Invasion Diary: A Dramatic Firsthand Account of the Allied Invasion of Italy

Open Road Media
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A dramatic and richly detailed chronicle of the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy from one of America’s greatest war correspondents.

Following the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, Allied military strategists turned their attention to southern Italy. Winston Churchill famously described the region as the “soft underbelly of Europe,” and claimed that an invasion would pull German troops from the Eastern Front and help bring a swift end to the war.
 
On July 10, 1943, American and British forces invaded Sicily. Operation Husky brought the island under Allied control and hastened the downfall of Benito Mussolini, but more than one hundred thousand German and Italian troops managed to escape across the Strait of Medina. The “soft underbelly” of mainland Italy became, in the words of US Fifth Army commander Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, “a tough old gut.”
 
Less than a year after landing with the US Marines on Guadalcanal Island, journalist Richard Tregaskis joined the Allied forces in Sicily and Italy. Invasion Diary documents some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, from bombing runs over Rome to the defense of the Salerno beachhead against heavy artillery fire to the fall of Naples. In compelling and evocative prose, Tregaskis depicts the terror and excitement of life on the front lines and recounts his own harrowing brush with death when a chunk of German shrapnel pierced his helmet and shattered his skull.
 
An invaluable eyewitness account of two of the most crucial campaigns of the Second World War and a stirring tribute to the soldiers, pilots, surgeons, nurses, and ambulance drivers whose skill and courage carried the Allies to victory, Invasion Diary is a classic of war reportage and “required reading for all who want to know how armies fight” (Library Journal).
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Richard Tregaskis including rare images from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.

 
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About the author

Richard Tregaskis (1916–1973) was a journalist and award-winning author best known for Guadalcanal Diary (1943), his bestselling chronicle of the US Marine Corps invasion of the Solomon Islands during World War II. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Tregaskis graduated from Harvard University and reported for the Boston American before joining the International News Service. Assigned to cover the Pacific Fleet operations after Pearl Harbor, he was one of only two reporters to land with the Marines on Guadalcanal Island. His dramatic account of the campaign was adapted into a popular film and became required reading for all Marine Corps officer candidates. Invasion Diary (1944) vividly recounts the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy and Tregaskis’s brush with death when a chunk of German shrapnel pierced his skull. Vietnam Diary (1963) documents the increased involvement of U.S. troops in the conflict between North and South Vietnam and was awarded the Overseas Press Club’s George Polk Award. Tregaskis’s other honors include the Purple Heart and the International News Service Medal of Honor for Heroic Devotion to Duty. He traveled the world many times over, and wrote about subjects as varied as the first space ship (X-15 Diary, 1961), John F. Kennedy’s heroism during World War II (John F. Kennedy and PT-109, 1962), and the great Hawaiian king Kamehameha I (Warrior King, 1973). On August 15, 1973, Tregaskis suffered a fatal heart attack while swimming near his home in Hawaii. After a traditional Hawaiian funeral, his ashes were scattered in the waters off Waikiki Beach.
 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Nov 15, 2016
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Pages
245
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ISBN
9781504040013
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Military / World War II
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In mid-1943 James Megellas, known as “Maggie” to his fellow paratroopers, joined the 82d Airborne Division, his new “home” for the duration. His first taste of combat was in the rugged mountains outside Naples.

In October 1943, when most of the 82d departed Italy to prepare for the D-Day invasion of France, Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, the Fifth Army commander, requested that the division’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Maggie’s outfit, stay behind for a daring new operation that would outflank the Nazis’ stubborn defensive lines and open the road to Rome. On 22 January 1944, Megellas and the rest of the 504th landed across the beach at Anzio. Following initial success, Fifth Army’s amphibious assault, Operation Shingle, bogged down in the face of heavy German counterattacks that threatened to drive the Allies into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Anzio turned into a fiasco, one of the bloodiest Allied operations of the war. Not until April were the remnants of the regiment withdrawn and shipped to England to recover, reorganize, refit, and train for their next mission.

In September, Megellas parachuted into Holland along with the rest of the 82d Airborne as part of another star-crossed mission, Field Marshal Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation Market Garden. Months of hard combat in Holland were followed by the Battle of the Bulge, and the long hard road across Germany to Berlin.

Megellas was the most decorated officer of the 82d Airborne Division and saw more action during the war than most. Yet All the Way to Berlin is more than just Maggie’s World War II memoir. Throughout his narrative, he skillfully interweaves stories of the other paratroopers of H Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The result is a remarkable account of men at war.
By mid-1944, the U.S. Army was facing a critical shortage of the most important commodity in any war, the common foot soldier. Higher-than-expected casualties during the liberation of France had forced the Army to comb its ranks for replacement infantrymen. Plucked in 1944 from the safety and privilege of the Army Specialized Training Program (the World War II version of the college deferment of the Vietnam years), twenty-two-year-old John Babcock suddenly found himself an infantry private headed to Europe. Raised in an upper-middle-class family, this sensitive and literate youth was thrust into a group of coarse, uneducated, and sometimes brutal draftees who were headed to the 78th Infantry Division as replacements. Babcock demonstrates that the "greatest generation" was not always that. Instead, it was like any other cohort--full of liars, cowards, and ordinary men who simply wanted to stay alive and go home.

Babcock lets us see the war through his eyes--just over the rim of the foxhole. Undergoing his baptism of fire in the Battle of the Bulge, he endures the trials of combat, advancing through attrition to become the senior sergeant in the company. This ordinary enlisted infantryman in "just another combat division" takes the reader from infantry basic training and seven months of combat to postwar occupation duty in Germany and back home. It is one infantry rifleman's story rather than an account of how his division fit into the grander scheme of the war in Europe--though the author relates to that by providing the reader with a roadmap of dates and locations taken. Babcock offers an intimate taste of combat, casualties, how he fought, and with which weapons (in clear "civilian" language), and both the heroism and cowardice of his fellow soldiers. Published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army, it is a gripping account of how an ordinary American boy felt and experienced the so-called good war.
#1 New York Times Bestseller: A “superb” eyewitness account of one of the bloodiest and most pivotal battles of World War II (Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down).

On August 7, 1942, eleven thousand US Marines landed on Tulagi and Guadalcanal Islands in the South Pacific. It was the first major Allied offensive against Japanese forces; the first time in history that a combined air, land, and sea assault had ever been attempted; and, after six months of vicious fighting, a crushing defeat for the Empire of Japan and a major turning point in the Pacific War.
 
Volunteer combat correspondent Richard Tregaskis was one of only two journalists on hand to witness the invasion of Guadalcanal. He risked life and limb to give American readers a soldier’s experience of the war in the Pacific, from the suffocating heat and humidity to the unique terror of fighting in tall, razor-sharp grass and in crocodile-infested jungle streams against a concealed enemy. In understated yet graceful prose, Tregaskis details the first two months of the campaign and describes the courage and camaraderie of young marines who prepared for battle knowing that one in four of them wouldn’t make it home.
 
An instant bestseller when it was first published in 1943 and the basis for a popular film of the same name, Guadalcanal Diary set the standard for World War II reportage. Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the literary events of its time,” it is a masterpiece of war journalism whose influence can be found in classic works such as John Hersey’s Hiroshima, Michael Herr’s Dispatches, and Dexter Filkins’s The Forever War.
 
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Richard Tregaskis including rare images from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.
“The first definitive eyewitness account of the combat in Vietnam, this unforgettable, vividly illustrated report records the story of the 14,000 Americans fighting in a new kind of war. Written by one of the most knowledgeable and experienced of America’s war correspondents, Vietnam Diary shows how we developed new techniques for resisting wily guerrilla forces.

Roaming the whole of war-torn Vietnam, Tregaskis takes his readers on the tense U.S. missions—with the Marine helicopters and the Army HU1B’s (Hueys); with the ground pounders on the embattled Delta area, the fiercest battlefield of Vietnam; then to the Special Forces, men chosen for the job of training Montagnard troops to resist Communists in the high jungles.

Mr. Tregaskis tells the stirring human story of American fighting men deeply committed to their jobs—the Captain who says: “You have to feel that it’s a personal problem—that if they go under, we go under;” the wounded American advisor who deserted the hospital to rejoin his unit; the father of five killed on his first mission the day before Christmas; the advisor who wouldn’t take leave because he loved his wife and feared he would go astray in Saigon. And the dramatic battle reports cover the massive efforts of the Vietnamese troops to whom the Americans are leaders and advisors.

An authority on the wars against communism is Asia, Tregaskis has reported extensively on the Chinese Civil War, Korea, the Guerrilla wars in Indochina, Malaya, and Indonesia. He was the winner of the George Polk Award in 1964 for reporting under hazardous conditions.-Print ed.
Three classic accounts of WWII from a reporter who “shaped America’s understanding of the war, and influenced every account that came after” (Mark Bowden).

Volunteer combat correspondent Richard Tregaskis risked life and limb to give American readers a soldier’s–eye view of the Second World War. These three tales of bravery and sacrifice shed light on the Greatest Generation’s darkest hours.
 
Guadalcanal Diary: In August 1942, Tregaskis landed with the US Marines on Tulagi and Guadalcanal Islands in the South Pacific for the first major Allied offensive against Japanese forces. He details the first two months of the campaign and describes the courage and camaraderie of young marines who prepared for battle knowing that one in four of them wouldn’t make it home. An instant #1 New York Times bestseller and the basis for a popular film of the same name, Guadalcanal Diary is a masterpiece of war journalism that “captures the spirit of men in battle” (John Toland).
 
Invasion Diary: In July 1943, Tregaskis joined the Allied forces in Sicily and Italy and documented some of the fiercest fighting of the war, from bombing runs over Rome to the defense of the Salerno beachhead against heavy artillery fire to the fall of Naples. In compelling and evocative prose, Tregaskis depicts the terror and excitement of life on the front lines and his own harrowing brush with death when a chunk of German shrapnel pierced his helmet and shattered his skull. Invasion Diary is “required reading for all who want to know how armies fight” (Library Journal).
 
John F. Kennedy and PT-109: In the early morning hours of August 2, 1943, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri sliced into US Navy motor torpedo boat PT-109 near the Solomon Islands. Ten surviving crewmembers and their young skipper, Lt. John F. Kennedy, clung to the wreckage. Over the next three days, the privileged son of a Boston multimillionaire displayed extraordinary courage and leadership as he risked his life to shepherd his crew to safety and coordinate a daring rescue mission deep in enemy territory. Lieutenant Kennedy earned a Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart, and the story of PT-109 captured the public’s imagination and helped propel Kennedy all the way to the White House. Acclaimed war correspondent Tregaskis—who once beat out the future president for a spot on the Harvard University swim team—brings this remarkable chapter in American history to vivid life.
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