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THE CLAY PIGEONS OF ST. LO

by Glover S. Johns, Jr.
Commanding Officer 1st Battalion, 115th Infantry, 29th Division

Foreword by Joseph M. Balkoski
Author Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy


A World War II history book classic, first published in 1958. . .



Last Update: October 13, 2010

The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo is one of the most realistic books ever written about U.S. Army combat in World War II. The author, Major Glover Johns, was a liaison officer with the 29th "Blue and Gray" Division who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 115th Infantry (1st Maryland) little more than one week after the invasion. Johns describes the reality of front-line command with riveting prose and high attention to detail. No one interested in the World War II U.S. Army can afford to miss it.

Excerpts fromThe Clay Pigeons of St. Lo Foreword by Joseph Balkoski :

I rarely read books twice; however, over the years, I have lost track of the number of times I have read The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo from cover to cover, but I can declare with certainty that there is no book in my library that I have read more.

From a writer's perspective, I can imagine no greater satisfaction than having one's words inspire others to write. I do not have the slightest doubt that Glover Johns and his memorable book had that effect on me . . . I believe that Johns's work has successfully stood the test of time because it is undeniably a captivating read. Cynics may presume that warriors are not adept with the written word. A reading of the The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo, however, will change that assumption, for even those who know little of World War II history cannot help but be impressed with Johns's expertise with the pen. If a writer's goal is to achieve the widest possible audience with enthralling prose, I submit that Glover Johns fulfilled that goal admirably.

Comments on The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo :

"It is unusual and rare when one can find a true story of actual combat of an echelon the size of an infantry battalion, but here it is, in plain words, without heroics and with amazing frankness. What is more to the point, it is most interesting and readable. The principal character, whose actions and spirit animates the whole story, is the young battalion commander . . .

If you want a graphic account of thirty days of exciting and victorious combat -- of the indomitable fighting spirit -- of well-led and disciplined enlisted men who had been civilians only months before, this book will please you. These things I know to be true because I was there . . .

If you were to break down the history of all battle from the Battle of Arbela in 331 B.C. to the Meuse-Argonne of World War I in the hope of determining what contributes to victory, you would find that success in battle can be measured by the leadership, efficient, and esprit of the small fighting units. The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo is definite proof of this fact."
-Maj. Gen. William H. Sands, 29th Infantry Division, World War II

"This memoir is unlike any other memoir of World War II that I have ever read. Johns relates the stress, the worry, the fear, the exhaustion, the humor and the camaraderie with the ease of a seasoned storyteller."
-Grant Waara, Amazon.com book reviewer

CLICK HERE for historical information on the 29th Infantry Division

NOTE: As of October 2010, The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo is out of print and no longer for sale on this website. Please consult book dealers on the internet to locate used copies of the book.

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