A Death in San Pietro: The Untold Story of Ernie Pyle, John Huston, and the Fight for Purple Heart Valley

A Death in San Pietro: The Untold Story of Ernie Pyle, John Huston, and the Fight for Purple Heart Valley

by Tim Brady


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By the time Mark Clark's Fifth Army reached the small village of San Pietro north of Naples in the first week of December 1943, a tough but rapid sweep through Sicily came to a muddy halt. On the slopes of a distant mountain, the death of a single platoon captain, Henry Waskow, epitomized the struggle.

A Death in San Pietro chronicles the quietly heroic and beloved Captain Waskow and his company as they make their way into battle. Waskow's 36th ("Texas") Division would ultimately succeed in driving the Germans off the mountains; but not before eighty percent of Waskow's company is lost in action.

For Americans back home, two of the war's most lasting artistic expression brought horrified focus to the battlefield, already dubbed "Purple Heart Valley" by the men of the 36th. Pulitzer Prize-winner Ernie Pyle's dispatch about Waskow's death and filmmaker John Huston's award-winning documentary of the battle rivets--and shocks--the nation, bringing, as if for the first time, the awful carnage of world war into living rooms across America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306822148
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 11/05/2013
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Tim Brady is an award-winning author, whose book Twelve Desperate Miles received wide acclaim. He is a regular contributor to PBS and currently writes for History Channel Magazine, Minnesota, and Minnesota Monthly.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 "The Hoosier Vagabond" 7

Chapter 2 The Texas Division 17

Chapter 3 Tunisia 27

Chapter 4 Morocco 43

Chapter 5 Pyle in Sicily 51

Chapter 6 Salerno 59

Chapter 7 Altavilla 77

Chapter 8 The Sorrento Peninsula 89

Chapter 9 Capri 109

Chapter 10 Why We Fight 119

Chapter 11 Pyle and Huston 129

Chapter 12 Winterstellugen 135

Chapter 13 Replacements 145

Chapter 14 Thanksgiving 153

Chapter 15 Observers 161

Chapter 16 Eve of Battle 167

Chapter 17 Sammucro 175

Chapter 18 A Bad Day on the Mountain 187

Chapter 19 Purple Heart Valley 195

Chapter 20 Aftermath 203

Chapter 21 New Year 211

Chapter 22 The Death of Captain Waskow 217

Chapter 23 Finishing Up 223

Chapter 24 Rapido 237

Chapter 25 A Final Posting 243

Notes 253

Sources 265

Acknowledgments 269

Index 271


Salerno Landing 95

Battle of San Pietro 1 180

Battle of San Pietro 2 199

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