DINNER WITH HIMMLER, based on the book LEFT FOR DEAD AT NIJMEGEN by Marcus A. Nannini.
Midwest Book Review calls it “EXTRAORDINARY AND SIMPLY RIVETING”
“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.” Casey Quyn Manhattan Book Review of LEFT FOR DEAD AT NIJMEGEN by Marcus A. Nannini
“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
“There are many stories about the American airborne in Market Garden; Gene’s story is unique and significant.” World War II History Magazine, April 2020
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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 A. Nannini.
The Order to fall back had finally been given by Lieutenant Weaver. Gene, being at the forefront of the fire-fight, couldn’t hear the order. He stood his ground and continued to fire as fast as he could, having run out of hand-grenades. Ray Meade, his best friend, did hear the order and soon realized Gene wasn’t pulling back. Not wanting to leave his friend behind he decided to take a chance and charge across the roadway to let Gene know they were pulling out.
As Meade took his first step towards Gene, a shell from a nearby German “88” exploded, throwing Gene’s body high into the air. Meade heard Gene hit the ground with a stomach-churning thump. Undaunted, Meade continued across the road, dodging heavy fire from the German 10th SS Panzer Division, only to find Gene’s apparently lifeless body, face-down in the dirt. Meade rolled him over, noticed blood pouring from his right ear and assumed the worst. Gene was Left for Dead at Nijmegen, the only member of the advance combat patrol who did not return.
About an hour later Gene found himself standing between two hardened, machine-gun-toting SS fanatics while being interrogated by the evil Reichsfuhrer SS, Heinrich Himmler, deep within the bowels of an ancient castle. It was only the beginning of what would prove to be eight harrowing months under the thumb of the Nazi High Command.
Gene would shake hands with death numerous times, with both the Nazis, as well as the ground and air forces of the Allied nations. Gene would risk his life to save that of a fellow paratrooper, Elmer Melchi, who had been machine-gunned by a Nazi guard. He would witness carnage, suffer extreme deprivation, be forced into slave labor and eventually escape, only to be recaptured within sight of the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland.
Salvation came when General Patton’s tanks blew open the gates to his prison camp. With freedom beckoning to him, Gene didn’t hesitate and immediately embarked on a remarkable journey that included running directly into a column of 300 German soldiers. His astonishing tale continues to this day as he has received numerous awards for his service and heroism, in both the USA and Holland, all as a result of this riveting book.
GENE IS TALKED ABOUT ALL OVER THE WORLD AND IN ALL MANNER OF PUBLICATION AND BROADCAST:
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MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW JUNE 2019
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.
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).
COPYRIGHT MARCUS A. NANNINI 2020-2021