• If You Survive

  • From Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge to the End of World War II - One American Officer's Riveting True Story
  • By: George Wilson
  • Narrated by: Brian Keeler
  • Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (660 ratings)

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If You Survive  By  cover art

If You Survive

By: George Wilson
Narrated by: Brian Keeler
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Publisher's Summary

George Wilson has garnered much acclaim for this shattering and enlightening memoir. Detailing his odyssey from July, 1944 until the following summer, If You Survive is a startling first-person account of the final year of World War II. Wilson was the only man from his original company to finish the war. As a Second Lieutenant, he went ashore at Utah Beach after the D-Day invasion amidst burned vehicles, sunken landing craft, and broken fortifications. From the breakthrough at Saint-LO, to the Battle of the Bulge, to the final push on Germany, Wilson survived ferocious battles and bitter weather. After earning several decorations and a promotion to First Lieutenant, Wilson was wounded. But he healed quickly and returned to duty.

Wilson’s account is an incredibly moving, continuous stream of devastating combat experiences that will make listeners wonder how any infantryman could have survived this war. Brian Keeler’s narration thoughtfully conveys this riveting tale of survival in the face of impossible odds.

©1987 George D. Wilson (P)2000 Recorded Books

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What listeners say about If You Survive

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

the best story of the war in Europe I've read

I will rate books but I rarely write a review. this book merited one for me. I found the writing exceptional. it's to the point it moves quickly. the stories George Wilson has to tell are astounding. I so thoroughly appreciated this book. my father was fortunate that he did not end up in the Battle of the Bulge. it's a long story why he didn't. but he told me that the platoon he was training with in Florida six of the men were killed within days of being in the battle. many more were wounded. he told me but for a stroke of "luck" one of those men might have been him.

if you are interested in a first-hand account of the fighting in France Belgium and Germany toward the end of the war I can't imagine there's a better book than this one.

8 people found this helpful

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What was it like, Grandaddy?

What made the experience of listening to If You Survive the most enjoyable?

Authenticity and clarity. You can tell by the level of detail that the author was very much there, and his clear telling lets you be there with him. This man is gifted at describing situations. You really do come away having an idea of "what it was like."

What about Brian Keeler’s performance did you like?

Keeler's voice sounds like that of an older man. It is easy to imagine that he is Wilson, that Wilson is my grandfather, and that I am listening to him tell me his war stories.

Any additional comments?

This book is easy to follow, with great balance and a natural flow: It includes emotion where appropriate, but generally it doesn't waste time with deep descriptions of the superfluous. Rather, it uses skillful, firsthand accounts of battles and tactics to "do the talking."Do get this book!

8 people found this helpful

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Covers a lot of important ground

Well done narrative. I'm struck by a point made in another book, which would be that Lt Wilson was probably quite lucky to join the hedgerow fighting AFTER progress had been made in solving the problem of breaking in to the hedgerows. The author seems to be a true professional with all that entails, including a good deal of modesty. He covers a lot of important ground from the Normandy hedgerows through the Battle of the Bulge.

5 people found this helpful

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WWII experience

I always like a good WWII book because I am fascinated by how men can treat each other so badly and then sleep at night. My heart is broken for the (mostly) men who were in the thick of the battles of this horrible war. I admire George Wilson so much for his heroism and example to others. My dad and my father-in-law fought in this war and both lived to tell about it, although they didn't say much. I am grateful for those who can and do tell their stories. Hopefully we learn from them and don't repeat the stupid mistake that is war.

4 people found this helpful

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This is if not the best book I have ever read

For someone like me that has a hard time Reading I found the experience very enjoyable. I Full heartedly recommend this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Very very good.

This book is one of three books I can recommend from the American company level that is beautifully done.

Wilson blends a smattering of technical and strategic info into his account for context, but the vast majority of it is combat. The other 20% is life from the front line. What’s so splendid about his book is the authors candid approach. He does not shy away from the emotion of war was is very professional about it. Really shows how far average men can rise in unimaginable circumstances. You will witness his rage, sorry, and... to those with first hand experience or lots of knowledge about such things... humor. It’s just a great blend and it shows.

Lt. Wilson really reminds me of R.V. Burgin In is approach to leadership. No nonsense yet humble and compassionate deep down.

The reader, given the author wrote this when in his 50s matches the story perfectly.

I also would like to note that if you are interested in the Hurtgene forest, this books definitely illustrates the terrible catastrophe that took place there. I could also recommend A Dark and Bloody Ground. I read it a while ago but recently saw it’s Avila me on Audible now.

3 people found this helpful

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Very Underrated Story

If you could sum up If You Survive in three words, what would they be?

Fast Paced Action

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, very interesting and fast paced. Incredible action from someone actually there.

3 people found this helpful

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An amazingly humble story of leadership

Wilson’s recounting of 9 months as a combat leader is notable in it’s detail and humbleness. This story is full of empathy and without puffery and bravado. If a young infantry officer wants a preview of “what it takes” this is a pretty good start. A thoughtful reader will fully appreciate the stark distinction between the REMF and a company grade combat Infantry Officer. In the end you will understand his satisfaction with how he acquitted himself. Wilson is the kind of officer the Army should have desperately tried to retain but could not overcome it’s sclerosis.

2 people found this helpful

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Just the facts...

This was a solid WW2 true story. You really get the sense of what went on in battle. Good writing. But it really felt like just the facts of what happened. Though anyone who likes these type of books should give this one a go.

Solid narration.

2 people found this helpful

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A good read....

but far too many platitudes! I found them distracting and self-aggrandizing. It was a enjoyable story nonetheless.

2 people found this helpful