Joseph Balkoski’s “Beyond the Beachhead”

Joseph Balkoski’s Beyond the Beachhead is a gripping historical account of the US 29th Infantry Division in Normandy.

As one of the spearheading units to land on bloody Omaha Beach, the 29th Infantry Division’s contribution to the success of D-Day was immense. Using first-hand accounts and contemporary sources, Joseph Balkoski vividly portrays the carnage of the D-Day landing and the bravery of the men who fought and died that day.

joseph balkoski

Insignia of the 29th Infantry Division

Although there are multitudes of books written about the D-Day invasion, Joseph Balkoski’s attention to detail and flowing narrative keeps the reader engaged and wanting more.

joseph balkoski

Major General Charles Gerhardt. Commanding General of the 29th Infantry Division

Beyond the Beachhead also gives a comprehensive history of the 29th Infantry Division’s beginnings as a National Guard unit from Virginia and Maryland and of the two years it spent training in England prior to D-Day.

After suffering heavy casualties on Omaha Beach, the 29th Infantry Division fought the Germans through a maze of hedgerows across the Norman countryside. Balkoski recounts the painful and humbling lessons the inexperienced division learned as it pushed towards the town of St. Lo, its primary objective. Far from heroics and one sided American victories, Beyond the Beachhead reveals the Normandy campaign to be brutal slug match against a highly trained and experienced adversary. Throughout the book are stories of American fortitude and success but also ineptness and inexperience that led to the needless death of many soldiers.

Through in-depth research and veteran interviews, Balkoski has written a lasting testament to the 29th Infantry Division.  Not only bringing to life personalities of officers and soldiers from the division, but also masterfully re-telling the story of the unit’s gallant fight in Normandy from Omaha Beach to St. Lo.

Beyond the Beachhead


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