All Souls Day: The World War II Battle and the Search for a Lost U.S. Battalion

Potomac. Nov. 2020. 264p. ISBN 9781640122253. $29.95. HIST
In an area of barely 270 square miles, U.S. troops fought German forces in the densely wooded Hürtgen Forest from September 19, 1944 to Feb 10, 1945, striving to break through the German line and move toward Cologne. It was the longest single battle the U.S. Army ever fought. Faced by General Walter Model’s Panzer tank brigades, it was also one of the costliest, with a casualty rate in excess of 25 percent. The battle ended with the Germans’ breakout to the Battle of the Bulge (December 16, 1944-January 25, 1945). Journalist Pereira notes that much has been written about the Battle of the Bulge, but less has been reported on the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. Many bodies of the American dead were never recovered; one was coauthor Wilson’s uncle. Pereira and Wilson have fashioned a compelling story about a battle that was doomed from the start, and what it was like to wait for decades for word of a missing relative. As they note, efforts to recover the dead still continue.
VERDICT A moving account of not just a seminal battle but the lasting effects on those waiting for decades to know what happened to their loved ones.
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