D-Day and Beyond: The Things Our Fathers Saw—The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation-Volume V


Matthew A. Rozell - 2019
    At my home, the mailman would walk up towards the front porch, and I saw it just as clear as if he's standing beside me—I see his blue jacket and the blue cap and the leather mailbag. Here he goes up to the house, but he doesn’t turn. He goes right up the front steps. This happened so fast, probably a matter of seconds, but the first thing that came to mind, that's the way my folks would find out what happened to me. The next thing I know, I kind of come to, and I'm in the push-up mode. I'm half up out of the underwater depression, and I'm trying to figure out what the hell happened to those prone figures on the beach, and all of a sudden, I realized I'm in amongst those bodies!” —Army demolition engineer, Omaha Beach, D-Day Dying for freedom isn’t the worst that could happen. Being forgotten is. — “My last mission was the Bastogne mission. We were being towed, we're approaching Bastogne, and I see a cloud of flak, anti-aircraft fire. I said to myself, ‘I'm not going to make it.’ There were a couple of groups ahead of us, so now the anti-aircraft batteries are zeroing in. Every time a new group came over, they kept zeroing in. My outfit had, I think, 95% casualties.” —Glider pilot, D-Day and beyond Maybe our veterans did not volunteer to tell us their stories; perhaps we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to a younger generation, when a history teacher taught his students to engage. — “I was fighting in the hedgerows for five days; it was murder. But psychologically, we were the best troops in the world. There was nobody like us; I had all the training that they could give us, but nothing prepares you for some things. You know, in my platoon, the assistant platoon leader got shot right through the head, right through the helmet, dead, right there in front of me. That affects you, doesn’t it?” ” —Paratrooper, D-Day and beyond As we forge ahead as a nation, do we owe it to ourselves to become reacquainted with a generation that is fast leaving us, who asked for nothing but gave everything, to attune ourselves as Americans to a broader appreciation of what we stand for? This is the fifth book in the masterful WWII oral history series, but you can read them in any order. — “Somebody asked me once, what was the hardest part for you in the war? And I thought about a young boy who came in as a replacement; the first thing he said was, ‘How long will it be before I'm a veteran?’ I said, ‘If I'm talking to you the day after you're in combat, you're a veteran.’ He replaced one of the gunners who had been killed on the back of the half-track. Now, all of a sudden, the Germans were pouring this fire in on us. He was working on the track and when he jumped off, he went down, called my name. I ran over to him and he was bleeding in the mouth… From my experience before, all I could do was hold that kid’s hand and tell him it’s going to be all right. ‘You'll be all right.

Island Victory: The Battle of Kwajalein Atoll


S.L.A. Marshall - 1982
     This was the first time the Americans had penetrated the “outer ring” of the Japanese Pacific sphere. From now until the end of the war the combined forces of the Navy, Marine Corps and Army would island hop their way to the Japanese mainland. Yet, the Battle of Kwajalein Atoll, particularly on the island of Roi-Namur where there were only 51 survivors of the original 3,500 garrison left, gave the Americans an insight into the fierce resistance that the Japanese would put up over the remaining months of the war. Drawn directly from the testimonies of several hundred infantrymen, Island Victory provides insight into what it was like to feel the heat of battle on the beaches of those Pacific islands. "Written accounts of war simply do not get any closer to the actions and feelings of those [who] were there. Island Victory is a highly recommended, 'must read' book." — The Midwest Book Review "The real value of Island Victory lies in the unadorned words of these soldiers, recorded so openly and methodically by Marshall after the battle. . . . The Kwajalein victors interviewed so painstakingly by Sam Marshall provide a priceless candor and authenticity, the emotional testimonies of young men still flushed with adrenalin, guilt, and relief." — Joseph H. Alexander, Journal of Military History S. L. A. Marshall was a chief U.S. Army combat historian during World War II and the Korean War. He had served on the border with Mexico during the Pancho Villa Expedition before serving in France during World War I. He wrote over thirty books about warfare. Island Victory was first published in 1944. Marshall passed away in 1977.

Condition Red: Destroyer Action in the South Pacific


Frederick J. Bell - 1943
    Condition Red. Many planes.” What was it like to be trapped upon a ship and constantly under threat of attack from Japanese forces? Frederick J. Bell, commander of the USS Grayson during World War Two, dramatically exposes the mental and physical strain that his crew and ship underwent through the course of the first few years of conflict. No stone is left unturned in Bell’s account, as he explains how he and his crew survived strafing by Japanese planes, navigated the treacherous waters of the South Pacific, assisted fellow ships in peril and overcame the tedious moments of boredom. Admiral Bell takes the reader to the heart of the action which he witnessed first-hand and explains the vital role that destroyers played in the Pacific War. They fulfilled a variety of roles, from escorting convoys and guarding Task Forces, to bombing enemy shorelines and providing much needed supplies to the army and marines fighting on the islands. There are few accounts that better document naval warfare during the Second World War. “Tales of himself and the men, of the function of destroyers, alone and in group action, of early difficulties of poor charting, of successive South Pacific engagements, of periods without sleep, of shore landings, of ‘coconut shoots’ and many a ding dong with the enemy.” Kirkus Reviews The valor that Bell demonstrated during the battle of Ontong Java in August 1942 earned him the Medal of Honor, and later during USS Grayson’s operations at Guadalcanal in February 1943 he received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. His citation reads: "When his ship was subjected to repeated bombing and strafing attacks by enemy dive bombers at very close range, Commander Bell ... directed the fire of his battery with outstanding efficiency, destroying at least two Japanese dive bombers and damaging others. Immediately following the engagement and during the night, he conducted a search for lost planes, taking his ship into enemy waters and away from the protection of friendly forces. ... He established the identity of lost aircraft and, by flashing messages, directed our planes safely to the carriers." After the war Bell became a business executive and later at the age of 68 he became an Episcopal priest. His books Room to Swing a Cat, a history of the early American navy, and Condition Red were published in 1938 and 1943 respectively. He died at the age of 91 in Miami in 1994.

The Bismarck Episode


Russell Grenfell - 1948
    British morale was low. The sinking of the Bismarck was a matter of life and death. But before the British could engage her, they had to find her. The British Admiralty received a report that two large German warships had been seen steaming northward through the Kattegat, between Denmark and Sweden. Six days later the shattered hulk of the Bismarck turned bottom up and disappeared beneath the waves a few hundred miles from Brest. In those six days an awe-inspiring drama played itself out. The history of this terrible chase is a story of ups and downs, hopes and anxieties, bitter disappointment and miraculous recovery — a marvellous picture of naval action. In addition the battle is illuminated by comments on strategy and tactics that every reader can appreciate. Praise for Russell Grenfell: "Captain Grenfell has both the background and literary ability to bring the whole dramatic story brilliantly alive" - San Francisco Chronicle "A remarkably lucid account" - Time Magazine "Thoroughly rewarding" - New York Times "Full of dramatic interest" - Times Literary Supplement Russell Grenfell (1892-1954) was promoted to Lieutenant a few years after he first went to sea. Having served on battleships, he was appointed to command destroyers. Prior to his retirement, he served as senior commander at the Royal Naval Staff College in Greenwich. Grenfell authored many naval books, including Main Fleet to Singapore, Nelson the Sailor and Unconditional Hatred.

The Coastwatchers (Illustrated): Operation Ferdinand and the Fight for the South Pacific


Eric A. Feldt - 2019
    Author Eric Feldt led Operation Ferdinand, part of the build-up to the Normandy landings, in which the Coastwatchers, by this time on the US Navy's payroll, played a critical role. His intimate knowledge of Ferdinand, and his familiarity with the Coastwatchers of the Pacific islands, provides a unique perspective on this little known but important chapter of military history.

The Seamstress: A Memoir of Survival


Sara Tuval Bernstein - 1999
    She was born into a large family in rural Romania?and grew up feisty and willing to fight back physically against anti-Semitism from other schoolchildren. She defied her father' s orders to turn down a scholarship that took her to Bucharest, and got herself expelled from that school when she responded to a priest/teacher' s vicious diatribe against the Jews by hurling a bottle of ink at him?After a series of incidents that ranged from dramatic escapes to a year in a forced labor detachment, Sara ended up in Ravensbruck, a women' s concentration camp, Aand? managed to survive?she tells this story with style and power." --Kirkus Reviews

Fly Guy Presents: The White House


Tedd Arnold - 2016
    With straightforward text, humorous asides, and kid-friendly, full-bleed photographs throughout, young readers will love learning about the presidents and their famous house. Award-winning author/illustrator Tedd Arnold really brings nonfiction to life for beginning readers! And this book has eye-catching holographic foil on the front cover!

They Flew Hurricanes


Adrian Stewart - 2006
    Many pilots, including Douglas Bader, thought it was superior to the Spit--but together they saved Britain from Nazi invasion and possible defeat.Adrian Stewart has produced a gloriously atmospheric and nostalgic book capturing the spirit of these great aircraft and the pilots who flew them. It tracks the aircraft as it was developed and improved, and follows it to the many theaters of the war where it saw service. Among the lesser-known are Burma and hazardous convoy protection in the Arctic and Mediterranean, flying from makeshift carriers. This book will fascinate specialist aviation historians and those who enjoy a rattling good war story, and includes a superb selection of rare photographs.

Humble Heroes, How The USS Nashville CL43 Fought WWII


Steven Bustin - 2010
    It started like a Hollywood thriller, secretly transporting from England $25 million in British gold bullion, delivered to the ship in unguarded bread trucks, a pre-war “Neutrality Patrol” that was really an unofficial hostile search for the far bigger and more powerful German battleship Prinz Eugen, and sneaking through the Panama Canal at night with the ship’s name and hull number covered for secrecy. Now, with the ship bulging with an unusual load of fuel and supplies, in the company of a large fleet quietly passing under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the crew was about to learn of their latest (but not last) and most improbable adventure yet as the captain made an announcement that would change the war and their lives forever, “We are going to Tokyo!”. Over three years, scores of battles and hundreds of thousands of ocean miles later, the Nashville and her crew had earned 10 Battle Stars, served from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the Aleutians to the Yangtze River, as McArthur’s flagship and suffered heavy casualties from a devastating kamikaze attack. Tokyo Rose reported her sunk, repeatedly. Earlier, with goodwill trips that included France, England, Scandinavia, Bermuda and Rio de Janeiro, the new, sleek Nashville built a pre-war reputation as a “glamour ship”. But with war came the secret missions, capturing the second and third Japanese POWs of the war, having a torpedo pass just under the stern, being strafed and bombed by Japanese planes, losing a third of the crew in a single devastating Kamikaze attack, swimming in shark infested waters protected by marines with machine guns, enjoying the beauty of Sydney and her people, planning a suicide mission to destroy the Japanese fishing fleet, and bombarding Japanese troops and airfields across the Pacific. The Nashville crew served their ship and country well. They came from Baltimore row-houses, New York walk-ups, San Francisco flats, Kansas wheat farms, Colorado cattle ranches, Louisiana bayous and Maine fishing towns. Many had never traveled more than 25 miles from home and had never seen the ocean until they joined the service. They were part Irish, part Italian, part Polish and All-American. Battered, burnt and bombed, they made the USS Nashville their home and lived and died as eternal shipmates. Historical narrative enriched with the personal stories of the crew, this is the story of a ship and crew of ordinary men who did extraordinary things.

Operación Valkiria


Jesús Hernández - 2008
    Olbricht already has more than 200 recruits in different levels of German society, including in the intelligence and counterintelligence divisions of the military. The objective is to eliminate Hitler, Göring, and Himmler, neutralize the SS, and install a provision government that would try to make peace with the West and stop the war.

Top 50 Villains (Horrible Histories)


Terry Deary - 2016
    From gangs of gangsters to maniacs who massacre, meet the biggest baddies in history and discover how they tortured and terrified their way to the top. Find out whose savage speciality was nostril-splitting, which evil emperor served up guts in gold dishes, whose axe-murdering antics were turned into a ballet and much more. It's all you need to know about villains - all the gore and more!

Gerda's Story: Memoirs of a Holocaust Survivor


Gerda Nothmann Luner - 2019
    Told through the eyes of a young girl, the book shares Gerda’s memories of Hitler’s rise to power and passionately describes the cruel toll that history can have on those who experience it. The book is much more than Gerda’s story. Through letters she received from her parents, who made the heartbreaking decision to send their two daughters to live with foster families in the relative safety of Holland, we learn how a mother and father try to raise a child from far away in times of great distress. Letters from them to Gerda’s foster parents, and desperate notes to an American family they hoped would act as sponsors, reveal their growing despair. The story is both deeply personal and universal as people wrestle with terrible choices to save their children and protect their families. These issues remain as relevant today as they were during the Holocaust. In 1939, while trying to arrange an escape from Germany, her parents sent 12-year-old Gerda and her younger sister to live with separate families in Holland, which was still safe for Jews. What was intended as a temporary move became permanent and Gerda never saw her parents again. Ultimately, she was the only member of her immediate family to survive and also had to bear the loss of the foster family she had come to love as her own. Gerda describes in searing detail her experiences in six concentration camps, her protection as a worker for the Philips Corporation, and her arrival in the U.S. in 1948 as an 18-year-old Holocaust survivor literally alone in the world. The memoir is a testament to the loving family Gerda built in America. Her husband added translations of the letters from her parents, grandparents and sister. After her oldest child and first grandchild were born, Gerda added notes to them. This group effort illustrates the special generational pull of trauma endured by Holocaust survivors.

The Fighting 30th Division: They Called Them Roosevelt's SS


Martin King - 2015
    In World War II it spent more consecutive days in combat than almost any other outfit. Recruited mainly from the Carolinas and Georgia and Tennessee, they were one of the hardest-fighting units the U.S. ever fielded in Europe. What was it about these men that made them so indomitable? They were tough and resilient for a start, but this division had something else. They possessed intrinsic zeal to engage the enemy that often left their adversaries in awe. Their U.S. Army nickname was the “Old Hickory” Division. But after encountering them on the battlefield, the Germans themselves came to call them “Roosevelt’s SS.”This book is a combat chronicle of this illustrious division that takes the reader right to the heart of the fighting through the eyes of those who were actually there. It goes from the hedgerows of Normandy to the 30th’s gallant stand against panzers at Mortain, to the brutal slugs around Aachen and the Westwall, and then to the Battle of the Bulge. Each chapter is meticulously researched and assembled with accurate timelines and after-action reports. The last remaining veterans of the 30th Division and attached units who saw the action firsthand relate their remarkable experiences here for the first, and probably the last time. This is precisely what military historians mean when they write about “fighting spirit.” There have been only a few books written about the 30th Division and none contained direct interviews with the veterans. This work follows their story from Normandy to the final victory in Germany, packed with previously untold accounts from the survivors. These are the men whose incredible stories epitomize what it was to be a GI in one of the toughest divisions in WWII.

This Little Explorer: A Pioneer Primer


Joan Holub - 2016
     The follow up to This Little President, now even the youngest adventurers can learn about the greatest explorers in history with this bright and playful board book. Highlighting ten memorable pioneers, parents and young discoverers alike will love sharing this fun historical primer full of age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

Stay the Rising Sun: The True Story of USS Lexington, Her Valiant Crew, and Changing the Course of World War II


Phil Keith - 2015
    Another carrier was nearly ready for launch when the news arrived, so the navy changed her name to Lexington, confusing the Japanese.The men of the original "Lady Lex" loved their ship and fought hard to protect her. They were also seeking revenge for the losses sustained at Pearl Harbor. Crippling attacks by the Japanese left her on fire and dead in the water. A remarkable 90 percent of the crew made it off the burning decks before Lexington had to be abandoned. In all the annals of the Second World War, there is hardly a battle story more compelling.Lexington's legacy did not end with her demise, however. Although the battle was deemed a tactical success for the Japanese, it turned out to be a strategic loss: For the first time in the war, a Japanese invasion force was forced to retreat.The lessons learned by losing the Lexington at Coral Sea impacted tactics, air wing operations, damage control, and ship construction. Altogether, they forged a critical, positive turning point in the war. The ship that ushered in and gave birth to a new era in naval warfare might be gone, but fate decreed that her important legacy would live on.