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Autopsy of a Battle, about 517th, 509th, 551st and FSSF in southern France


Jean-Loup
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After about ten years of researching, interviewing and digging, I recently published a book about the Liberation of the French Riviera by the First Airborne Task Force in August 1944, called "Autopsy of a battle". The book mostly consists of oral history, combined with battlefield archaeology, period reports and photos, etc. For the book, I interviewed hundreds of veterans of the 517th, 509th, FSSF, 551st, as well as French civilians and partisans and some German soldiers. More information on the book and some reader comments can be found here: autopsyofabattle.blogspot.fr

 

The book has been seling well, and received very good comments on amazon and elswhere. If any people on this forum have read it, or will read it, I would be interested to hear your opinions.

 

JL

 

 

 

 

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Charlie Flick

Hello Jean-Loup:

 

Wecome to our Forum, and congratulations on your book.

 

Jumping Jack, the book was published by Schiffer in 2014. I see that it is available on Amazon. An image of the cover is seen below. Looks like a good one!

 

Regards,

Charlie

 

Autopsy.jpg

 

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Jumpin Jack

From the summary, it seems to we extremely well researched and written. I'll certainly make an effort to add it to my library. Jack

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Thanks. I really put my heart and energy into this project for years, and lived in the area I wrote about, so knew the locations very well.

The official price of the book it 89 dollars (the book weights about 7 pounds though, so it really isnt that expensive compared to the page count!), but it is usualy availlable for cheaper on amazon. I cant post the link as the copy and paste option does not work for me on this forum for some reason.

Dont mind the most recent one star comment on amazon, it was posted by a jealous troll who just got kicked off the WA forum, and who did not read the book.

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Jumpin Jack

Jean-Loup,

 

Thank you very much for responding. I will consult Amazon as soon as I return from vacation. It looks to be an excellent read!

I fully understand your reaction to the troll. When I announced my intent to do a five volume series on the WWII U. S. Airborne Forces, each in excess of 500 pages, the very first comment I received was from our local troll who asked, "What can you do that hasn't already been done." I let my work speak for itself. Enjoy your success. You deserve it. Jack Angolia

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Charlie Flick

I finally got around to ordering a copy of Autopsy of a Battle. It will arrive around Christmas. I am looking forward to reading it over the Holidays.

 

Regards,

Charlie

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Here is a link to the book on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Operation-Dragoon-Autopsy-Liberation-August-September/dp/076434580X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513670264&sr=8-1&keywords=autopsy+battle

 

And I was very flattered when well known author Mark Bando posted this very positive review on my work:

 

"The fighting to liberate southern France from Nazi occupation in summer, 1944 has never been the central focus of my research, but this work has captured my attention. This book by Jean Loup Gassend a French physician and historian is a massive compilation of historical detail, about a series of battles, which for too long has been dismissed as the 'Champagne Campaign', while so little was actually known about what happened in Southern France, in August, 1944. This work is the result of original on-scene research and a LOT of it. I seldom rave about how great any WWII history book is, but this one is superb. Hopefully Jean Loup's example will inspire other researchers to conduct investigations even half as well as he has done. Seeing what he has done makes me wish I lived closer to the battle sites in western Europe. Reading this book in concert with Michel deTrez's 'First Airborne Task Force' photo book... these two massive works alone have done much to document the Dragoon invasion in accurate detail. They are huge and significant contributions to the historical record. If you order this 8 pound tome, be prepared to immerse yourself in an overwhelming amount of information, particularly regarding casualties of the US and German military, as well as the French Maquis. The death photos and battlefield archaeology are amazing and could only be done by an author who resides in the area and who knows the local inhabitants, as well as the geography of the region intimately. His knowledge of human anatomy also enables him to discuss battlefield forensics, as no layman could do. This compilation is not a happy story, but it brings the human cost of war into sharp focus. This is not Hollywood, nor is it sanitized. It's a giant dose of in your face historical documentation, about WAR, with all its tragedy. Bravo to Jean Loup, for achieving this formidable and valuable work."

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  • 1 month later...

Jean-Loup,

 

I saw your youtube video and I am very impressed.

 

Mr Bando hit the nail on the head when he wished that he lived closer.

 

Many years ago I spent 3 days interviewing people in Normandy.

 

I stumbled onto the Ardenne Abbey and was able to interview 3 French witnesses, including Madame Vico, about the 12th SS and murders they commited.

 

Towards the end of the trip I was able to get a personal tour of the Moissy Chambois area where the Falaise Pocket was closed, from a man who lived there during WW2.

 

That was in 1982 and one of several trips to Normandy but the only one where i was old enough to research.

 

I was 26 and that was my last trip to Normandy.

 

I would do just about anything to live in France for the rest of my life.

 

Getting your book is on my list.

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I have just found this very detailed and good review, with many photos of the book, that was recently written on the "Armor modeling and preservation website": http://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=4146&tf=4&sf=0&mf=-1&rf=-1&nf=&df=&p=1&s=-4

 

The reviewer (who I do not know) concludes:

 

Conclusion

This was a long slog, but worth every step -- I have been personally and professionally rewarded by the journey.

Pros: The organization of the book is excellent as is the readability. The writing is excellent, very fluid yet very economical. The editing is excellent - I found 2 errors, "excepted" instead of "accepted" and "Chapter 3" instead of "Chapter 13", in over 500 pages - I mention these only to show the high quality. It's a big book and no one appears to have cut any corners in the publication chain which made reading a pleasure not a chore. Quality-wise it is worth every penny.

Cons: I raise two items more as suggestions, perhaps only for prospective readers, than negatives. As noted in my review, it's an area and action that not many are familiar with, even ignored or minimally addressed by some of the histories. I certainly am "geographically challenged" about the area other than what I might see on the Tour de France broadcast every year. The author provides the briefest of introductions to the "big picture" and that somewhat piece-meal. There are maps in the end-covers and at some chapter/section headings but they are more artistic than useful. Neither of these are show-stoppers.

Summary

At the end I went back to the Foreword and the Introduction and can only say that the author has done what he set out to do. I was not at all familiar with this piece of DRAGOON, indeed References 1-3 barely mention it, but now I know much more. More importantly, page after page, I began appreciating the "memory book" aspect of it. As I looked at the photo and story selection, at some point the phrase, not the book/movie, "we were soldiers once and young" came to mind and to dominate my thoughts.

Highly Recommended if you have any interest in DRAGOON, airborne operations, a country under occupation, or in historical method and study.

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WWIIBuff1945

Hello Jean-Loup,

 

I have read your book and have to say you did a fine job! I have written a few books myself so I know the hard work and dedication that goes into writing one.

 

Congrats and best of luck!

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  • 1 year later...

Nothing new per se, but I have finaly gotten around to making a decent "advertising" video about my book, to try to stir interest amongst those who are not familiar with Operation Dragoon. Here is the link:

 

Jean-Loup

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  • 1 year later...
Longhorn92

I bought the book when it was released. Great presentation and format and great book overall. It’s a mammoth book. Tons of info. 

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Charlie Flick

Yep, me too.  A very valuable piece of work on a campaign that has not gotten sufficient attention.  Jean Loup did a fabulous job on his book.  I am happy to have it in my library.

 

Regards,

Charlie

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  • 1 year later...
Jean-Loup

Here are more videos I have made with stories from the book:

 

 

 

 

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