From Library Journal
This is the riveting story of Joe Beyrle's amazing World War II odyssey. An unassuming kid from Muskegon, MI, who joined the famed 506th regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (called the Screaming Eagles), Joe proved to be a tough paratrooper who made two secret drops into France months before D-day. But like many of his comrades, he was left alone and disoriented in the French countryside after his D-day drop. He was captured, escaped, was recaptured, and underwent a vicious interrogation that led to a cracked skull. He was then thrown into a boxcar full of American POWs and shipped east. Thus began a hellish journey that eventually led to his escaping the German stalags and joining a Soviet tank battalion on the eastern front making him the only soldier to have fought in both the U.S. and Soviet armies. Incredibly, this is the first time Beyrle's story has been made public, and Taylor tells it with true "Airborne" pride. Taylor himself is a highly decorated Screaming Eagle of the Vietnam era whose father was Gen. Maxwell Taylor, the legendary leader of the 101st during the European campaign. Taylor skillfully intermixes Joe's ordeal with the 101st's battles against the Germans, from D-day to Bastogne. He has carefully corroborated the details of Joe's adventures with other POWs and available documents. Fortunately, Beyrle is still alive to enjoy the recognition his unbounded courage deserves. This book belongs in all World War II collections. Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
The hero of this as-told-to war memoir, Joseph Beyrle, was fortunate to have survived World War II. A paratrooper in the famed 506th Paratroop Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the unit featured in the Band of Brothers
book (1992) and movie, Beyrle's is predominantly a POW story. Before capture, the then 18-year-old had jumped twice into France to deliver money to the Resistance, but his war took a worse turn when he was captured on D-Day. Taylor (the son of the 101st's commander, Maxwell Taylor) seemingly transmits the ensuing account as-is, not doubting improbable details; indeed, Taylor positively requests of the reader a "small indulgence . . . for accuracy of times and places." He then relates an incredible odyssey of Beyrle's escape attempts, survival in several POW camps, and ultimate escape to the advancing Russians, with whom he volunteered to fight and was subsequently wounded. Despite the presentation's compositional bumpiness, it carries Beyrle's courageous war mettle directly to the avid audience for stories concerning the legendary 101st. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved