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D-day Survivor: An Autobiography [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 21.25  
Retail Value $ 25.00  
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Item Number 427122  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2006
Publisher   Pelican Publishing Company
ISBN  158980421X  
EAN  9781589804210  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A member of the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division, veteran Harold "Hal" Baumgarten gives his firsthand account of the June 6, 1944, landing on Dog Green sector of Omaha Beach. A multidecorated hero, Baumgarten was wounded five times before being evacuated. In 1991, he served as a consultant for the filming of the WWII movie Saving Private Ryan.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Life Story of a D-Day Hero  Jun 21, 2007
As the title of this book indicates, the author was a survivor of D-Day, the massive Allied invasion of the beaches at Normandy, June 6, 1944.

But the author was more than just a survivor. He was a member of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division that was in on the first wave in one of the bloodiest sectors of any beach that deadly day: Dog Green Sector, Omaha Beach.

Before the author even disembarked from his landing craft, the one next to his was blown up, showering the author and his comrades with pieces of wood, bits of metal, and human body parts. As he left his landing craft, the water was already a churning sea of red blood. He was wounded four times that day by both bullets and shrapnel as he and the survivors of his unit slogged forward to establish a beachhead and began to scale the heavily, and easily, defended bluffs. (The murderous fire he had to undergo just to get onto the beach was so bad one bullet passed through his helmet and another hit his rifle.) Later, as he was being evacuated, he was wounded a fifth time, presumably by a German sniper.

As he reflected on why he survived when so many others died, the author came to believe that he had a two-fold mission in life: first, to tell the story of the carnage his fellow soldiers underwent, and the courage (often unappreciated or untold) many of them displayed, to make the world a better place; and second, to become a doctor and save lives. The author succeeded admirably on both accounts.

As an autobiography, the book covers more than just D-Day and includes the author's story of his induction into the U.S. Army (he was drafted at the age of 18 and could have gotten out of the draft because he was a student and one of his professors was on the draft board but he chose to go ahead and serve his country), his training and the training for D-Day and his life experiences after the invasion, including his recovery from his wounds and becoming a doctor.

Highly recommended reading. A fascinating story well told.
"His" story is so much more than surviving D-Day.  Apr 4, 2007
Over the years "revisionism" has become the norm in writing about history. In this book we have a precious gift in the words of someone who was actually there. Dr. Hal Baumgarten managed to write an autobiography that includes the lives of so many others than himself. It is a book for any young person seeking the story of a great man to admire. As adults reading this book we can only be humbled and proud of this survivor, who inspires us to reflect on all we do in honoring those who rendered to us our present day freedom. This is an extremely human book written by a true humanitarian.
The best first-person Omaha Beach account  Nov 27, 2006
There are many books on Omaha beach that talk about the overall strategy, the failures and victories and talk about the leaders and commanders. There are also military-study type books that break down the action sector by sector and unit by unit. However there are surprisingly few accounts by men that landed in the first wave. This is I suppose because of two factors: 1) the high percentage of casualties on D-Day amongst the first-wave, and 2) the fact that many of the survivors cannot talk about the events of June 6th - the memories they have are of the carnage and horror and possibly lacking in detail.

Harold Baumgarten is therefore pretty unique, he is an Omaha beach survivor possessed with a photographic memory AND a compelling drive to tell others the story of the young men who landed on D-Day. Through his words the reader gets to hear first-hand about the training, formation and actual D-Day landing of his unit (B/116th Infantry) and his personal tale of terrible injuries and his determination to see his mission through and simply to survive. But also he describes the equipment and uniforms worn, the tactics employed and talks about the German defences. But above all he tells of the brave young first-wavers, with his skillfull writing these men he fought alongside are not just names, they are people, we learn where they are from, what they were like and hear about their fate - some sad, and some happy.

After D-Day we hear about Harold's slow recovery and his personal mission to aid family members of those who fell, his becoming a doctor, and ultimately his re-visiting of Omaha and his current role as one of the few spokesmen left of the "greatest generation".

This book is humbling, rewarding, upifting, informative and fascinating

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