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The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in the Second World War
'History's greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can' -Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call
'An absolute triumph' -James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and national bestselling author of Target Tokyo and Rampage
'The unforgettable human drama of history's most consequential invasion' -John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day-The Big Red One at Omaha Beach
Beginning in the pre-dawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows ten men attempting to carry out D-Day's most critical missions. Their actions would determine the fate of the invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe.
The ten make a charismatic, unforgettable cast. They include the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the only British soldier that day to earn a Victoria's Cross; the Canadian brothers who led their decimated troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; the colonel who faced the powerful 150mm guns of the Merville Battery; as well as a French commando who helped destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach. The book will give authentic voice to the invaders' enemies, the German enlisted men and officers tasked with destroying the Allies as they hit the beaches.
The result is an utterly immersive, adrenaline-driven drama, an epic of close combat and extraordinary heroism. It is the capstone Alex Kershaw's remarkable career, built on his close friendships with D-Day survivors and his intimate understanding of the Normandy battlefield. For the seventy-fifth anniversary, here is a fresh take on the Second World War's longest day.
Praise for Alex Kershaw:
`From the opening pages, when Kershaw...drops us into the invasion of Paris, we know that we are in good hands. This is classic narrative nonfiction, constructed and written like a thriller.' Chicago Tribune
`Exceptional.... balances evocative prose with attention to detail and is a worthy addition to vibrant classics of small-unit history like Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers.' Wall Street Journal
`Kershaw's writing is seamless. He incorporates information from a vast array of sources, but it works--you get a sense of the different voices coming into the story....A gripping read.' Minneapolis Star Tribune
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'The First Wave is Alex Kershaw's stirring tribute to the warriors who successfully carried out the largest and most difficult military operations in history 75 years ago. One of the US First Infantry Division NCO's who survived that desperate day in Normandy later said, "You can't buy valor and you can't pull heroes off an assembly line." Kershaw's superb account of D Day and beyond is the story of their amazing courage under fire and how men ranging from a lord of the realm to the humble son of a president answered the call and began the liberation of occupied Europe from Nazi tyranny.' -- Carlo D'Este, author of Decision in Normandy and Patton: A Genius for War 'Alex Kershaw brilliantly brings a new perspective to one of the seminal events of WWII. The First Wave is an awe-inspiring and important book that portrays the blood on the risers, from Captain Frank Lillyman's airborne pathfinders to Lieutenant George Kerchner's Rangers and their remarkable assault on the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc. The sights, sounds, and fury of D-Day are vividly captured in Kershaw's virtuoso narrative.' -- Patrick K. O'Donnell, author of The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America's Unknown Soldier and WWI's Most Decorated Who Brought Him Home 'Master storyteller Alex Kershaw brings the key Allied players of D-Day to life once more. He vividly portrays their exploits-Rangers at Pointe du Hoc, French Commandos at Ouistreham, American paratroopers on the Cotentin, and assault troops who hit the Normandy beaches. These pages ooze with the unforgettable human drama of history's most consequential invasion. Read them and you might even feel as though you were there.' -- John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day-The Big Red One at Omaha Beach 'A masterful retelling of the most dramatic day of World War II-the Allied landings on the beaches of France. In Alex Kershaw's expert hands, readers will feel the sting of the cold surf, smell the acrid cordite that hung in the air, and duck the zing of machine gun bullets whizzing overhead. The First Wave is an absolute triumph.' -- James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and national bestselling author of Target Tokyo and Rampage 'Meet the assaulters: Pathfinders plunging from the black, coxswains plowing the whitecaps, bareknuckle Rangers scaling sheer rock. Will they secure the landing zone? Wrest the beachhead? Or will that last bridge blow up in their faces? Even if we know how D-Day ends, The First Wave grips with all the power of a first read. Fast-paced and up-close, this is history's greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can.' -- Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call