Synopses & Reviews
Chronicles the untold story of the Big Red One, the legendary 1st Infantry Division, in its assault on Nazi forces at Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion.
The Fighting First tells the untold story of the 1st Infantry Division's part in the D-Day invasion of France at Normandy. Using a variety of primary sources, official records, interviews, and unpublished memoirs by the veterans themselves, author Flint Whitlock has crafted a riveting, gut-wrenching, personal story of courage under fire. Operation Overlord the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 was arguably the most important battle of World War II, and Omaha Beach was the hottest spot in the entire operation. Leading the amphibious assault on the "Easy Red" and "Fox Green" sectors of Omaha Beach was the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division "The Big Red One" a tough, swaggering outfit with a fine battle record.
The saga of the Big Red One, however, did not end with the storming of the beachhead. The author concludes with an account of the 1st in their fight across France, Belgium, and into Germany itself, playing pivotal roles in the bloody battles for Aachen, the Huertgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge. The Fighting First is an inspiring, graphic, and often heartbreaking story of young American soldiers performing their D-Day missions with spirit, humor, and determination.
"[A] worthwhile chronicle of a small group of worn-out men who were called to do yet another duty and did it well." Publishers Weekly
"Whitlock himself writes well; one is able to sense the utter fear of men knowing they may be facing almost instant death even when the men are battle-hardened veterans of the earlier Italian campaigns....Recommended." Library Journal
"A literate and rewarding tribute to a tough, swaggering American legend."
"Take a front-row seat at Omaha Beach in this knuckle-gripping drama written with an expert's knowledge and a veteran's insight. Flint Whitlock has done the work that has to be done to tell a story that must be told." Craig Nelson,
author of The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid, America's First World War II Victory
"War is up-front and personal for combat infantry soldiers. Flint Whitlock, in this new superbly written account, has captured some of that 'smoke in a bottle' that is the collected experiences of the men of the Big Red One during their test of battle on a beach named Omaha. During this 60th anniversary of the invasion, veterans, students and those interested in the historic events of June 1944 will appreciate this engaging story of determination and valor."
John F. Votaw, First Division Museum at Cantigny
"In giving the men of the 1st Infantry Division their long overdue D-Day accolade, Flint Whitlock has captured the heroism and horror of combat in equal measure. A writer of superb and proven ability, he supplies new insights concerning the role of the Big Red one on June 6, 1944. Crisp and captivating, The Fighting First stands as a signal contribution to the written history of World War II and a fitting tribute to those to those who made that history." Michael E. Haskew, editor, WWII History Magazine
"The Fighting First is a dramatic and inspiring account of one of the U.S. Army's finest combat divisions on D-Day, June 6, 1944. On the beaches of Normandy that bloody day, The Big Red One met its greatest challenge with exceptional courage and sacrifice to achieve success in of World War II's most decisive battles." Carlo D'Este, author of Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life and Patton: A Genius For War
"From the book's opening words, Flint Whitlock sweeps the reader into his compelling narrative of a group of men who braved incredible dangers to help bring down the Nazi regime. His descriptions of the Normandy invasion match the visual images recalled from Saving Private Ryan, and they leave the reader anxious to learn more about the Big Red One. Whitlock does not disappoint, as he continues the story through to war's end." John F. Wukovits, author of Pacific Alamo: The Battle for Wake Island
"Exploiting his extensive research into the uniquely rich primary sources of the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Flint Whitlock has created a fresh and insightful account of the D-Day chaos on Omaha Beach and the determined courage that propelled the First Infantry Division into the hedgerows and across Europe. MHI's motto is 'We tell the Army's story, one soldier at a time,' and Flint Whitlock has done the same for the Big Red One." Dr. Conrad C. Crane, director, US Army Military History Institute
"There have been innumerable books written about D-Day and several about the First Infantry Division. Conversely nothing has really been written on the 1st Infantry on D-Day. This book fills a void in the literature of both topics and I recommend it as a good read." Sam J. Newland, Ph.D., Professor, Military Education, U.S. Army War College
Using a variety of primary sources, official records, interviews, and unpublished memoirs by the veterans themselves, The Fighting First tells the untold story of the 1st Infantry Division's part in the D-Day invasion of France at Normandy.
About the Author
Flint Whitlock is a former U.S. Army officer who served on active duty from 1965 to 1970, including a tour in Vietnam. He has been a military historian since 1986 and is the author of Soldiers On Skis and The Rock of Anzio. He is a regular contributor to World War II magazine and WW II History magazine. He is the president of the newly formed Colorado Military History Museum, Inc. He lives in Denver, Colorado.