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It was a cold December morning in 1944,
deep in the Ardennes forest of Belgium. Eighteen men of a small intelligence platoon commanded by twenty-year-old lieutenant Lyle Bouck were huddled in their foxholes, desperately trying to keep warm.

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Suddenly the early morning silence was broken by the roar of a huge artillery bombardment. Hitler had launched his bold and risky offensive against the Allies—his “last gamble”—and the American platoon was facing the main thrust of the entire German assault.

Vastly outnumbered, the platoon repulsed three German assaults in a fierce day-long battle to defend a strategically vital hill. Only when Bouck’s men had run out of ammunition did they surrender.

But their long winter was just beginning.

As POWs, Bouck’s platoon experienced an ordeal far worse than combat—surviving in captivity with trigger-happy German guards, Allied bombing raids, and a starvation diet. While hundreds of other captured Americans in German POW camps were either killed or died of disease, the men of Bouck’s platoon miraculously survived—all of them—and returned home after the war.

More than thirty years later, when President Carter recognized the unit’s “extraordinary heroism” and the U.S. Army approved combat medals for all eighteen men, they became America’s most decorated platoon of World War II.

With the same vivid and dramatic prose that made The Bedford Boys a national bestseller, Alex Kershaw brings to life the story of these little-known heroes—an epic tale of courage and survival in World War II and one of the most inspiring episodes in American history.

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Published by Da Capo Press
Trade Paper, 288 pages
$15.95/$21.50 Can

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