2019 marks the 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden. 1944-2019,
NIJMEGEN, pronounced NIE-MAY-GEN (hard “G”)
FATHER’S DAY IS JUNE 16, 2019. THIS BOOK MAKES A GREAT GIFT!
Gene quit high school and joined the paratroopers only to find himself wedged between machine-gun toting “SS” fanatics while being interrogated by the notorious Nazi, Heinrich Himmler.
Today this appears to possibly be the best deal of the day with a discount of $10.58 dropping the purchase price all the way down to $22.38!!!!!!! Link: https://www.amazon.com/Left-Dead-Nijmegen-American-Paratrooper/dp/1612006965/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?crid=12GYNY4U04LOL&keywords=left+for+dead+at+nijmegen&qid=1553292040&s=gateway&sprefix=left+for+dead+at+%2Caps%2C251&sr=8-1-fkmrnull
Marcus A. Nannini
Young Adult – Adult NonFiction 256 Pages-
Reviewed on 01/19/2019
FIVE STAR Book ReviewS
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.
AMAZON REVIEW BY Joyce Lefler 5.0 out of 5 stars. History come to life. April 2, 2019. Verified Purchase. Left for Dead at Nijmegen is amazing. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a need-to-read story based on the author’s interviews of Gene Metcalfe, a kid who left high school and volunteered to serve his country during WWII. Through excruciating hard work and dedication, Gene achieved his dream and became an elite paratrooper. This dream turned into a nightmare after his first jump under fire. The enemy was ready for him and his comrades. Gene experienced an injury so severe, his buddy assumed he was dead. Gene was left behind and became a German prisoner of war. He experienced years of torture, starvation, and atrocities beyond horror.
Through it all, Gene maintained an uncanny sixth sense that he listened to. It saved him many times. He developed a pragmatic attitude towards death – and an authentic one towards life. His sense of humor and his journaling through the medium of pencil sketches helped him maintain his sanity when others would have given up or gone insane.
The author showed that through the mayhem of war, there were a few people who chose to show kindness to a captured enemy with gifts of food, a break from slave labor, and occasionally, a bath. These short respites allowed Gene to regain his strength and rebuild hope that he might outlive his captivity.
I loved the inclusion of the before, during, and after photos – and Gene’s sketches. A picture is worth a thousand words and each picture helped validate the story, though the author wrote so authentically, no validation was needed.
I especially appreciated the wrap-up: Gene survived the war and was rewarded with a very fulfilling life.
The author made these characters and their experiences real. This story really happened and is an integral part of our history. Freedom is never free. Gene Metcalfe is one of the heroes who willingly paid the price.
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He was the last to jump from his fatally stricken C-47 and the lead man when he walked into a prepared German defense. He was left for dead, captured by the SS, interrogated by Heinrich Himmler and that was all on Day one of Operation Market Garden, 75 years ago. 1944-2019. https://www.amazon.com/Left-Dead-Nijmegen-American-Paratrooper/dp/1612006965?SubscriptionId=AKIAIMLHIHNHHQXRQX2Q&tag=readersfavo0f-20&linkCode=sp1&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=1612006965
A great Indie Bookstore in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, LEANA’S BOOKS AND MORE, is offering a THIRTY PERCENT DISCOUNT (30%): Order here:
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1944-2019 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden
If you live in Australia you can order your copy of LEFT FOR DEAD AT NIJMEGEN at your local bookstore or: https://www.fishpond.com.au/q/left+for+dead+at+nijmegen
Copyright Marcus A. Nannini, 2018, 2019.