“What they needed most, at the moment, was courage. And courage was something that couldn’t be issued like helmets or hand grenades.”
“The Story of D-Day, June 6, 1944″ by Bruce Bliven, Jr.
Among the many books I’ve graciously inherited, some of my favourites are the collection of vintage 1950s history books, like this Landmark Books offering regarding the storming of Normandy Beach during World War II by American, Canadian, and English soldier. This is the first of those books I’ve read so far (I try to pick my books on the very scientific method of which one is next in the great big pile of my books), and I found it incredibly charming. Charming does seem an odd choice of words for a book that talks about an extremely deadly and dangerous event, but I feel it fits. The books is written to appeal to and educate younger readers, but it never felt too simplistic that an adult reader (one, perhaps, that hasn’t studied much of that aspect of the war) would lose interest. I’ve been out of college for a while now, and I have not been keeping up on my studying, so while I knew most of the information in the book, it was a nice refresher that actually made me want to get back into research a little bit, or at least keep up on some nonfiction. I haven’t been doing much nonfiction lately, and that should change.
What I think I found the most charming was the fact that, as I read it, I could imagine these young readers, especially boys, in the fifties picking up these books and feeling inspired by this tale of the soldier showing courage and bravery to push through the danger and seemingly impossible situation to success. Drawn in by the heroism of the situation rather than the guns and violence as something like a movie or a video game might these days. Of course, I guess it’s just a natural habit when exploring something of the past to look at it through a certain rose-tinted glass of nostalgia, but I just loved the thought of this eager nine year old boy entranced by the bravery of the men fighting in the war that accompanied me throughout the whole book. Sometimes it’s just nice to let that sort of impossible optimism of by-gone eras take over, if only for a little bit.
Really, though, there is little nostalgia in recognizing the fact that the storming of the beach in Normandy was a harrowing and important move that took an awful lot of bravery and an awful lot of lives, fought by real men who deserve our real respect, just like those who are out there fighting for their countries today. The author, Bruce Bliven, Jr., was actually a member of the Omaha company which he writes about; though he never puts his personal perspective into the telling of D-Day, one can definitely tell that he writes from the experience, clearly, concisely, and with a great deal of well-earned pride.
Books read: 30 out of 100.
Still need to pick up the pace, but we’re getting there!