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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (127 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Douglas Brinkley Narrator: Douglas Brinkley Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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"These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. Theseare the men who took the cliffs. These are thechampions who helped free a continent. Theseare the heroes who helped end a war."—Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984,Normandy, France

Acclaimed historian and author of the "New York Times" bestselling Tour of Duty Douglas Brinkley tells 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.

The importance of Pointe du Hoc to Allied planners like General Dwight Eisenhower cannot be overstated. The heavy U.S. and British warships poised in the English Channel had eighteen targets on their bombardment list for D-Day morning. The 100-foot promontory known as Pointe du Hoc -- where six big German guns were ensconced -- was number one. General Omar Bradley, in fact, called knocking out the Nazi defenses at the Pointe the toughest of any task assigned on June 6, 1944. Under the bulldoggish command of Colonel James E. Rudder of Texas, who is profiled here, these elite forces "Rudder's Rangers" -- took control of the fortified cliff. The liberation of Europe was under way.

Based upon recently released documents from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Eisenhower Center, Texas A & M University, and the U.S. Army Military History Institute, The Boys of Pointe du Hoc is the first in-depth, anecdotal remembrance of these fearless Army Rangers. With brilliant deftness, Brinkley moves between two events four decades apart to tell the dual story of the making of Reagan's two uplifting 1984 speeches, considered by many to be among the best orations the Great Communicator ever gave, and the actual heroic event, which was indelibly captured as well in the opening scenes of Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan".Just as compellingly, Brinkley tells the story of how Lisa Zanatta Henn, the daughter of a D-Day veteran, forged a special friendship with President Reagan that changed public perceptions of World War II veterans forever. Two White House speechwriters -- Peggy Noonan and Tony Dolan -- emerge in the narrative as the master scribes whose ethereal prose helped Reagan become the spokesperson for the entire World War II generation. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “The boys of Point du Hoc are needed today. Douglas Brinkley’s fine historical exposition weaves the courage of the American rangers at D-day into the fabric of the Reagan presidency to illuminate just what qualities are needed now to keep the United States strong and free.”

    Bill O’Reilly

  • “In The Boys of Pointe du Hoc, historian Douglas Brinkley proves again his instinct for our strongest history…More than a grateful taps for those who gave so much on the cliffs of Normandy, his book is a bugle call of reveille for what they did.”

    Chris Matthews

  • “In this jewel of a book, Douglas Brinkley proves his skill as a master storyteller. With solid research and superb writing, he weaves together two dramatic events. The memorable battle of Point du Hoc is re-created in vivid detail, as is the story of the moving commemorative speech Ronald Reagan delivered at the site that helped launch a renewed appreciation of World War II veterans. Brinkley’s idea of linking these two events yields a fascinating and original book.”

    Doris Kearns Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of No Ordinary Time

  • “Doug Brinkley does a glorious job weaving together the story of Ronald Reagan’s visit to Normandy and the US Army rangers who fought on D-day. The result is a powerful tale that celebrates…the patriotism and pride inspired by America’s brave soldiers.”

    Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Benjamin Franklin

  • “In this fascinating new study, Douglas Brinkley tells the inside story Reagan’s Normandy speeches with insight and a great eye for detail, shedding fresh light on the making of a crucial presidential moment.”

    Jon Meacham, New York Times bestselling author of Franklin and Winston

  • “Riveting.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Compelling reading.”

    New Orleans Times-Picayune

  • “A tour de force.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Brinkley combines analysis of Reagan’s Normandy speech with a retelling of the Rangers’ deeds and the reasons that nations are obliged to laud their war heroes. Both the novice and D-day historian will want to read The Boys of Pointe du Hoc.

    JoAnna McDonald, author of The Liberation of Pointe du Hoc

  • “Brinkley has not one but two powerful stories to tell…a gripping, you-are-there account of the rangers who scaled Pointe du Hoc and a bold, even brilliant treatment of Reaganesque stagecraft.”

    Richard Norton Smith, executive director, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

  • “Brinkley clearly and movingly tells the story of how a simple tribute became a milestone in the historiography of WWII and another feather in the great communicator’s cap.”  

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Brinkley, a noted historian, does a marvelous job telling his multifaceted story. Enthusiastic and winsome in his presentation, he imparts his excitement to the listener.”  


  • “An excellent read…A most useful and readable case study of the making of popular history.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tom | 9/15/2013

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by John | 8/5/2013

    " 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Briana | 4/25/2013

    " Informative and thoughtfully written. Definitely worth reading. Not too much journalism establishment anti-Reaganism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Juneus | 2/14/2013

    " A very interesting book about how historic events and the telling of them differ but not as much as one would think. "

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