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Publisher's Summary

George Wilson has garnered much acclaim for this shattering and enlightening memoir. Detailing his odyssey from July, 1944 until the following summer, If You Survive is a startling first-person account of the final year of World War II. Wilson was the only man from his original company to finish the war. As a Second Lieutenant, he went ashore at Utah Beach after the D-Day invasion amidst burned vehicles, sunken landing craft, and broken fortifications. From the breakthrough at Saint-LO, to the Battle of the Bulge, to the final push on Germany, Wilson survived ferocious battles and bitter weather. After earning several decorations and a promotion to First Lieutenant, Wilson was wounded. But he healed quickly and returned to duty.

Wilson’s account is an incredibly moving, continuous stream of devastating combat experiences that will make listeners wonder how any infantryman could have survived this war. Brian Keeler’s narration thoughtfully conveys this riveting tale of survival in the face of impossible odds.

©1987 George D. Wilson (P)2000 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Story

the best story of the war in Europe I've read

I will rate books but I rarely write a review. this book merited one for me. I found the writing exceptional. it's to the point it moves quickly. the stories George Wilson has to tell are astounding. I so thoroughly appreciated this book. my father was fortunate that he did not end up in the Battle of the Bulge. it's a long story why he didn't. but he told me that the platoon he was training with in Florida six of the men were killed within days of being in the battle. many more were wounded. he told me but for a stroke of "luck" one of those men might have been him.

if you are interested in a first-hand account of the fighting in France Belgium and Germany toward the end of the war I can't imagine there's a better book than this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great story and narration

Lots of details. Very interesting to anyone who is interested in personal accounts of wartime experiences. George Wilson is a genuine hero and American patriot.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This is if not the best book I have ever read

For someone like me that has a hard time Reading I found the experience very enjoyable. I Full heartedly recommend this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg
  • North Alabama
  • 07-18-14

What was it like, Grandaddy?

What made the experience of listening to If You Survive the most enjoyable?

Authenticity and clarity. You can tell by the level of detail that the author was very much there, and his clear telling lets you be there with him. This man is gifted at describing situations. You really do come away having an idea of "what it was like."

What about Brian Keeler’s performance did you like?

Keeler's voice sounds like that of an older man. It is easy to imagine that he is Wilson, that Wilson is my grandfather, and that I am listening to him tell me his war stories.

Any additional comments?

This book is easy to follow, with great balance and a natural flow: It includes emotion where appropriate, but generally it doesn't waste time with deep descriptions of the superfluous. Rather, it uses skillful, firsthand accounts of battles and tactics to "do the talking."Do get this book!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • San Jose, CA United States
  • 10-05-15

Covers a lot of important ground

Well done narrative. I'm struck by a point made in another book, which would be that Lt Wilson was probably quite lucky to join the hedgerow fighting AFTER progress had been made in solving the problem of breaking in to the hedgerows. The author seems to be a true professional with all that entails, including a good deal of modesty. He covers a lot of important ground from the Normandy hedgerows through the Battle of the Bulge.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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WWII experience

I always like a good WWII book because I am fascinated by how men can treat each other so badly and then sleep at night. My heart is broken for the (mostly) men who were in the thick of the battles of this horrible war. I admire George Wilson so much for his heroism and example to others. My dad and my father-in-law fought in this war and both lived to tell about it, although they didn't say much. I am grateful for those who can and do tell their stories. Hopefully we learn from them and don't repeat the stupid mistake that is war.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary Leadership-

What made the experience of listening to If You Survive the most enjoyable?

The narrative flowed easily and Lt. Wilson's battle scene descriptions came to life.

What did you like best about this story?

Having listened to German Col. Hans von Luck's war diary, Lt. Wilson provides an American view of similar combat situations. The leadership and professionalism of both solders was outstanding. The somewhat "continental" European officer, complete with white Mercedes convertible in some campaigns, is a striking contrast to our Michigan farm boy who seemed to walk as much as he rode. I would think some of the situations and tactics employed to save his men should be required reading by infantry officers.

What does Brian Keeler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A very listenable and well paced voice. I frequently used 1.25-.50 and it was quite acceptable.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some of both. The sacrifices of Lt. Wilson and his men point to role of careful planning and precautions in combat. But then just "luck" --good or bad--comes along and changes the game completely. War remains the most useless endeavor we humans continue to practice

Any additional comments?

Lt. Wilson gives a brief personal view of the utter futility of war. Who is more deserving to have such an opinion? His views of maintaining an unbreakable, strong defense to prevent a war in the first place is an accurate view of history.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very Underrated Story

If you could sum up If You Survive in three words, what would they be?

Fast Paced Action

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, very interesting and fast paced. Incredible action from someone actually there.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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First-hand Account of Infantryman

Straightforward recounting of the realities of combat for infantryman on the front line fighting Germans following D-Day invasion. It's amazing the author lived to tell this story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very good read.

Wilson puts you right in the action. An awesome 1st person account of the front lines of the great wwii. haven't really read much of the hurtgen forest until now. awesome book!