This book takes an unusual approach to biography, looking at the wartime careers of more than fifty US service personnel who fought in North Africa and Europe during the Second World War. Each biography starts by looking at their pre-war lives, their entry into the services, training and voyage to the front. This section focuses on the individual. In most cases this ends when we reach combat, where the focus becomes the unit instead. The individuals come back into focus at the end of their careers, when they were wounded, killed, captured or simply discharged at the end of the war. There are a few exceptions to this, mainly involving airmen or senior officers. Each biography is supported by a selection of photographs of memorabilia, mainly relating to the individual involved.
Although the text is split into chapters that focus on particular parts of the war, most of the individuals involved actually had more complex careers. Many of the men who entered combat in North Africa also fought in Italy and France, and the D-Day troops fought all the way into Europe. The range of experiences for many of the GIs is very impressive.
We tend to get more individual details for aircrew, often tracing their individual missions. In many cases their careers ended with them being shot down, with some being killed, some evading capture and some ending up as POWs, so we also get some interesting material on the experience of prisoners. The medical services aren't neglected either, and provide some of the more varied biographies.
This is an interesting approach to have taken, and gives us an understanding of the wide range of experiences that an individual GI could have lived through.
I - The Mediterranean Theatre of Operations: North Africa and Italy
1 - The Fighting in North Africa
2 - The Italian Campaign
3 - The Landings in Southern France
II - The European Theatre of Operations
4 - Northern Ireland
5 - The Dieppe Raid
6 - The Battle of the Atlantic
7 - The 8th Air Force
8 - Overlord
9 - The Battle of Normandy
10 - Northern France and the Ardennes
11 - Crossing the Rhine and the Last Battle
12 - After VE-Day
Author: Henry-Paul Enjames
Publisher: Histoire et Collections