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Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Omaha Beach legend Ray Lambert's unforgettable firsthand account of D-Day—read the astonishing true story celebrated by Tom Brokaw, CBS This Morning, NPR, and the President. Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now Ray Lambert, ninety-eight years old, delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Omaha Beach legend Ray Lambert's unforgettable firsthand account of D-Day—read the astonishing true story celebrated by Tom Brokaw, CBS This Morning, NPR, and the President. Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now Ray Lambert, ninety-eight years old, delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour-de-force of remembrance evoking his role as a decorated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of D-Day. At five a.m. on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert worked his way through a throng of nervous soldiers to a wind-swept deck on a troopship off the coast of Normandy, France. A familiar voice cut through the wind and rumble of the ship’s engines. “Ray!” called his brother, Bill. Ray, head of a medical team for the First Division’s famed 16th Infantry Regiment, had already won a silver star in 1943 for running through German lines to rescue trapped men, one of countless rescues he’d made in North Africa and Sicily. “This is going to be the worst yet,” Ray told his brother, who served alongside him throughout the war.“If I don’t make it,” said Bill, “take care of my family.”“I will,” said Ray. He thought about his wife and son–a boy he had yet to see. “Same for me.” The words were barely out of Ray’s mouth when a shout came from below. To the landing craft! The brothers parted. Their destinies lay ten miles away, on the bloodiest shore of Normandy, a plot of Omaha Beach ironically code named “Easy Red.”Less than five hours later, after saving dozens of lives and being wounded at least three separate times, Ray would lose consciousness in the shallow water of the beach under heavy fire. He would wake on the deck of a landing ship to find his battered brother clinging to life next to him.Every Man a Hero is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known. 


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Omaha Beach legend Ray Lambert's unforgettable firsthand account of D-Day—read the astonishing true story celebrated by Tom Brokaw, CBS This Morning, NPR, and the President. Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now Ray Lambert, ninety-eight years old, delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Omaha Beach legend Ray Lambert's unforgettable firsthand account of D-Day—read the astonishing true story celebrated by Tom Brokaw, CBS This Morning, NPR, and the President. Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now Ray Lambert, ninety-eight years old, delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour-de-force of remembrance evoking his role as a decorated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of D-Day. At five a.m. on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert worked his way through a throng of nervous soldiers to a wind-swept deck on a troopship off the coast of Normandy, France. A familiar voice cut through the wind and rumble of the ship’s engines. “Ray!” called his brother, Bill. Ray, head of a medical team for the First Division’s famed 16th Infantry Regiment, had already won a silver star in 1943 for running through German lines to rescue trapped men, one of countless rescues he’d made in North Africa and Sicily. “This is going to be the worst yet,” Ray told his brother, who served alongside him throughout the war.“If I don’t make it,” said Bill, “take care of my family.”“I will,” said Ray. He thought about his wife and son–a boy he had yet to see. “Same for me.” The words were barely out of Ray’s mouth when a shout came from below. To the landing craft! The brothers parted. Their destinies lay ten miles away, on the bloodiest shore of Normandy, a plot of Omaha Beach ironically code named “Easy Red.”Less than five hours later, after saving dozens of lives and being wounded at least three separate times, Ray would lose consciousness in the shallow water of the beach under heavy fire. He would wake on the deck of a landing ship to find his battered brother clinging to life next to him.Every Man a Hero is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known. 

30 review for Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War

  1. 5 out of 5

    JD

    This is one of the best memoirs I have read from the Second World War from the experience of a GI in the European theatre. The author served as a medic with the 1st Infantry Division during Operation Torch and the subsequent North African campaign where US troops were blooded in the ETO for the first time, the invasion of Sicily before going to land on D-Day at Omaha Beach where he was wounded and sent home. The author also includes his childhood in Alabama during the Depression years and how he This is one of the best memoirs I have read from the Second World War from the experience of a GI in the European theatre. The author served as a medic with the 1st Infantry Division during Operation Torch and the subsequent North African campaign where US troops were blooded in the ETO for the first time, the invasion of Sicily before going to land on D-Day at Omaha Beach where he was wounded and sent home. The author also includes his childhood in Alabama during the Depression years and how he came to join the army in 1939 to escape the poverty. The writing of the book is excellent and his descriptions of events that he remembers well is great, he also admits when he cannot remember as clearly and does not just make up things as he goes along. One of the big plusses for this book for me is that there is very little dialogue, which gives this memoir a more authentic feel. The historical background he gives is very accurate and does not take over the book with just enough details given, so a reader with no knowledge of the war will find this very helpful. The author is also very humble and is a real straight-shooter when it comes to his opinions and why he has them. This book is a must for any World War 2 shelf or a reader wanting to get into World War 2 reading, as it covers a great deal of the fighting before D-Day by American forces in Europe and is an interesting viewpoint from that of a medic. Highly recommended!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    John

    The best of combat memoirs are the ones that do just tell it like it was, and Ray Lambert's memoir of his battle experiences from North Africa, to Sicily, to Omaha Beach on D-Day ranks right up there with the best of battle memoirs. Ray is simple and frank and this is the value of his story. As you read it, you begin to agree with Ray, (almost) every man, really was a hero. Here is a good example of Mr. Lambert's simple and frank style. He tells about the one guy in his unit who was "that guy," i The best of combat memoirs are the ones that do just tell it like it was, and Ray Lambert's memoir of his battle experiences from North Africa, to Sicily, to Omaha Beach on D-Day ranks right up there with the best of battle memoirs. Ray is simple and frank and this is the value of his story. As you read it, you begin to agree with Ray, (almost) every man, really was a hero. Here is a good example of Mr. Lambert's simple and frank style. He tells about the one guy in his unit who was "that guy," incompetent, always on KP duties, Mr. Lambert writes, "To put it in contemporary military terms, he wasn't squared away. I'm being kind." He goes on to say: "I heard later, he eventually became a major. I'd like to believe that means he straightened himself out, but it may be a more accurate assessment of how hard up the army was for officers. Not to mention ample justification for the ordinary enlisted man's view of the officer class, exceptions duly noted." Love it! In this passage he discusses an attack that encountered "light resistance." He writes: "The regiment's casualties totaled twenty-five KIA, with seventy-nine wounded. That is the terrible math of war—even in "light action" or "small resistance," as the fighting at Oran is often described in the history books, real people die." Indeed they do. In this passage, Mr. Lambert discusses why his division (the big Red One) initially didn't fair so well in battle. I think his insight is amazing here. He says: "One of the biggest factors, in my opinion, was our inexperience. Not only did we not really know war yet, we didn't know how to kill. It's more than shooting someone. It's not something you learn in your head, not a math equation or an instruction about how to wire up a switch. It's knowledge you need to get into your bones, into your heart. It's a harsh thing, but without it, you and your friends are dead, your battle is lost, and what you came to fight for is forfeit." This passage is perhaps the best explanation of the nature of war that I've ever read. It's cold, it's calculated, it's harsh, it's also the truth. This is exactly why we ought to not ever go into war blithely for it is a terrible thing. Mr. Lambert writes elsewhere of war: "On maps, battles are large and small arrows, dotted lines, terse descriptions. On the ground they're flipped over Jeeps and busted tanks. The thick arrow might represent several weeks of fighting, during which a unit might be cycled on and off the front line several times. The maps can't show things like the mud that crusts on your boots or the dirt that coats your skin. It certainly doesn't show the blood that cakes on your trousers after you've cleaned a dozen wounds." Mr. Lambert writes about a court-martial for a GI who deserted: "A lot of things can be forgiven in war, letting the guy next to you down isn't one of them." Mr. Lambert is in the very first wave onto Omaha Beach on D-Day and as a medic he is exposed to enemy fire as he goes around helping the wounded. His description of the chaos on the beach is as good as I've read. Here he writes about the sheer noise of battle: "The noise of war does more than deafen you. It's worse than shock, more physical than something thumping against your chest. It pounds your bones, rumbling through your organs, counter-beating your heart. Your skull vibrates. You feel the noise as if it's inside you, a demonic parasite pushing at every inch of skin to get out." As vivid imagery as I've ever read about battle. Mr. Lambert is eventually trapped under an LST when the front gangway drops on top of him as he is helping a wounded man in the water. Just before he drowns, and inexplicably, the gangway raises and he is freed, but the gangway breaks his back. This incident ends his war, but it will be a long time before he is completely healthy (or as healthy as he can be). Ironically enough, his brother is also wounded on Omaha Beach on D-Day and the pair are reunited as they are evacuated onto a hospital ship. Both brothers survived the war, having been in battle in North Africa, Sicily, and Omaha Beach on D-Day, which is amazing. A frank, vivid, account of one man's experience as a medic in battle. You can't help agreeing as you read it that all of these men who fought in these terrible battles, who sacrificed so much, certainly were heroes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    “Always for us the war was an immediate affair; the only strategy that counted was the one that kept you and your buddies alive.” Extraordinary memoir of one of the last survivors of D-Day. The story summarizes growing up in Alabama in the 20s and 30s, and his decision to escape poverty by joining the US Army in 1940. He thought he knew what was coming, but had no idea what was ahead for him. “I guess they figured if a man can take care of dogs, soldiers would be a cinch.” Though Lambert had no med “Always for us the war was an immediate affair; the only strategy that counted was the one that kept you and your buddies alive.” Extraordinary memoir of one of the last survivors of D-Day. The story summarizes growing up in Alabama in the 20s and 30s, and his decision to escape poverty by joining the US Army in 1940. He thought he knew what was coming, but had no idea what was ahead for him. “I guess they figured if a man can take care of dogs, soldiers would be a cinch.” Though Lambert had no medical training, he had assisted the county vet giving rabies shots to dogs. “The 2nd Battalion medics never retreated; we just found a better location.” Excellent voice and sense of the times. Lambert was older than many recruits and a natural leader. He survived landings in Algeria, Sicily, and Normandy. My father was a WW2 vet, and many of Lambert’s expressions and slang resonated with me. And reminded me of my father, dead over twenty years. “Your mind plays tricks when you look back. Things that should be sharp and crisp blur. Odd events, people you barely knew and places you rarely visited, suddenly become sharp.” DeFelice undoubtedly facilitated producing a modern text for the 90-year-old Lambert but did so without losing the sense of the original. “No mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great—Duty First” First Division motto. We cannot imagine what it was like: Lambert’s First Division “The Big Red One” went through. It is estimated that fully 30% of everyone who landed on Omaha beach was killed or wounded during his first hour ashore … or, in many cases, not quite ashore. Lambert was wounded three times that morning, the last took him out of the fight. His team rescued him and started him back to England. “And that’s all right. In a way, it’s better. Every medic who did his job that day was a savior; every man a hero.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    While this book was less than electrifying. I hold it in high regard because of the fact that its a true story told by an American Hero. Many people of my generation do not know much about WWII or the sacrifices our county had to make to defend our freedom. Stories like this bring us one step closer understanding the insanity of war and the unwavering bravery that all Americans showed when our world was in turmoil.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    With the 75th Anniversary of the D Day invasion coming up, This read fits in perfectly. I have read some great books on the D Day invasion and this is another great read on the topic. The author was a medic in the 1st Infantry Division, The Big Red One. He was one of the first who hit the beach at Omaha on June 6, 1944 with his fellow soldiers. His eyewitness account of the death and destruction around him is eye opening and tragic. This is one of the most detailed accounts I have read on the D With the 75th Anniversary of the D Day invasion coming up, This read fits in perfectly. I have read some great books on the D Day invasion and this is another great read on the topic. The author was a medic in the 1st Infantry Division, The Big Red One. He was one of the first who hit the beach at Omaha on June 6, 1944 with his fellow soldiers. His eyewitness account of the death and destruction around him is eye opening and tragic. This is one of the most detailed accounts I have read on the D Day invasion. This was an enjoyable read and makes you appreciate those who served our country and the sacrifices that make for our freedom.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deacon Tom F

    I love personal account of history. This book does not disappoint. On of the best!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Val

    I am glad that hundreds of people over a few decades finally prevailed upon Ray Lambert to write a book about his WWII experiences culminating in the invasion at Normandy. I also am glad that my reading schedule worked out that I finished his book on the 76th anniversary of D-Day, where Lambert was an Army medic dragging the wounded to shore, treating them, and then retrieving more, for hours, while under intense enemy fire and surrounded by mines. Lambert was 98 years old when this book was pub I am glad that hundreds of people over a few decades finally prevailed upon Ray Lambert to write a book about his WWII experiences culminating in the invasion at Normandy. I also am glad that my reading schedule worked out that I finished his book on the 76th anniversary of D-Day, where Lambert was an Army medic dragging the wounded to shore, treating them, and then retrieving more, for hours, while under intense enemy fire and surrounded by mines. Lambert was 98 years old when this book was published just last year, and by his own count after attending WWII vet reunions, he is one of less than a handful left from the hundreds of thousands who stormed the beaches on D-Day to liberate France. If you want to learn more about why he waited so long to write this book, and why he finally decided to do it, make sure to read the Legacy chapter and the Collaborator’s Note, where Mr. DeFelice describes Ray Lambert and what it was like helping him write this book. Both are touching chapters. There are a lot of books about D-Day, but this one almost certainly will be the last eyewitness account captured in print for posterity, and it is a charming one, if that’s the right word for it. Not that his account of his war experiences is charming, but Lambert writes in such a humble, folksy way, characteristic of his generation, of ordinary people called upon to do extraordinary things, and then not boasting about it after the fact. The author’s collaborator, DeFelice points out in his Note, that even after knowing Lambert for years and working with him on this book, he still learned new things Lambert had done during the war, heroic things, that Lambert simply had never mentioned to anyone before. Although the book title suggests the book is purely a memoir of Lambert’s D-Day experience, the title doesn’t do the book justice, because Lambert was involved in so much more than D-Day. That was the last major operation he served in, not the first. After briefly describing his upbringing and how we ended up in the Army, he tells the story of his unit’s combat in the years leading up to D-Day. Lambert served with General Patton in the campaign to take Northern Africa back from the Desert Fox, Erwin Rommel, then participated in the invasion of Sicily, starting the campaign to defeat Mussolini, and later to liberate Italy from Nazi control. North Africa and Sicily were incredibly important and successful campaigns, and Lambert was there treating and saving lives every step of the way. Thankfully, his book captures his memories of those two critical invasions, rather than focusing only on his next, and last, campaign - D-Day. There might not have been a D-Day as we know it had the Allies failed in North Africa and Italy, and Lambert gives proper credit to the often overlooked hundreds of thousands of Americans who fought mile by mile from Sicily to Rome to crush Mussolini and liberate Italy from the Nazis, rolling into Rome just days before D-Day. 46,000 Americans died in Italy, and Lambert notes they were just as brave and heroic as those who landed in Normandy, and should be honored equally. There are many eyewitness accounts from soldiers who stormed the beaches or special forces who parachuted behind enemy lines to slow and plague the Nazi response. Lambert’s account is unique because it is the perspective of a medic, landing at Normandy in the same transports as the soldiers but knowing that as soon as the ramp lowered, his friends and unit members would take heavy fire and he would be responsible for saving as many of them as he could, and he would lose many beyond his control. I loved his sub-chapter Every Man a Hero where he says reads the citations for heroism awarded to medics he knew went back into the water time after time to pull soldiers to shore and try to treat their wounds. Lambert did this too, and he makes a somber point that the award citations could be said of every combat medic in action that day. He also reminds us that although hundreds of thousands of Americans participated heroically in D-Day at great sacrifice and cost, only 12 Medals of Honor have been awarded, primarily because there are just too many deserving recipients to count and award them all. Fittingly, and with more than a little karma, Lambert himself is saved by an unknown heroic medic who Lambert can only thank in prayer and by telling his story. Like many soldiers being shipped out to the war, Lambert’s last few hours with his wife resulted in his son being born during Lambert’s first year in combat. By the time Lambert returns home, he has a 3 year-old son he has never met. Lambert’s concluding chapters and one Appendix describe what it was like for many WWII vets to return to “normal” life, and the mental health challenges (PTSD) they faced that were not identified as such until decades later with Vietnam vets, and so there wasn’t any therapy and treatment. Men were anxious, had terrible nightmares, saw faces and heard voices of those who had been killed, and struggled with depression. Lambert does not really accept the premise that his generation was somehow stoic and handled the horrors of war better, but he does agree that his generation understood the simple fact that there was a good and an evil, and if good was going to win in this world, evil had to be defeated. Lambert’s account covers most of WWII and is a great contribution to the eyewitness histories we should all read from time-to-time to remind ourselves of the price others have paid for us to have the lives we have today. Thank you, Ray Lambert, for your service in North Africa, Sicily, and Normandy, and thank you Mr. DeFelice for helping Ray get his story into print for his posterity, and to improve our understanding of WWII and the generation that fought it. Here is a news story about Lambert visiting Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2019, one year ago today: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/06/730126...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    It feels odd to say, but this was an endearing memoir of WWII. Perhaps it's because the author was 98 while recounting this or it could be his overall positive outlook even in the face of mayhem. Whatever the reason, this was a quick and enjoyable read. The depictions of D-Day reminded me of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Now the memories of those exhibits have a more personal story attached to them. I also admired Ray Lambert's reasons for telling his story -- so the next generations It feels odd to say, but this was an endearing memoir of WWII. Perhaps it's because the author was 98 while recounting this or it could be his overall positive outlook even in the face of mayhem. Whatever the reason, this was a quick and enjoyable read. The depictions of D-Day reminded me of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Now the memories of those exhibits have a more personal story attached to them. I also admired Ray Lambert's reasons for telling his story -- so the next generations will remember and continue to learn from this universal tragedy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I’ve read a lot of combat memoirs. This is one of the better ones. It’s a fast read and provides a fair amount of context for readers who aren’t that familiar with WW2. Though billed as a ‘memoir of D-Day’ it also covers the author’s time in North Africa and Sicily, two areas of the war that do not get as much coverage as D-Day onward.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    "The vast libraries of books on D-Day can't come close to describing what happened on the beach that day. There were so many acts of heroism, of men exposing themselves to enemy gunfire to advance, sacrificing themselves to help others--each one is a library of its own." (p.196) This book should be part of everyone's library on the D-Day invasion. I never get tired of reading books about the D-Day invasion. Every Man a Hero is one of those books. It is an oral history (the best type of history o "The vast libraries of books on D-Day can't come close to describing what happened on the beach that day. There were so many acts of heroism, of men exposing themselves to enemy gunfire to advance, sacrificing themselves to help others--each one is a library of its own." (p.196) This book should be part of everyone's library on the D-Day invasion. I never get tired of reading books about the D-Day invasion. Every Man a Hero is one of those books. It is an oral history (the best type of history one can read) on this subject. Told by 98 year old Ray Lambert a U.S. Army medic who recounts his prewar life and experiences at Omaha Beach during D-Day. Lambert's part of dying generation of WWII veterans who bore witness to this invasion. I have read accounts that only 400,000 WWII vets still exist and 400 of them die a day. We need these stories to keep us from forgetting how this great generation sacrificed for us so we would not lose the freedoms we all endure. Its a remarkable story and you will get a vivid picture of what he went through. His accounts of what happen will keep the memory of that day alive. Dam it was a goodread.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ptarrant5

    We lose WW2 D-day veterans every day, so I found it incredible to have the opportunity to read the memoir of a 98 year old veteran who, until recently, never shared his amazing story of his years in the war, culminating in the D-day landing in 1944. His book begins with a great description of growing up in a poor, rural family in Alabama during the depression. After leaving high school to help support his family, he worked in a variety of jobs to help put food on the table. His job as a veterin We lose WW2 D-day veterans every day, so I found it incredible to have the opportunity to read the memoir of a 98 year old veteran who, until recently, never shared his amazing story of his years in the war, culminating in the D-day landing in 1944. His book begins with a great description of growing up in a poor, rural family in Alabama during the depression. After leaving high school to help support his family, he worked in a variety of jobs to help put food on the table. His job as a veterinarian assistant gave him experience with giving injections, so when it came for him to join the military at the start of the war, he was trained to become a medic. Thus, began his epic journey from his extensive training at home and in England, to his combat service in the invasions of Africa and Italy, ending in the bloody day on Omaha Beach. He and his brother both survived critical injuries on that day and lived very decent, unassuming lives in the aftermath of that terrible conflict. In the very divisive time that dominates our days, it is increasingly important to remember all the heroes that have made the prosperity of our country possible.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Craig Wakefield

    Ray Lambert who is now 98 years old tells us of his life and his time in the U.S. Army Big Red 1. The title tells us the basic premise -- every man is a hero. Lambert told of his life growing up, his times and experiences working on a farm, quitting school when he was 12 years old to help support the family, and his experiences in the Army in Africa, Sicily, and at Omaha Beach. In many ways Lambert life experienced mirror those of the many hundreds of thousands of men and women who served in WWII Ray Lambert who is now 98 years old tells us of his life and his time in the U.S. Army Big Red 1. The title tells us the basic premise -- every man is a hero. Lambert told of his life growing up, his times and experiences working on a farm, quitting school when he was 12 years old to help support the family, and his experiences in the Army in Africa, Sicily, and at Omaha Beach. In many ways Lambert life experienced mirror those of the many hundreds of thousands of men and women who served in WWII. My father too served in WWII. He grew up in a small town, with no plumbing, outhouse, wood burning stove, etc. How different was my life, the life of my children and the life of my grandchildren as they grew up. The hard times and more small town and agriculture background of most men and women in Lambert's time forged a type of person that could survive the death and turmoil of war and then work to settle down and build a new life for themselves and their country when they returned home.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    A Great war story told by the author. I’m always in awe of what these people had to go through, and then live with the rest of their lives. Such hard memories to live with, and such hard times to live through.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Holly Hassler

    Wow, can I just say how privileged we should all feel when we finish reading this book. This story follows the true bravery of a solider in World War II and tells his first-hand account of what happened. Ray was a medic in the war and saved so many lives. Without giving too much away, as I don't want to put spoilers in my review, Ray's actions earned him some amazing honors/medals in the military. It also goes on to tell his story after the war, which I loved learning about just as much as learn Wow, can I just say how privileged we should all feel when we finish reading this book. This story follows the true bravery of a solider in World War II and tells his first-hand account of what happened. Ray was a medic in the war and saved so many lives. Without giving too much away, as I don't want to put spoilers in my review, Ray's actions earned him some amazing honors/medals in the military. It also goes on to tell his story after the war, which I loved learning about just as much as learning about his experiences in the war. Not many people talked about the struggles they went through after returning from war back then as PTSD was not a diagnosis back in the day. I think it is important to know how these soldiers felt coming back. I also like that the book has several museums listed and their websites for you to see more about World War II. These places have been added to my husband and my bucket list of places to see and learn more about the war. Thank you so much Ray for your service and for sharing your story of your life and sacrifices during the war.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Davis

    What an incredible life. Thank you Mr. Lambert for sharing your story. As hard as it may have been to share the story of his experiences I am thankful that he did. Well done sir. I have read many books on WWII and this is near the top. I just wish more soldiers would share their stories before they are lost to history. My father in law wouldn't talk about his time in the military so I understand the reluctance. But I wonder in telling his story, if it was cathartic for Mr. Lambert. What an incredible life. Thank you Mr. Lambert for sharing your story. As hard as it may have been to share the story of his experiences I am thankful that he did. Well done sir. I have read many books on WWII and this is near the top. I just wish more soldiers would share their stories before they are lost to history. My father in law wouldn't talk about his time in the military so I understand the reluctance. But I wonder in telling his story, if it was cathartic for Mr. Lambert.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nick Luchetti

    Phenomenal memoir by a ridiculously brave man. Ray Lambert humbly recounts his experiences as a medic in WWII taking part in landings in Africa, Sicily, and of course at Omaho Beach on DDAY. Ray does his best to describe in detail the horrors of landing on the French shorline that fateful day. While the details are terrifying, the acts of heroism by Ray and dozens of other men during the war provides hope and inspiration for the furture of the human species. A must read for anyone who is emotion Phenomenal memoir by a ridiculously brave man. Ray Lambert humbly recounts his experiences as a medic in WWII taking part in landings in Africa, Sicily, and of course at Omaho Beach on DDAY. Ray does his best to describe in detail the horrors of landing on the French shorline that fateful day. While the details are terrifying, the acts of heroism by Ray and dozens of other men during the war provides hope and inspiration for the furture of the human species. A must read for anyone who is emotionally moved by those men who sacrificed their lives to fight and defeat the greatest opression the world had ever seen.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laney

    Personal account was a mesh between stirring, poignant, horrifying and inspiring. It always reinforces my hope that we never have this type of war again. Ray was definitely modest and humble. Remarkable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy Endler

    A first hand account of not only the D-Day invasion, but of the path this humble and ordinary man took that led him to the beaches of France. The importance of his memoir is immeasurable. I highly recommend this book. The greatest generation indeed!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Arttie Parker

    Exceptional read that I struggled to put down. One of the best autobiographical accounts of D-Day that I have read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zoë Fruchter

    Good ol’ American boy showing up and doing what was needed to stop Nazism. Not very heavy reading, interesting to read memoirs of one of our boys.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Knutson

    Ray Lambert wrote this book about his WWII service like he was talking to you--it was straight forward and easy to follow and he gave context and military definitions to the events and subject matter. The book as a whole gave the reader not only a good idea of the kind of man Ray is, but also a great overview on the war in North Africa, Sicily, Day & Normandy, the 1st Infantry Division, and the medic corps as a whole. Ray was a medic and was part of the first wave on DDay. His medic perspective Ray Lambert wrote this book about his WWII service like he was talking to you--it was straight forward and easy to follow and he gave context and military definitions to the events and subject matter. The book as a whole gave the reader not only a good idea of the kind of man Ray is, but also a great overview on the war in North Africa, Sicily, Day & Normandy, the 1st Infantry Division, and the medic corps as a whole. Ray was a medic and was part of the first wave on DDay. His medic perspective gives the reader a perfect first person viewpoint of looking into the action. I especially appreciate the history of the Big Red one in North Africa and the Pacific, which I wish McManus' book on the 1st. Div. had. Perhaps the most touching thing about this book is Ray's humility and deference to those he served with. Ray is a hero of heroes and so was everyone he served with--from Tunisia to France--and it was really emotional to hear him talk about what he did and who he did it with. A great first hand account of the war and certainly of DDay.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angie C

    This was a 5 🌟 MEMOIR which was just released before the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This is a history book in a way but do not go in expecting more than what this is. Ray Lambert is a well know hero who was a medic who served on several fronts during WWII, he fought in Africa, Sicily and on D-Day to name some of his major locations. Ray’s Rock on Omaha Beach is named for him as he went back into the water to gather the wounded and shelter them behind this rock. He received many medals for his fe This was a 5 🌟 MEMOIR which was just released before the 75th anniversary of D-Day. This is a history book in a way but do not go in expecting more than what this is. Ray Lambert is a well know hero who was a medic who served on several fronts during WWII, he fought in Africa, Sicily and on D-Day to name some of his major locations. Ray’s Rock on Omaha Beach is named for him as he went back into the water to gather the wounded and shelter them behind this rock. He received many medals for his fearless work to save his fellows during multiple battles. This book is written in his voice and gives his opinions, two examples stood out for me. One is his description of the sound of war which I found very moving in how it made me feel his experience. The other is how he describes General Terry Allen, who he revered as a fantastic leader, and his contrasting description of General Patton who he respected as a military mind but had some personal issues with in regards to his leadership style. This shows that his honest opinions are represented. A lot of history is obviously represented but it is all from his point of view. This was a very moving read and I enjoyed reading from a medics viewpoint which was a departure from some other perspectives I have read before.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    First hand narrative by Mr. Lambert, a medic in the 1st Infantry Division -Big Red. Humane, glorifies the selflessness with which the front line men fought in the decisive battle of WWII. Yes, honor to the men that stopped the fascists from taking over Europe and perhaps the whole world had they not been defeated in D-Day, June 6, 1944. The boldness of the action, the odds against which they had to struggle, the mistakes but most important the human desire to help your fellow human being. The last First hand narrative by Mr. Lambert, a medic in the 1st Infantry Division -Big Red. Humane, glorifies the selflessness with which the front line men fought in the decisive battle of WWII. Yes, honor to the men that stopped the fascists from taking over Europe and perhaps the whole world had they not been defeated in D-Day, June 6, 1944. The boldness of the action, the odds against which they had to struggle, the mistakes but most important the human desire to help your fellow human being. The last great war fought by the USA on the winning side. I hope this serves us as a reminder of the horrors and sacrifices made by humble men and women in the name of Freedom. Lest we forget that war is the ultimate recourse against tyranny.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tim Martin

    This was a well-written memoir of not only a D-Day survivor but also of a veteran of U.S. combat in World War II in Tunisia and in Sicily (both in 1943). U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert (an amazing 98 when he wrote this book with Jim DeFelice; Lambert was born on November 26, 1920), was an Army medic from the 2nd Battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Division (the famed “Big Red One,” a name derived from the unit patch worn). Lambert recounted his life from his humble roo This was a well-written memoir of not only a D-Day survivor but also of a veteran of U.S. combat in World War II in Tunisia and in Sicily (both in 1943). U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ray Lambert (an amazing 98 when he wrote this book with Jim DeFelice; Lambert was born on November 26, 1920), was an Army medic from the 2nd Battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Division (the famed “Big Red One,” a name derived from the unit patch worn). Lambert recounted his life from his humble roots in rural Alabama through the Great Depression well into the postwar years, though the book concentrates on his U.S. Army training and his involvement in north Africa, Italy, his landing on Omaha Beach, and his recovery from his injuries he received at Normandy. Though there are a few paragraphs here and there that recount the broader sweep of the war (even mentioning the events in the Pacific), this book is focused on one man’s experience and the things he saw and did (and experienced by those around him). Having read a number of books on say the broad sweep of the European theater or the war in the Pacific, it was very interesting to read the experiences of one man on one stretch of Omaha Beach or in a particular valley in Tunisia, of the exact experiences he had. The book can almost be read as a series of vignettes, not as one long narrative driven memoir but a series of recollections of his time in training, in the service, and in recovery. Some sections were a page or so, other went on for several pages, all describing what Lambert experienced. Though the bulk of the book is on his World War II service, not all sections dealt only with battle or his role as a medic, but also detailed a number of other things he did and experienced in the service. Asides ranged widely in their subject matter, from the surprisingly “accepted and expected part of war” that was the presence of prostitutes (both overseas and even say near Fort Riley in Kansas; Lambert himself, very happily married, never partook, but he did do a lot to caution and treat men who visited prostitutes), the often apparently deliberate policy of the Nazi targeting of medics (who wore red crosses on their helmets and armbands and were supposed to be immune from direct targeting thanks to the Geneva Convention, but whose targeting “was a deliberate policy, a war crime” on the part of the Germans), his thoughts on two of the best-loved generals of World War II (Major General Terry Allen and Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, son of President Teddy Roosevelt, two generals Lambert served under and thought extremely highly of though not always well-liked by those above the two generals, with General Patton in particular intensely disliking General Allen, though as Lambert wrote “We might fight for Patton, but we’d go through hell and back ten times again for Terry”), his thoughts on the famed incident of Patton slapping a soldier suffering from battle fatigue (Lambert was surprisingly sympathetic to Patton while not condoning the action nor saying he particularly a fan of the man, pointing to among other things the then current understandings of PTSD), to Lambert’s interesting history of his Silver Stars (he only claims one, as he the official paperwork to back up the award, but his other two Silver Stars despite promises he would get the documents around them he never received them and thus Lambert doesn’t claim them despite having the actual medals, though as noted in the notes and sources section 80% of the records of U.S. servicemen discharged between 1912 and 1980 were lost at a fire in 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis), the role of the WAACs (Women Auxiliary Army Corps, “American women who had volunteered to work for the army behind the lines, taking jobs like drivers or clerks so more men could have combat roles”), and about “V Mail” or “Victory Mail” (to save on weight, letters were photographed and then sent overseas on microfilm, once at the destination then reproduced on a page about half the size of the original). The heart of the book is definitely his combat and medic experiences in Tunisia, Sicily, and most of all at Normandy and made for gripping reading. The writing about the D-Day landing was extremely vivid and also extremely intense, as Lambert wasn’t so much trying to storm the beach (though he was very much on it) but trying to give medical aid to those injured in the assault, a job by its very nature making him very much exposed to enemy fire, all while working in the surf and with little or no cover. In all three battles Lambert saved a lot of lives all at great risk to his own (and suffered a number of injuries but kept on working). The end of the book has a section of notes and several appendices that are worth reading, describing the processes used in researching and writing the book (an amazing amount of fact checking to make sure the names of ships or sites say in North Africa were accurately recorded) as well as an interesting appendix on the U.S. Army combat medics of World War II and another appendix about battle fatigue and PTSD in the war as well (well worth reading). There is also a section on further reading and extensive endnotes. Also some of the best maps I have ever seen in any World War II book (black and white but very well detailed). There is in addition an extensive collection of black and white photos in plates in the middle of the book, ranging from his childhood all the way to a memorial plaque on “Ray’s Rock” on Omaha Beach.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    This is a really good read and his story is very moving. I would recommend this to any word war 2 history buff.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    It's billed as a memoir of D-Day, but really it's broader than that. Lambert gives you an overview of his younger days, talks about enlisting before the U.S. entrance to World War II, then gives you the whole run-down of his service, right through D-Day. Then he goes on to talk about his recovery from the war and a little taste of what life was like after. It's written in a plain, unpretentious manner. Mostly Lambert explains any military jargon as he goes. It's really more of a personal account It's billed as a memoir of D-Day, but really it's broader than that. Lambert gives you an overview of his younger days, talks about enlisting before the U.S. entrance to World War II, then gives you the whole run-down of his service, right through D-Day. Then he goes on to talk about his recovery from the war and a little taste of what life was like after. It's written in a plain, unpretentious manner. Mostly Lambert explains any military jargon as he goes. It's really more of a personal account than a military history, so it is not consumed with strategy or tactics or even a blow-by-blow description of battle, except as it was directly experienced by Lambert. Sometimes he gives a picture of what else was happening in the war, relying on other accounts for that context. To the aficionado, some of these broader points might bear disputing, but remember that the value of this book is Lambert's own account of what he experienced. Anyway, Lambert notes that "the more information you get" sometimes "obscures rather than illuminates the truth" (p 128), so he knew well the problem of differing accounts. One thing that interested me personally was seeing how cyclical some things were. Lambert talks about they would place a priority on stopping "bleeding; usually with a tourniquet...There are complications from using tourniquets, however, and the practice has greatly declined since my war." (p 26). In fact, after 9/11, the use of tourniquets went way back up among those deploying, and the "complications" were deemed much more manageable than thought in the period just before. When I first joined the Air Force in 1991, they taught that putting a tourniquet on someone was a sentence to amputate and warned against using them unless it was life-or-death. Yet once real combat went up after 9/11, the tourniquet was almost the first thing people reached for. So I guess some things come and go with war or peace. Lambert's coauthor DeFelice noted the reason Lambert went on record with his account was the realization that few of his number were left, and, "as direct memory of a thing is lost, too often the lessons that it taught are lost as well." (p 240). Well spoken and all too true. So do your part, save part of the lessons learned, show some interest in history, read accounts like Lambert's. It's not the greatest or most sublime account of World War II ever written, but it's readable, accessible, and contains more than a few gems throughout. A good read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike Kennedy

    The cover of this book is misleading. It says it is a memoir of D-Day. I’m sure it was put on there because the release coincided with the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Honestly I’m glad it is misleading because it is so much more. The book follows Ray Lambert who is a medic and sergeant in the army during World War II. The book starts out with his upbringing before talking about his time in the war. This memoir is about so much more than D-Day. He was involved in the landings in North Africa and Si The cover of this book is misleading. It says it is a memoir of D-Day. I’m sure it was put on there because the release coincided with the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Honestly I’m glad it is misleading because it is so much more. The book follows Ray Lambert who is a medic and sergeant in the army during World War II. The book starts out with his upbringing before talking about his time in the war. This memoir is about so much more than D-Day. He was involved in the landings in North Africa and Sicily before D-Day. The honors he earned are two numerous to list, but let me just say this guy has three silver stars. I loved his telling of his time in North Africa and Sicily as these parts of World War II are often over looked. The is exactly what you would expect of someone from the Greatest Generation... hard working, no nonsense, and extremely humble. This guy is 98 and tells stories about the war like it was yesterday. He gives all the accolades to his comrades in arms. The co-author tells of a story of how he was going through paperwork, and came across the letter describing Ray’s first purple star. I’m all their time together he had never mentioned it. When asked Ray said it wasn’t anything special or different from what anyone else in this company would have done. This memoir is well worth the read, and it is pretty short too. Pick it up, enjoy, and gain some more respect for the men and women who protected and served this great country during World War II.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bob Schmitz

    This is the first person story of Ray Lambert a medic during WWII told when he was 80. Lambert was a Southern farm boy who joined the Army so as to have a job during the Depression. The war breaks out shortly afterwards. Lambert certainly saw a lot of combat from landing with the first troops in N. Africa, then Sicily and then again in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He is modest and says he was just doing his job but that meant to him such things as rescuing a wounded soldier from a min This is the first person story of Ray Lambert a medic during WWII told when he was 80. Lambert was a Southern farm boy who joined the Army so as to have a job during the Depression. The war breaks out shortly afterwards. Lambert certainly saw a lot of combat from landing with the first troops in N. Africa, then Sicily and then again in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He is modest and says he was just doing his job but that meant to him such things as rescuing a wounded soldier from a minefield in N. Africa, being cut by a grabbed German bayonet thrust at him before pulling out his pistol and shooting the soldier, pulling 2 soldiers from a burning tank when given a direct order not to for fear of it blowing up and having a landing craft front ramp fall on him pinning him below the surface as he was pulling a wounded soldier from the surf at Omaha Beach. It lifted after less than a minute for an unknown reason and he was released from a sure drowning though with 2 broken vertebrae. He received multiple Purple Hearts and Silver Stars for bravery. He confirms what I have read elsewhere, that the US soldiers were not very good in N. Africa because they did not know how to kill. They didn't yet hate Germans. It is an interesting story but adds little to the stories of the the war.

  29. 4 out of 5

    De Laura

    I really enjoyed this book. I have a lot of care for Veterans and taking time to learn and understand makes my 'thank you's more sincere. This book is nice for it's approachable read. It's got a casual kind of tone to keep it from being dry while also being honest and forthcoming with Ray's experiences and mentality. The co-writer did a great job to make it feel like a grandfather or an old neighbor sharing a story personally with the reader. It's not just facts but a lot of feelings and how some I really enjoyed this book. I have a lot of care for Veterans and taking time to learn and understand makes my 'thank you's more sincere. This book is nice for it's approachable read. It's got a casual kind of tone to keep it from being dry while also being honest and forthcoming with Ray's experiences and mentality. The co-writer did a great job to make it feel like a grandfather or an old neighbor sharing a story personally with the reader. It's not just facts but a lot of feelings and how someone can recollect by perspective and also wishes for the present. The last chapters of the book are a thoughtful collaboration of all the information gathered to be as accurate as possible and links to many websites and groups that can expand on this book and continue the recognition of veterans and support of current servicemen. I saw Ray's interviews and some things on other platforms as well. I'm grateful to have a better understanding of the medics of WWII and a glimpse at life afterward.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Hogan

    Finished Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War by Jim DeFelice and Ray Lambert, the story of Lamber’s life as a combat medic. Ray Lambert at 98 years old is among the very few remaining veterans of the D-D landing at Normandy. What a remarkable human being! From humble beginnings in rural Alabama to non com leader in the medical corps to a successful business career. This is way more than a WW2 book, it’s a story that celebrates generosity, humani Finished Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War by Jim DeFelice and Ray Lambert, the story of Lamber’s life as a combat medic. Ray Lambert at 98 years old is among the very few remaining veterans of the D-D landing at Normandy. What a remarkable human being! From humble beginnings in rural Alabama to non com leader in the medical corps to a successful business career. This is way more than a WW2 book, it’s a story that celebrates generosity, humanity and sacrifice. I became aware of Ray Lambert when Sam Elliot, the actor (most recently from a Star is Born) performed a dramatic reading of excerpts from Ray’s book at a Memorial Day celebration in Washington DC. YouTube the performance and you will see Elliot come down from the stage to thank a wheel chair bound Ray Lambert, a true American hero who deflects his heroism to everyone else that landed that day.

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