This is the book we should have been assigned in high school in order that we understand something about the violence, fear, and confusion of actual combat. And how those factors bring about that elusive phenomenom called heroism. Alex Kershaw has already established himself as a historian with a unique capacity to recover both the tragedy and nobility of war. His unaffected prose, backed by impressive research, and a determined focus on the fate of ordniary individuals was wonderfully evident in his best-selling THE BEDFORD BOYS and is repeated here in THE LONGEST WINTER. Both titles are eloquent and powerful statements to the effect that wars are fought by regular folks thrown into situations that can produce behaviour ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. And occasionally heroic. — Bill Lewis
The epic story of the vastly outnumbered platoon that stopped Germany's leading assault in the Ardennes forest and prevented Hitler's most fearsome tanks from overtaking American positions
On the morning of December 16, 1944, eighteen men of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon attached to the 99th Infantry Division found themselves directly in the path of the main thrust of Hitler's massive Ardennes offensive. Despite being vastly outnumbered, they were told to hold their position "at all costs." Throughout the day, the platoon repulsed three large German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, killing hundreds of German soldiers. Only when they had run out of ammunition did they surrender to the enemy. But their long winter was just beginning.
As POWs, the platoon experienced an ordeal far worse than combat-surviving in wretched German POW camps. Yet miraculously the men of the platoon survived--all of them--and returned home after the war. More than thirty years later, when President Carter recognized the platoon's "extraordinary heroism" and the U.S. Army approved combat medals for all eighteen men, they became America's most decorated platoon of World War II.
With the same vivid and dramatic prose that made The Bedford Boys a national bestseller, Alex Kershaw brings to life the story of these little-known heroes--an epic tale of courage, duty, and survival in World War II and one of the most inspiring episodes in American history. The Longest Winter is an intensely human story about young men who find themselves in frightening wartime situations, who fight back instinctively, survive stoically, and live heroically.
About the Author
Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, and The Few, and two biographies: Jack London and Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.