Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper in WWII ハードカバー – 2019/3/7
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Left for Dead at Nijmegen recalls the larger-than-life experiences of an American paratrooper, Gene Metcalfe, who served in the 82nd Airborne during WWII. From his recruitment into the military at Camp Grant to his training with the 501st Paratroop Infantry Regiment at Camp Toccoa, it wasn't until D-Day itself that he first arrived in England to join the 508th PIR. When Metcalfe boarded the C-47 which would drop him at Groesbeek Heights, just outside of Nijmegen, Holland, he was handed a box of twelve dozen condoms by an overconfident British lieutenant. He was to be among the first to jump into what should have been a picture-book meadow, free of German troops. Instead, it was defended by three German antiaircraft cannon emplacements. As he jumped into a hail of bullets and exploding shells he watched his plane roll over and plummet into the ground. It was at that moment he realized the condoms had either been a bad joke or the planners of Operation Market Garden had seriously underestimated German resistance. Gene was listed as KIA and left for dead by his patrol, who presumed the worst when they saw his injuries from a shell explosion.The rest of his story is equally gripping, as he became a POW held outside Munich, being moved between various camps ridden with disease and a severely undernourished population. Eventually, after making an escape attempt and being captured within sight of the snow-capped Swiss mountains, his camp was liberated by American troops in April 1945.Gene's story is both remarkable for his highly unusual encounter, and his subsequent experiences.
"Left for Dead at Nijmegen is a stunning and beautifully written recounting of Gene Metcalfe's experiences beginning with his life-changing decision to quit school and enlist to become a paratrooper. While the story is written by Nannini, I consistently felt Metcalfe's presence within the telling, and the photographs included in the book increase the impact and credibility of Metcalfe's story."--Jack Magnus "Readers Favorite Book Reviews "
"Author Marcus A, Nannini conducted many in-depth interviews with WWII veteran, Gene Metcalfe. Left for Dead at Nijmegen sub-titled The True Story of an American Paratrooper in World War II is so intriguing that it would read as a memoir if written in the first person. Gene's personality and memory allow his story to be recreated with astounding detail."
"Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper in World War II" is an extraordinary and simply riveting memoir that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly valued addition to both community and academic library World War II Military History & Biography collections."--Midwest Book Review
Through it all, Gene maintained an uncanny sixth sense that he listened to. It saved him many times. He developed a pragmatic attitude towards death - and an authentic one towards life. His sense of humor and his journaling through the medium of pencil sketches helped him maintain his sanity when others would have given up or gone insane.
The author showed that through the mayhem of war, there were a few people who chose to show kindness to a captured enemy with gifts of food, a break from slave labor, and occasionally, a bath. These short respites allowed Gene to regain his strength and rebuild hope that he might outlive his captivity.
I loved the inclusion of the before, during, and after photos - and Gene’s sketches. A picture is worth a thousand words and each picture helped validate the story, though the author wrote so authentically, no validation was needed.
I especially appreciated the wrap-up: Gene survived the war and was rewarded with a very fulfilling life.
The author made these characters and their experiences real. This story really happened and is an integral part of our history. Freedom is never free. Gene Metcalfe is one of the heroes who willingly paid the price.