The First Wave: The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II by Alex Kershaw tells the epic story of one of the most eventful and impactful days of the 20th Century. Mr. Kershaw is an author of several best sellers.
- 384 pages
- Publisher: Dutton Caliber
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451490053
My rating for The First Wave — 5
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At this point, after reading several of his books, I don’t even hesitate picking up anything written by Alex Kershaw. The First Wave: The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II is no exception and the author delivers an exciting, readable book once again.
As the title suggests, the book tells the story of the first men who ventured into Normandy on that fateful day. Some of the stories are well known such as the US Army Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc and Pegasus Bridge, the objective of members of D Company, 2nd (Airborne) Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, as well as others which are not as famous but I’m glad they’re told (for example how the British 8th Infantry Division landed one mile away from where they were supposed to be). Even the Canadian and British landings are written about in length.
While recapping a bit of history, the majority of the book is the stories of the people who were among the first unto the beach. While historically speaking there isn’t much new in the book, Alex Kershaw’s talent of bringing to life the narrative of those telling the story cannot be underestimated. The author also goes out of his way to tell the story of the German defenders of the coast, another interesting perspective which I found fascinating.
My favorite story is one I’ve heard of before but can’t get enough. That of Bill Millin, known as Piper Bill or the Mad Piper, who was the personal bagpipe piper to Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat, commander of 1st Special Service Brigade. Amazingly, Piper Bill survived D-Day and the war playing throughout Europe.
I enjoyed this book very much, it is very easy to read and Mr. Kershaw, as usual, goes out of his way to tell big stories in an intimate way. Even though I read numerous books bout D-Day, the individual accounts in this book were refreshing and help me get a better understanding of the success of these groups.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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