BROTHERS IN ARMS: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes
June 6, 1944, was the date of the most massive and complex operation ever attempted by an armed force on earth, and its success continues to reverberate. Fans of Saving Private Ryan have an opportunity with this 60th anniversary to dig deeper into the landing and its legacy, as well as other acts of heroism and everyday soldiering during the war.
The six-time NBA most valuable player teams up with Mississippi author Walton, who coauthored Al Sharpton's Go and Tell Pharaoh . Their chronicle of Patton's Third Army stalwarts takes in the all-black tank battalion's 183 days on the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge, with casualty rates of almost 50%, an almost impossible supply situation, sometimes inept leadership and chronic racism that inflected nearly every move they made. The third-person narrative reflects the intimacy Jabbar has with Leonard "Smitty" Smith, the loader on a 761st tank crew, with episodes and anecdotes that feel immediate and a wealth of visual and tactical detail about what it was like to work, and often live, on the inside of a tank. The authors widen the scope repeatedly to give a nuanced account of the 676 enlisted men and 36 officers of the battalion and its place in the Third Army. While it will leave aficionados satisfied, this is military history that will prove compelling to anyone with an interest in black men's experience during the 20th century. The group's liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp is covered in a few pages, but its heroism is on display throughout. 6-city author tour . Jabbar's agent: Frank Weimann at The Literary Group; Walton's agent: Sloan Harris at ICM. (On sale May 4)
Release date: 05/01/2004