Etched in Purple
Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:13 AM
First published in 1949, Frank J. Irgang’s personal record of his unforgettable experiences as a combat infantryman during World War II has its beginning on the dawn of that famous “longest day” when Allied troops set foot on Normandy beaches. We know the surface facts of that invasion—what was planned, how it was executed, and what happened—but what most of us don’t know are the thoughts of those brave men who fought their way across France and into Germany. What were they thinking? How did they meet the terror of each new day?
In this revealing look at a young American soldier’s European tour of duty, the inner facts we have wanted to discover are found. And they are revealed truthfully and with a freshness of reality that would be impossible to recapture unless the observations had been jotted down, as they were, soon after the events took place. Irgang’s keen eye, his unliterary terseness, his sometimes blunt way of stating brutal truths—all these contribute toward making this book more than one man’s record of the war. In its unpretentiousness, Etched in Purple says vividly and powerfully what hundreds of other soldiers would have said had they found a means of expression: that World War II would always be etched in purple in their memories.
Posted 12 September 2010 - 05:09 AM
Posted 12 September 2010 - 01:37 PM
Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:19 PM
Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:29 PM
Posted 17 July 2015 - 12:18 PM
Posted 02 September 2015 - 11:18 AM
I just read this book. It was a great read, but in my opinion it is a romanced version of the soldier's experiences, not a completely truthfull account. He repeats a few of the long ago dispelled myths of WWII, claiming to have seem then firm hand: Germans using poisonned wooden bullets that cause severe wounds, blasts causing men to have a brocken neck because they were wearing their chinstraps. Sorry, but that stuff is legend only.
Additionaly, he never mentioned the specific units he is in, and rarely mentions anybody's name, which is stange for a supposedly true story. I tried looking up a few of the casualties he mentioned, and didnt find a trace of any of them. As for the two Germans he kills at the start, Germans did not have their names on their ID tags, except if members of the Navy. That detail is also therefore likely false, and no trace can be found of these two Germans he mentions by name on the website of the German Volksbund.
The scene of 40 or so men getting crushed by an avalanche of rock. If this event happened, it must be well know, and I would like to know what unit was involed and compare with the author's version.
There is a bunch of other stuff I find very hard to believe: Germen medic pulling out a pistle to kill one of his patients, Germans shooting a POW with a German pistol and leaving the pistol on the body, an American soldier being hung in public because of a sexual assault...
To me it sounds like a mixture of true events and stories that the author heard about, and the fact that he also authored two novels seems to confirm my suspissions. A good read, but to be taken with a grain of salt.
Posted 02 September 2015 - 03:10 PM
PS he was in D/175
Posted 27 December 2018 - 04:34 PM
Etched in Purple is more historical fiction than memoir.
You can read the article here: https://www.facebook...29054823797287/
Edited by Armed 2 tha Teeth, 27 December 2018 - 04:34 PM.
Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:27 AM
Edited by Indexred, 11 January 2019 - 11:33 AM.
Posted 11 January 2019 - 04:11 PM
Thanks for the recommendation, albeit historical fiction. Love the original cover art, so typical of that era. There were quite a few WWII vets (Allied and Axis) who wrote novels loosely based on their combat experiences.
Certainly. The problem here is that Irgang didn't sell the book as fiction, instead it was described as Irgang's “personal record of his unforgettable experiences as a combat infantryman during World War II" and Irgang insisted for decades to researchers that the events in his book actually happened. That distinction separates Etched in Purple from something like The Thin Red Line.
Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:49 PM
This reminds me of another fictional tale passed off as reality which was thoroughly debunked in the late 1990's. Frederic (Kohn) Arnold's "Doorknob 52"
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