As part of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy, three airborne divisions were dropped behind enemy lines to sow confusion in the German rear and prevent panzer reinforcements from reaching the beaches. In the dark early hours of D-Day, this confusion was achieved well enough, as nearly every airborne unit missed its drop zone, creating a kaleidoscope of small-unit combat.
Fortunately for the Allies, the 505th Regimental Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division hit on or near its drop zone. Its task was to seize the vital crossroads of Ste Me're Eglise, and to hold the bridge over the Merderet River at nearby La Fie're. Benefiting from dynamic battlefield leadership, the paratroopers reached the bridge, only to be met by wave after wave of German tanks and infantry desperate to force the crossing.
Reinforced by glider troops, who suffered terribly in their landings from the now-alert Germans, the 505th not only held the vital bridge for three days but launched a counterattack in the teeth of enemy fire to secure their objective once and for all, albeit at gruesome cost. In No Better Place to Die, Robert M. Murphy provides an objective narrative of countless acts of heroism, almost breathtaking in its "you are there" detail.
No World War II veteran is better known in 82nd Airborne circles than Robert M. ("Bob") Murphy. A Pathfinder and member of A Company, 505th PIR, Bob was wounded three times in action, and made all four combat jumps with his regiment, fighting in Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and Holland. He was decorated for valor for his role at La Fie're, and is a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. After the war, he was instrumental in establishing the 505th RCT Association.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Matthew on 07-11-14
Eeh, I'm luke warm about it.
Would you try another book from Robert Murphy and/or Stephen Bowlby?
Likely not. It was very mechanical. In some ways I suppose that could not be helped given the subject and the use of personal diaries or journals to tell most of the stories.
Would you recommend No Better Place to Die to your friends? Why or why not?
Only if they: 1. Have an extreme interest in WWII. 2. Have an even greater interest in the Battle for Normandy. 3. Have actually been to Normandy and have seen the places in the book.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Overall the narrator was not unpleasant and his voice had a good cadence and tone. However, I really disliked the way he would pronounce the French villages and the inflection he would use when he did it. It's not that he tried a corny French accent. It just would have been better if he didn't try say them using the French pronunciation. It would have sounded better to just say them like an American does.
Could you see No Better Place to Die being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
No, I think it's too cut up. As an overall account it had no real flow to it because its an amalgamation of short stories that, while interesting for someone like me, just wouldn't make a good screen play.
Any additional comments?
I am an extreme WWII reader/listener and I have always been drawn to the Battle for Normandy. If I hadn't been to see the places written about in this book I doubt I would have liked it at all. I will likely listen to the book again just to see if it was worth it based on what I learned from it? That said, the book is hyper detailed at times and will likely turn off most listeners who just want to hear a fluid account of what occurred on and after 6 June 1944.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Robert B Wilcox on 25-06-18
A heart rending accounting of unaccountable braverery
As a much younger and less battle scared airborne infantry officer...1970-1975...this story was moving beyond words. Humbling. It gives us a glimpse of what men can do when the chips are down.