Warren native Timothy M. Gay will discuss his new book, "Assignment to Hell: The War Against Nazi Germany With Correspondents Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, A. J. Liebling, Homer Bigart, and Hal Boyle" at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 5, in the Slater Room of the Warren Library. The public is welcome.
Assignment to hell is Gay's third book. It tells the powerful and poignant story of the war against Adolf Hitler through the eyes of five great combat reporters, two of whom - Homer Bigart and Hal Boyle - earned Pulitzer Prizes. The title comes from the phrase the 26-year-old Walter Cronkite used the first time he went on a bombing raid over Nazi Germany: "I have just returned from an assignment to hell."
Tom Brokaw, author of "The Greatest Generation," calls Assignment to hell "a book every modern journalist-and citizen-should read. The 'assignment' is World War II, the largest event in the history of mankind ... Those legendary journalists, Cronkite and Rooney among them, were the eyes and ears of a nation." Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss wrote, "If one can say that reading a book titled Assignment to hell was a delight, I say it now. The stories are so vivid and alive all these years later that I felt I was there."
Author Timothy M. Gay
Kirkus Reviews described Assignment as "a sprightly synthesis of literature and history" and "a unique, engaging history lesson." The book will be the focus of an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and is expected to be highlighted in Newsweek/Daily Beast, the Huffington Post, The Economist, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio, among other outlets.
Gay had the complete cooperation of the reporters' survivors in researching the book. He was the first historian to gain access to the wartime correspondence of Walter Cronkite, which was only discovered after the legendary broadcaster passed away in July 2009. Gay also interviewed Andy Rooney twice before the "60 Minutes" commentator died last fall.
Gay's second book, Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert, a history of interracial baseball before integration, was named the Sporting News-Society for American Baseball Research Book of the Year for 2010. His first book, a biography of baseball great Tris Speaker, was a finalist for the baseball history community's two most prestigious awards. His new book can be purchased through Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com.
"Assignment to Hell" is dedicated to Gay's mother, Anne Harrington Gay of Market Street, and to his late aunt and uncle, Ella Harrington Cashman and William Maurice Cashman, MD, also of Warren. Gay is a 1972 graduate of Warren Area High School and a 1976 graduate of Georgetown University.
Pre-registrations, as a courtesy to the author, can be made by calling the library at 723-4650. Refreshments will be served following Gay's presentation.