Churchill's Band of Brothers: WWII's Most Daring D-Day Mission and the Hunt to Take Down Hitler's Fugitive War Criminals (Hardcover)
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Award-winning war reporter and internationally bestselling military historian Damien Lewis explores one of WWII's most remarkable Special Forces missions during the Normandy landings on D-Day--and the extraordinary hunt that followed to take down a cadre of fugitive SS and Gestapo war criminals.
On the night of June 13th, 1944, a twelve-man SAS unit parachuted into occupied France. Their objective: hit German forces deep behind the lines, cutting the rail-tracks linking Central France to the northern coastline. In a country crawling with enemy troops, their mission was to prevent Hitler from rushing his Panzer divisions to the D-Day beaches and driving the Allied troops back into the sea. It was a Herculean task, but no risk was deemed too great to stop the Nazi assault. In daring to win it all, the SAS patrol was ultimately betrayed, captured, and tortured by the Gestapo before facing execution in a dark French woodland on Hitler's personal orders. Miraculously, two of the condemned men managed to escape, triggering one of the most secretive Nazi-hunting operations ever, as the SAS vowed to track down every one of the war criminals who had murdered their brothers in arms...all with Churchill's covert backing.
With Nazi Germany's lightning seizure of much of Western Europe, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had called for the formation of specially trained troops of the "hunter class." Their purpose was to incite a reign of terror across enemy-occupied Europe. Churchill's warriors were to shatter all known rules of warfare, taking the fight to the enemy with no holds barred. In doing so, the Special Air Service would be tested as never before during the pivotal D-Day landings, and the quest for vengeance that followed.
Breathtaking and exhaustively researched, Churchill's Band of Brothers is based upon a raft of new and unseen material provided by the families of those who were there. It reveals the untold story of one of the most daring missions of WWII, that not only had ramifications for the war itself but led to the most extraordinary and gripping of aftermaths.
About the Author
Damien Lewis is an award-winning historian, war reporter, and bestselling author. He spent over two decades reporting from war, disaster, and conflict zones around the world, winning numerous awards. He has written more than a dozen books about World War II, including The Ministry for Ungentlemanly Warfare, The Dog Who Could Fly, SAS Ghost Patrol, and The Nazi Hunters. His work has been published in over forty languages, and many of his books have been made, or are being developed, as feature films, TV series, or as plays for the stage. Lewis is a Fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Visit him online at DamienLewis.com.
Praise for Damien Lewis’ WWII History Books
“So much more than just a war story...While it involves death and suffering and terrible acts of cruelty, it also highlights the enduring qualities of courage and loyalty, of kindness and humanity, resourcefulness and resilience—qualities of which today's world is much in need.”
—Amy Crossland, daughter of Major Eric ‘Bill’ Barkworth, Chief of the SAS War Crimes Investigation Team
“Truly revelatory. The SAS at their very finest in WWII, and after, hunting down the Nazi war criminals.”
—Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham
"This spellbinding account brings to life the exploits of a brave band of warriors, one of whom was my uncle, Colonel Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne DSO, who commanded the SAS for much of WWII. He led his men on numerous behind-the-lines missions, and this compelling read does their memories full justice.”
—Fiona Ferguson, niece of Colonel Mayne
“Riveting. Extraordinary. A real-life thriller.”
“In June 1944 my father, Captain Patrick Garstin MC, led a band of warriors into war to help liberate Europe. He paid the ultimate price, as did others in his patrol. But with gritty determination, the SAS brought their killers to justice. I was one year old when my father was executed, so sadly never knew him. This amazing book has filled in so many gaps, and it commemorates all those consigned by Hitler to the Nacht und Nebel; the night and fog.”
“Exhaustively researched, powerfully written, and utterly gripping. Blows the doors off!”
—Bear Grylls, host of Running Wild, and former British SAS Serviceman on Churchill’s Hellraisers
“A true story that reads better than any thriller.”
—Dan Snow, Award-winning British historian on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
“Lewis presents a richly detailed and nail-biting tale. For readers who enjoy well-told history and scholars of World War II.”
—Library Journal on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
“This highly informative book almost reads like a genuine techno-thriller as the author describes the “wizard’s war” between England and Germany over the use of radar in the air war during 1940–1942 . . . blending technology and action to tell the amazing true story of one of the most daring but almost unknown special operations of the war. . . . Engaging and suspenseful . . . a real page-turner, balancing the blend of describing electronic gadgetry and heroic adventure to bring to life one of World War II’s most audacious special operations.”
—New York Journal of Books
“Anyone who wants to learn more about the origins of the British Special Forces should read this book. It intertwines historical research and eyewitness testimony to tell the untold story of heroism, courage, and ingenuity.”
—Military Press on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
"Superb...Reads like an adventure novel and the reader may be excused in forgetting that it is a history book."
—SOFREP on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
“Damien Lewis’ wondrously realized Churchill’s Shadow Raiders isn’t a work of fiction, but that doesn’t stop it from reading like a top-notch thriller fashioned by the likes of Jack Higgins or Frederick Forsyth… The narrative is so riveting and powerful that it’s easy to forget you’re reading fact instead of fiction. Lewis writes with the alacrity of the great Erik Larson while displaying an even keener sense of storytelling.”
—The Providence Journal on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
“Lamentably the role of technology in the Second World War has received relatively little attention compared to major campaigns, particularly given the importance of technology in winning the war. The conflict was fundamentally a technological race for better military intelligence and improved weaponry. In this regard, Damien Lewis’ Churchill’s Shadow Raiders reveals the crucial role of radar in defeating the Luftwaffe, itself a precedent for the Anglo-American landings in 1944.”
—The Churchill Bulletin on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
“Scholarship and readability combine to intertwine the themes of radar technology, the growth of special operations, and the development of airborne forces. . . . A work that reads like a thriller and tells a compelling story.”
—Army University Press on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
“Rather than a dry recounting of the history of the Paras and the raid, Lewis recognizes tells this story as a human drama of daring and bravery. The personalities of the raiders and the challenges they faced makes this book highly readable and gives it a page-turning quality. . . . One of the most readable World War 2 history books I have read in years”
—We Are the Mighty on Churchill’s Shadow Raiders
“A little-known behind-the-lines spectacular led by two heroic British officers. Successful niche military history for a popular audience.”
—Kirkus Reviews on Churchill’s Hellraisers
“Military historian Lewis delivers an action-packed account of special operations missions against Nazi forces in Northern Italy during WWII…He sets a brisk pace and laces the narrative with colorful character sketches. Battleground history buffs will be entertained.”
—Publishers Weekly on Churchill’s Hellraisers
“A valuable addition to World War II history, and a harbinger of the sort of war that the United States and other countries are learning to wage in the 21st century.”
—Washington Times on The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
“One of the most extraordinary stories of World War II…a Howitzer of a tale.”
—The Daily Mail on The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
“An enjoyable, thought-provoking read.”
—Soldier Magazine on The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare