Volume V: D-Day and Beyond/The War in France—The Things Our Fathers Saw [2019]

Volume V: D-Day and Beyond/The War in France—The Things Our Fathers Saw [2019]

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From the bloody beach at Omaha through the hedgerow country of Normandy and beyond, American veterans of World War II—Army engineers and infantrymen, Coast Guardsmen and Navy sailors, tank gunners and glider pilots—sit down with you across the kitchen table and talk about what they saw and experienced, tales they may have never told anyone before.

363 PAGES.

Volume 5 in this series is really the book I had in mind to write as I began to collect and process WWII interviews after being inspired at our veterans' return to Normandy for the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

— “I had a vision, if you want to call it that. 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


— “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


— “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


— “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.’ I knew he wasn't going to last, and he was gone the minute that he squeezed my hand…” —Armored sergeant, D-Day and Beyond