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

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  275 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author of Tour of Duty Douglas Brinkley brings the riveting account of the brave U.S. Army Rangers who stormed the coast of Normandy on D-Day and the President, forty years later, who paid them homage.

U.S. and British warships poised in the English Channel had eighteen targets on their bombardment list for D-Day morning. T
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Published May 31st 2005 by HarperAudio
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Mr. Bauer
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.
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, military-history
Good book but some minor historical errors that somewhat spoiled it for me.
May 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, history
Wow, this read like a history report that you do in school. You know the one where the teacher says it has to be X long and when you don't have enough pages you start quoting everyone else's work hoping the teacher doesn't notice and start talking about other things? Then thinking you are going to get extra credit you add something totally off subject.

So the book I thought was supposed to be about the Boys on Pointe du Hoc (2nd Ranger battalion) that came to liberate the French and the rest of
Shane Gower
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how this book made me think about memory and how it took Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan choosing to focus on the Rangers at Pointe Du
Hoc for most people to learn the story of their sacrifice. I also enjoyed learning their story. Toward the end of the book, especially, I was a little put off by the way Brinkley glorified Reagan. I appreciated his analysis of how the speech impacted Americans in 1984, but the way he went on for a whole chapter about how great Reagan was made me a little
Norman Montes De Oca
There was a lot more about president Reagan, his speeches, and speech writers than there was about 2nd batt during the war. It was well written, and very informative, but I was hoping for more Ranger history than presidential politics.

Not a bad read, just not what I expected.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, a-2017
Reasonably well done, but too much Reagan and not enough rangers. It was not what I was expecting. I also had difficulty buying the premise that Reagan saw himself as the second coming of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. If you are interested in the D-Day story of Pointe du Hoc, this is NOT the book for you are looking for.
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Justin Tapp
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
Norm Konzelman
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
Robert Snow
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gregory Tait
Jul 27, 2015 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
Donnie Edgemon
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Charles Blumberg
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mark Mitchell
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alan Strong
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!
Da Whitt
Jun 27, 2013 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.
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.
Adam Christian Smith
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.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Renaissance Marine
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!
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sharon McNeil
Huge disappointment! About 25 percent was devoted to the Rangers' battle on Pointe du Hoc, World War II. The balance was accolades to CaptainRonald Reagan and his acting bits during World War II. If you want D Day history, read Ambrose.
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tim Plymale
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring read especially when you get the chance to travel to Normandy.
Mar 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book about how historic events and the telling of them differ but not as much as one would think.
Anthony Eggert
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.
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
US Army 2nd Ranger Battalion D-Day history intertwined with Ronald Reagan's speech honoring them, 40 years later.
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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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