Saturday, November 03, 2007

WW II soldiers running in waves through the waves on the beaches

By Walter Haan -- www.war-books.com

As next weekend is Veteran's Day Weekend, I've been reflecting on a number of things about veterans. One of the more obvious things is the courage that our veterans of the armed forces have exhibited on the job. Right now we're privileged to have veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm and the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan among us.

Regarding veterans from World War II, I came across a great book that illustrates profusely their courage, sacrifices and can do attitude: Historic Photos of World War II--North Africa to Germany (ISBN: 978-1-59652-398-2). Text and captions for the 2007 book are written by Bob Duncan and the book is published by Turner Publishing Company. The 10 1/4" x 10 1/4", 216 page coffee table hardcover book is filled with full page photos from World War II. Most of the photos are of our troops on the job, firing their weapons, marching forward, leaping across ditches, seeking protection behind tanks in fire fights, airborne troops getting ready to jump and soldiers in prayer.

Photos of our Army Air Force in action, of the Navy delivering the goods, whether it be jeeps driving through watery, rocky shores from LSTs or soldiers running in waves through the waves from the LSTs that delivered them to in harm's way, the composition of the photos takes my breath away. There's a wonderful shot of a sole American soldier holding his rifle on captured German soldiers with their arms up and clasped behind their heads. An unusual shot from the top turret of an A20 Havoc medium bomber that is operating as a flight leader and escort for a wave of C-47 transports loaded with paratroopers is wonderful for its perspective.

My one disappointment with the book is that most of the photos, all black and white, have not been enhanced to highlight contrast, leaving many of them very gray. But that still doesn't take away from, for example, the photo of two American paratroopers rushing forward amidst a German artillery barrage, with the ground exploding into pieces all around them.

A wonderful book, a perfect gift for World War II buffs this coming holiday season. Retail price is $39.95 and worth it. I didn't publish this book but wish I had. Another thing I like is that this picture book, which are so often printed in China these days, is printed in the USA.--www.war-books.com

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