In June, 1944, Carentan was a French town of some 4,000 people that tourist guides might have described as “bucolic” just a few years earlier. But following within days of the Allied Forces’ invasion of Normandy on June 6, it became the scene of a pitched, frantic battle between German and American troops that took place from June 10-15. The prize was access to high ground and ultimate control of two beaches—codenamed “Omaha” and “Utah”—that flanked Carentan and would prove pivotal to the invasion’s success and the final vanquishing of the German military machine less than a year later.
Among those American troops was Louis Simpson, a 21-year-old immigrant from Jamaica. Simpson had been studying poetry and literature at Columbia University but left to join the war effort.
Born to an upper crust attorney father of Scotch descent and a Russian mother, Simpson endured the sudden, unexplai...Read More