It is about training and his first combat jumping into France on D-Day. People ding Burgett for the stripped-down style of his writing, but the narrative tells you everything you need to know without dwelling on things that would make any normal person insane if they did so. That they did in fact succeed was a tribute to the individuals who coalesced as small units and took action. In the next seven days, the men of the st fought some of the most ferocious close-quarter combat in all of World War II. Dell- History — pages. It is imperative that you read the introduction by Martin Blumenson since it she So, how do you rate a war memoir?
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But under the cover of darkness, a new breed of fighting man leapt from airplanes through a bullet-stitched, tracer-lit sky to go behind German lines.
These were the Screaming Eagles of the newly formed st Airborne Division. Their job was to strike terror into the Nazi defenders, delay reinforcements, and kill any enemy soldiers they met. In the next seven days, the men of the st fought some of the most ferocious close-quarter combat in all of World War II.
Now Donald R. Burgett looks back at the nonstop, nightmarish fighting across body-strewn fields, over enemy-held hedgerows, through blown-out towns and devastated forests. This harrowing you-are-there chronicle captures a baptism by fire of a young Private Burgett, his comrades, and a new air-mobile fighting force that would become a legend of war.
Customer Book Reviews Riveting first-hand account of paratroopers in Normandy By Mirope on Oct 21, Donald Burgett served as a paratrooper in the st Airborne Division and gifts us with this remarkable account of his experience during the Allied invasion of Normandy. From D-Day forward, however, the stories are very different. In comparison to "Currahee! In "Currahee! However, I encourage you not to let this put you off reading this book.
This great book, written by an American paratrooper about his experiences leading up to and then at D-Day, makes us realize that the visceral horror of war is something that probably can not be conveyed. It is a rather short read and is in three parts: the first is at training camp in Georgia; the second in England preparatory to the assault; and the third is the terrifying jump into France, and the grim, terrible battle which followed.
To say the least, it makes for very compelling reading. The training aspect was remarkable for its undisguised brutality. The men were told in no uncertain terms that the paratroopers did not want them; they were going to try to make them quit. They were left by the side of the road, to crawl back as they could, with one of them not arriving until after midnight. He quit. Treatment, as well as being harsh, was also intentionally unfair. The narrator, after his first night jump, broke his ankle.
He was left out there as well, in the darkness, to crawl back to the barracks as best as he could. The men accepted this. Most died. Their mission was to jump behind enemy lines the morning of D-Day. Each company was given specific tasks to accomplish, but one gets the sense that all it was really hoped they would do was to create as much chaos as possible.
This is exactly what happened after the chaotic, haphazard way in which they were dropped. Nobody was dropped where they should have been. Entire planeloads of men were actually dropped at sea, where they drowned. The author witnessed one cowardly pilot, fearful of anti-aircraft fire, drop the men from an altitude of feet.
Every one of them was killed before his chute could open. The battle scenes are horrific, almost beyond comprehension. This was done with bombs dropped from planes or fired from cannons and mortars, tanks, bazookas, grenades, machine guns, rifles and pistols. With such firepower on both sides, one realizes that getting killed was likely not a matter of if, but when.
The author, diving into a hole, finds two German soldiers apparently hit by a bomb. Their faces, hands and feet are all blasted away but incredibly, they are still alive. The author shoots them, and prays that if the same were to happen to him, the Germans would show the same mercy. After a time the Americans are able to establish some order. The author is sent behind with communications, and retreats through fields of dead.
For a quarter of a mile, they litter the ground so thickly that he is literally able to step from body to body. Finally coming to the end of this, he describes the experience as of coming from some hideous darkness, back into light. Eventually the author is wounded, first surviving a grenade blast which deafens him, then a piece of shrapnel which rips away the muscle of his forearm, exposing four inches of naked bone.
He is sent behind to recover only so that he can come back and fight again. The narrative is written in a candid, matter-of-fact way, remarkable for its lack of sentimentality.
This, we realize, is the way he was supposed to be. This is how he was trained. Gentility, kindness, thoughtfulness, and feelings were emotions wiped clean from the consciousness of these young men, trained as they were to kill and to die.
This fine book is a sobering reminder of the sacrifice made by them, most of whom met a gruesome end at an age when Americans today are graduating from high school or going to the martini bar to meet girls. They instead lie in cold graves dug hastily for them in the north of France.
Johnson on Oct 30, I read Currahee! It was then and remains to this day a historical treasure. The book motivated me to go on to become a paratrooper now a master parachutist. I like to think that guys like me are carrying on in the spirit of Burgett and his band of brothers to whom mankind owes a debt of gratitude. By Chad R. This book is what first interested me.
This is the first in a series of four books written by a regular trooper of the st And what a series it is. This set is considered by most to be one of the best memoirs ever written about war. Here is exposed the fear and tradgedy of a real battlefield. Burgett has you on the edge of your seat for the entire ride from the unbearable training in the hot Southern sun to the terrors of D-Day and the battle around Carentan.
This is no holds barred, exposed in all its raw detailed writing at its best! Please be sure to couple this book with the next three, including the number one WWII book in my opinion , Seven roads to Hell. Together this set allows an unforgettable glimpse into the life of a WWII paratrooper!
Without fanfare By Brian Hulett on Aug 12, Just like the real thing, the author tells his story without fanfare. No Hollywood special effects, music, embellishments, etc. I agree with the other positive things said about this book on his page, so let me let the author speak for himself in a few quick, unforgettable excerpts, as this book has many: After breaking his leg on his first practice jump: "The only way I could travel was to lie on my side, throw the chute forward, crawl to it, and repeat the procedure over and over again.
I crawled for what seemed to be hours. Their chutes were pulling out of the pack trays and just starting to unfurl when they hit the ground. Seventeen men hit the ground before their chutes had time to open. I hope he gets shot down in the Channel and drowns real slow. Both of them slid down, whirled around, and were slammed back against the bank so hard by the.
What kept them standing is a mystery to me, but neither one fell. They just stood in a leaning position, side by side against the dirt wall, with arms hanging loosely at their sides. From the expressions on their faces they must have just looked through the open gates of hell. It clung close to the ground and moved slowly toward us. Phillips looked back at me.
His eyes were round and wide. I wish I had my gas mask now. They had been the first things we had thrown away. I literally spent a very few minutes leafing through the book, finding a striking passage, and typing it for you. My only nitpick with the book is that the author several times mentions an event without giving the result; for example, the two paratroopers who got into a drunken knife fight and were taken to the hospital by the MPs.
This is still a five-star book, however, because of the matter-of-fact tone and unmistakeable realism with which Burgett tells his remarkable tale. Very highly recommended. It came out when most books on World War II were about generals, or not even about the fighting.
I purchased this book when Bantam reissued it under the title "As Eagles Screamed. I was in a bookstore just last night when I caught the book title out of the corner of my eye.
Its the realism, I felt I was right beside the author from jump school to the training in England prior to D-Day. Anyone who wants to understand the life of a foot soldier in WWII this is a must read.
I bought Currahee and his 2 new books! No pretense By Huwaryu on Aug 24, Horrific depictions of what it was like for the men on the ground.
Reads easy; only took two days for me. There were glaring problems with the language and spelling. Overall, a good piece of memoirs. Hard to believe no one wanted to read this book when it was originally published. Must have been way before its time. The effects of a war A Customer on Mar 24, This book is a great example of the transformation that can befall a young man to be turned from an every-day kid to a lethal killing-machine.
I would love to instill in every reader the insuraance of this book being a great buy. Best WW2 narrative I have ever read in my life By John Brown on May 21, A narrative of suspense, action, and horror set inside the mind of Donald Burgett as he struggled to become one of the members of the elite st Airborne Division and ultimately survive through World War II. Currahee is written such that one feels as if he is following the main character, Burgett, step by bloody step.
A Screaming Eagle Series
Currahee! : a Screaming Eagle at Normandy