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Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc--the Rangers Who Accomplished D-Day's Toughest Mission and Led the Way across Europe

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  449 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews

It is said that the right man in the right place at the right time can make the difference between victory and defeat. This is the dramatic story of sixty-eight soldiers in the US Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion, Company D - "Dog Company”— who made that difference, time and again.

From D-Day, when German guns atop Pointe du Hoc threatened the Allied landings and the men of Dog
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 6th 2012 by Da Capo Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jason Koivu
Sep 30, 2016 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction, war
Wants to be Band of Brothers and doesn't quite get there.

First off, I have the greatest respect for what these soldiers went through. It's because of that respect that I give my honest opinion of this book. Those who served in WWII deserve recognition for all they did. The men of Dog Company deserve a better book than Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc--the Rangers Who Accomplished D-Day's Toughest Mission and Led the Way across Europe .

That's not to say this is a bad book. However, the lega
A.L. Sowards
This book follows a group of rangers through training, D-day, the campaign to liberate Brest, and time in the Hurtgen Forest.

A few things really stood out to me. Dog Company’s assignment on D-day was Pointe du Hoc, between Omaha and Utah beaches. They were to scale the steep cliffs despite the machine-gun fire and grenades being dropped on them, and then destroy six large artillery pieces that could fire on either of the American landing zones. The guns weren’t where they were supposed to be, bu
Mar 07, 2013 happy rated it really liked it
This is a very good look at company level and lower combat is World War II ala Band of Brothers. Mr. O’Donnell does a very good job of conveying the sights and sounds of combat. He doesn’t sugar coat the effects that combat had on the men and lets the reader know that they were not the perfect soldiers they are sometimes portrayed. (view spoiler) ...more
'Aussie Rick'
Nov 22, 2012 'Aussie Rick' rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2
Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc - The Rangers Who Accomplished D-Day's Toughest Mission and Led the Way across Europe by Patrick O’Donnell is a stirring account of some of America’s finest soldiers of WW2 in the European theatre. The author introduces us to a close knit “band of brothers” who would do anything for one another, even give their lives to save their buddies, which sadly many do.

We read about the formation of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the men of D – ‘Dog’ Company in the Un
Jan 14, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it
No matter how many books I read about WWII, and any war, really, I am still constantly amazed at what the soldiers of the Greatest Generation accomplished, despite sometimes impossible odds.The stories of the actions on D-Day, and then the battles throughout Europe, read like a novel or a movie script. What our great soldiers did there, must never be forgotten. We, the many, owe those brave few everything enjoyed in our lives since then.

Chuchhill said "Never was so much owed by so many to so few
Feb 09, 2014 Gordon rated it it was amazing
A story long over due for publication. O'Donnell has done a superb job in recounting the incredible story of the Rangers who took Pointe du Hoc on D-Day and then fought across Europe, including their toughest fight (hard to imagine something tougher than Pointe du Hoc) - taking and holding Hill 400 in the Hurtgen Forest. It is a wonderful story of the forming of an elite unit through volunteer selection, tough training, great leadership, and the continuous hardship of close, brutal combat and pe ...more
Marie Lawson
Jun 08, 2015 Marie Lawson rated it it was amazing
My dad is Ellis Lawson, and this is the story of his unit and it is told very well. I've lived all of my life with the knowledge of this unit, the brotherhood, the motto of "Rangers lead the way" and the fine example that my father set with his 30 years of military service, beginning with Dog Company. If my dad were alive today he would love this book. He told me once that they were the best men he ever knew, ever served with, and he served in many combat tours post WWII, like Korea, Cold War mi ...more
Terry Cornell
May 16, 2015 Terry Cornell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
Excellent book about Dog Company, the Army Rangers that were assigned to destroy the German positions on Pointe du Hoc during D-Day. The book starts with the the formation of the Army Ranger unit, continues through D-Day and other engagements during World War II. O'Donnell relies heavily on the oral histories of survivors of the unit, as well as the German soldiers that opposed them. As a result what is sometimes a dry historical account is brought to life, resulting in the reader feeling he is ...more
Dec 02, 2012 Brian rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this book, having been very interested in the subject having served in the 2nd Ranger Battalion. It just seemed that the first person accounts that were used in the book missed the mark. Accounts seemed jumbled and disjointed and the author didn't seem to do a very good job of tying it all together to give a coherent story to follow. It tried to be like Band of Brothers but seemed to miss the mark.
Oct 05, 2016 Brigid rated it it was ok
I usually like reading about WW II escapades, but this one wasn't written well enough to engage me. It feels to me like the author is sitting around, slapping these guys on the backs and congratulating them on their fights and liaisons while they are in training. When talking about the potential transfer of trainees out of Dog Company, O'Donnell equates someone telling his CO he really wants to stay with someone who breaks the communications-blackout order by trying to send a note from the troop ...more
May 02, 2015 Dave rated it really liked it
In reading other reviews of the book, some readers found the narrative tough to follow and thus, gave the book lower marks. I found this to be the most compelling aspect of the book, one in which I don't normally, but because, in a way, it metaphorically parallels itself to the experience these men were battling; one of incoherence, confusion, and the lack of a linear mobility that caused them to many times improvise in order to move on. In the end, the chapters were brief, the moments mundane a ...more
Rea Redd
Oct 26, 2013 Rea Redd rated it it was amazing
Patrick O'Donnell's Dog Company: The Boys of Pointe du Hoc, The Rangers Who Accomplished D-Day's toughest Mission and Led The Way Across Europe is a very dramatic account of the U.S. Army Rangers 1944 to 1945 combat history. He has collected the Ranger's oral accounts of Pointe du Hoc, the Normandy breakout, and Hill 400 in Hurtgen Forest and has woven them into a vivid, well paced, suspenseful work of history. Bravery nearly beyond belief and courage that nearly beyond endurance is a constant i ...more
A quick introduction to my ratings...everyone has their own views so you should know what mine are so my review may be of help
***** - 5 Stars, an all time great that I would want to read every year
**** - 4 Stars, a good book that I would be willing to read again
*** - 3 Stars, an average book, glad I read but would not read again
** - 2 Stars, I finished but was sorry I did and would not recommend it
* - 1 Star, i could not even finish it

I list my recommendation if you were my friend, my overall th
Mike Cook
Dec 20, 2012 Mike Cook rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-ww2
I love WWII history. I've read a lot of it, but this book is in a league of it's own. Using details from dozens of interviews of the veterans who were there, the author tells a story that is too horrific to be fiction. No one would believe it, if it weren't impeccably well documented. Think of the first time you saw "Saving Private Ryan" in the theater. The beach landing starts and the bullets start flying. Dolby Sound wraps the "zips" and "pings" of small lead projectiles around your head, and ...more
I just finished reading DOG COMPANY by Patrick K. O’Donnell (ISBN 978-0306822643, $15.99, trade paperback). A couple of years ago, on 11/11/11, my wife and visited the Beaches of Normandy and Pointe du Hoc. What an emotional event that was. Having visited the scenes described in this book, it became much more personal. I have no known family who might have served in Europe during WWII so I lean on verbal descriptions. O’Donnell does a wonderful job putting you in time and space.

Dog Company, for
Feb 08, 2013 Zach rated it really liked it
I wish I could give this 4 1/2 half stars, as I feel it deserves more than a four but it's not quite perfect either. O'Donnell's story of the 2nd Ranger Battalion's D Company was a fantastic read that was incredibly hard to put down at times, and he strikes a perfect balance between strategic overview and the perspective of boots on the ground. Dog Company showed incredible courage and tenacity in the face of brutal odds (I think every single Ranger interviewed said some variation of "I don't kn ...more
Jared D.
Aug 26, 2013 Jared D. rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii
'Dog Company' is an account of the Rangers who were charged with climbing the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc during the Normandy invasion. 'Dog Company' follows the Rangers from their initial selection, training, and combat missions.

The book is a quick read (even for me) and is written on a junior high reading level. It focuses primarily on the men's accounts and what they experienced during the war. It does not speak so much on the larger fight going on around them.

I enjoyed reading the incredible ac
Margaret Elder
Mar 08, 2016 Margaret Elder rated it really liked it
A year and a few months ago, I traveled to Normandy to see and learn about D Day, where my father had landed with the 4th Infantry on Utah Beach and been decorated during the Battle of Normandy. While there, I visited Pointe du Hoc, and as I looked down the high cliff from the still present German fortifications, I wondered how the Rangers were ever able to climb that cliff and take the Pointe. When I saw this book, I had to have it to learn more about these soldiers at Pointe du Hoc. I did lear ...more
Deron Denton
Jan 19, 2015 Deron Denton rated it liked it
Tells the fairly amazing tale of the 68 bad-asses who (number-for-number) probably played the biggest role in pushing back Hitler's Germany from the coast of France. I appreciated how the author didn't overglorify war - since it is essentially boys murdering other boys. He just allows the remarkable feats to speak for themselves, through vast amounts of research and through interviews of the Rangers of Dog Company. And although there is SOME descriptive gore (duh!), it is not overdone. This auth ...more
Christine Wahl
Jul 13, 2014 Christine Wahl rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
It is a World War II book. Do I have to say more! Of course, I loved it. But, I love reading about World War II.
A little graphic but not anything terrible. Exactly what you would expect in a book about war. Nothing to be sugar coated. Some horror novels and movies are much worse.

I have to say I have seen many movies on D-Day and read many books. I never realized that the Army Rangers were the first ones up the cliffs! What they did is unbelievable. Such brave men. So many were lost so many coul
Stephen Dennis
Apr 23, 2013 Stephen Dennis rated it really liked it
The book traces the work of a small group of soldiers that accomplished a near impossible task on D Day, the 6th of June, 1944. Immortalized by President Reagan’s speech on the 50th anniversary of the invasion this is a book about “the boys of Pointe Du Hoc.”
Well written and personal the book isn’t about the big picture. It’s about the very personal acts of well honed, passionate young men who were trained to perfection to scale the cliffs at Pointe Du Hoc and take out German guns that threatene
Dec 04, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on the story of the soldiers of the US Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion, D Company-Dog Company. These men underwent tough rigorous training to earn the title of Ranger. They had the tough and dangerous missions in the battles fought during World War II in Europe. Especially the D day invasion of France on June 6, 1944. They scaled the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc to take out the German artillery guns and opened the way for the landing invasion during D day. They also found in others batt ...more
Dwight Zimmerman
Jun 02, 2013 Dwight Zimmerman rated it it was amazing
Will be doing a full review for Defense Media Network. This is a great addition to the story of World War II. Its an account of a Ranger company that fought some of the toughest battles of the war, at D-day and in the Hurtgen Forest. The Hurtgen Forest battle was especially brutal and the stakes higher than anyone knew at the time, because a Dog Company victory would have threatened Hitler's Ardennes offensive. O'Donnell was able to interview a number of Dog Company veterans and as such was able ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it
Patrick O'Donnell books are treasures! The stories of the veterans of the D-Day landings at Normandy are always fascinating. The stories are a little thin at times, probably owing to the relatively few credible witnesses to the events. There are several accounts from former Wehrmacht and Faltstaffen officers that add some extra information to flesh out the stories of the Dog Company veterans. A great read indeed.
Alyssa Allen
Mar 19, 2015 Alyssa Allen rated it liked it
One of my least favorite WWII books. I thought the training leading up to the battle and the actual battle accounts were great! But, it spent way TOO MUCH time after the battle. I almost didn't finish because it was boring and I lost interest REALLY FAST. I forced myself to finish, though. 5 stars for the pre- and current-war scenes. 1 star for everything post. To me, the after-battle seemed irrelevant to the story they were trying to tell.
May 25, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
US Army's 2nd Ranger Battalian, Company D, known as Dog Company, were among the men that scaled the cliffs at Normandy and destroyed the German guns during the D-Day invasion of WWII.
The story of the 68 men of Dog Company, including detailed personal stories from them details how several of the men joined the company, their part in the invasion of Normandy, and their part in taking and holding Hill 400.

Jan 01, 2013 Doug rated it really liked it
The great courage and ingenuity of Dog Company, Jim Rudder's Rangers, is a story all should read. The were the "Boys of Pointe Du Hoc" to whom Reagan referred in his famous D'Day speech.

In a day dominated by media driven cowardice on display in the White House and on Capitol Hill, the book is a refreshing reminder of our nation's real heritage of courage and bravado in the face of overwhelming odds.
Mar 28, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Great book. I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could. It's not quite a 5-star. The heroic stories were inspirational and educational. My one criticism is that the book moved so quickly that it was hard to keep up with the individual characters. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has a passion for WWII history.
Bruce Ballister
Jul 09, 2013 Bruce Ballister rated it it was amazing
I've read a lot of these unit histories and this is a good one. It was a great read after having been to the Normandy beaches. I remember looking west at the sheer bluffs of Pointe du Hoc, remembering that some units went up that vertical obstacle. Simply amazing group of young men. The book gets pretty weak on the final months of the war, but is good overall.
Alan Antos
Nov 02, 2013 Alan Antos rated it really liked it
This is one of those stories that even a Hollywood movie couldn't properly do justice to. The fact that anyone lived through what these men went through is quite amazing. Although it was a long story, it was well told and also included lots of historical details to make sure that you understand all the relevant details surrounding it.
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“They were firing down at us and throwing down potato masher grenades, and they also cut some ropes. I don’t really know how we got up the cliff.” 1 likes
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