You know, believe it or not, I was the editor of the Military Book Club for about four years, in addition to my being one of the editors of the Science Fiction Book Club, and during that time I got a chance to read some amazing military history books.
I realize I don’t talk about it much on this blog, which focuses more on my interest in comics, science fiction, and fantasy as well as my experiences this past year as a freelance editor. but I’d say that taking that job (simultaneously to running my Altiverse segment for SFBC) really awakened an interest in military history for me.
I often joked I learned about the military through a mix of army stories from my father, lots of episodes of M.A.S.H. as well as my obsession with GI Joe. I’m very pleased that this past year as a freelance editor; I get a chance to work with many of the wonderful military history publishers I used to buy books from. I hope this continues.
While at the Osprey offices in midtown recently, I saw that one of their newest titles had arrived in bound uncorrected proofs and asked if I could read TONIGHT WE DIE AS MEN: The Untold Story of the Third Battalion 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment From Toccoa to D-Day.
I found this book a wonderful addition to the literature regarding American Airborne and their participation in D-Day and the days that followed. The 506 PIR played an integral role in the huge D-Day operation and suffered monumental losses on jump day, which included one of their commanding officers. I hadn't read much about the 506 PIR, and this was a welcome addition.
The book weaves together the story of many men, and their struggles with survival and completing their missions after haphazard drops behind enemy lines. Many acted with bravery, courage, and the instinctual battlefield tact that enables ordinary men—exceptionally trained—to pull it together amid extreme circumstances. And sadly, many of them were lost during the drop.
If you’re a reader of WW II history, and looking for more about the paratrooper landings in and around Normandy, this is the book for you. Although filled with detailed accounts from the men who were there, I would have liked to see a tighter narrative pulling together the accounts, but it was an exciting read, filled with many photos I hadn't seen before, and I really enjoyed it overall.
[Editorial Note: as a disclaimer, I should mention that I have worked with Osprey, the publisher of the aforementioned title. I have a good working relationship with Osprey and also tried to present a fair and balanced opinion of the work regardless of this existing relationship.]