Omaha Beach On D-Day
YA graphic novel
"Dawn on Tuesday, June 6, 1944, found no fewer than thirteen war
correspondents in the ranks of the US Army soldiers assigned to
Normandy's Omaha sector. And they weren't just any correspondents--
the cream of the journalistic crop had started reporting for duty at
0630 hours...There would be words--written and spoken--but no
pictures. At least, not from the beach."
If there had been no pictures from the beach it would have been
understandable. We're talking D-Day toward the end of World War II.
Legions of young soldiers swam and walked into basically Hell on earth
staged on the coast of France. One can scarcely blame newspeople who
chose to shoot pictures from the relative safety of shipboard.
However, one photographer walked into the inferno with the
soldiers, darting from cover to cover and dodging bullets as he shot
pictures. Most of his film was ruined in a developing room in
England. However, ten photos survived, the only close up pictures of
the first wave of the Omaha Beach landing. A very famous one shows a
then anonymous soldier struggling through the surf.
Omaha Beach On D-Day uses a captivating and unique format to
convey its story. Starting with graphic novel format, it uses the
original photographs to segue to the photo journalistic second half.
It tells the narratives of the invasion, the later search for the
unnamed soldier in the surf, and the intriguing life of the
photographer, Robert Capa, a premier war correspondant who hated war
so much his mother refused to let him be buried in Arlington Cemetary--
a man who once said, "It's not always easy to stand aside and be
unable to do anything except record the sufferings around you."
This is a great read for its target audience--teens who will be
heavily targeted by military recruiters. It gives a sense of the
brutal reality of combat--the one thing that doesn't change as weapons
and strategies evolve. It's also a must read for my generation, the
parents, who were born safely after World War II drew to its bloody
conclusion. It's a needed reminder of who in war pays the ultimate
On a personal note, I have finally catelogued the books I've reviewed
for easy reference: 838 cards filed in recycled chamomile tea boxes.
That's my reading for five years. When I get into grad school I'm
gonna have to cut down.
A great big shout out goes out to war correspondants who risk their
lives to convey to those of us safely stateside the grim reality of
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