The inspiring story of Joe Sacco and his part in the greatest battles of World War II, from Omaha Beach to the liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany.
In his riveting debut, Where the Birds Never Sing, Jack Sacco recounts the realistic, harrowing, at times horrifying, and ultimately triumphant tale of an American GI in World War II. Told through the eyes of his father, Joe Sacco—a farm boy from Alabama who was flung into the chaos of Normandy and survived the terrors of the Bulge—this is no ordinary war story. As part of the 92nd Signal Battalion and Patton’s famed 3rd Army, Joe and his buddies found themselves at the forefront—often in front of the infantry or behind enemy lines—of the Allied push through France and Germany.
After more than a year of fighting, but still only twenty years old, Joe was a hardened veteran, but nothing could have prepared him for the horrors behind the walls of Germany’s infamous Dachau concentration camp. Joe and his buddies were among the first 250 American troops into the camp, and it was there that they finally grasped the significance of the Allied mission.
Surrounded and pursued by death and destruction, they not only found the courage and the will to fight, they discovered the meaning of friendship and came to understand the value and fragility of life. Told from the perspective of an ordinary soldier, Where the Birds Never Sing contains first-hand accounts and never-before published photos documenting one man’s transformation from farm boy to soldier to liberator.
Written in an unusual style by the son of a G.I., this episodic WWII chronicle covers the career of the author's father, Joe Sacco (no relation to the comics artist), from his induction into the U.S. Army and stateside training during 1943, overseas deployment to Great Britain in early 1944, and his experiences in combat and behind the lines at Normandy through the end of the war. The account of the liberation of Dachau concentration camp, in late April 1945, comprises only one short chapter in the book. Although the narrative is first-person, the author's father is given neither co-authorship, nor "as told to" credit. This peculiar style limits the impact of some of the writing. "They say that war is comprised of one surreal moment after another, millions of them all strung together until nothing is real anymore except for one's own mortality" loses some punch if linked back to "a director, writer, and composer living in Los Angeles," as this debut author is credited. Yet the extensive reconstructed (or invented?) dialogue is largely successful: Sacco's barracks life and period profanity make for one of the more accurate and compelling recreations of the G.I. experience in recent years. The book is particularly good on Sacco's first few days in the service, combat action in a small German city in March 1945, and on the liberation of Dachau, but readers expecting extensive tales of armed conflict will be disappointed. While not a classic among World War II memoirs, nor particularly historically significant, this odd duck quacks convincingly.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a great book! It's not a war story...it's an emotional journey of a young man sent off to war.
I have the actual book and I must say it is excellent. Mr. Sacco does an excellent job retelling his father's experiences from leaving his Alabama home, the trials and tribulations of basic training, and fighting across Europe. The story is told from the first person point of view. I really felt as if I was amongst the men.
Captivating and honest
I appreciated the honesty in this must read book. Honesty in regards to the lives of these men and of what they witnessed in Europe.
The depiction of Danchau alone is reason for one to learn of the evil of Nazi Germany and the sacrifices made by our soldiers.