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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gordon J Shaw, 26 Jun 2009
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Mr. Gordon J. Shaw (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy (Stackpole Military History) (Paperback)
I bought this book after visiting the corresponding area in Normandy, keen to read more about the campaign rather than just D Day, as there is less about what happened afterwards. I was initially wary as some American authors over estimate American capabilities in WW2 and underplay both the British and the Germans (I'm an unbiased Brit), leaving it difficult to form a balanced view. This book is a breath of fresh air from this perspective, as the author concisely and fairly discusses the performance of the 29th division and in particular it's commanders in Normandy, comparing these fairly with their opposition. The author obviously believes in the saying "There are no bad troops, only bad officers" It did leave me rather surprised at times in what it said. No flag waving, rather an accurate depiction of events.
The scope is tight and limited and therefore allows a level of detail in describing actions that other books about the Normandy campaign can only gloss over. It does leave quite a grim picture of what the fighting was like and what the average life expectancy of the infantryman was. This was an infantry slogging match. Some unit histories are a chore to read but this wasn't. The only criticism is that more and better photographs would have been good.
I won't say "it's a must read" as everybody says that but if you want to appreciate what it was like to be a soldier in that battle, have an interest in Omaha Beach and the aftermath, it's well worth it. Read it and you'll want to go there, and if you've been, you'll want to go back. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I know Joe; I've read his book; I walked the beach with him., 21 April 1999
By A Customer
I am an officer of the Maryland Army National Guard--a 29er--who has had the privilege of knowing Joe Balkoski and of walking the staging areas of Britain and the beaches of Normandy with him. Joe's book tells a story which is detailed, accurate and engaging. For me and for those who serve alongside me today in the Blue and Gray Division, it is a story with particular relevance. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand soldiers; for anyone who wants to understand the National Guard; and especially for those members of the 29th Division who want to know where we've been and what we're made of.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Must Never Forget Those Who Fought, 19 Jun 1999
By A Customer
In the bitter cold of the Ardennes Forest in 1944, the Third Reich was conducting Operation Autunm Mist, one of Hitler's last offensives. On one fateful day back in Nov 1944, my grandfather and his comrades were ambushed by an SS Panzer Division. With many of his buddies killed and severly wounded himself, he played dead in the snow while the germans kept shooting at him -- knowing that he was still alive. His only hope was to cut the phone line going back to the base camp -- that way, his base would know that he and his pals were in peril. He was one of many to make it home, but not without paying for freedom with the dearest blood of all.
Thank you for honoring their memories through your tireless effort to make sure that stories like tis one are never forgotten.
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