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Brothers in Arms

James Holland


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In the annals of World War II, certain groups of soldiers stand out, and among the most notable were the Sherwood Rangers. Originally a cavalry unit in the last days of horses in combat, whose officers were landed gentry leading men who largely worked for them, they were switched to the "mechanized cavalry" of tanks in 1942. Winning acclaim in the North African campaign, the Rangers then spearheaded one of the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944, led the way across France, were the first British troops to cross into Germany, and contributed mightily to Germany's surrender in May 1945.

Inspired by Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers, acclaimed WWII historian James Holland memorably profiles an extraordinary group of citizen soldiers constantly in harm's way. The American-made Sherman tanks the Rangers fought in were as deadly as the shells they fired; their casualties were horrific, but their ranks immediately refilled. Informed by never-before-seen documents, letters, photographs, and other artifacts from Rangers' families--an ongoing fraternity--and by his own deep knowledge of the war and personal experience driving a Sherman tank, Holland offers a uniquely intimate portrait of the war at ground level, introducing heretofore unknowns such as Commander Stanley Christopherson, squadron leader John Semken, and Sergeant George Dring. He weaves the Rangers' exploits into the larger narrative and strategy of the war, and also brings to life the German forces against whom the Rangers struggled.

Focusing particularly on the Rangers during the dramatic 11 months between D-Day and V-E Day, Holland presents a vivid and original perspective on the endgame of WWII in Europe.

Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802159083

Publication Date: November 16, 2021