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Honor Untarnished

Book Review

 

Title:

Honor Untarnished

Author:

General Donald V. Bennett (Ret.)

Publisher:

Tom Doherty Associates LLC, New  York, NY

ISBN:

0-765-30657-3

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

June, 2003

Rating:

1/2

Honor Untarnished relates the wartime  experiences of General Donald V. Bennett (Ret.) up to and during the Second World War. This is a hardcover book of about 305 pages.

Honor UntarnishedWanting  a military career in the pre-war depression era, General Bennett was appointed  to West Point. Just as quickly though, he was released due to bad test scores  in math. Fighting back by attending a special preparatory school, he was finally  re-admitted and graduated. By the luck of the draw, he was assigned to an artillery  unit stationed in the United States and was not sent to the Philippines where  he surely would have faced death at Bataan.

Although much of the army equipment at this time was obsolete and of World War One vintage, his unit was given the first M-7 mobile 105mm artillery pieces, otherwise known as the "Priest." His job was to develop tactics for  this untried technological wonder and train his crews to use it with only a  minimal amount of ammunition available.

When the war broke out with the attack on Pearl Harbor, he waited along with the other men until they were finally assigned to the invasion of North Africa.  He tells that many of his troops (including himself) felt they would never return from the war. As the role of the United States in the war expanded, his unit was constantly on the front lines in the most heated battles, including Sicily,  Italy, D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. Near the end of the war they were sent into Czechoslovakia to mop up and discovered the horrors of the death camps  along the way.

This book tells the story in a personal way, much as one might expect to hear  the story from a father or grandfather. Especially interesting is General Bennett's description of the landing on Omaha Beach and the later hedgerow battle in Normandy. He also describes in detail the cultural differences of a bygone era about the  soldiers that fought, their expectations, and how they adapted to the death and suffering of the war.

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