Early in 1944, German commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel took a look at the sloping sands and announced "They will come here!” He was referring to "Omaha Beach”. The beach was then transformed into three miles of lethal, bunker-protected arcs of fire, with seaside chalets converted into concrete strongpoints, with layers of barbed wire and mines. When Company A of the US 116th Regiment landed on Omaha Beach in D-Day’s first wave on 6th June 1944, it lost 96% of its effective strength. This was the beginning of the historic day that Landing on the Edge of Eternity narrates hour by hour—midnight to midnight—tracking German and American soldiers fighting across the beachhead. The Wehrmacht thought they had bludgeoned the Americans into submission yet by mid-afternoon, the American troops were ashore. Why were the casualties so grim, and how could the Germans have failed? Juxtaposing the American experience—pinned down, swamped by a rising tide, facing young Wehrmacht soldiers fighting desperately for their lives, Kershaw draws on eyewitness accounts, memories, letters, and post-combat reports to expose the true horrors of Omaha Beach. Landing on the Edge of Eternity is a dramatic historical ride through an amphibious landing that looked as though it might never succeed.
Robert Kershaw joined the Parachute Regiment in 1973 and went on to command the 10th Parachute Battalion. His active service included several tours in Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, and Bosnia. After retiring from the British Army as a full Colonel, he became an author of military history and a battlefield tour guide. He has written twelve books published in Great Britain and has participated in numerous National Geographic and History Channel documentaries. Robert lives in England.
"A thrilling narrative of the longest day’s most trying hours. Kershaw switches deftly between command and unit level on both sides, with glimpses of the destruction wrought on French civilians. A visceral account of apparent defeat, ultimate victory and how the United States Army sustained more than 2,400 casualties on a single beach in one day."
– Shelf Awareness
"Kershaw gives a meticulously researched, gripping account of the Allies’ near-defeat at Omaha Beach. Kershaw brings home the significance of the battle with suspense and uncertainty that has been glossed over in other recent accounts."
– Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Studying the operation from a military point of view, Kershaw describes an awful day of battle. A revisionist look that won't cheer America-firsters but that helps broaden our understanding of a crucial battle."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Kershaw shares stories of humanity, resilience, and dark humor; of comradeship and a gritty patriotism holding beleaguered men together in an extremely hazardous military engagement. A dramatic historical ride through an amphibious landing that looked as though it might never succeed."
– Midwest Book Review
"Extraordinary and excruciating, Landing on the Edge of Eternity might be the hardcover version of Saving Private Ryan’s torturous opening minutes. Hard to put down. Should be required reading for every civilian official and military officer who has a voice in ordering soldiers to go fight."