“Some savvy screenplay writer will inevitably snag the rights to this one. The comic relief is already built into the suspense-driven plot. The story is just the right size for a movie in an industry struggling to break-away from comic book heroes into the genuine article.” Reviewed By: Casey Quyn, Manhattan Book Review of LEFT FOR DEAD AT NIJMEGEN.
Gene quit high school to join the paratroopers only to find himself wedged between machine-gun toting “SS” fanatics while being interrogated by the notorious Nazi Heinrich Himmler. Possible titles: Dinner with Himmler or Left for Dead in Holland.
“Told in the matter-of-fact tone of a college essay, the book is a page turner, full of coincidences, narrow escapes, and tension worthy of a Hollywood film. Left for Dead at Nijmegen is well worth the read.” Paul Garrett for Reedsy Discovery
“I have written a lot of stories in my life, but after my first 5.5 hour interview with paratrooper Gene Metcalfe, I knew there was something special there.” Marcus Nannini
“Gene Metcalfe’s detailed recollections are supplemented with photographs. This is an important biography worthy of inclusion in World War II themed collections. The book portrays military sacrifices and the reality of the struggle of a POW as reported by a survivor.” AuthorsReading.com 5 star review.
From the Coal Mines of Pennsylvania to the explosive skies over Nazi Occupied Europe. Title: Midnight Flight to Nuremberg.
A Japanese ensign sinks the battleship Oklahoma, scuttles his sub and melds into the Oahu population never to be heard from again…until the surprise unearthing of a skeleton. Title: Nine Men Down.
Gruesome murders on the Big Island of Hawaii divert the attention of Navy investigators while plans for a December 7th terrorist attack on the super carrier USS Abraham Lincoln go undetected. Geographic Treachery, the Shah’s Revenge.
Email me here: MarcusNannini@aol.com
The Highly Respected MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW says: “LEFT FOR DEAD AT NIJMEGEN: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMERICAN PARATROOPER IN WORLD WAR II is an extraordinary and simply riveting memoir that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly valued addition to both community and academic library World War II Military History & Biography collections.“
“It’s not every day that we come across a historical work with as much life in it as we see in LEFT FOR DEAD AT NIJMEGEN: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMERICAN PARATROOPER IN WWII. The level of research and attention to detail that went into the retelling of Eugene Metcalfe’s harrowing tale of survival is shown in spades. The reader has no problem understanding not only the physical situations faced by the main character but also the emotions and state of mind. Literary Titan.
“THERE ARE MANY STORIES ABOUT THE AMERICAN AIRBORNE IN MARKET GARDEN; GENE’S STORY IS UNIQUE AND SIGNIFICANT.” World War II History Magazine.
“VERY RIVETING” Herbert Bauernebel, American Correspondent for the German periodicals BILD and AMERIKAREPORT.
“NANNINI DUTIFULLY CONSTRUCTS IMAGES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POW CAMPS THAT HIS SUBJECT WAS FORCED INTO THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN. THIS WORK, THEREFORE, IS AS IMPORTANT TO HISTORICAL STUDY OF THE PERIOD AS IT IS A RIVETING AND FASCINATING TALE.” LITERARY TITAN, JULY 12, 2019.https://literarytitan.com/2019/07/12/left-for-dead-at-nijmegen/
“THE AUTHOR HAS RESEARCHED AND STUDIED THIS SUBJECT IN GREAT DEPTH, HIS KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY TO ENGAGE AND KEEP THE INTEREST OF THE READER IS ACCOMPLISHED AND PROFICIENT. Army Rumour Service, 20/06/2019 (United Kingdom)
“DEAR MR. NANNINI, I’VE JUST READ YOUR BOOK “LEFT FOR DEAD AT NIJMEGEN”. THE STORY OF GENE METCALFE IS REALLY AMAZING AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. I SALUTE YOU FOR KEEPING HIS BRAVE HISTORY ALIVE!YOURS SINCERELY,HARRY HEKMAN, LIEUTENANT COLONEL , ROYAL MILITARY POLICE (KONINKLIJKE MARECHAUSSEE)THE NETHERLANDS “
“MARCUS, I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THE BOOK. IT’S PERHAPS ONE OF THE BEST MEMOIRS I’VE READ.” Angus Wallace, WW II PODCAST, United Kingdom
“THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BIOGRAPHY WORTHY OF INCLUSION IN WORLD WAR II THEMED COLLECTIONS.” AuthorsReading
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW-JUNE, 2019.
Left for Dead at Nijmegen
Marcus A. Nannini
1940 Lawrence Road, Havertown, PA 19083
ISBN-13:978-1-61200-696-3, $32.95, HC, 256 pages
Critique: “Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper in World War II” is an extraordinary and simply riveting memoir that will prove to be an immediate and enduringly valued addition to both community and academic library World War II Military History & Biography collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that “Left for Dead at Nijmegen” is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $19.95).
Synopsis: “Left for Dead at Nijmegen” vividly recalls the larger-than-life experiences of an American paratrooper, Gene Metcalfe, who served in the 82nd Airborne during WWII.
This personal military memoir covers his recruitment into the military at Camp Grant to his training with the 501st Paratroop Infantry Regiment at Camp Toccoa. It wasn’t until D-Day itself that he first arrived in England to join the 508th PIR.
When Metcalfe boarded the C-47 which would drop him at Groesbeek Heights, just outside of Nijmegen, Holland, he was handed a box of twelve dozen condoms by an overconfident British lieutenant. He was to be among the first to jump into what should have been a picture-book meadow, free of German troops. Instead, it was defended by three German antiaircraft cannon emplacements.
As he jumped into a hail of bullets and exploding shells he watched his plane roll over and plummet into the ground. It was at that moment he realized the condoms had either been a bad joke or the planners of Operation Market Garden had seriously underestimated German resistance. Gene was listed as KIA and left for dead by his patrol, who presumed the worst when they saw his injuries from a shell explosion.
The rest of his story is equally gripping, as he became a POW held outside Munich, being moved between various camps ridden with disease and a severely undernourished population. Eventually, after making an escape attempt and being captured within sight of the snow-capped Swiss mountains, his camp was liberated by American troops in April 1945.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
“Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper is a nonfiction biography written by Marcus A. Nannini, who spent several years interviewing Gene Metcalfe, who was determined to become a paratrooper, enlisted and was part of Operation Market Garden, a paratrooper landing in Nijmegen, Holland. It was his first foray into the field of battle, the culmination of years of training in every aspect of the paratrooper’s skills in war-craft. Operation Market Garden was, from the outset, a poorly timed and executed operation, one for which the Germans almost seemed to have advance notice. For Metcalf, his inability to hear the order to retreat resulted in an injury that led one of his comrades to believe he was dead. While he was stunned and rendered unconscious for a while, Metcalf was indeed not dead. Over the next 24 hours, he would be imprisoned in a strange castle-like building and interviewed by Heinrich Himmler himself. Thereafter, until the war ended, he would languish in a series of gulags wherein Allied soldiers were deprived of food, forced into hard labor and doomed to die slow and agonizing deaths.”
“Left for Dead at Nijmegen is a stunning and beautifully written recounting of Gene Metcalfe’s experiences beginning with his life-changing decision to quit school and enlist to become a paratrooper. While the story is written by Nannini, I consistently felt Metcalfe’s presence within the telling, and the photographs included in the book increase the impact and credibility of Metcalfe’s story. I enjoyed seeing the young soldier through the author’s eyes, especially his artistic and humorous side, and I loved the stories of how he would get in trouble in school and boot camp for his cartoons. I was thrilled to see a few of his drawings were included in the back of the book and couldn’t help but chuckle at the one entitled ‘das brot.'”
“What struck me most vividly, however, was the brutal truth behind the treatment of those prisoners of war in the German gulags. While most of us think the Geneva Convention ensured that somewhat tolerable conditions for prisoners was the rule, this book shows how soldiers held by the Germans were often literally starved and worked to death. As I read, I couldn’t help but remember the photographs I’ve seen showing the condition of surviving prisoners of war taken when US troops entered the gulags and death camps of Germany. Those images and Metcalfe’s story paint an unforgettable picture of the suffering and privation inflicted in those camps. Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper is an important work, one that exemplifies the sacrifices made by our military and reveals the reality of the POWs’ struggle to survive under the harshest of situations. It’s most highly recommended.“
Left for Dead at Nijmegen: The True Story of an American Paratrooper in World War II
by Marcus A. Nannini
Book review by Donna Ford for AMERICAN REVIEW OF BOOKS.
“. . . standing in line waiting his turn to board the C-47 transport which would drop him into Holland in the first wave of Operation Market Garden.”
Gene Metcalfe was a fit and willing 20-year-old who finally achieved his goal of parachuting behind enemy lines. Days after the 1944 Normandy invasion, his 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment parachuted onto the European continent behind enemy lines in Holland. Their assignment was to capture the bridge leading into the city of Nijmegen. They were led to expect that no seasoned German soldiers would be there to meet them. Quickly, the unit figured out that these were not elderly men and kids manning the tanks and firepower. A blast that erupted near Metcalfe tossed him into the air; the slam to earth caused bleeding from his ear and rendered him unconscious. His best friend considered him dead and fell back with other unit members.
Metcalfe awoke slowly and disoriented. He was taken captive by the Germans and brought to meet a superior German officer who likely was Himmler. The Germans questioned him to learn about his regiment’s plans and also to determine whether he was Jewish. Metcalfe answered all questions humorously, even saying he was a farmer before the war. This lie likely saved his life after he was taken prisoner and assigned to Stalag VII-A, a prisoner of war camp in Germany.
Years later, the book’s content was told by Metcalfe to Nannini, who has done a first-rate job of writing and editing the book for publication. The author combined Metcalfe’s memories with documented research about the events and treatment of German prisoners. Metcalfe’s story is also verified by his personal artwork/sketches that he managed to bring back after the war ended. This 229-paged memoir documents conditions endured during WW II by captured prisoners. Some events are difficult to read about, but Nannini has described these eye-opening facts without dwelling on the horrors. Donna Ford for US Review of Books.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review