One of the most daring feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor's daring life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on April 26, 1944.Abducting a General, now published for the first time in the United States, is Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnapping. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by the acclaimed Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a glorious firsthand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. Also included in this book are Leigh Fermor's intelligence reports sent from caves deep within Crete, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril under which the SOE and Resistance were operating, and a guide to the journey that Kreipe took, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site, so that the modern visitor to Crete can relive this extraordinary trip.
During the twelve years of Hitler's Third Reich, very few Germans took the risk of actively opposing his tyranny and terror, and fewer still did so to protect the sanctity of law and faith. In No Ordinary Men, Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern focus on two remarkable, courageous men who did--the pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his close friend and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi--and offer new insights into the fearsome difficulties that resistance entailed. (Not forgotten is Christine Bonhoeffer Dohnanyi, Hans's wife and Dietrich's sister, who was indispensable to them both.)From the start Bonhoeffer opposed the Nazi efforts to bend Germany's Protestant churches to Hitler's will, while Dohnanyi, a lawyer in the Justice Ministry and then in the Wehrmacht's counterintelligence section, helped victims, kept records of Nazi crimes to be used as evidence once the regime fell, and was an important figure in the various conspiracies to assassinate Hitler. The strength of their shared commitment to these undertakings--and to the people they were helping--endured even after their arrest in April 1943 and until, after great suffering, they were executed on Hitler's express orders in April 1945, just weeks before the Third Reich collapsed. Bonhoeffer's posthumously published Letters and Papers from Prison and other writings found a wide international audience, but Dohnanyi's work is scarcely known, though it was crucial to the resistance and he was the one who drew Bonhoeffer into the anti-Hitler plots. Sifton and Stern offer dramatic new details and interpretations in their account of the extraordinary efforts in which the two jointly engaged. No Ordinary Men honors both Bonhoeffer's human decency and his theological legacy, as well as Dohnanyi's preservation of the highest standard of civic virtue in an utterly corrupted state.
From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill's ascendancy to Prime Minister--soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.
"He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history..."
May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen one western European democracy after another fall in rapid succession to Nazi boot and shell. Invasion seems mere hours away.
Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must deal with this horror--as well as a skeptical King, a party plotting against him, and an unprepared public. Pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, how could he change the mood and shore up the will of a nervous people?
In this gripping day-by-day, often hour-by-hour account of how an often uncertain Churchill turned Britain around, the celebrated Bafta-winning writer Anthony McCarten exposes sides of the great man never seen before. He reveals how he practiced and re-wrote his key speeches, from 'Blood, toil, tears and sweat' to 'We shall fight on the beaches'; his consideration of a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, and his underappreciated role in the Dunkirk evacuation; and, above all, how 25 days helped make one man an icon.
Using new archive material, McCarten reveals the crucial behind-the-scenes moments that changed the course of history. It's a scarier--and more human--story than has ever been told.
"McCarten's pulse-pounding narrative transports the reader to those springtime weeks in 1940 when the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of Winston Churchill. A true story thrillingly told. Thoroughly researched and compulsively readable."--Michael F. Bishop, Executive Director of the International Churchill Society
Before World War II, Normandy's Plage d'Or coast was best known for its sleepy villages and holiday destinations. Early in 1944, German commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel took one look at the gentle, sloping sands and announced "They will come here " He was referring to "Omaha Beach"--the prime American D-Day landing site. The beach was subsequently transformed into three miles of lethal, bunker-protected arcs of fire, with seaside chalets converted into concrete strongpoints, fringed by layers of barbed wire and mines. The Germans called it "the Devil's Garden."
When Company A of the US 116th Regiment landed on Omaha Beach in D-Day's first wave on 6th June 1944, it lost 96% of its effective strength. Sixteen teams of US engineers arriving in the second wave were unable to blow the beach obstacles, as first wave survivors were still sheltering behind them. This was the beginning of the historic day that Landing on the Edge of Eternity narrates hour by hour--rom midnight to midnight--tracking German and American soldiers fighting across the beachhead.
Mustered on their troop transport decks at 2am, the American infantry departed in landing craft at 5am. Skimming across high waves, deafened by immense broadsides from supporting battleships and weak from seasickness, they caught sight of land at 6.15. Eleven minutes later, the assault was floundering under intense German fire. Two and a half hours in, General Bradley, commanding the landings aboard USS Augusta, had to decide if to proceed or evacuate. On June 6th there were well over 2,400 casualties on Omaha Beach - easily D-Day's highest death toll.
The Wehrmacht thought they had bludgeoned the Americans into bloody submission, yet by mid-afternoon, the American troops were ashore. Why were the casualties so grim, and how could the Germans have failed? Juxtaposing the American experience--pinned down, swamped by a rising tide, facing young Wehrmacht soldiers fighting desperately for their lives, Kershaw draws on eyewitness accounts, memories, letters, and post-combat reports to expose the true horrors of Omaha Beach.
These are stories of humanity, resilience, and dark humor; of comradeship and a gritty patriotism holding beleaguered men together. Landing on the Edge of Eternity is a dramatic historical ride through an amphibious landing that looked as though it might never succeed.
In Patton, Montgomery, Rommel, one of Britain's most accomplished military scholars presents an unprecedented study of the land war in the North African and European theaters, as well as their chief commanders--three men who also happened to be the most compelling dramatis personae of World War II.Beyond spellbinding depictions of pivotal confrontations at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and the Ardennes forest, author-scholar Terry Brighton illuminates the personal motivations and historical events that propelled the three men's careers: how Patton's, Montgomery's, and Rommel's Great War experiences helped to mold their style of command--and how, exactly, they managed to apply their arguably megalomaniacal personalities (and hitherto unrecognized political acumen and tact) to advance their careers and strategic vision. Opening new avenues of inquiry into the lives and careers of three men widely profiled by scholars and popular historians alike, Brighton definitively answers numerous lingering and controversial questions: Was Patton really as vainglorious in real life as he was portrayed to be on the silver screen?--and how did his tireless advocacy of "mechanized cavalry" forever change the face of war? Was Monty's dogged publicity-seeking driven by his own need for recognition or by his desire to claim for Britain a leadership role in postwar global order?--and how did this prickly "commoner" manage to earn affection and esteem from enlisted men and nobility alike? How might the war have ended if Rommel had had more tanks?--and what fundamental philosophical difference between him and Hitler made such an outcome virtually impossible? Abetted by new primary source material and animated by Terry Brighton's incomparable storytelling gifts, Patton, Montgomery, Rommel offers critical new interpretations of the Second World War as it was experienced by its three most flamboyant, controversial, and influential commanders--and augments our understanding of each of their perceptions of war and leadership.