War Stories

In Their Own Words, WWII: The European Theater –
Reviewed by Jack Roberts

Listening Time: 8 hours
Publisher: Topics Entertainment
Retail: $34.95
Genre: History

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the slow, elderly driver put-putting along in your lane was once a carefree, dashing young fellow. And if he’s in his late ’70s or early ’80s, there’s a fair chance that old codger wrecking your timetable could’ve waded ashore at Iwo Jima, piloted a C-46 over The Hump, played hide-n-seek with the Afrika Corps in Tunisia or parachuted at midnight into the hedgerows of Normandy. If that’s the case, then it’s a sure bet that old fellow has stories to tell about events that seem almost legendary to young people today.

If you’re a history buff, or even if you just like a good, ripping adventure yarn, then In Their Own Words, WWII: The European Theater will make you appreciate the sacrifices made by young Americans 60 years ago, as they fought with our Allies to free the world from the most evil empires in man’s history.

This eight-disc collection clocks in with more than eight hours of first-person recollections of what it was like to be there on the ground or in the skies of Europe caught up in the greatest war the world has ever seen. Professional narration is kept to a bare minimum in this series of CDs. The spotlight rightfully shines on the veterans themselves, who tell their stories in plainspoken, down-to-earth detail. More than once I found myself back in my childhood, sitting by the fireplace, listening to my uncles recount their wartime adventures. The style is that homely, and as a result, this collection of CDs works extremely well emotionally. These men lived through the war, and the events they witnessed have clearly never strayed far from their thoughts. That’s evident in the catch of a voice, a flicker of hesitation when recounting a particularly bad moment, or the wistful revisitation of a rare humorous or peaceful break from the fighting.

D-Day and the battle for France are clearly at the centerpiece of this collection, although Sicily, Italy, the Battle of the Bulge and the assault on Germany are also recounted. All aspects of combat are covered as well. Col. Francis “Gabby” Gabreski and Col. Bud Anderson (both highly decorated aces in European fighting) recount hair-raising dogfights over Europe and dealing with threats as diverse as frigid cockpits and new German jets. Tom McCarthy describes harrowing pathfinder night drops behind enemy lines in Sicily and France, while Belton Cooper (History Channel guest and author of Death Traps) tells about the dangers of fighting in M-4 Sherman tanks in the hedgerows of Normandy.

Because these stories are being told by “regular guys” and very little editing is evident, details can be sparse in areas, and some testimonials skip around in places as these aging heroes leave the original story on a tangent or two. But the fighting spirit, the dedication to total victory and steadfast conviction in their voices never wavers.


Notables

Drivers, here is your chance to review the latest audiobooks. Tell our readers what you like or dislike about the plot and characters, and why you would recommend it to other drivers. Below are some of the audiobooks available in the Truckers News audiobook library. Contact Kristin Walters at (800) 633-5953, ext. 1204, or via e-mail at kwalters@eTrucker.com to reserve an audiobook. It will be sent to you free of charge for your review. Audiobooks are available on a first-call, first-served basis.

Beachcomber –
Karen Robards

Christy Petrino hadn’t planned on a vacation on Ocracoke Island, but when she learns her fiancé and boss, suave Michael DePalma, is a “made man” and the Philadelphia law firm where she works is a front for his mob, she breaks her engagement and quits her job. But no one walks away from the DePalma family business so easily. Only if she delivers a locked briefcase to a motel on Ocracoke Island will she – and her mother and sisters – be free.

After clandestinely making her drop-off, Christy unwittingly runs into a new kind of terror. Now a witness at the center of a homicide investigation, Christy learns the police are hunting for a serial killer dubbed the “beachcomber” because beautiful young women – women who resemble her – have disappeared while vacationing at nearby beach communities.
Only when she’s with Luke Rand, her big surfer-dude next-door neighbor, does Christy feel safe. Can she trust this handsome stranger to help her survive a hot and deadly summer?

4.5 hours
Retail: $25
Simon & Schuster Audio

Audiobook Sources
Audiobooks may be purchased or rented from the following sources:
AUDIO ADVENTURES, (800) 551-6692, for 14-day rental of most major titles.
BOOKS NOW, (800) 266-5766, for purchase.
Simon & Schuster Audio, (800) 323-7445, for purchase.

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