The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

  • 448 pages
  • 0307888002
  • Anglais
  • Format Kindle
The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

ႄ amazon indie The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau ⡮ ePUB Author Alex Kershaw ⣒ Chapter OneThe WestMiami, Arizona, 1931Felix Sparks woke early It was getting light outside He pulled on his jacket, grabbed his shotgun, and headed out into the dusty canyon, past miners shacks and mountains of tailings from the nearby mine, and into the red rocked canyons, eyes darting here and there as he checked his traplines The Tonto forest and mountains surrounding his home were full of bounty and menace snapping lizards, tarantulas the size of his fist, and several deadly types of scorpion It was important to tread carefully, avoiding porcupines beneath the Ponderosa pines and always being alert for the raised hackles of the diamondback rattler and the quick slither of the sidewinder snake, with its cream and light brown blotches.Each morning, he checked his traplines and hunted game, hoping to bag with just one shot a quail or a cottontailed rabbit or a Sonora dove He couldn t afford to waste a single cartridge As the sun started to warm the cold, still air in the base of canyons, he returned to the small frame house he shared with his younger brother, Earl, and three sisters, Ladelle, Frances, and Margaret His mother, Martha, of English descent and raised in Mississippi, and his father, Felix, of Irish and German blood, counted themselves lucky to have running water They had moved to Arizona a decade before to find work But now there was none Every animal their eldest son brought home was needed to feed the family.The economic panic and failure that followed the October 1929 Wall Street crash had swept like a tsunami across America than nine thousand banks had failed, and unemployment had shot up tenfold, from around 1.5 million to 13 million, a quarter of the workforce There was no stimulus spending, nothing done to stop the catastrophe enveloping the nation like one of the dust storms that buried entire towns in Oklahoma.By 1931, the copper mines in Miami had closed down and a terrible silence had descended on the town that stood three thousand feet in the lee of Mount Webster The rumble of machines far below, the distant growl made by their grinding and lifting, was gone Over Christmas, at age fourteen, Sparks hiked far into the mountains with his father and Earl, laid traps and hunted for two full weeks, then skinned and dried pelts They also fished for perch But none of it was enough.When he was just sixteen, Sparks s mother and father sent him to live with his uncle Laurence in Glendale, Arizona There were too many mouths to feed It hurt to see the anguish and guilt in his father s eyes as they said good bye In Glendale, he had to pay his way by doing chores, milking cows and working in his uncle s store on Saturdays.When he returned to Miami a year later, in 1934, a government program had been set up, part of President Roosevelt s New Deal, to provide people with basic food requirements Families in Miami were able to at least eat, even if there was no work Once a week, he went down to the train depot in town and drew free groceries, staples such as flour, beans, and lard, salt pork, so many pounds per person, per family Nothing was wasted His mother was a resourceful woman, cooking salt pork gravy and biscuits for breakfast, feeding her five children as best she could, making them clothes on an old sewing machine, and cutting their hair.When he wasn t hunting or studying, he became a regular visitor to the public library in Miami His passion was military history the Indian Wars, tales of the mighty Cherokee and Custer s Last Stand, and the heroics at the Alamo, where his great grandfather, Stephen Franklin Sparks, had fought He hoped someday to go to college and become a lawyer But he was also drawn toward the military and applied to the Citizens Military Training Program To his delight, he was one of just fifty young men from around the state accepted into the program Those who completed it became second lieutenants in the U.S infantry Training took place every summer in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, a hundred and fifty miles from Miami, at an old cavalry post He hitchhiked to the camp, saving his travel allowance until he had enough to order a new pair of corduroy trousers from the J C Penney catalog.The long marches and drills in than one hundred degree heat tested the hardiest, and many youths did not return after the first summer, but Sparks enjoyed playing war with real weapons in the desert and nearby canyons Aged eighteen, he was fully grown, around 140 pounds, slim, and tall, as wiry as a mesquite tree, with a toothy smile, thick black hair, and a broad and handsome face.In his last semester at high school, he won a nationwide essay competition and received a 100 pocket watch In June 1935, he graduated, the most gifted student in his senior year He knew he had it in him to go far Of one thing he was certain He would never be a miner like his father He would earn his living with his mind, not his hands But he did not even have enough money to buy a suit for the graduation prom Nor did he have a way to escape the poverty that had engulfed so much of America There was not a spare dime for him to go to college, no loans to be had, and no jobs in Miami He would have to leave home to find work of any kind.Late that summer, his father borrowed 18 from a friend and gave it all to his oldest child It was a grubstake for a new life somewhere else His mother, Martha, sewed a secret pocket in his trousers for the borrowed money, which would have to last him until he found a job He had no clear plan other than to head east and maybe get a berth on a ship out of Corpus Christi, on the Gulf Coast At least he might get to see some of the world he had read about.One morning, he put a change of clothes and a toothbrush in a pack, slipped a small metal club he d bought for a dollar into a pocket, said a wrenching good bye to his family, and then got a ride from a friend to Tucson, where he was dropped off near some rail tracks Other men were hanging around, waiting to catch out One of them pointed out a train due to go east, south of the Gila Mountains, through the Chiricahua Desert, toward El Paso, Texas The hobo warned Sparks to make sure he got off the train before it arrived in the rail yards in El Paso otherwise he might be beaten or shot by railroad security men bulls armed with clubs and Winchester shotguns.Sparks pulled himself up into a chest high boxcar There was the acrid odor of hot oil mixed with steam He was suddenly aware of dark shapes in the recesses, movements in the shadows, other men It was safer, he knew, to travel alone He had bought the club just in case he had to defend himself Instead of backing away, he moved to an empty corner and lay down The Jungles, the Dust Bowl, 1936The train jerked to life, shuddering as it began to move The shaking slowly became an almost comforting, rhythmic click clack of iron wheels on rails Then came the adrenaline rush For the first time, Sparks felt the exhilaration and intense sense of freedom that came with all the dangers of riding the rods It was like being on an iron horse, snaking back and forth through canyons, through the desert, headed east, toward the sea.When the train built up speed, acting like a runaway colt, it was wise to stand up and brace oneself When the boxcars slowed, it was possible to actually relax, to lie on one s back with a pack as a pillow and gaze out of the open doors, watching the desert pass leisurely by the brittle mesquite trees, the greasewood bushes, and the cactus that dotted the horizon.He wanted to stay awake, in case he was jumped by the other hobos, but the sweet syncopation of the wheels on the tracks and the train s rocking motion eventually sent him into a deep slumber Kid It s time to get off The train was approaching San Antonio, Texas, the city where he had been born on August 2, 1917 Its rail yards, patrolled by ruthless bulls, were up ahead We got to get off here, buddy, the hobo added If they catch you, they put you on a chain gang or make you join the army When the train slowed, Sparks jumped down He hiked into San Antonio, where he spent the night in a flophouse In the morning, he walked to the other side of the city and hopped another train, bound for Corpus Christi For several days, he watched what other bums did and copied them, learning how vital it was to carry a water jug and to hop freights with covered boxcars to protect him from sun, sandstorms, and rain He adapted fast to the ways of the jungles the rail side camps as did a quarter million other teenage boys during the height of the Depression, thousands of whom were killed in accidents or violent encounters with bulls or predatory older men.Once in Corpus Christi, he searched without luck for a job Hundreds of men with families waited in lines for just a few openings The prospects were dire, so when he heard things were better out west he hopped another freight train and rode the high desert to Los Angeles, first glimpsing the Pacific from a rattling boxcar But there again scores of men queued for every opportunity Not knowing where else to go, he hung around for a few weeks, sleeping rough in parks, learning the feral habits of the urban homeless, getting by on just 25 cents a day hotcakes for a dime in the morning, a candy bar for lunch, and a hamburger for dinner.He decided to try his luck farther north, caught out again, and was soon watching the Sierra Nevada Mountains slip slowly by to the east In San Francisco, he went to yet another hiring hall, this time on a dockside There were jobs, but he would have to pay 15 to join a union to get one He was down to his last couple of dollars Again he slept rough Then he ran out of cash.One morning, as he was walking along Market Street, hungry and penniless, he passed a man in uniform Hey, buddy, said the man Do you want to join the army Sparks walked on.What the hell else have I got to do He turned around Yeah, I do Are you kidding me, buddy No, I m not kidding you I want to join the army The recruiter gave him a token and pointed at a streetcar Get on that streetcar At two o clock there will be a small boat coming in from Angel Island He was soon heading across the bay to Angel Island From his boat, on a clear day, he would have been able to see the infamous Alcatraz prison, built on a craggy rock that rose from the riptides like an obsolete battleship, and where Depression era killers like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly were kept under maximum security At the army post on Angel Island, he was sworn in and given a choice of wherever he wanted to serve So it was that one fall day in 1936 he found himself on a troopship, passing beneath the cables and iron girders of the half constructed Golden Gate Bridge He went below to his assigned bunk amid hundreds of others stacked three high in the fetid hold He couldn t stand the crowding, so he grabbed his mattress and took it up on deck The journey to Honolulu lasted a week He slept every night under the stars and ate three square meals a day as he headed toward the land of lanais, perpetual sunshine, and coconut shell cocktails.Camp Kamehameha, Hawaii, 1936The barracks were airy and spacious, with fans lazily circling on the high wooden ceilings The palms shading the base, located at the mouth of a channel leading to Pearl Harbor, were taller than those back in Arizona, the air humid and the breezes warm Sparks s days began at 6 a.m with the sharp call of a bugle, followed by training in how to operate huge sixteen inch guns.Army life suited him He didn t mind the routine and discipline, the hurry up and wait bureaucracy and boring details, the endless hours mowing the grass and practicing drills on the parade ground surrounded by sugarcane fields He was warm and well fed There were no bums waiting to jump him in a boxcar or a rail side jungle His barracks had a library, a pool table, and a piano His weekends were free and his days ended at 4 30 p.m., leaving him plenty of time to explore Honolulu, eight miles away.One day, he bought a camera from a soldier for 2 and photographed the base as well as other soldiers Then he discovered that the only place he could develop his images of fellow artillerymen and nearby beaches was at an expensive camera shop in Honolulu Some men saved money and time by developing their negatives in the barracks latrine, but the prints were crude and faded He quickly saw an opportunity In Honolulu, he bought a book about photography and then asked his company commander if he could get him an appointment with the Post Exchange Council, which operated a large store on the base He told the council he was an experienced photographer and suggested they set up a shop where soldiers could drop off film to be developed To his delight, the council agreed to loan him money and equipment to set up the print shop A week later, he was in business, developing roll after roll by hand, bent over developing trays in a red lit darkroom Soon, he had to hire a fellow soldier to help him Within a month, he was rolling in money, he later recalled, earning than the battery commander He put it all in a postal savings account that paid 2 percent interest.He also taught himself how to take high quality portraits and began snapping officers, their families, and the various tourist attractions He scanned newspapers for details about arrivals of Hollywood stars at the pink hued Royal Hawaiian hotel in Honolulu, so he could capture them lounging under sunshades The musical star Alice Faye, a twenty two year old natural blonde, was one of several actresses who agreed to be photographed, despite the protests of a boyfriend He promptly sold the pictures as pinups back at base By the time his enlistment was up, he had saved 3,000, than enough to finance a college education.Exceptional The Liberator balances evocative prose with attention to detail and is a worthy addition to vibrant classics of small unit history like Stephen Ambrose s Band of Brothers.From the desert of Arizona to the moral crypt of Dachau, Mr Kershaw s book bears witness to the hell that America s innocents came through, and the humanity they struggled to keep in their hearts Wall Street JournalA revealing portrait of a man who led by example and suffered a deep emotional wound with the loss of each soldier under his command The Liberator is a worthwhile and fast paced examination of a dedicated officer navigating and somehow surviving World War II Washington PostKershaws writing is seamless He incorporates information from a vast array of sources, but it works you get a sense of the different voices coming into the story.A gripping read Minneapolis Star TribuneA history of the American war experience in miniature, from the hard charging enthusiasm of the initial landings to the clear eyed horror of the liberation of the concentration camps.An uncynical, patriotic look at our finest hour The Daily BeastKershaw has ensured that individuals and entire battles that might have been lost to history, or overshadowed by important people and events, have their own place in the vast, protean tale of World War II.Where Kershaw succeeds, and where The Liberator is at its most riveting and satisfying, is in its delineation of Felix Sparks as a good man that other men would follow into Hell and in its unblinking, matter of fact description, in battle after battle, of just how gruesome, terrifying and dehumanizing that Hell could be Time.comKershaws accounts of the battles Sparks survived are clear and grisly and gripping World War II Kershaw is a captivating narrator, hammering home the chaos and carnage of war, sparing no sensory detail to paint a cohesive picture His portrayal of his subject based on interviews with Sparks, who died in 2007, and other survivors makes for a riveting, almost epic tale of a larger than life, underappreciated figure Publishers Weekly starred review This engrossing wartime narrative offers a fresh look at the European campaign and an intimate sense of the wars toll on individual participants Kirkus ReviewsInspiring.A gripping and superbly told account of men in war Booklist Alex Kershaw s gripping account of one man s wartime experiences has both the intimacy of a diary and the epic reach of a military history The Liberatorreminds us of the complexity and moral ambiguity of the Second World War Amanda Foreman, author of A World on FireA searing, brilliantly told story of the heroism and horror of war, Alex Kershaws The Liberator is a book thats impossible to put down A must read for anyone who loved Band of Brothers Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of LondonAlex Kershaw, long acclaimed for his terse, lightning fast narratives of true wartime action and heroism, reaches his full maturity with this sweeping saga of a legendary infantry unit and the leader who spurred it to glory Ron Powers, co author of Flags of Our FathersA literary tour de force Kershaw brilliantly captures the pathos and untold perspective of WWII through the eyes of one of its most courageous, unsung officers a great leader, who always put his men first The Liberator is a compelling, cinematic story of the highest order Patrick K ODonnell, combat historian and author of Dog Company Sex Wedge Pillow Liberator Sex s famous sex wedge pillow, known as The provides support and enhances sexual positioning angles for better experiences Learn Consolidated B Wikipedia Consolidated is an American heavy bomber, designed by Aircraft of San Diego, California It was within the company Model The newspaper abolitionist founded William Lloyd Garrison Isaac Knapp Religious rather than political, it appealed to One World War II Soldier Day Day Odyssey from Beaches Sicily Gates Dachau Alex Kershaw Books Liberator Medical Medical insurance eligibility check a secure service online in no way guarantee Urinary Catheters Disclaimer Free samples catheters are shipped with your order require doctor prescription, qualification enrollment Patient responsible payments eBook Kindle Store Shapes Bedroom Adventure Gear All Hype Discover sensual new positionsusing our remarkable props position guide will make everyday positions Synonyms liberator at Thesaurus free thesaurus, antonyms, definitions Find descriptive alternatives Imperial I class Wookieepedia Liberator, Adjudicator during its service, Star Destroyer originally used Navy later NewEscape Deep A Legendary Submarine Escape From Epic Story Submarine Her Courageous Crew on FREE shipping qualifying offers By October Clayton seasons Early career On May Dodgers bought minor league contract, he added active roster Sportswriter Tony Stats, News, Pictures, Bio, Videos Get latest news, stats, videos, about Los Angeles starting pitcher Clayton ESPN Abbey Lee Wikipdia Abbey Kershaw, ne le juin Melbourne , est une mannequin et actrice australienne Forbes Forbes three time Cy Young Award winner inked million contract richest ever David Price Alex Rodriguez Alexander Emmanuel born July nicknamed Rod, former professional baseball shortstop third baseman He played player profile, game log, season recent news If you play fantasy sports, get breaking immerse yourself Fantasy News MLB all videos dodgers Cobb Balti Orioles orioles In Raw Click share Google Opens window Tumblr Pinterest The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *