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About Alex Kershaw
Alex Kershaw is a journalist, public speaker and New York Times best-selling author of ten books, including The Liberator - the basis for the Netflix series - The Longest Winter, The Bedford Boys, Avenue of Spies and The First Wave. His next book, Against All Odds, a saga of four Medal of Honor recipients, will be released in May 2022.
Please visit www.alexkershaw.com for more information.
You can also catch up with him and his work on Facebook - BattlesofWW2; Instagram - AlexKershawAuthor; and Twitter - Kershaw_Alex
He blogs at www.alexkershawauthor.com.
PRAISE FOR THE FIRST WAVE
“[A] fast paced tale… Kershaw is at his evocative best describing the chaos, courage, and carnage of combat, vividly portraying the bravery of the ‘greatest generation.’ Even readers well-read on the subject will enjoy this perspective.”—Publishers Weekly
“A masterful retelling of the most dramatic day of World War II—the Allied landings on the beaches of France. In Alex Kershaw’s expert hands, readers will feel the sting of the cold surf, smell the acrid cordite that hung in the air, and duck the zing of machine gun bullets whizzing overhead. The First Wave is an absolute triumph.”—James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and national bestselling author of Target Tokyo and Rampage
“Master storyteller Alex Kershaw brings the key Allied players of D-Day to life once more. He vividly portrays their exploits—Rangers at Pointe du Hoc, French Commandos at Ouistreham, American paratroopers on the Cotentin, and assault troops who hit the Normandy beaches. These pages ooze with the unforgettable human drama of history’s most consequential invasion. Read them and you might even feel as though you were there.”—John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day—The Big Red One at Omaha Beach
“Meet the assaulters: Pathfinders plunging from the black, coxswains plowing the whitecaps, bareknuckle Rangers scaling sheer rock. Will they secure the landing zone? Wrest the beachhead? Or will that last bridge blow up in their faces? Even if we know how D-Day ends, The First Wave grips with all the power of a first read. Fast-paced and up-close, this is history’s greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can.”—Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of Spearhead and A Higher Call
“Alex Kershaw brilliantly brings a new perspective to one of the seminal events of WWII. The First Wave is an awe-inspiring and important book that portrays the blood on the risers, from Captain Frank Lillyman’s airborne pathfinders to Lieutenant George Kerchner’s Rangers and their remarkable assault on the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc. The sights, sounds, and fury of D-Day are vividly captured in Kershaw’s virtuoso narrative.”—Patrick K. O’Donnell, author of The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Who Brought Him Home
“The First Wave is Alex Kershaw’s stirring tribute to the warriors who successfully carried out the largest and most difficult military operations in history 75 years ago. One of the US First Infantry Division NCO’s who survived that desperate day in Normandy later said, ‘You can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line.’ Kershaw’s superb account of D-Day and beyond is the story of their amazing courage under fire and how men ranging from a lord of the realm to the humble son of a president answered the call and began the liberation of occupied Europe from Nazi tyranny.”—Carlo D’Este, author of Decision in Normandy and Patton: A Genius for War
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Titles By Alex Kershaw
The untold story of four of the most decorated soldiers of World War II—all Medal of Honor recipients—from the beaches of French Morocco to Hitler’s own mountaintop fortress, by the national bestselling author of The First Wave
“Pitch-perfect.”—The Wall Street Journal • “Riveting.”—World War II magazine • “Alex Kershaw is the master of putting the reader in the heat of the action.”—Martin Dugard
As the Allies raced to defeat Hitler, four men, all in the same unit, earned medal after medal for battlefield heroism. Maurice “Footsie” Britt, a former professional football player, became the very first American to receive every award for valor in a single war. Michael Daly was a West Point dropout who risked his neck over and over to keep his men alive. Keith Ware would one day become the first and only draftee in history to attain the rank of general before serving in Vietnam. In WWII, Ware owed his life to the finest soldier he ever commanded, a baby-faced Texan named Audie Murphy. In the campaign to liberate Europe, each would gain the ultimate accolade, the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Tapping into personal interviews and a wealth of primary source material, Alex Kershaw has delivered his most gripping account yet of American courage, spanning more than six hundred days of increasingly merciless combat, from the deserts of North Africa to the dark heart of Nazi Germany. Once the guns fell silent, these four exceptional warriors would discover just how heavy the Medal of Honor could be—and how great the expectations associated with it. Having survived against all odds, who among them would finally find peace?
“Meet the assaulters: pathfinders plunging from the black, coxswains plowing the whitecaps, bareknuckle Rangers scaling sheer rock . . . Fast-paced and up close, this is history’s greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can.”—Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of Spearhead and A Higher Call
Beginning in the predawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows the remarkable men who carried out D-Day’s most perilous missions. The charismatic, unforgettable cast includes the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the glider pilot who braved antiaircraft fire to crash-land mere yards from the vital Pegasus Bridge; the brothers who led their troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; as well as a French commando, returning to his native land, who fought to destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach and beyond. Readers will experience the sheer grit of the Rangers who scaled Pointe du Hoc and the astonishing courage of the airborne soldiers who captured the Merville Gun Battery in the face of devastating enemy counterattacks. The first to fight when the stakes were highest and the odds longest, these men would determine the fate of the invasion of Hitler’s fortress Europe—and the very history of the twentieth century.
The result is an epic of close combat and extraordinary heroism. It is the capstone Alex Kershaw’s remarkable career, built on his close friendships with D-Day survivors and his intimate understanding of the Normandy battlefield. For the seventy-fifth anniversary, here is a fresh take on World War II's longest day.
Praise for The First Wave:
“Masterful... readers will feel the sting of the cold surf, smell the acrid cordite that hung in the air, and duck the zing of machine-gun bullets whizzing overhead. The First Wave is an absolute triumph.”—James M. Scott, bestselling author of Target Tokyo
“These pages ooze with the unforgettable human drama of history's most consequential invasion.”—John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die
But the survivors were beginning a far greater ordeal. After being picked up by the Japanese, they were sent to an interrogation camp known as the Torture Farm.” When they were liberated in 1945, they were close to death, but they had revealed nothing to the Japanese, including the greatest secret of World War II.
With the same heart-pounding narrative drive that made The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter national bestsellers, Alex Kershaw brings to life this incredible story of survival and endurance.
The Few tells the dramatic and unforgettable story of eight young Americans who joined Britain's Royal Air Force, defying their country's neutrality laws and risking their U.S. citizenship to fight side-by-side with England's finest pilots in the summer of 1940-over a year before America entered the war. Flying the lethal and elegant Spitfire, they became "knights of the air" and with minimal training but plenty of guts, they dueled the skilled and fearsome pilots of Germany's Luftwaffe. By October 1940, they had helped England win the greatest air battle in the history of aviation. Winston Churchill once said of all those who fought in the Battle of Britain, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." These daring Americans were the few among the "few." Now, with the narrative drive and human drama that made The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter national bestsellers, Alex Kershaw tells their story for the first time.
“Exceptional . . . worthy addition to vibrant classics of small-unit history like Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers.”—Wall Street Journal
Written with Alex Kershaw's trademark narrative drive and vivid immediacy, The Liberator traces the remarkable battlefield journey of maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks through the Allied liberation of Europe—from the first landing in Italy to the final death throes of the Third Reich.
Over five hundred bloody days, Sparks and his infantry unit battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the die-hard SS on the Fatherland's borders. Having miraculously survived the long, bloody march across Europe, Sparks was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria, where he and his men experienced some of the most intense street fighting suffered by Americans in World War II.
And when he finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Sparks confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason—and put his humanity to the ultimate test.
On a cold morning in December, 1944, deep in the Ardennes forest, a platoon of eighteen men under the command of twenty-year-old lieutenant Lyle Bouck were huddled in their foxholes trying desperately to keep warm. Suddenly, the early morning silence was broken by the roar of a huge artillery bombardment and the dreadful sound of approaching tanks. Hitler had launched his bold and risky offensive against the Allies-his "last gamble"-and the small American platoon was facing the main thrust of the entire German assault. Vastly outnumbered, they repulsed three German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, killing over five hundred German soldiers and defending a strategically vital hill. Only when Bouck's men had run out of ammunition did they surrender to the enemy. As POWs, Bouck's platoon began an ordeal far worse than combat-survive in captivity under trigger-happy German guards, Allied bombing raids, and a daily ration of only thin soup. In German POW camps, hundreds of captured Americans were either killed or died of disease, and most lost all hope. But the men of Bouck's platoon survived-miraculously, all of them. Once again in vivid, dramatic prose, Alex Kershaw brings to life the story of some of America's little-known heroes-the story of America's most decorated small unit, an epic story of courage and survival in World War II, and one of the most inspiring stories in American history.
The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris's hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the "mad sadist" Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany.
From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director's close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11—but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return.
Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles readers with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II's Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler.
Later in the campaign, three more boys from this small Virginia town died of gunshot wounds. Twenty-two sons of Bedford were lost in total. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and relatives, as well as diaries and letters, Alex Kershaw's book focuses on several remarkable individuals and families to tell one of the most poignant stories of World War II – the story of one small American town that went to war and died on Omaha Beach.
The Bedford Boys is the true and intimate story of these men and the friends and families they left behind.
Praise for The Bedford Boys:
‘Not only have I read this book twice, but I have purchased extra copies and mailed them to friends. The story of the Bedford Boys needs to be told. Not enough people know about them. I have read many books on the topic of WW2. However, this is the best one at linking the events, the soldiers and their families together’ - Amazon review
‘I loved this book. I laughed, I cried, and I have so much respect for the boys who fought in Normandy. They may be heroes, but they still are just boys ... Anyone interested in the human side of war will want to read this book’ – Curledup.com
Alex Kershaw is a British journalist and author. A former history teacher, he has written several best-selling books and screenplays, and has written for The Guardian, The Independent and The Sunday Times. Kershaw has a doctorate in military history and is a board director of Friends of the National WWII Memorial.
The Envoy is the stirring tale of how one man made the greatest difference in the face of untold evil. The legendary Oscar Schindler saved hundreds, but Raoul Wallenberg did what no other individual or nation managed to do: He saved more than 100,000 Jewish men, women, and children from extermination.
Written with Alex Kershaw's customary narrative verve, The Envoy is a fast-paced, nonfiction thriller that brings to life one of the darkest and yet most inspiring chapters of twentieth century history. It is an epic for the ages.
A full-blooded, pacy biography of one of the most charismatic writers of the century, whose life and work were to inspire Hemingway, Steinbeck, Kerouac and Mailer. ‘We cannot help but read on’: TLS. ‘The energy, dynamism and sheer bursting life-force of Jack London bowls you over’: Scotsman.
- Jack London’s life story (1876–1916) is as dramatic as any of the fiction he wrote. Born illegitimate in San Francisco, he was (in his teens) an oyster pirate, seal-hunter, hobo, Klondike goldminer – and spectacular drinker.
- On publication of The Call of the Wild in 1903, he became the most highly publicised writer in the world. Subsequent books, including Martin Eden, White Fang, The Iron Heel, The People of the Abyss, John Barleycorn, The Sea Wolf, continue in print as world classics in many languages.
- Apart from writing 50 books, he lectured for the Socialist Party in America; was a war correspondent in Korea and Mexico; introduced surfing to the West Coast; sailed the seven seas in his yacht, the Snark.
Robert Capa (1913-1954), one of the finest photojournalists and combat photographers of the twentieth century, covered every major conflict from the Spanish Civil War to the early conflict in Vietnam. Always close to the action, he created some of the most enduring images ever made with a camera--perhaps none more memorable than the gritty photos taken on the morning of D-Day.
But the drama of Capa's life wasn't limited to one side of the lens. Born in Budapest as Andre Freidman, Capa fled political repression and anti-Semitism as a teenager by escaping to Berlin, where he first picked up a Leica camera. He founded Magnum, which today remains the most prestigious photographic agency of its kind. He was a gambler and seducer of several of his era's most alluring icons, including Ingrid Bergman, and his friends included Irwin Shaw, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and John Huston.
From Budapest in the twenties to Paris in the thirties, from postwar Hollywood to Stalin's Russia, from New York to Indochina, Blood and Champagne is a wonderfully evocative account of Capa's life and times.
500 Tage Krieg im fernen Europa
Felix Sparks (1917–2007) stammte aus einer Bergarbeiterfamilie in Arizona und ließ sich nach der High School von der Armee anwerben, weil er in der Großen Depression keine Arbeit fand. Dann ging er ans College, um Jura zu studieren, und wurde erneut einberufen, als die USA in den Krieg eintraten. Er nahm teil an der Invasion Siziliens 1943, war der einzige Überlebende seiner Einheit bei der Schlacht von Anzio, überlebte die deutsche Ardennenoffensive, den Häuserkampf in Aschaffenburg, wo der »Volkssturm« die Amerikaner aufzuhalten versuchte, und kommandierte die Einheit, die Dachau befreite.