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The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  238 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
The 100-foot promontory known as Pointe du Hoc -- where six big German guns were ensconced -- was the number one target of the heavy U.S. and British warships poised in the English Channel on D-Day morning. Facing arguably the toughest task to befall U.S. forces during the war, the brave men of the Army 2nd Ranger Battalion boldly took control of the fortified cliff and se ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 23rd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published May 31st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Mr. Bauer
Sep 16, 2009 Mr. Bauer rated it it was ok
I liked the Point du hoc parts of the book. And, although I really admire the late President Reagan, I thought Brinkley devoted too much of the book to the Reagan/Point du hoc connection.
Norm Konzelman
Jan 14, 2015 Norm Konzelman rated it liked it
Was surprised by the content of the book. It started with President Ronald Reagan and his using the story of these men as his theme for celebrating those men on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, and the masterful stroke of political skill it was.
Briefly skipped through guerrilla warfare in the America's until WWII, when I suppose the modern special forces got their start with Rudder's Rangers, this unit of the toughest of the tough.
The bulk was Ronald Reagan's early manhood. His upbringing, time in
...more
J.S.
Aug 19, 2015 J.S. rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii
I think it's not too unfair to say that the late 60s and 70s can be summed up politically and nationalistically in one word: malaise. The Vietnam War was hardly the stuff of patriotic pride, and the presidents in the decade that followed weren't what many would characterize as inspirational. But Douglas Brinkley argues that Ronald Reagan was the perfect man to turn that around and restore a sense of pride in Americans. He did it by hearkening back to an earlier era, an era when pride in America' ...more
Gregory Tait
Aug 01, 2015 Gregory Tait rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always been a novice historian in regards to the Battles of WW 2. I really enjoyed this book. I believe as Ronald Reagan did that WW 2 was a just war that had to be fought to crush Nazism. This book links the Rangers Battle at Pointe Du Hoc with President Reagan's speech on the 40th anniversary of D-Day. Whatever your thoughts are about Reagan as a President, one thing that this book will show in his personal love for the WW 2 generation and his deep love for America. Recommended reading ...more
Justin Tapp
Jun 13, 2014 Justin Tapp rated it it was ok
This book chronicles the history of the 2nd Ranger Battalion (drawing heavily on other more definitive sources in that regard), Ronald Reagan's views of WWII through his acting roles at the time, then chronicles the writing of the two 40th anniversary of D-Day speeches Reagan delivered in 1984.
I have to say this book was pretty boring. The mini bios of Peggy Noonan and others involved in the writing of Reagan's speeches and the minute details of how these speeches developed were a little much fo
...more
Stephanie
Jun 04, 2014 Stephanie rated it liked it
The book was less about what took place at Pointe du Hoc on D-Day and more about Ronald Reagans's speech on the 40th anniversary of that battle. Having walked the battlefield, seen the bunker, bomb craters and cliffs, I wanted to read more about what happened that morning in 1944. The 70th anniversary of D-day is this week and we are still blessed by the sacrifice of the Boys of Pointe du Hoc.
Mark Mitchell
Apr 27, 2014 Mark Mitchell rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very good book that weaves good surface level telling of the Pointe du Hoc story with Reagan's masterful use of the historic event and the thirtieth anniversary of the Normandy invasion to demonstrate his political ideas. To those people who say that the book focuses too much on Reagan I can only respond that you must not have read the book's subtitle before beginning the book. The author does attempt to hide the purpose and focus of the book. It is right up front.
Robert Snow
May 13, 2013 Robert Snow rated it really liked it
This is more about the 40th anniversary of D-Day and the speech by President Ronald Reagan. I remember watching the ceremonies all day on June 6, 1984 and I taped many of the events that day. The reason being the 6th of June is my Birthday and I made it a point never to work on my birthday! The day here was overcast, grey and rainy. The highlight that day was Reagan's speech, he struck a cord through the men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and those who took part in this monumental undertaking. It w ...more
Alan Strong
Oct 15, 2015 Alan Strong rated it it was amazing
This well researched book corrects some errors in other D-Day accounts. This is very focused on the boys that landed and made the climb to take out the guns at Pointe du Hoc. Also included are accounts of Ronald Reagan's patriotism. Reagan's speech at the 40th anniversary on D-Day is included, too. A good book!!
Renaissance Marine
Feb 17, 2015 Renaissance Marine rated it it was amazing
what a neat book! it is two books in one. the story of the rangers who climbed the cliffs on D-day, sandwiched into the account of President Reagan and his famous speech at the 40th anniversary of D-day. I highly recommend this book!
Madisson
May 29, 2016 Madisson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
The first half of the book is about Maj. William Darby, Lt. Col. James Earl Rudder, the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion and the attack on Pointe du Hoc on D-Day. The second half is about Ronald Reagan, Peggy Noonan (one of President Reagan's speech writers) and Reagan's famous "Boys of Pointe du Hoc" speech (written by Noonan) which he delivered at Pointe du Hoc on the 40th anniversary of D-Day (y'all can find it on YouTube - it's amazing). Brinkley presents a lot of political opinions throughout ...more
Brett
Jan 15, 2016 Brett rated it liked it
Interesting back story on one of President Reagan's famous speeches. I would have liked to know more about the actual Boys of Pointe Du Hoc, but it was still an interesting read.
Ed
Nov 28, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
The amazing story of the US Army Rangers who did the impossible on D-Day, and the fascinating story behind President Reagan's historic speech in their honor on the 40th anniversary.
John
May 27, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box18
The first part of the book was good history, the second the history of a speech OK history.
Donnie Edgemon
Jul 25, 2011 Donnie Edgemon rated it really liked it
Interestingly, this book is more about the Boys of Pointe du Hoc speech than about the Rangers on D-Day. I'm not sure I agree totally with some of Brinkley's more stretched points - like the speech initiating appreciation of D-Day, Rangers, the WWII generation, and renewed American patriotism - but the story about how such a speech comes to be held my attention more than I would have thought it would. Not only is it interesting, the book is a quick read. That's nice for those of us with short at ...more
Sean Pfile
Feb 15, 2014 Sean Pfile rated it liked it
Good WW2 book.
Charles Blumberg
Aug 06, 2011 Charles Blumberg rated it really liked it
This was not the book I was expecting when searching it out. I thought it would be more about the actual story of the Boys of Pointe du Hoc. It only focuses a couple chapters on them. The book is really about Ronald Reagan's speech at Normandy Beach, the story behind Peggy Noonan rise to feature speechwriter, and how Reagan's speech focused attention back on D-Day and help bring it back to the forefront.
Douglas
Jan 10, 2010 Douglas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The Ranger assault on Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, President Reagan (his reelection, foreign policy, and legacy), and presidential speechmaking--that's what this book is about. An unusual combination, but I couldn't put the book down! A wonderful cross-cutting view of history being made--in 1944 and 1984 and beyond.
Da Whitt
Sep 02, 2013 Da Whitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well researched book about 2nd Batt, U.S. Army Rangers assault, mission and engagement on the Pointe Du Hoc cliffs WW II Normandy invasion, Reagan's speech there; written by Peggy Noonan commemorating it on it's 40th anniversary with 2nd Batt veterans in attendance and Reagan's admiration for "The Greatest Generation.
Adam Smith
Feb 21, 2013 Adam Smith rated it liked it
Interesting history with the mystifying tie-in of actors and movies, especially the thesis that President Reagan single handedly ended the Soviet Union and even more mystifying that he had a major influence on WWII victory.

The trying to tie in a nebulous thesis with facts of heroism completely baffled me.
John
Sep 15, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
Book is divided in to 2 main themes. The first is the heroic 2nd Ranger battalion's assault on Normandy Beach (Pointe du Hoc), and their dismantling of the German weaponry. The 2nd theme is how Ronald Reagan brought attention to these brave men with his famous D-Day 40th anniversary speech.
Tom
Aug 06, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
Touching, heroic story of the Rangers who climbed the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, and Reagan's moving speech on the 40th anniversary of D-Day. Just a good read, and the little bit of politics is interesting as well, and as always, the human aspect of Reagan's presidency comes to the fore.
Tim Plymale
Apr 24, 2009 Tim Plymale rated it really liked it
Real interesting Book...True Story of the Premptive strike before D-day. The 2nd Ranger Bat scaled Point Du Hoc and took control of the German fortifications overlooking Sword, Juno, and Omaha. Recommended to every one with an interest in Military history.
James
Nov 13, 2009 James rated it liked it
Brinkley argues that the American public didn't develop it's fascination and reverance for the WWII generation until the Reagan years and specifically Reagan's D-Day 40th Anniversary speech at Pointe du Hoc.
Christian Schnabel
Very good! Shows the devotion Reagan had for WWII generation and the complete dedication the Rangers had in storming Pointe Du Hoc. A must read for anyone interested in WWII and especially D-Day!
Anthony Eggert
Mar 20, 2009 Anthony Eggert rated it liked it
A good, brief read with some harrowing accounts of D-Day not found in other books. Original and well written, although the second half of the book drags on a bit.
Juneus
Apr 24, 2009 Juneus rated it liked it
A very interesting book about how historic events and the telling of them differ but not as much as one would think.
Briana
Jul 27, 2011 Briana rated it really liked it
Informative and thoughtfully written. Definitely worth reading. Not too much journalism establishment anti-Reaganism.
Beckie
Sep 28, 2012 Beckie rated it it was amazing
US Army 2nd Ranger Battalion D-Day history intertwined with Ronald Reagan's speech honoring them, 40 years later.
Michelle
Dec 01, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it
An inspiring read especially when you get the chance to travel to Normandy.
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Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His most recent books are The Quiet World, The Wilderness Warrior, and The Great Deluge. Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.
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