The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon

The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon

by Alex Kershaw

Hardcover(Large Print)

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The epic story of the vastly outnumbered platoon that stopped Germany's leading assault in the Ardennes forest and prevented Hitler's most fearsome tanks from overtaking American positions

On the morning of December 16, 1944, eighteen men of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon attached to the 99th Infantry Division found themselves directly in the path of the main thrust of Hitler's massive Ardennes offensive. Despite being vastly outnumbered, they were told to hold their position "at all costs." Throughout the day, the platoon repulsed three large German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, killing hundreds of German soldiers. Only when they had run out of ammunition did they surrender to the enemy. But their long winter was just beginning.

As POWs, the platoon experienced an ordeal far worse than combat-surviving in wretched German POW camps. Yet miraculously the men of the platoon survived—all of them—and returned home after the war. More than thirty years later, when President Carter recognized the platoon's "extraordinary heroism" and the U.S. Army approved combat medals for all eighteen men, they became America's most decorated platoon of World War II.

With the same vivid and dramatic prose that made The Bedford Boys a national bestseller, Alex Kershaw brings to life the story of these little-known heroes—an epic tale of courage, duty, and survival in World War II and one of the most inspiring episodes in American history. The Longest Winter is an intensely human story about young men who find themselves in frightening wartime situations, who fight back instinctively, survive stoically, and live heroically.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786275311
Publisher: Gale Group
Publication date: 06/02/2005
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 606
Product dimensions: 6.46(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.26(d)

About the Author

Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, and The Few, and two biographies: Jack London and Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Ilikeike More than 1 year ago
The Longest winter, By Alex Kershaw; a review In my opinion, this is an amazing compilation of many of the stories of American soldiers, who fought at Lanzarath, Belgium during the battle of the Bulge, and held out, against Jochen Peiper, and his forces against all odds. The book is about an American intelligence platoon. The book begins, by describing some of the main characters, and showing them at training camp. Then it builds up to them fighting, and then being captured.This book is a very interesting contrast to other small unit histories, such as Band of Brothers. It details a single day of combat, but follows the individual stories of each character, through captivity, and the rest of the war. This book is a perfect gift for any history buff, or anybody, who likes a great, riveting story!
Christianbelle More than 1 year ago
The best Battle of the Buldge, Belgium (winter 1944) book ever written. This author is incredible, this book is about a scout patrol who takes on th entire Nazi offensive coming west into Belgium 1944 (Hitler's last gamble to drive allies back to sea)! It was very interesting, inspired me! The book also focused on the after events of the battle, the soldiers efforts to survive in POW camp, life after war! It was a classic book, best book ever written on Battle of Buldge, WWII! 5 star book, it was great.
___ANNA___ More than 1 year ago
Incredible battle story of Battle of The Buldge during December 1944 Belgium, incredibly exciting, inspiring book. This is one of the best books I have ever read, best WW2 book ever read. Very well written, highly recommend, it is worth the money. Alex Kershaw is an extremely talented writer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SUPER BOOK! BEST WRITING ENCOUNTERED! The smallest acts in our life can have the biggest influence in the world! Alex Kershaw takes the reader on an incredible journey about WW2 during the battle of the buldge! Outnumbered, with little equipment and/or training a scout patrol is able to stop of Nazi Germanys' soldiers efforts to prolong the war duing the battle of the bulge in Lanzarath Beligium during the late winter of 1944! This book goes beyond WW2, it teaches the reading about facing one's fears, tenacity, persistence, doing the morally corrrect thing in life, facing one's fears, how your life does and/or actions do matter for good and/or ill. This is a must read! Money well spent, SUPERB book, excellent writing, fascinating, insightul, recommended to any age group! GREAT GREAT BOOK!
REDFOXEAST More than 1 year ago
Alex Kershaw's book -- The Longest Winter is absolutely amazing, very gripping accout of Battle of Buldge during WII Belgium (the usa scout patrols efforts to combat entire Germany Army), very good book.
Jennifermiller More than 1 year ago
Winter 1944, Belgium -- Battle of the Buldge, great story! Sweating while I read, could not wait to turn the next page to find out what happened next! Amazing book.
briannnnn More than 1 year ago
SUPER BOOK! Anyone interested in WWII, war history, this is a must buy! Alex Kershaw, extremely gifted writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Received the book for Christmas and could not put it down. Aside from reinforcing the deep sense of pride and patriotism that existed in my dad's generation, this book was extremely well written and just plain interesting. A great read on another aspect of the Battle of the Bulge and World War II.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Longest Winter flows well and shows how 21 men stopped over 500 German paratroopers for almost 24 hours. When others were running with their tails between their legs, these men fought on and were captured only when their ammunition was totally exhausted. It is men like these that caused the Germans to loose the battle, NOT the actions (or inaction) of the generals. Their story then continues with thier tenure as 'guests' of the Nazi POW camps. The author interviewed almost every living member of the platoon and captures not only their actions, but their actual thoughts brilliantly. When these men have all passed away, it is through books like this that will give us the insight into the WW II GI. The bibliography contains reference to almost every book ever written on the Battle of the Bulge.
insanepoet65 More than 1 year ago
TITLE: The Longest Winter AUTHOR: Alex Kershaw GENRE: History PAGES: 344 Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I LOVE history. World War II is one of my favorite periods. Now some may ask “How many times can you read a book on the same subject?” My answer is “As many times as I want.” Let’s face it, reading history is no different than reading any other genre like romance, thrillers, mysteries, etc. Sure, history can be boring at times, especially if you are bombarded by places and dates and little else. That is not the case with THE LONGEST WINTER. THE LONGEST WINTER follows the story of the 394th Infantry Platoon and how it faced a Nazi onslaught at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. The book follows the battle, and the subsequent capture of these soldiers and details their life in captivity. This is not a stuffy history of places and dates and technical jargon that will befuddle the reader. This book is a perfect example of history coming to life in the hands of an author who loves his subject and conveys that love to the reader. I truly got the feel of the “Do or Die” spirit of the American soldier during an incredible battle and the after effects of capture. If you are a history buff, read this book! If you are not a history buff, read this book! Bottom line, READ THIS BOOK!
BD0 More than 1 year ago
Best World War Two book I have ever read. Amazing book, entertaining, exciting, reveals the reality of warfare during the Battle of Buldge Belgium during WW2 in winter of 1944. Very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. Very well written. I would recommend this to any reader interested in books of this type.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i have ever read. this book shows u the horor of life on the frontline and how the most green soldiers can change to vet's in less than a day. this story shows that the 99th ID was not just a green unit which was forced to retreat but this book shows how these men beat off scors of German Fallschirmjager (Paratrooper). this shows what man can do under overwellming odds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you read one book about the Battle of the Bulge. This should be the one. Having read many, many books about WWII, and being a soldier myself, I count this book among the best. Kershaw is able to keep the reader's attention and at the same time informed about all the things that are happening simultaneously. Simply an excellent book about a small unit action that goes virtually unnoticed. Overshadowed by the siege of the 101st at Bastogne, and the grand scale of the Battle of the Bulge itself. It is because of these men and all who went before that I serve now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a piece of history we must never forget. As these brave soldiers die, the last eyewitnesses to the Third Reich are forever gone. Future generations should learn from these men. They only had their rifles,guts, brains, and God. An unbelievable and inspiring story. I knew very little and understood even less about the Battle of the Bulge when I began this book. When I finished I understood so many of those men from that generation. Thanks for a great book.
jamespurcell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quick read, personal unit documentation quite good, context and background not very detailed or extensive.
xenchu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of brave men who put up a tough fight against great odds. They paid for it with incarceration as POWs in horrendous conditions. They returned home without recognition for almost 30 years.The irony is that there were so many like them who paid the ultimate price and are unknown because there was no one to 'write them up'. This book is worth reading in spite of historical of its flaws.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This account of the resistance of the recon platoon of the 394th Infantry Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division in teeth of the Ardennes Offensive has it virtues, but that's so long as you keep your expectations down a bit.When telling the direct story of Lt. Lyle Bouck and his men, Kershaw has a good tale to tell, as it encompasses the last great German offensive in the West, the survival of the platoon once taken captive, and General Patton's ill-fated raid to rescue his son-in-law. This is not to mention how the men came to adapt to civilian life and the process that led to the recognition of their heroism in the 1970s.The problem is that if you're knowlegeable at all about this period, you're going to be annoyed at how Kershaw handles the context that surrounded the trials of these men. The narrative sometimes seems shallow enough that one wonders if the movies "The Battle of the Bulge" and "Patton" were milked for atmosphere. Most of the high-level personages invoked (Hitler, Eisenhower, Patton, etc.) almost come off as being stereotypes.I also don't know whether it was sloppy editing or what, but it seems like every thirty pages or so one hits some stupid gaffe; usually in regards to the Germans. The 1st SS Panzer Division did not have its origins among the concentration camp guards; that was the 3rd SS Panzer Division. The Schmeisser machine pistol was not a particularly new gun in '44, though the first assault rifles were being issued to the German military. All the guns on a period B-17 were of the .50 caliber variety, not just the guns in the tail mounting. The Knight's Cross with oak leaves and swords was not the most prestigious version of that order, and so on. It certainly gets me to thinking about what other mistakes I missed.Another issue is that the secondary source material used in producing this work was also a bit shallow. I realize that in such a book the point is not to bowl over the readers with the background research of the writer. At the very least though I expect Carlo D'Este's biographies of Eisenhower & Patton, Trevor Dupuy's analysis of the campaign, Peter Mansour & Michael Doubler's respective reappraisals of the how the American soldier fought in Europe, Michael Reynold's account of Kampgruppe Peiper, and Stephen Rusiecki's account of the 99th Infantry Division in the Battle of the Bulge to show up among the works consulted.I hate to seem like I'm using a sledgehammer to hit a walnut, but there are a lot of long-time students of World War II who I suspect are going to feel just the way I do. For those of you who have just discovered the subject via this book, don't feel bad. It's not that you've been had, as this book is good so far as it goes, it's just that you have a lot more reading in front of you. Trust me, it'll be an adventure.
donttalktofreaks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have not yet read this book. My husband, however, being a tanker in the US Army, says that this is one of the best books he's ever read.
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EddieGreen More than 1 year ago
Feel like you really participated in the Battle of the Buldge, Belgium winter 1944 when you read this book.
PIUSLEE More than 1 year ago
Paramount to any other book ever written on WWII. This book is perhaps the best book on warfare, I ever ever read. Deluxe in excitement, flyed through the material to find out ending, outstanding writing, research, story, this author is very, very good.
GalinaMorse More than 1 year ago
Among the glitter and glitz of today's screen WWII movies, this book trumps all of them! Alex Kershaw's approach is to provide the reader with a seat alongside the events of these most important events in world history, this book focues on the events of Battle of the Buldge, WWII 1944. Another winner, by author Alex Kershaw.