2021 discount From outlet online sale Beachhead to Brittany: The 29th Infantry Division at Brest, sale August-September 1944 online sale

2021 discount From outlet online sale Beachhead to Brittany: The 29th Infantry Division at Brest, sale August-September 1944 online sale

2021 discount From outlet online sale Beachhead to Brittany: The 29th Infantry Division at Brest, sale August-September 1944 online sale

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  • Engaging history of a controversial World War II battle
  • Brilliantly researched and compellingly written by a top military historian

    In this highly anticipated sequel to Beyond the Beachhead, historian Joseph Balkoski follows the U.S. 29th Infantry Division out of Normandy and into Brittany in the northwest corner of France, where the division was tasked with seizing the port of Brest. The German defenders, including elite paratroopers, fought fiercely for every inch of ground and inflicted heavy casualties on the Americans during bloody house-to-house fighting. By the time the Germans surrendered, the Allies had taken other ports, thus rendering Brest nearly useless and casting doubt on the decision to capture it in the first place. Balkoski tells the story of the battle, from the generals who ordered the attack to the infantrymen who slogged through the streets of Brest.

  • About the Author

    Joseph Balkoski is Command Historian of the Maryland National Guard and author of Omaha Beach (978-0-8117-3376-2), Utah Beach (978-0-8117-3377-9), and the classic Beyond the Beachhead (978-0-8117-3237-6). He has appeared as a D-Day expert on MSNBC, and his work has been praised by Joe Scarborough, the New York Post, the Washington Times, World War II magazine, and others. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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    Customer reviews

    4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
    33 global ratings

    Top reviews from the United States

    DAVID THORN
    5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    Very Interesting History of the 29ID in the Western France Campaign
    Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2015
    Prior to reading this book, I knew very little about WWII in western France. I had read portions of books about the bombing of the submarine pens at Brest, but nothing about the ground campaign. This book focuses on the 29th Infantry Division''s role in that campaign. It... See more
    Prior to reading this book, I knew very little about WWII in western France. I had read portions of books about the bombing of the submarine pens at Brest, but nothing about the ground campaign. This book focuses on the 29th Infantry Division''s role in that campaign. It is not, nor is it meant to be, an exhaustive treatment of all aspects of that campaign. That being said, the author does mention other units involved, including the Germans, but more as background for his primary purpose of telling the story of the 29ID.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot about that portion of WWII and especially about the 29ID.

    The book was well formatted for Kindle. It included maps and photographs. Personally, I would have like to see more detail on the maps, but they were sufficient to orient me with the events being described.
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    Robert C. Kinnear Jr.
    5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    Balkoski always captures the human strengths and frailties in armed conflict.
    Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2013
    I am a WW 2 historian and always look for the authenticity of an author''s work and especially for his opinions of how events unfold and conclude in combat actions due primarily because of what we know and what we don''t know dictated by the fog of war. Balkoski never... See more
    I am a WW 2 historian and always look for the authenticity of an author''s work and especially for his opinions of how events unfold and conclude in combat actions due primarily because of what we know and what we don''t know dictated by the fog of war. Balkoski never disappoints me in that respect. He does a great job of capturing the sacrifice of the men of the "Blue & Gray" Division to take the Port of Brest that was identified as a top priority for the Allies that cost a lot of young men''s lives and in the end was basically unnecessary. But at the time the decision was made, it was the best the Allied command could come up with. Balkoski makes sure in his closing that the reader must be careful and not condemn those decisions because of knowing the conclusion of the historical event. A must read for anyone who has a passion for WW 2 history.
    2 people found this helpful
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    jgg
    5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    a near forgotten battle
    Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2008
    The Brittany Campaign has been one of the least written about and understood actions in WW2. In this book Balkoski continues to track the 29th Infantry Division from his classic book on d-day (Beyond the Beach head) from Normandy up to their move to Holland - covering their... See more
    The Brittany Campaign has been one of the least written about and understood actions in WW2. In this book Balkoski continues to track the 29th Infantry Division from his classic book on d-day (Beyond the Beach head) from Normandy up to their move to Holland - covering their actions at Brest. No one is better suited to tell this story, as no one knows the 29th Division like Balkoski who has studied that unit all his life.

    I have personally talked to a number of veterans of both the Normandy and Brittany fights, and to a man they all said Brittany was tougher. Partially because the Germans had nowhere to go, partially because many were well trained German paratroops, and partially because the defense was commanded by General Ramcke (who is arguably one of the more interesting German Generals of the war) who told his men that every shell used on them in Brittany was one less that would fall on Germany.

    This book focuses on the 29th Division, as it should, and like his other books is very well done. Material on the Ranger Battalions is included as they fought under 29th command but little is covered of the other divisions talking part. The combat outside (and inside) the city was brutal; with events happening that put some of the more popular movies and TV shows to shame.

    I think the entire question of why capture Brest, and its importance to the ETO campaign still needs to be examined in more detail, but it does not impact the fact that for a few weeks in August and September 1944, some of the toughest fighting in the war took place in Brittany- and has all but been forgotten.

    As a sequel to Beyond the Beachhead, in which we see a Green National Guard unit transform into a combat ready unit and survive its first engagement, this volume takes that unit and shows how it adjusted to extended combat and became a veteran division. One can only hope a final volume in this series will take the story one step further and show the transformation into the professional combat organization it was by the end of the war.
    9 people found this helpful
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    Bryan LeipperTop Contributor: Raspberry Pi
    4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    A story not often told
    Reviewed in the United States on April 6, 2013
    It was a costly effort to gain a port immediately following D-Day that turned out to be a fruitless effort. Between the rapid advance in the east and the damage done by the Germans to the port, other options for logistic support diminished the need for Brest as a landing... See more
    It was a costly effort to gain a port immediately following D-Day that turned out to be a fruitless effort. Between the rapid advance in the east and the damage done by the Germans to the port, other options for logistic support diminished the need for Brest as a landing port for supply.

    It''s all there: a General with his quirks and some important innovations in areas such as infantry cohesion, an underestimated enemy, the legacy from a previous war in terms of fortifications and ideas, the new war and tactics to defeat those fortifications despite stiff resistance, and a victory that was set aside for the next job.
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    Kay Gutknecht
    5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    At last, part two!
    Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2008
    I am elated that after a nine year interlude, Joseph Balkoski has continued the story of the 29th Infantry Division. Beachhead to Brittany covers the 29th''s role in the battle for Brest, August - September 1944. This book, like his first on the Division, is scholarly, yet... See more
    I am elated that after a nine year interlude, Joseph Balkoski has continued the story of the 29th Infantry Division. Beachhead to Brittany covers the 29th''s role in the battle for Brest, August - September 1944. This book, like his first on the Division, is scholarly, yet engaging; full of combat facts yet peppered with stories and perspectives guaranteed to elicit fear, frustration, chuckles and tears.

    My father served with the 29th, so I am hungry to know all I can about his service experience. With the exception of Joseph Ewing''s official history of the Division published in 1947, everything written about the 29th has focused on the Normandy campaign. Now, unlike Ewing''s white-washed, official military history, Balkoski delivers a thorough and objective story of the 29th''s role in the capture of Brest, the men who led the battle and the circumstances that resulted in the Blue and Gray suffering thousands of casualties, including 700 dead, to capture a harbor that was never used by the Allies. He also includes information about the combat engineers--something that thrills me, as my father was part of the 121st Combat Engineer Battalion.

    For anyone interested in the WWII European Theater and especially the 29th Infantry, this book is a must-read. Joseph Balkoski is the one of the world''s leading authorities on the Division, and I have a deep appreciation for his ability to create a cohesive and readily understandable story from a vast and diverse number of primary sources and soldier recollections. I eagerly await volume three.
    3 people found this helpful
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    Gregory Canellis
    4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    Forgotten Campaign by Command Unit Historian
    Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2008
    No recent historian is more qualified to document the combat history of the 29th Infantry Division in World War II than Joseph Balkoski. As Command Historian of the Maryland National Guard, his prior effort, _Beyond The Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy_... See more
    No recent historian is more qualified to document the combat history of the 29th Infantry Division in World War II than Joseph Balkoski. As Command Historian of the Maryland National Guard, his prior effort, _Beyond The Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy_ (1989) is considered by many as a classic account of that division''s actions on D-Day through the bitter struggle for St. Lo. His office, the Fifth Regiment Armory Building in Baltimore, Maryland houses every conceivable primary source relating to the 29th Division in World War II. His recent D-Day contributions: _Utah Beach:_ and _Omaha Beach:_ which rely heavily upon oral history testimonies of veterans of all ranks have been well received. His latest release, _Beachhead to Brittany_ by Stackpole Books follows many of the same stylistic formats as his previous books, which tends to dull the historical labors of its author, a point that will be explained further.

    Anyone interested in the post D-Day campaigns in Northwest Europe during World War II cannot ignore this work. Only one other author in recent memory, Jonathan Gawne, has tackled the Brittany Campaign (see my review of _1944 Americans in Brittany: The Battle of Brest_). Anyone interested in the 29th Division or who had a relative serve in this outstanding unit also cannot ignore this book. The significance of this book cannot be over stressed.

    In his Preface, Balkoski admits this narrative tells of the liberation of the French port of Brest "from the perspective of the 29th Infantry Division." At times, the author unwittingly places the 29ers in a vacuum, and gives the sense that the 29th Division faced not only the brunt of the forty-four day struggle, but that its commander, Major General Charles H. Gerhardt was instrumental in many of the major command decisions of the entire campaign. Balkoski handles the cooperation of the 29ers with attached units such as the 5th and 2d Ranger Battalions, and even a British Tank regiment of Crocodile flame thrower tanks admirably, but bogs down a bit conveying how Gerhardt, and his division fits into the overall scheme of this complex campaign. Likewise, some of his concluding analysis of the overall controversy of why Brest was ultimately abandoned after capture could have been placed in a more detailed Introduction to better prepare his readers. These minor flaws pale in comparison to Balkoski''s masterful compelling combat narrative that flows evenly from the division War Room tent to the squad''s foxhole. It''s obvious the author''s heart is close to this division, and as with _Beyond the Beachhead_, does his subject justice.

    This reviewer firmly believes that an historian/author and his/her publisher should work together as a team. Either the publishing house Balkoski has loyally chosen for the past two decades is not holding up its end, or Balkoski has simply outgrown them. Twenty years ago when I first read _Beyond the Beachhead_, I was not very concerned with historical methods. Thumbing through footnoted sources to see where an historian culled his facts and information did not interest me as much as a compelling read. That has changed. Balkoski surely can deliver a compelling read, but his methods need a major overhaul. Choosing to incorporate a confusing citation format of bold print and half italicized fragments in all his published works rather than the numbered Chicago style only lessens the author''s credibility as a serious military historian. Known for his use of simplified maps since _Beachhead:_, recent computer generated maps have become dumbed down to a fault. Even something as petty as numbered sub-headings (eliminated in _Utah:_ and _Omaha:_ but back again in _Brittany_) should be red-penned out by an alert editor. If a publisher does not take history seriously enough to insist upon some basic house-cleaning it''s time Balkoski dumps this publisher. Encouraged to utilize more stringent academic historical methods, Balkoski will undoubtedly take his well deserved place among today''s best military historians.

    The significance of _Beachhead to Brittany_ far outweighs its stylistic flaws, and warrants a strong recommendation with four-stars.
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    SP
    5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    Great resource for factual WWII reading.
    Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2021
    I bought for my husband. He was happy to read this book and add to his WWII collection.
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    Donna Coulson
    5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
    For WWII Vets and Their Offspring--Learn About Brest
    Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2008
    I gave this as a birthday present to my friend, Spero,84,a D-Day veteran who landed on Omaha Beach with the 29th Division and was also in the battles in Brest. He came back to NJ in 1945 without his buddy Francis and without his hearing. He told me about how severe the... See more
    I gave this as a birthday present to my friend, Spero,84,a D-Day veteran who landed on Omaha Beach with the 29th Division and was also in the battles in Brest. He came back to NJ in 1945 without his buddy Francis and without his hearing. He told me about how severe the fighting was in Brest and that no one had really told the story in detail--the attention was on D-Day. Well, now there''s a good book about Brest, Spero. And for our Band of Brothers be they with us or gone, here is another documentation of the soldiers of the 29th at Brest.
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