Cherokee citizen Jack Montgomery fights in battle at Anzio, Italy, during World War II.
Fresh off victories in Sicily and Salerno, the 45th Thunderbirds, a division with some 15,000 Native American troops, continue their push to take the Italian peninsula from Nazi German forces. Despite concerns over the battle plan and the precise whereabouts of German troops, Lt. Jack Montgomery leads his platoon “through the icy cold, knee-deep seawater” to establish a beachhead position. After weeks of fighting “without nearly enough armor” support and facing the “Nazis’ most battled-hardened troops,” Montgomery and his men find themselves outmanned and outgunned. It will take Montgomery’s absolute trust in his men and actions that go “above and beyond the call of duty” in order to weather the German blitzkrieg. Part of a new series about Medal of Honor recipients—its companion book highlights Ryan Pitts’ exploits in Afghanistan—this effort delivers a Corps-load of facts about Montgomery’s life, the 45th Infantry, and WWII itself. Though seemingly well-researched regarding Montgomery and the war, a description of the thunderbird as “mythical” reads as cultural devaluing. A list of U.S. Army ranks and unit definitions precedes the book; Montgomery’s Medal of Honor citation, a glossary, notes, and bibliography make up the backmatter.
A necessary story about a Native American Medal of Honor recipient that feels like a middle-grade social-studies report. (Biography. 8-12)