Read The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice by Alex Kershaw Online


June 6, 1944: Nineteen boys from Bedford, Virginia--population just 3,000 in 1944--died in the first bloody minutes of D-Day. They were part of Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, and the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches in Normandy. Later in the campaign, three more boys from this small Virginia town died of gunshot wounds. Twenty-two sJune 6, 1944: Nineteen boys from Bedford, Virginia--population just 3,000 in 1944--died in the first bloody minutes of D-Day. They were part of Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, and the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches in Normandy. Later in the campaign, three more boys from this small Virginia town died of gunshot wounds. Twenty-two sons of Bedford lost--it is a story one cannot easily forget and one that the families of Bedford will never forget. The Bedford Boys is the true and intimate story of these men and the friends and families they left behind.Based on extensive interviews with survivors and relatives, as well as diaries and letters, Kershaw's book focuses on several remarkable individuals and families to tell one of the most poignant stories of World War II--the story of one small American town that went to war and died on Omaha Beach....

Title : The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780306813559
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 328 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice Reviews

  • Dem
    2019-03-12 04:01

    3.5 Stars Some months ago my 16 year old son asked meMum if there was another War and Ireland had to contribute troops would I be drafted ?The hairs stood on the back of my neck as this was something I had never ever thought about as Ireland had been neutral in the past wars and while thousands of young Irish men volunteered to fight the Germans alongside the British in World War II conscription was not a factor. I dread the empty nest syndrome when College comes into playBut what must a parent feel when a Child is drafted in Wartime to fight...........for me it just doesn't bear thinking about and when I saw this book I felt I needed to read it as this small town had lost so many to WarJune 6, 1944: Nineteen boys from Bedford, Virginia--population just 3,000 in 1944--died in the first bloody minutes of D-Day. They were part of Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, and the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches in Normandy. Later in the campaign, three more boys from this small Virginia town died of gunshot wounds. Twenty-two sons of Bedford lost--it is a story one cannot easily forget and one that the families of Bedford will never forget.The book is well written and the war scenes well depicted and gut wrenching but the author focuses more on the human element of the story with so many interviews from family members and surviving soldiers and letters home from men that would never return. So many young men died instantly on D. Day and as one of the Interviewees statedthe heroes were not only the ones who died but also the ones who came home and lived with these images for the rest of their lives.A worthwhile and engaging read that focuses on the sacrifices made by these men and their families and a book that will stay with me.

  • A.L. Sowards
    2019-03-09 03:58

    I enjoyed this book and its focus on a relatively small group of men and the families they left behind. Most of them joined the national guard during the depression for the extra money. Company A was from small-town Bedford and included cousins, brothers, and friends. They were federalized before the US got into the war, and after Pearl Harbor they were in for the remainder of the conflict. After extensive training, they hit Omaha beach on D-day as part of the first wave. Not everyone died, but most did. This could have been a depressing book. Instead, I found it to be a poignant reminder that freedom is not free. A few highlights from the book:Training was long. (view spoiler)[When an American evangelist erected a sign in Ivybridge [the village in England where they were training] asking “where will you spend eternity?” someone scrawled “in England” across it. (hide spoiler)]The night before D-day, on the ship taking them across the channel, one man took out a picture of his baby girl. (view spoiler)[“If I could just see her once,” Parker said, “I wouldn’t mind dying.” He never did see her. He died in Normandy.(hide spoiler)]One of the book’s more poignant moments showed the woman working at the Western Union station at Bedford. (view spoiler)[She waited for the message to end, expecting the machine to fall silent. But it did not. Line after line of copy clicked out of the printer. Within a few minutes, as Teass watched in a “trance-like state,” it was clear that something terrible had happened to Company A. (hide spoiler)]Bedford Boys is a fitting tribute to the men and to their families. Worth reading for the insight into the time, as a reminder of the terrible cost of war, and to remember the sacrifices made by the men of Bedford.

  • Pamela
    2019-03-22 20:23

    “Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor . . . They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate . . . . They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return. Embrace these, Father and receive them . . .” – President Roosevelt, New York Times, June 7, 1944, as quoted in “The Bedford Boys” No matter how many books on war I read, nothing compares to Alex Kershaw’s compassion, humanistic insight, meticulous research, eye for era-enhancing details, literary integrity, clear/concise indexing, and flowing readability. “The Bedford Boys” exemplifies Kershaw’s ability to bring historical war campaigns/events to life (including the days/weeks/years leading up to and following) through honorable fortitude, unapologetic reality, and tactful-sensitivity - least we forget that freedom isn't free. Those who signed blank checks for our freedom then paid in full on D-Day are more than just statistics in a history book or a litany of names on a memorial wall - they are a mother’s son . . . brother, husband, father, uncle, neighbor (twenty-two of which are Bedford, Virginia boys) and they are America’s boys, who deserve never to be forgotten.Five praiseworthy, powerful stars

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-21 20:11

    Amazing and sad book. My great uncle, Gordon Henry White, Jr. was one of the Bedford Boys. He and other men from Bedford were in the first company to hit the beaches on D-Day. He died that day along with most of the men in his company. This was a great glimpse into the lives of these families and the small town that suffered so much. It gives first hand accounts from the few survivors of the initial attack and talks to the families about what it was like for them before, during, and after the war.

  • 'Aussie Rick'
    2019-03-12 22:57

    A very good and interesting account of a group of men from A Company, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, who were part of the first wave at Omaha Beach in 1944. I found the book easy to read and captivating, following these men from enlistment and training to the beaches at Normandy. A deeply touching book about a bunch of normal people from the small town of Bedford and what happened to them and their families, highly recommended.

  • Elizabeth Buckner
    2019-02-25 01:06

    So very sad, but a great reminder of the sacrifices of others so I could be free.

  • Mike
    2019-02-25 21:03

    4 Stars for a somber, hard hitting story about one of the first units to hit Omaha beach on D-Day. If you have seen "Saving Private Ryan", you will get an idea of what they met at the water's edge. To read about the men and their families, before, during and after brought it so close to home. I recently drove by Bedford, VA but didn't want to stop until I read this book. I'll be back that way again soon and will stop to really appreciate the National D-Day Memorial.

  • Mark Mortensen
    2019-03-10 04:00

    I can easily relate to little All-American town of Bedford, VA as when I received my draft number for the Vietnam War, the population of my hometown was slightly less than Bedford’s 3,000 residents during World War II. The Bedford community was devastated when 19 young men were killed on D-Day, June 6, 1944, while taking control of the strategic sandy shore along Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.The male youths, who gravitated to become members of the local National Guard, were caught up in the swell when President Franklin D. Roosevelt adhered to Congress and declared war. While each individual tried to digest the ramifications of war, as a group they were totally unaware that their future would role would be so historic. With no alternative, the boys, as new members of the U.S. Army, A Company, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division were quickly swept away for escalated extensive training in distant locations. The book is very griping at times. I was personally saddened to comprehend and read the accounts of some members, who looked forward to an emotional farewell visit home that never materialized. When the war was over Bedford counted 22 men who had given their life for our nation. Some were buried in France, while others were transported home for burial. Author Alex Kershaw is a very professional writer. This book is a must for any WWII library.

  • John
    2019-03-02 00:01

    I tend to favor regimental histories, or personal memoirs of World War II experiences. I thought this paean to the lost men of Bedford, VA would be maudlin, or trite. I was wrong. Alex Kershaw completed meticulous research, interviewed countless townspeople, family members, and survivors, and researched the regiment so thoroughly that the reader feels he knows the members of Company A. Yes, I realized what was coming. But, Kershaw didn't dwell on the landing and the death of the soldiers from Bedford. Instead, he struck an excellent balance, talking of family, depression challenges, advanced training, and the thoughts of the soldiers. He captured the aftermath of the war, and the pain, sorrow, and slow recovery for many, but not for all. It is a very good read, and one worth the investment for someone wanting a better understanding of the social history of war.

  • Shane Gower
    2019-03-21 03:58

    Sad, compelling, and important. The story this book tells is infinitely relatable to anyone who lived in a small town in America. My Grandfather served in the war and grew up in a very similarly sized town in Maine. I remember hearing their stories of how the war impacted the town. I can't imagine the impact on the town if 19 of its own had died in one day. This is what happened to Bedford, VA and why the author chose the title he did. I recently travelled to Bedford, VA to visit the National D-Day Memorial located there. While perusing the gift shop, my eye caught this book and so I bought it. Having toured the memorial, and driven around the small town of Bedford, the story was so much more meaningful and heartbreaking. In many ways this story symbolizes what the war was all about. The sacrifice made by the people of this town was great and we owe them a great deal. This book does a great job of following the boys through training at Fort Meaded, in Florida, in New Jersey, and then the agonizing months in England waiting for their chance at combat. The author brings several of the Bedford boys to life so that when they die on the beach you feel the impact even more. Company A was chosen to be the first to hit the sands at Omaha Beach where casualties would be the highest. Most of the Bedford boys were in Company A and so many died soon after hitting the beach on D- Day, some without ever having fired a shot at the enemy. The author does a nice job interviewing the families of the Bedford boys as well as those few who survived to show how the war impacted the community and what led to the building of the memorial. Bedford was chosen by the US Congress as the site for the memorial because it had way more of its citizens die per capita on D Day than any other Allied town or city in the world. It was hard to put this book down, but if you are interested in it, please visit the National D Day Memorial in this town. The Memorial is very large and magnificent and well worth one's time. It makes the book even more relatable and compelling. It's hard to explain but when I got out of the car and looked at the Memorial with its "Overlord" arch, it's marble replica of a Higgins Landing craft, and the bronze soldiers struggling up a faux beach with water around them surrounded by the glorious Blue Ridge mountains and peaceful quiet of a small town, I just got goose bumps. The whole thing is just perfect, I think the Bedford boys would approve. Great book and great story!

  • Lch
    2019-02-26 03:20

    Gripping account on how personal war was and will be. Since Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan it is well-known how much the first waves of soldiers suffered on Omaha Beach. It happened to be that a lot of the Bedford Boys were at the wrong place at the wrong time: the dog green sector at Vierville on June 6, 1944. Kershaw builds the story up in a traditional way, with all the training and preparations that the men went through. What I did not really expect, but appreciate, is the detailed description of the actual fighting and aftermath. In this way the book is a valuable military addition to the works of (among others) Ambrose, Ryan and Beevor.

  • Mahlon
    2019-03-15 21:04

    I would have thought that since the publication of Stephen Ambrose's authoritative D-Day, subsequent author's would have little new to say about the epic battle that turned the tide of WWII in Europe. Luckily for us Alex Kershaw has managed to find a new angle.The Bedford Boys focuses on Company A of the 116th infantry regiment, which was among the first units to land on D-Day. Company A was largely composed of residents of Bedford, VA. population 3000 in 1944, 22 Bedford Boys didn't return From Europe.Kershaw relies on first person interviews for the bulk of the book, which gives the combat scenes a visceral quality. Kershaw takes you right down to the water line, as bullets whiz past your ear, and you wait for the ramp to drop. I have read many books on WWII, and these combat scenes are the best I've ever come across.What sets Kershaw's narrative apart however is his ability to juxtapose the combat scenes with scenes from the homefront so as to give the reader a more complete understanding of the true cost of war.The Bedford Boys is my #2 book of 2003, and my #5 book of the decade.

  • Jessie Gussman
    2019-03-03 01:06

    An interesting book on D-Day, focusing mainly on the men from one town in Virginia who happened to be some of the first to step, and fall, on the French sand. Well documented with an extensive list of notes at the end, it is not an easy book to read, because of the sacrifice these men and this town made. The author included a description of D-Day in Bedford, VA that was a blessing to learn about. If it's true that there are no atheists in fox holes, then there are no atheists who have sons, brothers, husbands, or dads in fox holes. A challenging book.

  • Madisson
    2019-03-03 04:23

    This is the amazing story about the boys from the small American town of Bedford, Virginia who were part of Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division. They were among the first wave of American soldiers to hit Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day. Alex Kershaw writes of the experiences and sacrifices, not only of the boys over there, but of their families and friends on the homefront as well. This account really brought the US Infantry's side of D-Day to life for me and the last half of the book has some of the hardest pages I've ever read. Really fantastic book.

  • steven zisk
    2019-02-28 21:12

    History of D DayOutstanding reading for those who love history. The unimaginable sacrifices of one small American community, and how this one day in history affected their lives, not only on that day, but for hundreds of days for years and years to come. God bless America, and the sacrifices that made my life possible.

  • Julie
    2019-03-02 21:01

    This is the second Alex Kershaw book I've read this year (both WWII related) and I have to say he's fast becoming one of my favorite writers even though in both instances, they were both so incredibly tragic but especially The Bedford Boys.While obviously I knew about the events of D-Day, I didn't really know much of the backstory, the events leading up to it. And by events I'm not talking about the Montgomerys, the Eisenhowers, or the Churchhills. But rather the group of boys (for so many of them were incredibly young) who were the first ones to storm the beaches at Normandy; the first group of soldiers to die on June 6, 1944; and the small little Virginia town that was never the same after they lost so many of their husbands and brothers in just one day. Bedford had the unfortunate distinction of suffering the highest one-day loss of any U.S. town (a population of only 3,000, it lost 21 men on June 6). It was heartbreaking to read about the men whose lives were cut short much too soon but then even more so when reading about the survivors, the men who survived D-Day and the rest of the war but then suffered from immense guilt and PTSD for the rest of their lives, always wondering why they made it through when 21 of their fellow brothers did not. And of course the lives of their families who were never the same after they received those telegrams letting them know their loved one would never be coming home. There are fewer and fewer WWII veterans still living but reading books like this helps to keep the memory and the unimaginable things they did alive.

  • Mark
    2019-03-06 03:12

    The author tells the story of boys from Bedford Virginia who as part of the National guard participated as part of Company A in the D-day invasion of Normandy on Omaha beach. The book covers individuals, families and actions during this time. Alex Kershaw a premier writer of WWII does an excellent job writing about this select group which otherwise would get lost in the macro topic of D-day. This is my fourth book I've read by the author. I enjoy his work and ability to tell a good story.

  • Kenneth Flusche
    2019-03-11 03:13

    Well Written WWII History written for and by Survivors in loving memories of the Dead

  • Laura Beasley
    2019-03-07 23:56

    This was a great book but one of the hardest books I have ever read. It was heart breaking from beginning to end. These young men were so young and left family and so many did not return home. You really get to know the Bedford boys. I went and visited the memorial in Bedford in April and it is an amazing memorial. I plan to return again soon and I know everything will have a very different meaning. The book lets you in on the personal life of the boys, their time in training and then the war when they fought and many lost their lives. The details made it all real- not just reading a book. There were many times I had tears in my eyes as I read. War is so cruel. Something that those that fought in will never get over. I have always wondered why people that went to war did not talk about it later. I thought it was because it was so terrible to describe what they endured and witnessed. Now I understand that by talking about it they are reliving it again and going thru it once is way more than enough. These men gave their lives for us and our freedom. We owe them a debt that we can never repay.

  • Graceann
    2019-02-25 00:19

    Bedford, Virginia was a small community just outside of Roanoke, with nothing special about it compared to other communities of the pre-WWII era. Loving families and young men who joined the CCC and the National Guard to earn money during the Depression. Farmers and factory workers and folks just trying to get by. D-Day changed everything for Bedford, and the reverberations are still being felt by the people who were living there then, and who are descended from them. Bedford is the community in the United States that lost the most people in any one day during the War. Because the National Guard was formed into the Army units that served, this meant that units seeing action were sometimes formed entirely of people from the same communities. Sometimes these groups included family members. During heavy combat, you can imagine what will happen. Back in Bedford, the dreaded telegrams came, and came, and came after the 6th of June, 1944. Alex Kershaw shines a light on the boys who left Bedford for England in order to serve their country. He tells us what their training was like, the horrors they saw even before they got to England, and how they attempted to cope with the unmitigated carnage of Omaha Beach. If you think PTSD is a new thing, you'd be mistaken. Back at home, Kershaw tells us what it was like for the families who were left behind. How nervewracking it was to wait for news and not know if your loved one was still alive, and then the abject, unsoothable grief that came along with the telegram. There were men who survived, and were forever changed. There were men who never even made it to the beach. There were families whose lives became calendars of "before D-Day" and "after D-Day." The connecting thread is Bedford itself, where the National D-Day Memorial is fittingly located and where these young men are still fondly remembered. Thanks to Alex Kershaw and his beautifully-written, fascinating and heartbreaking book, their stories will continue to be told.

  • Ted Duke
    2019-03-12 03:04

    If you know nothing of the sacrifices of the young people (and their families) who served during WWII protecting our freedoms, YOU MUST read this book. The soldiers, the nurses, the families suffered losses even if they survived. If you know of that sacrifice you will still learn more.This book was hard for me to read at times. A well told true story of families and young ladies losing the loves of their lives. What was harder, a wife or girlfriend losing their love,or a sibling losing their brother?I don't know, but the heart-rending sorrow of a parent losing a son tops anything you can imagine.My oldest brother was MIA, Missing in Action, in WWII during the campaign in The Netherlands in September of 1944 and was eventually declared KIA,Killed in Action,in early 1945. I and my 6 surviving siblings were damaged.My Mom, was strong, she had to be, my Dad was NEVER the same again. He was gassed in WWI and never had much capability to smell or taste after that, but losing his oldest son and a favorite nephew in WWII devastated him.You will feel a part of some of these families when you read this, then VISIT the DD MEMORIAL in Bedford, Virginia.

  • Eric
    2019-02-25 01:58

    Found this book in a Denver hotel room during a fit of insomnia - lucky me. This is a moving story of the young men of Bedford, VA who joined the national guard to earn money and wound up spearheading the Allied invastion at Normandy. Literally, the first to land at Omaha beach, the extraordinary casualty rate among Company A of the 29th Infantry Division made Bedford's sacrifice, according to Brit-cum-American author Alex Kershaw, the greatest of any American town, which is largely why the National D-Day Memorial is located there. Kershaw tells their tale well, although his efforts to keep all of the Bedford boys alive in the reader's eye until the landing are not quite successful. Among the most interesting pieces are related to the grieving of relatives - the parents, siblings and sweethearts. I cannot imagine the psychological weight that is suggested by one mother's calling for her lost boys - both of Macie Hoback's sons died in the battle for Normandy - in her sleep 30 years after D-Day.

  • History Geek
    2019-02-25 03:01

    I've read countless books about World War Two and in particular D-Day. My grandfather was there in the days after the invasion and I've spent my life trying to fill in the blanks of his story. This book is special, it doesn't spend as much time on the failures and triumphs of "The Longest Day", but instead it focuses on the human story of war. If you take the death, destruction, and senselessness out of war, and only focus on the human spirit as it relates to it, the human war story is a marvelous thing. This book does that. It's a sad love story, it's triumph and tragedy, it's the desire to live at all costs, and the struggle of loss. Two years ago, my own small American town lost its first soldier since Vietnam. Our town was as emotional as I've ever seen it for the loss of one of its sons. I can only imagine the true state of human emotion in Bedford, Virginia when it found out in one day that 19 of her sons were not coming home. This book is a must read for any history lover, and should be required reading in high school history class.

  • Lanette
    2019-03-11 19:56

    Devastating, yet poignant story about the small town of Bedford, VA which proportionately lost more sons on D-Day than any other town in all of America. Tragic lessons were learned from WWII. Never allow brothers to serve in the same Company or on the same Ship (the Sullivan brothers) and never allow the National Guard from a small town to serve in the same Company to fight (and die) together leaving a small town bereft.

  • Tom
    2019-02-23 22:08

    Every person in America should read this in order to understand the reality of war, the ultimate price these guys paid for freedom. They were all heroes.

  • Charlie
    2019-03-11 21:26

    If you haven't read this book about the Bedford Boys ---- well, you should. One of Alex Kershaw's BEST on how WW11 broke the hearts of a single community in Virginia.

  • Steve Adamczyk
    2019-03-17 03:26

    Alex Kershaw is the author of a novel based on a true story called, “The Bedford Boys”. It’s about 35-40 young men in Bedford, Virginia who fought on June 6, 1944 also known as D-Day, the most bloodiest battle during World War II. The book shows resemblance toward the movie “Saving Ryan”Private. The novel follows a rough journey of brave men during the bloodiest year of WWII in which half of them will not come home. The book tells the real story of war and the amount of loss and grief that every soldier has to deal with.The Bedford boys enlist in the military. However, it was the worst time to ever to this which later will come with huge consequences.The boys go to England and while they were there they get intel that over 200,000 men are deployed into action and more than a quarter have perished. The Bedford Boys are scared and they know that it's not just any war. The commander said to everyone, “When you're scared you show defeat toward the enemy” (Kershaw). This was a turning point to the characters’ emotions. Over the course of the novel, The Bedford boys go through tough times in the military. While deployed the boys come together and make a pact. Then during D-Day they go through huge emotions. For example, one of the scariest parts of war was hearing men crying for their “Mom” or saying they “wanna go home” before dying. This made Bedford boys distraught to fight. I strongly recommend this book because it shows the real life effect of war and that war is not a fantasy. Also it shows what war can do to you while in service and what could happen during months of in service. The book showed great inspiration for the boys. It showed how war affects everybody and it is an example of people on their the worst day and best day in military history.

  • Sierra Smith
    2019-03-02 04:14

    I really liked this book. It told the story of the Bedford boys, starting years before the war. It also included accounts of the Bedford boys and their personal experiences. It allowed you to follow along with different men and understand their specific story over the years. In addition, it had two sections of pictures, so you could understand a little more about these men, and make them more than just names on a page. To anyone who loves WWII, I recommend this book. I learned a lot about the years of preparation that went into D-Day. I had no idea that many of those men had been training in England for nearly two years. All of the men involved made a remarkable sacrifice, being away from their families and loved ones for so long. One of the Bedford boys, Earl Parker, even left a pregnant wife behind. I definitely recommend it!

  • Christina DeVane
    2019-02-24 02:25

    Super interesting as this tells the story of this town's boys signing up for the National Guard during the Great Depression to earn money. Then WWII breaks out and they all go to war in Europe. The majority died during the D-day invasion. We have not experienced this kind of devastation. Disclaimer: several bad words due to direct quotes.

  • Dave
    2019-03-11 23:59

    This is a wonderful story about a town and its young men who endured terrible sacrifices to end tyranny in Europe. Reading this book made me so proud of Bedford and its boys who never came home and those who did. Read it.