Once Unheralded McFarland & Company Now A
Leading Military Publishing In America
Reviewed by Don DeNevi
World over, no matter who writes them, precise, truthful, passionate, and compassionate books of war are rare.
In America today, of the dozens of publishers who feature them, less than a handful have been able to emerge from the shadows of Manhattan’s towering powerful publishing houses and conglomerates to earn hard specialty niches among the Best In Battle Literature. One of the most deserving and respected, in this reviewer’s opinion, is McFarland & Company, founded in 1979, by publishing a slow trickle of military titles in the early ’80s to a cascading 10,000 by mid–2021.
Today, thanks to having marshaled many of the nation’s best war-minded writers who know from experience, or via hard, excruciating research and study, the truths of death on the battlefield, in the air, or on the sea, the company’s monthly list of published titles is so distinctly savoring one is aroused to read there and then.
Consider, for example, as a perfect Christmas gift, or New Year present, to one’s self, and/or family and friends, consider two companion books in one compelling set:
- “Patton’s Vanguard – – The United States Army Fourth Armored Division” by Don M. Fox with a Foreword by Martin Blumenson. McFarland; 496 pp; $45.
Winner of the Royal Palm Book Of the Year Award from the Florida Writers Association, this riveting unit history of the 4th’s amazing tank exploits and victories was written by researcher Don M. Fox who patiently gathered firsthand recollections, diaries, after-action reports, rare documents, hitherto unpublished person photographs. With careful attention in amassing long-forgotten attic, then skillfully writing, polishing, and finally, in a calm, yet feeling, narrative style, offers us one of the finest, most lively unit histories of World War II. The impact on the reader is stunning. If ever an army proved to be a team, living, sleeping, eating, and fighting together as a “band of brothers”, it was the Fourth Armored Division. Virtually every soldier mentioned proved that the Fourth’s General Patton’s infamous notable quote was wrong –“That individual hero stuff we read about was a lot of horse s – – – “. Not according to Don Fox in his wonderful 500-page contribution to the Best in War Literature.
- “Final Battles of Patton’s Vanguard – The United States Army Fourth Armored Division, 1945 – 1946” by Don M. Fox. McFarland; 308pp, $39.95.
This brilliant companion to “Patton’s Vanguard” was narrated mindfully maintaining continuity with the author’s former achievement. It covers the final months of combat right up to the last days of the war and after. Everyone knew the surest, shortest way home for American troops was to “Damn it, get on with it and get it done!” With resoluteness, Patton’s Third Army carved its way into the German heartland, the Fourth once again serving as the vanguard. Attack, persist and win, killing only when necessary, capturing the thousands upon thousands who, too, simply wanted to go home. All skirmishes and battles, whether of short or long duration, are presented and examined, and, for those who have never ridden in a tank during battle, the experience is harrowing, thanks to the narrative skill of the fledgling writer, Don M. Fox.
In short, McFarland offers a pleasantly surprising supply of fascinating war-reads that will surprise recipients with joy. See the titles for yourself: www.mcfarlandpub.com. Or, simply call 800-250-2187 to be added to the company’s list of monthly new titles.
Next week, this reviewer will recommend four additional Best World War II Book-buys For Christmas and the New Year, that column from the Philippines dealing with a behind-the-lines American colonel as leader of thousands of guerrilla forces in the battles for Mindanao.