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Hell Before Their Very Eyes


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This is a history that demands to be published. The use of personal witness accounts is the only way to capture the essence of the traumatic experience the American soldiers had to deal with. -- Daniel D. Holt, editor of Eisenhower: The Prewar Diaries and Selected Papers, 1905-1941 Describes the history of the camps with scholarly clarity while revealing the immediacy of the emotional horror witnessed by the American liberators. Full of vivid quotations, this book will capture the interest of general readers while engaging undergraduates and grounding them in the subject. -- Michael C. C. Adams, Northern Kentucky University, author of The Best War Ever: America and World War II

Table of Contents

1. Encountering Ohrdruf
2. The Smell of Death Was Thick in the Air"
3. Treating Buchenwald
4. Dachau
5. "My Heart Was Going a Mile a Minute"
6. Dachau
Suggested Further Reading

About the Author

John C. McManus is a Curators' Professor of History at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is the author of The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II and Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II Through Iraq.


It is not a book for the faint of heart... however, I feel it is a must-read for anyone interested in the Holocaust, and particularly, those who question its occurrence. Examiner.com This is the most powerful book I've read in decades. -- John Greenya The Washington Times The author excels at telling the story without sensationalizing the emotional turmoil the soldiers faced. He illustrates his scholarly integrity by including in his narrative the reprisal killings against Germans perpetrated by emotionally distraught GIs. Choice McManus [captures] the shock, anger, dismay, and other emotions of the soldiers who discovered what had been going on in the so-called 'Thousand Year Reich.' Journal of America's Military Past McManus skillfully uses oral histories as a counterweight to other sources... Michigan War Studies Review McManus has produced a fine brief survey of the American liberation of the Nazi concentration camps that is truly a compelling read. European History Quarterly

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