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EVERY MAN A HERO by Ray Lambert


A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War

by Ray LambertJim DeFelice

Pub Date: May 28th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-293748-3
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

The vast majority of World War II veterans have died in recent decades, but at 98, Lambert, who earned a Silver Star and multiple Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts, is still around to tell his story. Readers will be grateful.

Born in rural Alabama in 1920, Lambert joined the Army in 1939 because it offered a steady income. Learning that he had once assisted a veterinarian, the recruiter assigned him to the medical corps. Nearly three years passed before he saw action, and Lambert and co-author DeFelice (West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express, 2018, etc.) deliver a lively account of his training and maneuvers in America and then in wartime Britain. By this time, Lambert was a noncommissioned officer in charge of a unit. He landed with the first wave on North Africa in November 1942 and then again with the first wave attacking Sicily in July 1943. Medical units worked at the front, enduring as many casualties as infantry, and the narrative features plenty of action and suffering, including several of Lambert’s own nasty, if minor, injuries. After Sicily, everyone returned to Britain to train for the invasion of France. For the third time, his unit landed with the first wave, this time on Omaha Beach, an experience far worse than the others. Within hours, Lambert received life-threatening injuries—ironically, from the ramp of an American landing craft that crushed him as he was helping a soldier in the water. Thanks to outstanding American medical care, he survived and, despite not finishing high school, went on to a prosperous career and extremely long life. Veteran ghost writer DeFelice admits to a great deal of research filling in details of the training and fighting, and Lambert’s narrative flows smoothly throughout, clearly showing the author’s heroism.

One of the better recent World War II memoirs.