TWENTY-FIVE YARDS OF WAR: The Extraordinary Courage of Ordinary Men in World War II

Ronald J. Drez, Author, Stephen E. Ambrose, Foreword by . Hyperion $23.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6783-7

Drez (Voices of D-Day), a research associate at the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans, interviewed numbers of WWII veterans, and here compiles 10 accounts of a soldier's 25 yards—the length and breadth of the war for him at any given moment. There are a few well-known stories here—Ensign George Gay's recollections of watching the Japanese aircraft carriers get bombed at Midway; the sad tale of one of the Indianapolis's survivors—but Drez has crafted several chapters that work popularly to overturn some of the "conventional wisdom" of WWII history. The tale of the Rangers who stormed Pointe du Hoc on D-Day is vastly different from that portrayed in the early '60s movie, The Longest Day. Marines who fought in the bloody battles of Tarawa and Iwo Jima bring the savage warfare of the Pacific theater into focus for readers who may not know many details about what it was like to fight an unseen enemy. An 18-man platoon of the 99th Division held up an entire German panzer column on the first day of the Ardennes Offensive, a feat not recognized until recently. Released to coincide with the Pearl Harbor attack's 60th anniversary, this is not a book of analysis or critique. Drez, a Vietnam veteran, is in sync with his interviewees, and his facile pen brings their stories to life. Stephen Ambrose provides a foreword. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/08/2001
Release date: 11/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7868-8668-5
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