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Their work on the front lines made headlines. In February 1943, a group of journalists - including a young wire-service correspondent named Walter Cronkite
and cub reporter Andy Rooney - clamored to fly along on a bombing raid over Nazi Germany. Seven of the 64 bombers that attacked a U-boat base that day
never made it back to England. A fellow survivor, Homer Bigart of the New York Herald Tribune, asked Cronkite if he'd thought through a lede. "I think
I'm going to say," mused Cronkite, "that I've just returned from an assignment to hell." During his esteemed career, Walter Cronkite issued millions of
words for public consumption, but he never wrote or uttered a truer phrase. Assignment to Hell tells the powerful and poignant story of the war against
Hitler through the eyes of five intrepid reporters. Crisscrossing battlefields, they formed a journalistic band of brothers, repeatedly placing themselves
in harm's way to bring the war home for anxious American readers. Cronkite crashed into Holland on a glider with U.S. paratroopers. Rooney dodged mortar
shells as he raced across the Rhine at Remagen. Behind enemy lines in Sicily, Bigart jumped into an amphibious commando raid that nearly ended in disaster.
The New Yorker's A. J. Liebling ducked sniper fire as Allied troops liberated his beloved Paris. The Associated Press's Hal Boyle barely escaped SS storm
troopers as he uncovered the massacre of U.S. soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge. Assignment to Hell is a stirring tribute to five of World War II's
greatest correspondents and to the brave men and women who fought on the front lines against fascism - their generation's "assignment to hell".
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
If you keep waiting for Hell to reveal itself in Assignment to Hell you'll arrive at the last page wondering where you missed it. There's very little drama in this book but there's a lot of descriptions of time spent well behind the lines in hotel rooms and restaurants. While Timothy Gay does a decent job recycling all the material that's available in other works about the various WWII correspondents he includes in this book, there's nothing in this book that will make you happy to have read this dabbling into these men's stories rather than to have read the original available first-hand accounts by the writers themselves. Sadly, the title is a way to work some recognizable names onto the cover while the contents do little credit to the stories of these correspondents.