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Missing Sticks

ISBN: 978-1879043008
Review Date:

Missing Sticks is historical fiction. Based on his knowledge of history, and his own experience as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, Taylor weaves a tale based on actual fact. In the cold, dark hours of the morning of 6 June 1944, 432 C-47 transports carrying the 101st Division crossed over the coast of the Cotentin Penisula in France. Between mechanical issues, navigational errors, and plain fear in the face of fierce antiaircraft fire, sixteen of those planes did not drop their troops as planned. Although later accounted for in reality, Taylor has created an interesting “what if" scenario, to show things that might have happened if some of those men had actually dropped into the areas in and around where they were supposed to land.

Initially, I thought that Mr. Taylor had created too many characters, and too many threads to the story. However, as I read along, I realized that these threads were carefully being woven into a tapestry. As the reader follows each key character, two things happen. One is that the reader gets an interesting look at the types of men who actually fought with the Screamin’ Eagles in Normandy. Most of the elements of the Division are represented here. The second is that the reader will get wrapped up in a very interesting story. Taylor skillfully puts quite a number of ‘hook’ in the tale, and every one of the hooks has a barb, making it very difficult to put down.

Unlike many historical fiction books, there is really nothing “over the top" in this story. This is no “SGT Rock" comic book. The heroes hurt, bleed, and make mistakes. They have plenty of faults and foibles, just like the real parachutists that dropped into the chaos of Normandy on that fateful day. This is a good book for a rainy day, when you don’t want to do anything other than be entertained for a few hours, and to remember the trials and tribulations of those who have gone before.

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