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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb First Hand WWII Combat Account
One of the very best first hand accounts of WWII combat from the point of view of a young, green, American infanty officer who quickly becomes a veteran combat commander.
Truly superb insight into life in the front line from the St Lo Breakout, through the forgotten hell of Hurtgen, the Ardennes and twice through the Siegfried line.
The best I have yet read for...
Published on 22 May 2005 by Mr David Austin

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read, but!!
This is a very good read and I am in awe of all the people who have fought for our freedom over the years.

I have to disagree with some of the comments regarding Lt Wilson. Reading his account I wonder why he didn't end up with 5 medals of honor or be a general at the end as he seems to have single handedly been at the forefront of all the big battles and made...
Published on 22 Jun. 2011 by Will


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal story of a US infantry officer in Europe 1944-5, 28 Mar. 2010
By 
T. D. Welsh (Basingstoke, Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
This dense, well-written book is a remarkably open-minded and well-observed account of a young lieutenant's experiences from D-Day (and before) to the end of WW2. The title refers to the pep talk given by their colonel to the officers of George Wilson's battalion before D-Day. After instructing them to lead from the front regardless of danger, he said, "If you survive your first battle, I'll promote you". (He didn't). The book starts with Wilson's being drafted into the Army in September 1942, and describes his basic and officer training in the States, the lead-up to D-Day, the invasion itself, the breakthrough at St-Lo, the pursuit of German forces to and beyond Paris, fighting on the Siegfried Line, the battles of the Huertgen Forest and the Bulge, and the end of his war when he was wounded in the final days of the struggle.

Wilson is a good, fluent, and vivid writer and he seems to have been a very good junior infantry officer too. Although he never got promoted to captain, he was briefly in command of a company and his remarks make it obvious that he knew what he was doing. In the course of the book we meet a wide variety of officers and men, of equally variable quality. At their best, the American infantry were as good as anyone, sometimes outthinking and outmanoeuvring the far more experienced and battle-seasoned Germans. However, there were also plenty of incompetent officers and lazy, cowardly, or just downright ineffective soldiers. Although the US forces in general had the benefit of huge material superiority, this came mostly in the form of tanks, trucks, artillery, aircraft, and supplies - the "poor bloody infantry" were usually the poor relations, and sometimes had to put up with conditions almost as bad as their German enemies.

The US infantry certainly suffered very many casualties, and Lieutenant Wilson was one of the few officers in his regiment to survive the war. His conclusions are simple. People always regret the pain and damage of wars after they are over - so why can't they think of a better way of stopping them from happening? At the very least, he resolves, Americans should do everything they can to keep war away from their own country.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Memory after all these years, 3 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
I enjoyed the book due to the great detail contained within in it,for example how many yards the enemy were during each contact.
However a little dissapointed when he talks about being evacuated to Britain to find he has got all the geography wrong,for example being moved to Barnstaple in Devon and then getting a pass to go to Birmingham on a few miles away...in fact 100 or so.
He was also based in Warminster barracks near Bristol!!!!which it isn't.
This may sound fussy but I relied on his memory throughout the book when he named French towns and German cities as I didn' know any better.....but in Britain I know the places and distances.
However is was a good read and couldn't put down...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing strategic and personal detail of a soldier's life, 20 Sept. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: If You Survive (Paperback)
Mr. Wilson's account of WWII from his landing at Normandy to the doors of Berlin is a completely engrossing tale. He presents vivid details of the environment, the action , the pain, and the suffering of fighting in the European theater as a foot soldier.
The reader learns how fast these young men grew up and became tactical experts on fighting the enemy and fighting to survive. At times when Mr. Wilson describes a battle he was involved in, you start to formulate what he would have done and race to the next page to learn the outcome.
Chilling accounts of what it meant to survive in WWII and just how grueling and inhospitable it was being a soldier.
An excellent read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Normandy to Berlin in the boots of an infantryman, 1 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
George Wilson was one of the fellows that waded ashore at Normandy and fought his way up the slopes into France. Of his company, he was the only survivor that made it all the way to Berlin. As he fights his way across Europe, you'll witness heroism, cowardice, stupidity, and brilliance in the face of battle. This is singularly THE best infantry-level book I've ever read, and I don't normally read this subject area (I prefer air combat). Overall, a good book for reading on vacation, at home, or anytime when you have a moment to spare. But be warned - once you start you won't want to put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Gritty, 15 Jun. 2008
By 
Paul Newton "Paul Newton" (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
I dont often take the time to review books on here, but having recently re read this book, I think it is the least that I can do. It is a truly brilliant book written by a man who spent so long in the front line that he couldn't even cope with normal food when he came off the line. Amazing story, very well told.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good WW2 book, 16 Nov. 2011
By 
BALLYSEAGAL (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
I just came across this book while looking through all the WW2 books available through Amazon and the name of the book hooked me right in. from reading the details about the book it sounded like it was the book for me.

I really enjoy WW2 books set in and around the european campain and this one didn't disappoint me. having read the Stephen E Ambrose Band of Brothers book and hearing all about what happened to them it was good to read a book about one soldiers tale in and around the Battle of the Bulge.

The section of the book set during the Hurtgen forest fighting really opened my eyes and have a real deep respect for all who went through the horrors of WW2.

In a nutshell if you like the Ambrose books you'll enjoy reading about George Wilson.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing account of a '90 day wonder' officer's experience from Normandy to Bavaria, 19 July 2010
This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
George Wilson's memoir of his experiences during World War Two is a well written and very readable one that draws the reader in and puts one in the boots of green US Army infantry officer during 1944-45. In my opinion it is also vitally importantly historically as it tells a story that could be told hundreds of thousands of times, that of citizen soldier caught up in the maelstrom of WW2, that of the men who freed Europe. Wilson found it within himself to overcome the horrors around him to grow as a competent and skilful leader of men and we are in the front seat as we see his transformation under fire, often loosing his men around him but never his humanity.

The text is well paced and never gets too bogged down in minor details which would detract from its chatty and easy to understand tone. Wilson writes in a humble and down to earth manner and one can clearly see the pride, care and concern he showed for all his men under his command. At the same time Wilson offers insightful criticism of how the US Army persecuted the war during his time in combat (the lack of training and inequality of promotions are particularly troubling) whilst showing his admiration for the NCOs (who held the infantry units together) and some of his senior commanders at battalion, regimental and division level.

Overall this is a very worthwhile read and a valuable insight into the experiences of a generation which won't be with us for much longer. Every one of them should be thanked for their super human efforts during Europe's darkest hour and this book goes a great distance in retelling the horrors they endured. Normal men like George Wilson made the 4th Infantry Division (and others like it) the famous unit it became, it goes to show that in WW2 you didn't always need to look in Airborne or Marine units for competent and dedicated leaders. Down with the doggies in the infantry draftees like Lt Wilson were wearing down the Nazis village by village and hill by hill. Our generation could never live up to their sacrifices... If only they could all tell their stories like George Wilson. A must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if you survive, 13 May 2009
By 
C. Daniel (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the story of a young Officer landing shortly after D-Day. The book gives an excellant insight into the war in Europe and how lucky you need to be to survive some of the worst fighting from Normandy to the Ardennes. The book descrides the fighting from a platoons leaders point of view, the guy should have been promoted to General after what he went through. Good read
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 22 May 2015
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I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who is interested in learning of the experiences of the infantryman in the US Army in the last year of the war.

The author gives a very moving account of his experiences and brings home the terrifying job he and his colleagues were asked to do.

The book takes the reader through the battles and skirmishes in vivid detail and brings home the ever present risk of death or wounding.

Friendly fire and carelessness are shown as all too frequent events with devastating results.

There are no false heroics, just a gritty and honest account which does credit to the author and his comrades.
To use an overworked expression Mr Wilson was indeed a true hero and I am glad he survived his war.

The book is very fast paced and I could not put it down.

I think this story would make a great film and being a factual account would certainly be on a par with, if not better than, Saving Private Ryan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gives a valid picture of The American Army that landed in Europe as being no more than a Well-Armed-Rabble, 22 Jun. 2013
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The American Army's Home made Crimea....
The waste The appalling casualties the power plays between the various commanders the lack of logistic support the poor training at every level the unneccesary casualties the delayed promotions the sheer unwarranted and continual neglect of the front line soldiers. And they didn't learn a thing from this and they did it all again in Vietnam.

It's like a parody of Napoleons retreat from Moscow all conducted in reverse? And the fiasco of subjecting the American Soldier to the hell of The Hurtgen Forest for no strategic purpose was it just because the British Army had gone through The Reichswald - using Churchill Tanks equipped with a very low first gear instead of thousands of barely trained human bodies? What should I say now The Anniversary of The First World War is going to be ... celebrated....... in .... London and they now call The Battle of The Somme .. a Victory?
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If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction)
If You Survive (Ivy Books World War II/Nonfiction) by George Wilson (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Feb. 1987)
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