The Missing Men of the 99th Infantry Division
September 26, 2017 joedemadio 1 Comment
Book Review: The Dead of Winter
I recently received the book The Dead of Winter from a good friend who recommended it to me. It’s written by Bill Warnock who’s the founder of the MIA Project in affiliation with the 99th Infantry Division Association. The book is a must read for battlefield investigators and researchers who love to be the detectives themselves when it comes troop movements and troop action.
The book contains multiple stories of how two men, Jean-Louis Seel and Jean-Philippe Speder, with the help of veterans and other people, search for missing soldiers of the 99th Infantry Division. Both Seel and Speder are very close friends and often go out on the battlefields armed with a metal detector. Their mission: find the bodies of men whose bodies were never recovered after the war.
What makes this book so special is the amount of detail that Warnock tells us of the research process. From detailed troop movement to slowly getting closer to solving a case, he doesn’t want you to stop reading. It goes without saying that this book is a big example of how people should work whenever they stumble on the remains of a soldier on the WW2 battlefields.
The stories told in the book are all related to the 99th Infantry Division who fought with great honor as a green infantry division. Without any battle experience they defended the most-northern shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge. The division is known for their long stand at the Elsenborn Ridge, but the stories all contain missing men who were found in forests close to the German border. When reading this book you’ll realize not how many men of the 99th Infantry Division went missing during the battle, but how many bodies were never recovered. Even after the bulge was over and the troops held patrols into the enemy area, men were lost and never recovered. That’s a strange thing when you realize the area would soon be cleared by allied troops and efforts to retrieve the bodies were made after the war. This book, therefore, is a master piece when it comes to history. Not only does it shows the whole process of research, but it also tells the story of the men who fought in this area.
Thanks to the work of Seel, Speder and the help of many people at least fourteen cases were opened and almost all were solved. I can only show my respects to them.
I hope the book doesn’t motivate amateur archeologists to go out and hunt for relics on the battlefields. I do hope it motivates people to dig deeper into researching a unit and solving the mysteries that come with it. If you think you have cases that are similar to the ones in the book, go out there and get in contact with as much people as you can to handle it in a professional way.
Click on the image to buy to book on Amazon: The Dead of Winter: How Battlefield Investigators, WWII Veterans, and Forensic Scientists Solved the Mystery of the Bulge’s Lost Soldiers