In 1994, Tom McKinney was watching the 50th anniversary of D-Day ceremonies on television with his father, Vincent “Mike” McKinney. Tom noticed his father, who rarely spoke about the war, turning red while President Clinton was introducing a veteran as the first American to land on Omaha Beach. McKinney was in the first wave to hit the beach, his boat took two hits, and he had to step over bodies to get ashore. When he looked around, he saw no one. He looked at his watch, it was 6:33 a.m. Fifty years later, he told his son he thought he should be up there with President Clinton. So Tom McKinney went to the Internet, found Aaron Elson’s World War II Oral History website (tankbooks.com), and asked Aaron if he would interview Tom’s father. The result is one of six compelling interviews in The D-Day Tapes.
These interviews have no narrator, only an occasional question or comment by the author. Also included are the stories of Ed Boccafogli, a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division; Bill Pirone, a veteran of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment who landed on Omaha Beach and later suffered battle fatigue; Lou Putnoky, a Coast Guard veteran of the USS Bayfield, the flagship of the Utah Beach invasion fleet; Angelo Crapanzano, a Navy veteran and survivor of the ill-fated pre-D-Day disaster known as Exercise Tiger, or Slapton Sands; and Patsy Giacchi, a quartermaster who, like Angelo, survived the sinking of LST 507 in the English Channel. If you like Studs Terkel, you’ll be moved by these sometimes powerful, often poignant stories told in the veterans’ own voices.
©2011 Aaron Elson (P)2011 Chi Chi Press
But it was not a good purchase. I would not recommend this book.
This book is the unedited recordings done by a man who sounds as
if he's almost as old as the veterans he's "interviewing". I use that
word with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I'm not criticizing his age
necessarily; but when you listen to him and his questions during
his part of this book. You come to realize he knows very little about
the war in general; or military weapons systems; army training, or
The interviewer absolutely put me over the edge with his need to
say AH-HUH while someone is talking. I guess he thinks that's
necessary to prove he listening. I started counting at one point in
the book; I stopped counting at 100 over a only a half hour. He must
have said it thousands of time during this book.
Another really annoying thing about this "BOOK" is
the unedited nature of these recordings. He obviously went to the
houses of these men with a cheep recorder of some kind. By doing
it this way he produced tapes that had all the household noise on
the tapes and not edited out. During some of the interviews these
men's wives were in the back ground doing house work. And lucky
us we get to hear all that right in this"book?" The wives interrupt
during the interviews at random places; and it's not with some
witty or relevant remark. They are just a big distraction that happen
several times during the book.
At one point a phone rings in the back ground. The wife answers and
doesn't take a message. She comes and gets him; and he leave to
go talk on the phone. Leaving the wife to talk with interviewer about
stuff that has nothing to do with the subject for somewhere between
five and ten minutes.
The guy doing these interview didn't put much into these opportunities
either. He was clearly using a very cheap recorder. As if it wasn't bad
enough that appliances were running in the background of some of
the interviews; and having other people talking and slamming doors in
the background. The machine recorded all of it's own noises. It would
come and go there would be segments where buzzing was recorded.
And then other segments with repeated clicking from some part of
recorder. Obvious whirring sounds. It was just unbelievable.
But even with all of the mechanical problems, the wives, and frankly
the rudeness of one of the veteran's to talk a call while being interviewed.
The worst thing was the UN-HUH's. If you decide to read all this and think
"I'll take a chance on this book". Brace yourself for this Chinese water
torture of the un-hah's. It almost completely ruins the book.
If this man had turned this in to english literature professor, or communication
professor; he would have gotten a zero.
I didn't get enough of the inside information I was expecting from hearing
the experiences of these squids, and ground pounders.
Until recently I worked as an ER RN at an large Detroit hospital. And as
veteran and history buff; I had the honor to care for some older men who
I got the chance to talk to. I like to find out their experiences during the war.
And that was men and women. I just wanted to know what they went through.
After all these are that went through the depression.
And I know I could have easily done a better job on a book like this. Maybe
Sadly; I have to say you should avoid this book!!!
It is nice to hear the first account of how the fighting was in WWll. I like the little things that they remember and so many other things mentioned. I would recommend this to antone interested in history or WWll.
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