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John C. McManus Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Deadly Brotherhood (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deadly Sky (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Americans at D-Day (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Americans at Normandy (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alamo in the Ardennes (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
U.S. Military History for Dummies (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The 7th Infantry Regiment (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
American Courage, American Carnage (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Grunts (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
September Hope (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dead and Those About to Die (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hell Before Their Very Eyes (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fire and Fortitude (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Island Infernos (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Vietnam War (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
To the End of the Earth (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Witness to History Books

Civil Rights (By: Brendan January) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
World War I (By: Sean Connolly) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
World War II (By: Sean Connolly) (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
When Benjamin Franklin Met the Reverend Whitefield: Enlightenment, Revival, and the Power of the Printed Word (By: Peter Charles Hoffer) (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Selma's Bloody Sunday: Protest, Voting Rights, and the Struggle for Racial Equality (By: Robert A. Pratt) (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

John C. McManus is a history author and an award-winning professor of military history at Missouri University. He’s among America’s known experts on the history of modern American soldiers in Combat. McManus served as an assistant director in the study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee.

The Dead and those about to Die
This is a well-researched account of D-Day on Omaha Beach. John McManus paints a real and somehow difficult-to-stomach picture of the offices, medics, troops, and navy bravery in the overwhelming plans gone wrong.

His coverage starts with a brief part on the training and organization of the 1st division, but the majority of the novel focuses on one day, June 6, 1944. The story has a large cast of characters as the author mixes up the background information about each one of them.

It’s a great perspective focusing on the 1st division assault of Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings. The story easily follows its sequence of events from the preparations to the end of the first day. This is aided by the practical and maps added in the book relating to each action and event described.
Given the name Big Red One, 1st Division had battled from North Africa to Sicily, earning a name as stalwart warriors. They are on the frontline and rabble-rousers in the rear. On D-Day, the jaded combat veterans are given fresh-faced replacements to accomplish challenging and fatal missions in their history.
Having passé through Combat, Big Red was filled with experienced non-commissioned officers who trained the inexperienced in England; from that point, McManus briefs on operation Neptune then jumps into the foray of war on the beaches of Normandy. The novel tells a gripping account of the chaos after the men landed while giving details of the many nightmares the soldiers experienced after hitting the beach.

One of the plans dictated that tanks were supposed to arrive by boats after the first wave made their landing. Just a few of the boats managed to reach the shore; however, the men were burdened by a lot of gear, making maneuvering difficult.

A lot of peole lost their lives on the beach on that very day. The German weapons were superior to the empty beach that men of the Big Red were forced to land to wipe hundreds of people.

Two kinds of people live on this beach, the dead and those about to die. As the warriors hit the beach, their equipment is destroyed and washed away, while the soldiers are put down by the emerging and courageous heroes. The heroes include Sgt. Raymond Strojny who grabbed a bazooka and got involved in a death duel with a German gun.

Joe Pinder is a former minor-league pitcher who destroyed the enemy fire to save an important radio. Lieutenant John Spalding, a former sportswriter, and Sergeant Phil Streczyk, a truck driver who in union destroyed a German point bear, the Easy Red, where numerous Americans had landed.
The Big Red One soldiers were willing to sacrifice themselves while risking dying not for the pride of their group or their cause but for one another. McManus writes in an easy-to-read style as the characters help tell the story.

In the course of the book, McManus explores the Gap Assault Team engineers dealing with mines and obstacles who suffered almost fifty casualties. He also highlights officers like Brigadier general Wyman and Colonel George Taylor, who led to their victory. Additionally, he shows the scores of myths surrounding this misunderstood battle.

Individual stories of the soldiers who fought are an addition to this marvelous book. The novel gives an array of new or recently unearthed sources, including interviews with veterans McManus pieces together interviews, reports, and personal correspondence to give his readers a masterful job.
It’s a tremendously compelling read filled with tragedy, bravery, triumph, and ingenuity. The story is described to put the reader among the soldiers dying in the water, on the sand, and the slopes of fortress Europa.

McManus makes people look at the scene again, but this time not through the eyes of the 29th Infantry division soldiers but the Big Red One. He brings home the tendency of Americans with their warships, fighters, bombers, and Higgins boats to overestimate the effectiveness of that firepower and technology.

September Hope
The novel explores world War II’s invasion to win over Nazi in 1944. One of the famous wars was Operation Market –Garden, but it was not a well-understood battle. McManus narrates a story of the American contribution to the critical phase of the war in Europe. In August 1944, allies achieved a great victory in their history and course of the war.

Soviet armies annihilated over twenty divisions belonging to the Germans and pushed the enemy from Russia to the inner parts of Poland. The British, Canadian, and American armored columns are encouraged by the triumphs thrust into Belgium, Holland.

The Germans were overwhelmed on all fronts losing soldiers by the thousands of allied bombers who crumbled their cities. On the 17th of September, an extensive airborne drop in military history began, including two American divisions. The mission was to secure main bridges at places like Eindhoven, son, grave, and Nijmegen until the British armored forces relieved them.

The armor was to cut through the northeast, to breach the Rhine and go wild on the North German plains. On the contrary, the Germans turned out stronger than the allies thought. In eight days of intense Combat, they attacked the airborne, impeded the tanks, and blocked the allies from crossing the Rhine.
John McManus uses numerous personal interviews to reveal the American perspective on World War II. He does a great job of writing history giving analysis while allowing the soldiers who fought to narrate their stories using their own words.

The author mainly relied on Cornelius Ryan’s research and collection. The book is about failure since despite the aggressiveness and skill that the men in the 104th, 101st, and 82nd Airborne infantry brought to the battle, the operation turned out as a failure because of the command decisions by a theater commander and Field Marshall.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John C. McManus

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