginning with Napoleon and continuing until the end of World War II, have been more fundamentally determined by prolonged stalemate and attrition, wars in which the determining factor was not tactical but industrial.
Nolan's masterful book places battles squarely and mercilessly within the context of the wider conflict in which they took place. In the process it help corrects a distorted view of their role in war, replacing popular images of "decisive battles" with somber appreciation of the sacrifice and endurance necessary to victory. Accessible, provocative, exhaustive, and illuminating, The Allure of Battle will spark fresh debate about the history and conduct of warfare.
The two Taiwan Strait crises took place during a particularly tense period of the Cold War. Although each incident was relatively brief, their consequences loom large. Based on analyses of newly available documents from Beijing, Taipei, and Washington, Pang Yang Huei challenges conventional wisdom that claims Sino-US misperceptions of each others strategic concerns were critical in the 1950s. He underscores the fact that Washington, Taipei, and Beijing were actually aware of one anothers strategic intentions during the crises. He also demonstrates conclusively that both crises can be understood as a transformation from tacit communication to tacit accommodation. An important contribution of this study is a better understanding of the role of ritual, symbols, and gestures in international relations. While it is true that these two crises resulted in a stalemate, the fact that all parties were able to cultivate talks and negotiations brought relations, especially between the US and China, to a new and more stable level. Simply averting the threat of war was a major achievement. Strait Rituals is an important micro-history of a significant moment during the Cold War and a rich interpretation of the theoretical use of multiple points of view in writing history. It sets a new standard for understanding Chinas place in the world.
The First World War was as much a ordeal for women as it was for men. They were mobilized en masse from the very beginning, at the invitation of Rene Viviani, President of the Council, and actively participated in the war effort for four long years. Those that La Guerre Documentee repeatedly refers to as "substitutes" in its columns made themselves indispensable by the support given to combatants (as nurses and as 'marraines de guerre'), but also by offsetting the deficit of male labour, ensuring the full performance of the country's economic activity. In addition to keeping the home and caring for children, women played a major role during the conflict. By proving that they were capable of supplying men with sectors of activity from which they had hitherto been excluded, they asserted themselves more in society, and legitimately aspired to take a decisive step towards their emancipation. The balance is nuanced, and the famous journalist Severine did not hesitate to conclude bitterly that women were only the "servants of the war". However, it became clear that nothing would ever be the same again.
In The Archaeology of Weapons, Ewart Oakeshott traces the development of European arms in logical sequence, showing how changes were wrought by the use of new materials and the ever-shifting demands of war and fashion. This history begins nearly two hundred years before the Christian era, covering among other subjects the charioteers of the Near East, the Roman attitude to arms and the Bronze Age weapons of Europe.
The core of the book, however, is the middle ages: a general survey of the institution of chivalry, an understanding of which is vital to the appreciation of all the arms of the high middle ages, is followed by a classification covering all sword types from about 1050 to 1500.
On December 16, 1958, a Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile became the first rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB, California. Established from the remnants of a WWII and Korean War training base named Camp Cooke, the USAF selected the location to operationally test intercontinental-range ballistic missiles over the Pacific Ocean. Over the decades, Vandenberg has seen over 1,900 launches of more than 70 varieties of rockets and missiles. This book chronicles the launches by rocket/missile, launchpad location, and payload. Many never-before-seen photographs illustrate the variety of space launch vehicles used to lift national-security satellites into orbit, as well as the operational testing of the missiles used by United States nuclear-alert forces. The launches at Vandenberg helped drive the technological innovation and deterrence that helped the US win the Cold War.
Although bombed at Pearl Harbor, USS Tennessee was back to sea before the year was over. The crew of the resilient warship fought from Alaska's Aleutian Islands to Tokyo Bay, surviving enemy artillery, bombs, and kamikaze attacks, and even collisions with other American warships. In 1945, Tennessee took part in the famous Battle of Surigao Strait, the last battleship-versus-battleship combat in history. The hundreds of photographs in this volume, many previously unpublished, trace this history of this iconic warship from her launching in Brooklyn in 1919, to her scrapping in Baltimore forty years later. Part of the Legends of Warfare series.