More on Dieppe . . .

The Rangers book is being reissued soon, which has given me the opportunity to correct some of the dumb mistakes that got past me the first time around. (Submarine rather than Supermarine? Ouch! And let's not get into the M1 fiasco! But as I always say, the only original thing I own are my mistakes.)

I appreciate people pointing out the mistakes, especially when they are polite and forgiving. But I've always been amazed at the sharp reactions to things that aren’t in the book. For some odd reason, (an admittedly tiny percentage of) readers seem to believe that a book focusing on the small contribution that Americans made to the battle denigrates the larger Canadian effort and sacrifice. And then there are the folks who think I said the newly formed Ranger unit was the equivalent of the British Commandos. (Eventually, yes, as one of the surviving commandos told me when I worked on the book. But at the time of Dieppe, they were still very much learning.)

I could view it as some people looking for a fight. But I prefer to think of it as another riff on one of the book's themes: History is always filtered by the framework we bring to it. That is, after all, one of the main themes of the book.

Many brave men died on that city beach, and many others were captured. Most were Canadian, who were mentoring part of the Ranger contingent. Three Americans died alongside them, and others were awarded medals for bravery. For the small but brave contingent of Americans involved, it was an important baptism in fire, the first American blood-letting in Europe. The lessons learned were applied immediately in Africa, then Sicily, Italy, and beyond.

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