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The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach
     

The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach

4.2 14
by John C. McManus
 

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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 battle.

Nicknamed the Big Red One, 1st Division had fought from North Africa to Sicily, earning a reputation as

Overview

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 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.

INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Magnificent! I could not put this book down. John McManus has expanded our knowledge of D-Day history by a considerable factor. It is a great read and will appeal to both devoted students of World War II as well as those with a more casual interest. Don't miss it!”—Joseph Balkoski, author of Omaha Beach and Utah Beach
 
“The Dead and Those About to Die is a gripping, first-hand account of the desperate battle for Omaha Beach on D-Day by the legendary 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One. On the 70th anniversary of that momentous event, John C. McManus’s tale of courage under fire is a vivid reminder that freedom isn’t free and that when the chips are down stalwart American soldiers will always answer the call of duty.”—Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius For War and Warlord: A Life of Churchill at War, 1874-1945
 
“I closed this book with the deepest respect.”—Paul Kennedy, New York Times bestselling author of Engineers of Victory and The Rise and Fall of Great Powers
 
“This is as real as it gets without having been there.”—Walter R. Borneman, national bestselling author of The Admirals, Winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award
 
“John C. McManus has created a portrait with words as Spielberg did with images in Saving Private Ryan. Of course, creating such a vivid picture with words is, for my money, far more difficult.”—Paul Reid, co–author of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965

“A skilled and highly talented author, John McManus has delivered another first-rate piece of scholarship. The Dead and Those About to Die is a tour de force of historical writing.”—Robert von Maier, Editor-in-Chief of Global War Studies
 
“McManus’s masterful work deserves a place alongside those of Cornelius Ryan, Stephen Ambrose and Rick Atkinson.”—David L. Roll, author of The Hopkins Touch

“John McManus’s brilliant chronicle of the Big Red One’s experience on Bloody Omaha captures the grit, pathos, and valor of the battle like no other book that I have read. This is gripping history—beautifully and masterfully told by one of America’s premier historians. ”—Patrick K. O’Donnell, national bestselling author of Dog Company

“[A] powerful book.”—St. Louis Post–Dispatch

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-11
A focused tale of the hellish ascendancy of the U.S. Army's famed 1st Infantry Division on June 6, 1944, underscoring how the Normandy invasion nearly went terribly awry. With several World War II volumes under his belt (September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far, 2012, etc.), military historian McManus elicits moving details of courage and hardship from personal as well as historical sources, spotlighting the feats of this heroic division that took the brunt of the first-wave assault on Omaha Beach. Hardened by heavy fighting only months before in Tunisia and Sicily, considered somewhat arrogant and full of themselves, many of the 1st expected to go home. Instead, Gen. Omar Bradley, commander of U.S. ground forces in the coming invasion, discarded "the niceties of justice" and needed to rely on those troops. Trained vigorously in England under Gen. Clarence Huebner to attack and destroy coastal defenses, the men were well-prepared yet hindered by the very technology that was supposed to cause the breakthrough of German defense. The Normandy beaches were wired and rigged with every contrivance of mines, "Belgian gates" and hedgehogs, with gunners perched in pillboxes on the bluffs. The troops, disgorged from landing craft in huge, unmanageable swells, were overladen with gear and unable to move quickly, offering sitting-duck targets for the German gunners, while the beaches became clotted with machinery and armament launched on an unsustainable schedule. McManus does not spare us the slaughter of those first hours: He even quotes one German soldier observing the carnage, murmuring, "Poor swine." Getting the men off the beach became Col. George Taylor's rallying cry (he is credited with the title's quote), while the offshore destroyers helped dismantle the pillboxes to allow the intrepid leaders of the Big Red One to breach German defenses and push inland. An exciting account from the personable point of view of the soldier.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780698142787
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/29/2014
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
78,541
File size:
16 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“[A] simply magnificent narrative of one of the most famous and gripping events of modern military history.”—Paul Kennedy, New York Times bestselling author of Engineers of Victory

“This is gripping history—beautifully and masterfully told by one of America’s premier historians.”—Patrick K. O’Donnell, national bestselling author of Dog Company

“Magnificent! I could not put this book down!”—Joseph Balkoski, author of Omaha Beach and Utah Beach

“A gripping account of the desperate battle for Omaha Beach on D-Day by the legendary 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One.”—Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius for War

 

Meet the Author

John C. McManus, author of September Hope: The American Side of A Bridge Too Far, earned a PhD in American and Military History from the University of Tennessee, where he served as Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society and was a Normandy Scholar. As a leading authority on the Normandy invasion, he holds a Cantigny First Division Museum Fellowship. He is currently a full professor of U.S. Military History at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he teaches a variety of courses, including one on World War II and another on the Modern American Combat Experience. He also serves as the official historian for the United States Army’s Seventh Infantry Regiment.

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The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a well written and researched up close and personal account of the beach and getting to the pillboxes. excruciating... you are there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was hard to put down I found myself breathing hard quite often, I highly recommend it
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Someone plz explan!!
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Leaves
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