Picks and Pans Review: The Bedford Boys

updated 06/09/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/09/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice
By Alex Kershaw

The tiny town of Bedford, Va. (pop. 3,000), had 28 soldiers on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944; 22 of them died. As Kershaw aptly puts it, "The buck a day [salary] had saved them from poverty. Now it had bought a ticket to the front lines." Kershaw doesn't wallow in cliches about heroism as he describes the carnage; few books describe the costs of warfare so soberly and so vividly. (Da Capo, $25)

BOTTOM LINE: Searing and unsettling

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