Other Clay: A Remembrance of the World War II Infantry

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Overview


Other Clay is a survivor’s account of World War II infantry combat, told by a front-line officer whose 116th Infantry Regiment landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day and fought its way across Europe to the Elbe.

Charles R. Cawthon joined the Virginia National Guard in 1940—to avoid being drafted and to spend his expected one year of service in officer training. When America entered the war, his division was among the first shipped out to England, where they spent two years preparing to spearhead the largest amphibious military operation in history.

On the beaches of Normandy, on June 6, 1944, the U.S. Army suffered its heaviest casualties since Gettysburg. The losses were greatest among the infantry companies that led the assault, and Cawthon describes firsthand the furious and deathly chaos of the daylong battle to get off the beach and up the heights. Reduced by casualties to half its preinvasion strength, Cawthon’s regiment still managed to fight off German counterattacks and engage in an all-out pursuit across France before the Germans counterattacked again at the Ardennes forest.

Thoughtful, candid, and revealing, Cawthon’s memoir is a deeply felt and carefully recollected study of men confronting the face of death—their fear, their courage, their hunger and exhaustion, their loyalty to one another, and their miraculous and unreasoning ability to go one more step, one more day, one more mile.

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Editorial Reviews

American Heritage Publishing Staff

“A calm, wise, beautifully written memoir that some think is the finest account we have of World War II combat on the company level.”—American Heritage
WWII History

“If a person can read only a single World War II memoir this year, this is the book to choose.”—WWII History
American Heritage Publishing Staff

“A calm, wise, beautifully written memoir that some think is the finest account we have of World War II combat on the company level.”—American Heritage

WWII History

“If a person can read only a single World War II memoir this year, this is the book to choose.”—WWII History

Library Journal
Cawthon's 1990 title offers up his firsthand experience of D-Day as a member of the 116th Infantry, which landed on Omaha Beach. Though many such books exist, American Heritage dubbed this "the finest account of World War II combat on a company level." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Booknews
A firsthand account of life and death in the small world of an army infantry battalion between 1941 and 1945, filtered through the senses and emotions of Cawthon, a young, uncertain American civilian, who--only slightly trained--is assigned second lieutenant of an infantry platoon in the 116th Regiment. For military history buffs. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803264427
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 1,056,533
  • Product dimensions: 0.46 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Charles R. Cawthon (1912–96) retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1967 with the rank of colonel. Jerry Cooper is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Missouri–Saint Louis and the author of The Rise of the National Guard: The Evolution of the American Militia, 1865–1920 (Nebraska 1997).
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