- Marcus A. Nannini
- ARRSE Rating
- 2.5 Mushroom Heads
The book begins with Gene in school then follows his adventures as he drops out of high school and volunteers for service in the US Army.
After volunteering for Airborne, Gene is kicked out of Airborne training and finishes normal infantry training but due to medical issues spends time in Stateside units where he could have quite comfortably sat out the war. He is adamant about becoming a paratrooper and eventually completes the training at camp Toccoa of Band of Brothers fame.The book gives a detailed insight of the training and life in general in early war USA, however anyone with technical knowledge of military parachuting will struggle to bite their tongue with some terminology used to describe parachute training.
Gene makes his way to the UK arriving to become a replacement when the 82nd return from Normandy. Gene takes part in Operation Market Garden and is captured fighting around Nijmegan and is sent East to Germany.
The book then goes into great detail about Gene's experiences of being interrogated by Himmler and ending up in a POW camp in Silesia and a grim read it is.
On being liberated Gene showed good initiative and got himself to Paris and had a bit of R and R before returning to the US. The book continues with how he was de-mobbed in the US and a bit of his life post war.
I thought this was a fair enough read but felt the technical inaccuracies let it down (talking about an M1 rifle but showing a picture of a M1 carbine, pictures of cars with “possibly the model Gene used”). As with most WW2 biographies written these days there’s probably a bit of artistic licence in how people remember things. If half of what happened to Gene is true he had an extremely interesting war.
Worth a read but maybe not for the hardcore historians.