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Book Review: Twenty Five Yards of War (Ron Drez)

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AussieShooter View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 17 2022 at 2:27pm
I just finished reading this book on a long trip to Australia and it was a fantastic. The author was initially a student of Stephen Ambrose and ended up working with him. Drez is a Vietnam veteran so understands the war experience. "25 Yards" is a series of stories highlighting 10 great WWII battles, and for each battle, focuses on the story of an ordinary fellow, who in the heat of war, does something amazing. While there is plenty of heroic war action, each chapter develops the character - their life formation, how they ended up in the military (I think all volunteered), and discusses their life after the battle. The stories are based on first hand interviews - not just historical archives. I'll be honest, I had tears in my eyes reading the stories. I was horrified, proud, angry - all sorts of emotions because each chapter was about an individual, not just military strategy, or logistics, or other military stuff.

The book is not new - it was released in 2001. It is US-centric, a combination of the European and Pacific theatre, although maybe a little more Pacific which I found really interesting. The battle of Tarawa is particularly fierce. I learned a small but interesting fact: at the time, the consensus was an offensive attacking army needed a 3:1 troop advantage over a dug-in defender - it most cases the US marines barely had a 1:1 parity against the Japs in the pacific. My wife's uncle fought at Iwo Jima, and is 101 years old and still lives independently. While there has been many stories written about Iwo Jima, when reading this chapter I could imagine uncle Sam in the place of the stories main protagonist as he prepared for the battle and landed on the beach. This made it "real" for me. The book was as educational as it was entertaining.

I highly recommend you get a copy or check it out from your local library - you wont be disappointed.
Happy reading

I included a professional review from Publishers Weekly below:
"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.)
Poster Font Flag Soldier Publication
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paddyofurniture View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote paddyofurniture Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2022 at 2:44pm
Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

Always looking for military manuals, Dodge M37 items,books on Berlin Germany, old atlases ( before 1946) , military maps of Scotland. English and Canadian gun parts.
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Zed View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2022 at 4:35am
Thanks for the tip. 
I've just finished two great books in the holiday. So I am looking for a next read. 

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