The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon

The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon

4.8 44
by Alex Kershaw
     
 

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On the morning of December 16, 1944, eighteen men of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon attached to the 99th Infantry Division found themselves directly in the path of the main thrust of Hitler's massive Ardennes offensive. Despite being vastly outnumbered, they were told to hold their position "at all costs." Throughout the day, the platoon repulsed

Overview


On the morning of December 16, 1944, eighteen men of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon attached to the 99th Infantry Division found themselves directly in the path of the main thrust of Hitler's massive Ardennes offensive. Despite being vastly outnumbered, they were told to hold their position "at all costs." Throughout the day, the platoon repulsed three large German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, killing hundreds of German soldiers. Only when they had run out of ammunition did they surrender to the enemy. But their long winter was just beginning. As POWs, the platoon experienced an ordeal far worse than combat-surviving in wretched German POW camps. Yet miraculously the men of the platoon survived-all of them-and returned home after the war. More than thirty years later, when President Carter recognized the platoon's "extraordinary heroism" and the U.S. Army approved combat medals for all eighteen men, they became America's most decorated platoon of World War II. With the same vivid and dramatic prose that made The Bedford Boys a national bestseller, Alex Kershaw brings to life the story of these little-known heroes-an epic tale of courage, duty, and survival in World War II and one of the most inspiring episodes in American history. The Longest Winter is an intensely human story about young men who find themselves in frightening wartime situations, who fight back instinctively, survive stoically, and live heroically.

Editorial Reviews

Topeka Capital-Journal 8/6/05
"Kershaw does a masterful job .... A fascinating little-known story. Amazing."
Wall Street Journal
America's enemies would do well not to underestimate this platoon's sense of courage and duty.
Roanoke Times
This book is a must-read for anyone who wants a renewed sense of patriotism.
Army Magazine
Kershaw is a fantastic storyteller.... Anyone who enjoyed [his earlier book The Bedford Boys would like this too.
New York Sun
Gripping and unsentimental....shows that valor comes in many forms.
Library Journal
Though this book's subtitle is plainly overstated, there's no doubting the extraordinary heroism and pivotal contribution of the 394th Infantry Regiment's scout platoon in blunting the German advance during the opening hours of the Battle of the Bulge. The platoon's gallant stand has been chronicled in works like Charles MacDonald's A Time for Trumpets, but Kershaw (The Bedford Boys) relates the story of the platoon from its inception at Camp Maxey, TX, to its desperate fight at Lanzerath, Belgium, on December 16, 1944, as well as platoon members' subsequent experiences in captivity. Though the story itself is remarkable, the narrative is somewhat meandering and not entirely satisfying. A casual reader might well overlook the grammatically incorrect German phrases that the author liberally sprinkles throughout. However, this poor attention to detail surfaces elsewhere, as when the author incorrectly places Hammelburg, the site of the platoon's POW camp, 70 miles west of Frankfurt in the Rhone valley; misidentifies Generals Bradley, Montgomery, and Devers as army commanders; and credits the 2nd Division with originally preparing the scout platoon's fighting positions at Lanzerath. An optional purchase for public libraries.-Edward Metz, Combined Arms Research Lib., Ft. Leavenworth, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306814402
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
10/24/2005
Pages:
344
Sales rank:
85,413
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

Douglas Brinkley
The Longest Winter is a gripping saga about raw courage and superhuman endurance. Alex Kershaw recounts what it was like to fight against Nazi aggression at the Battle of the Bulge. A truly heroic book.
—(Douglas Brinkley, Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, and author of Tour of Duty)
James Bradley
Hitler's last desperate gamble - the Battle of the Bulge - might have changed history if not for the do-or-die heroism of eighteen brave American boys. General Eisenhower called their actions 'the most outstanding tactical maneuver in World War II.' The Longest Winter is their incredible tale. I highly recommend this moving story of uncommon valor.
—(James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys)

Meet the Author


Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, and The Few, and two biographies: Jack London and Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Ilikeike More than 1 year ago
The Longest winter, By Alex Kershaw; a review In my opinion, this is an amazing compilation of many of the stories of American soldiers, who fought at Lanzarath, Belgium during the battle of the Bulge, and held out, against Jochen Peiper, and his forces against all odds. The book is about an American intelligence platoon. The book begins, by describing some of the main characters, and showing them at training camp. Then it builds up to them fighting, and then being captured.This book is a very interesting contrast to other small unit histories, such as Band of Brothers. It details a single day of combat, but follows the individual stories of each character, through captivity, and the rest of the war. This book is a perfect gift for any history buff, or anybody, who likes a great, riveting story!
Christianbelle More than 1 year ago
The best Battle of the Buldge, Belgium (winter 1944) book ever written. This author is incredible, this book is about a scout patrol who takes on th entire Nazi offensive coming west into Belgium 1944 (Hitler's last gamble to drive allies back to sea)! It was very interesting, inspired me! The book also focused on the after events of the battle, the soldiers efforts to survive in POW camp, life after war! It was a classic book, best book ever written on Battle of Buldge, WWII! 5 star book, it was great.
___ANNA___ More than 1 year ago
Incredible battle story of Battle of The Buldge during December 1944 Belgium, incredibly exciting, inspiring book. This is one of the best books I have ever read, best WW2 book ever read. Very well written, highly recommend, it is worth the money. Alex Kershaw is an extremely talented writer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SUPER BOOK! BEST WRITING ENCOUNTERED! The smallest acts in our life can have the biggest influence in the world! Alex Kershaw takes the reader on an incredible journey about WW2 during the battle of the buldge! Outnumbered, with little equipment and/or training a scout patrol is able to stop of Nazi Germanys' soldiers efforts to prolong the war duing the battle of the bulge in Lanzarath Beligium during the late winter of 1944! This book goes beyond WW2, it teaches the reading about facing one's fears, tenacity, persistence, doing the morally corrrect thing in life, facing one's fears, how your life does and/or actions do matter for good and/or ill. This is a must read! Money well spent, SUPERB book, excellent writing, fascinating, insightul, recommended to any age group! GREAT GREAT BOOK!
REDFOXEAST More than 1 year ago
Alex Kershaw's book -- The Longest Winter is absolutely amazing, very gripping accout of Battle of Buldge during WII Belgium (the usa scout patrols efforts to combat entire Germany Army), very good book.
Jennifermiller More than 1 year ago
Winter 1944, Belgium -- Battle of the Buldge, great story! Sweating while I read, could not wait to turn the next page to find out what happened next! Amazing book.
briannnnn More than 1 year ago
SUPER BOOK! Anyone interested in WWII, war history, this is a must buy! Alex Kershaw, extremely gifted writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Received the book for Christmas and could not put it down. Aside from reinforcing the deep sense of pride and patriotism that existed in my dad's generation, this book was extremely well written and just plain interesting. A great read on another aspect of the Battle of the Bulge and World War II.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Longest Winter flows well and shows how 21 men stopped over 500 German paratroopers for almost 24 hours. When others were running with their tails between their legs, these men fought on and were captured only when their ammunition was totally exhausted. It is men like these that caused the Germans to loose the battle, NOT the actions (or inaction) of the generals. Their story then continues with thier tenure as 'guests' of the Nazi POW camps. The author interviewed almost every living member of the platoon and captures not only their actions, but their actual thoughts brilliantly. When these men have all passed away, it is through books like this that will give us the insight into the WW II GI. The bibliography contains reference to almost every book ever written on the Battle of the Bulge.
BD0 More than 1 year ago
Best World War Two book I have ever read. Amazing book, entertaining, exciting, reveals the reality of warfare during the Battle of Buldge Belgium during WW2 in winter of 1944. Very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. Very well written. I would recommend this to any reader interested in books of this type.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have ever read. this book shows u the horor of life on the frontline and how the most green soldiers can change to vet's in less than a day. this story shows that the 99th ID was not just a green unit which was forced to retreat but this book shows how these men beat off scors of German Fallschirmjager (Paratrooper). this shows what man can do under overwellming odds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you read one book about the Battle of the Bulge. This should be the one. Having read many, many books about WWII, and being a soldier myself, I count this book among the best. Kershaw is able to keep the reader's attention and at the same time informed about all the things that are happening simultaneously. Simply an excellent book about a small unit action that goes virtually unnoticed. Overshadowed by the siege of the 101st at Bastogne, and the grand scale of the Battle of the Bulge itself. It is because of these men and all who went before that I serve now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a piece of history we must never forget. As these brave soldiers die, the last eyewitnesses to the Third Reich are forever gone. Future generations should learn from these men. They only had their rifles,guts, brains, and God. An unbelievable and inspiring story. I knew very little and understood even less about the Battle of the Bulge when I began this book. When I finished I understood so many of those men from that generation. Thanks for a great book.
insanepoet65 More than 1 year ago
TITLE: The Longest Winter AUTHOR: Alex Kershaw GENRE: History PAGES: 344 Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I LOVE history. World War II is one of my favorite periods. Now some may ask “How many times can you read a book on the same subject?” My answer is “As many times as I want.” Let’s face it, reading history is no different than reading any other genre like romance, thrillers, mysteries, etc. Sure, history can be boring at times, especially if you are bombarded by places and dates and little else. That is not the case with THE LONGEST WINTER. THE LONGEST WINTER follows the story of the 394th Infantry Platoon and how it faced a Nazi onslaught at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. The book follows the battle, and the subsequent capture of these soldiers and details their life in captivity. This is not a stuffy history of places and dates and technical jargon that will befuddle the reader. This book is a perfect example of history coming to life in the hands of an author who loves his subject and conveys that love to the reader. I truly got the feel of the “Do or Die” spirit of the American soldier during an incredible battle and the after effects of capture. If you are a history buff, read this book! If you are not a history buff, read this book! Bottom line, READ THIS BOOK!
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EddieGreen More than 1 year ago
Feel like you really participated in the Battle of the Buldge, Belgium winter 1944 when you read this book.
PIUSLEE More than 1 year ago
Paramount to any other book ever written on WWII. This book is perhaps the best book on warfare, I ever ever read. Deluxe in excitement, flyed through the material to find out ending, outstanding writing, research, story, this author is very, very good.
GalinaMorse More than 1 year ago
Among the glitter and glitz of today's screen WWII movies, this book trumps all of them! Alex Kershaw's approach is to provide the reader with a seat alongside the events of these most important events in world history, this book focues on the events of Battle of the Buldge, WWII 1944. Another winner, by author Alex Kershaw.
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