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Stories That Honor The Fallen: Memorial Day Reads

Books Tribune News Service

Stories That Honor The Fallen: Memorial Day Reads

Memorial Day Books

By Leah Price, Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) (TNS)

Monday is Memorial Day. Many will participate in the annual custom of decorating the graves of war dead with flowers, a tradition that began in 1868. Others will attend special commemoration events, or spend time with family remembering loved ones who were lost.

Another way to recognize their sacrifice might be to read about the wars and conflicts that took their lives. I asked several folks for book recommendations and was amazed at the diversity and depth of their selections.

Wilford Kale, Williamsburg, Virginia, author of a number of nonfiction books of local interest, was in the U.S. Army from July 1968 to June 1970. He served with the 1st Signal Brigade in Vietnam from May 1969 to June 1970 as a 1st Lieutenant and received a Bronze Star medal. He recommends the following reading:

Pulitzer Prize-winning author James M. McPherson wrote Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg in 2003, published by Crown. Still in print and also available through a variety of used-book sources, it is a compact look at the Battle of Gettysburg when thousands of Blue and Gray soldiers died in the three-day conflict. The Union casualties were 23,049 (3,155 dead, 14,528 wounded and 5,365 missing); the Confederate casualties totaled 28,063 (3,903 dead, 18,735 injured and 5,425 missing). An illustrated edition of the book was published May sixth by Zenith Press and is packed with significant photographs and illustrations along with McPherson’s original text.

Beyond the Call by Lee Trimble with Jeremy Dronfield was published three months ago by Berkley Caliber of New York. It is a wonderful story of a World War II pilot’s secret spying and recovery mission behind the Eastern Front to rescue Allied prisoners of war from right under the noses of the Russians. Captain Robert Trimble’s son researched and co-authored the inspiring narrative.

Lastly, well-known award-winning historian and author Stanley Weintraub takes the reader to the Korean War and recounts the slaughter of and epic survival of members of the U. S. Marine Corps and the Army as they battled the Chinese Communists and North Koreans during the disastrous winter of 1950. The book, A Christmas Far from Home: An Epic Tale of Courage and Survival During the Korean War, was published last fall and is available in hardcover and newly released paperback.

Shana Gray, Daily Press deputy night editor, grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., home to the 82nd Airborne Division and Special Operations Command, and is known in the newsroom as a World War II buff. She took a look through her extensive collection and suggested these titles:

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted Lawson. The book tells the inside story of the training and aftereffects of the famous raid over Japan, a mission in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, by one of the Doolittle Raiders himself. Written shortly after the raid, the book is the definitive account of the mission.

The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw. On D-Day, 19 servicemen from one small town in Virginia were killed in the first wave of troops going onto Omaha Beach in Normandy. Full of anecdotes with those who survived, family, friends, letters, and more, the book examines the men who died and the town of Bedford, which lost more men in one day than any other U.S. city.

Day of Infamy by Walter Lord. Filled with the history and facts of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the author keeps the narrative personal, from the point of view of people who were just going about their Sunday when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Including photos and maps, the book provides a comprehensive look at the attacks and the losses.

Daily Press reporter Hugh Lessig, who covered the Hampton Roads military beat for a number of years for the Daily Press, offered the following recommendations:

Look Away, from William C. Davis. A perceptive history of the Confederacy from the political side. It shows how the Confederacy did some things that a strong central government would do — such as nationalize the salt industry.

Wired For War by P.W. Singer. It examines the growth of drones in warfare and raises important ethical questions that still haven’t been answered.

Agent Garbo by Stephan Talty. A profile of a man from Spain who became one of the most famous double agents in World War II. From his post in England, he fed the Nazis all kinds of information about troop movements and ship strength — all of it wrong. He was instrumental in getting the Germans to believe that D-Day would not happen at Normandy.


1 Comment

  1. Alvin Harrison May 25, 2015


    World War Two and virtually every war thereafter were “phony” wars. Oh, real Americans died in them. But they were initiated and financed by the rich and powerful. In World War Two, the biggest supporters of Hitler and the Nazis were American multi-national corporations. Large banks like Chase Manhattan, J.P Morgan, Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, Bank of the City of New York and American Express financed the Nazis. Americans were killed by war machines whose patent owners included the likes of Ford and General Electric…these patents were basically given to the Nazis because the super rich in America liked the idea of controlling populations with an iron fist….and slave labor (thanks to IBM’s systems used to keep track of undesirables) is such a money saver. AT&T installed the Nazis, at that time, state of the art communications system….making sure they had plenty of spare parts. This is fact…google it. Hell, German pilots were drinking Coca Cola as they bombed our troops.

    According to the BBC and other sources, Prescott Bush, JP Morgan and other leading financiers also funded a coup against President Franklin Roosevelt in an attempt – basically – to implement fascism in the U.S. Also fact…google it. World War Two and the Nazis were basically “started” to protect the rich from the communists in Russia who were ridding themselves of “Royalty”. Hitler came to power and stayed there with money from the rich in democratic countries…and that includes the money he needed to kick start the German economy and become a national hero and savior. The super rich liked his style.

    World War One and World War Two taught the rich some very valuable lessons. War is good for business and even better when you sell to both sides. Unfortunately, after those two wars we needed new enemies….enter Asia, the Middle East and South America…but total destruction, like the previous wars, ends the conflicts too soon and leaves too many potential customers penniless…so these “new” wars drag on and on.

    Below is a link to a 3 hour expose on how the super rich tricked us and continue to tick us into believing these wars are necessary. They do it by controlling the media, creating enemies we must hate…. down to stoking our fear with fake terror attacks like 911 to get us to accept their reduction of our freedoms and increase their control. I know, I know….I am paranoid. Well, actually I am not…I am read a lot and do tons of research. The conclusions I come to are my own….not what is fed to me as “the truth”. Unless you take the time to check what you are being told you will continue to fall for the tricks of the rich.

    Unless a majority of Americans get smarter, which the rich do not want hence our abysmal education system, we will continue to be led and our children sacrificed in phony wars that will go on forever to protect the profit machine of the rich.

    I ran across this documentary yesterday ( https://youtu.be/U1Qt6a-vaNM ) , ironically it documents how truly screwed we are as a society, because the corp/1% have control the likes of which has NEVER been seen before in human history. This documentary will never let you see the USA and those who control it the same again….So this Memorial Day while you honor the fallen…think about the real reason they fell. They fell because because war is good for business, and those who profit could care less about who dies….you mean nothing to them…and if you do, your worth is measured in dollars. If you TRUELY want to honor those who fell…spend a few hour finding out the REAL reason they died.

    Here are some links to start you off…Enjoy your Memorial Day





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