An in-depth account of a bloody World War II battle in Italy and a beloved U.S. Army captain whose story moved a nation.
By the time Mark Clark’s Fifth Army reached the small village of San Pietro north of Naples in the first week of December, 1943, a tough but rapid sweep through Sicily came to a muddy halt. On the slopes of a distant mountain, the death of a single platoon captain, Henry Waskow, epitomized the struggle . . .
A Death in San Pietro chronicles the quietly heroic and beloved Captain Waskow and his company as they make their way into battle. Waskow’s 36th (“Texas”) Division would ultimately succeed in driving the Germans off the mountains, but not before eighty percent of Waskow’s company is lost in action.
For Americans back home, two of the war’s most lasting artistic expressions brought horrified focus to the battlefield, already dubbed “Purple Heart Valley” by the men of the 36th. Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Ernie Pyle’s dispatch about Waskow’s death and filmmaker John Huston’s award-winning documentary of the battle rivet—and shock—the nation, bringing, as if for the first time, the awful carnage of world war into homes across America.
“A Death in San Pietro takes the reader into battle with Ernie Pyle, World War II’s greatest war correspondent, and it illuminates in graphic and compelling prose one of America’s toughest yet least documented battles. Superbly written and full of action, the book is infused with a wellspring of rich context. Tim Brady vividly brings to life Pyle, John Huston, and a forgotten battle.” —Patrick K. O'Donnell, author of Dog Company