The Longest Day

So last Labor Day I watched Band of Brothers and loved it.

So I decided to read the book it was based on, but when I read the reviews for the book they mostly something to the effect of “this book is good, but The Longest Day is better” so I added The Longest Day to my Amazon Wish List.

Brian got it for me for Christmas.

I read it a few weeks ago.

Despite those long delays I was really, really excited about reading this book. And it lived up to my hopes. It was a great read.

I know there are tons of movies and books set in World War II, but reading this book makes me realize that there is no reason they can’t all be good and all be different. So many different threads are followed in this book and I was caught up in all of them.

One of the most amazing things to me is that I even felt empathy for some of the Germans. I expected that nothing could make me care about the most reviled villains in the real world.

Major Werner Pluskat is one of those guys. After news of the parachuters invading France reaches him he rushes to his post on the coastline to see if the invasion has started. At this time no one believes its the real invasion. No one even agress in how big the parachuting phase was. Most assumed it was much smaller then it really was. Pluskat decides to watch the horizon just in case. He watches all night long. Finally as he is just about to give up he takes one last look and see’s the largest naval force ever assembled. He picks up the phone and calls his command.

His command doesn’t believe him, but they ask him where the ships are heading. “Right for me” he replies.

Still, his command doesn’t seem to believe the size of the invasion. They called him asking for the exact location of the shelling. Finally they asked him to return to his head quarters, which he does during the battle. I was actually glad that he survived. This guy did his job right, but none of the higher ups trusted him.

Also interesting on the German side was Rommel. He was instrumental in setting up the defenses in France, but happened to be back in Germany when the invasion started. As he raced back to France he kept getting reports of what was occurring. At one point he commented “…if I was commander of the Allied forces right now, I could finish off the war in fourteen days.”

Sure, lots of the Allied solders have great stories too, but I wasn’t surprised by the fact that I loved those.

It’s a great book.

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  • Random Quote

    “I just think you hate this museum too much to be a tour guide.”