• Whatever It Took

  • An American Paratrooper’s Extraordinary Memoir of Escape, Survival, and Heroism in the Last Days of World War II
  • By: Henry Langrehr, Jim DeFelice
  • Narrated by: Mike Ortego
  • Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Published to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, an unforgettable never-before-told first-person account of World War II: the true story of an American paratrooper who survived D-Day, was captured and imprisoned in a Nazi work camp, and made a daring escape to freedom. 

Now at 95, one of the few living members of the Greatest Generation shares his experiences at last in one of the most remarkable World War II stories ever told. As the Allied Invasion of Normandy launched in the pre-dawn hours of June 6, 1944, Henry Langrehr, an American paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, was among the thousands of Allies who parachuted into occupied France. Surviving heavy anti-aircraft fire, he crashed through the glass roof of a greenhouse in Sainte-Mère-Église. While many of the soldiers in his unit died, Henry and other surviving troops valiantly battled enemy tanks to a standstill. Then, on June 29, Henry was captured by the Nazis. The next phase of his incredible journey was beginning. 

Kept for a week in the outer ring of a death camp, Henry witnessed the Nazis' unspeakable brutality - the so-called Final Solution, with people marched to their deaths, their bodies discarded like cords of wood. Transported to a work camp, he endured horrors of his own when he was forced to live in unbelievable squalor and labor in a coal mine with other POWs. Knowing they would be worked to death, he and a friend made a desperate escape. When a German soldier cornered them in a barn, the friend was fatally shot; Henry struggled with the soldier, killing him and taking his gun. Perilously traveling westward toward Allied controlled land on foot, Henry faced the great ethical and moral dilemmas of war firsthand, needing to do whatever it took to survive. Finally, after two weeks behind enemy lines, he found an American unit and was rescued. 

Awaiting him at home was Arlene, who, like millions of other American women, went to work in factories and offices to build the armaments Henry and the Allies needed for victory. Whatever It Took is her story, too, bringing to life the hopes and fears of those on the homefront awaiting their loved ones to return. 

A tale of heroism, hope, and survival featuring 30 photographs, Whatever It Took is a timely reminder of the human cost of freedom and a tribute to unbreakable human courage and spirit in the darkest of times. 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2020 Henry Langrehr and Jim DeFelice (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Whatever It Took

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Inspirational book

It is very interesting book about what it took to survive. Henry Langerhr’s story is interesting. I enjoyed. He goes into detail about the time period, his life and his time in the war. I enjoyed a lot. I found inspiring because of what he went through during is child with his family, the war, as POW and after her returned from the war. What I know about the man his “Whatever it Took” attitude rubbed off on his family. It is a worth the purchase.

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A time of Heroes

Average men did great and terrible things because someone needed to do it. This man saw himself as not better than anyone else, or a harder worker, but just an American doing what was right in very difficult times. If America were called upon now, I wonder if deep down inside their snowflake hearts there resides any hint of the America that was. I really enjoyed the feeling of patriotic pride I felt about the way the Greatest Generation managed. I truly hope there is some bit of this hero’s genetics in today’s America. I believe I see it in our young soldiers, and it gives me hope that many would be capable if the world demanded it. A great book about a real American tale of heroism.

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Outstanding!

This book is about raw courage and the will to live. I loved this true story and thank God for American's like Henry. We owe his generation so much. We are free because of their sacrifice. A great read for everyone.