Adam Makos presents “Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II.”
5:00 p.m. Reception | 6:00 p.m. Presentation | 7:00 p.m. Book Signing
The Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, with the generous support from the Strake Foundation, is delighted to host New York Times best-selling author Adam Makos, who will share the riveting WWII story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he meets destiny in an iconic armored duel—and forges an enduring bond with his enemy. This story forms the basis of Makos’s new book Spearhead.
When Clarence Smoyer is assigned to the gunner’s seat of his Sherman tank, his crewmates discover that the gentle giant from Pennsylvania has a hidden talent: He’s a natural-born shooter.
At first, Clarence and his fellow crews in the legendary 3rd Armored Division—“Spearhead”—think their tanks are invincible. Then they meet the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it can shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerges: The lead tank always gets hit.
After Clarence sees his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, he and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers—the Pershing, a state-of-the-art “super tank,” one of 20 in the European theater.
But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: Now they will spearhead every attack. That’s how Clarence, the corporal from coal country, finds himself leading the US Army into its largest urban battle of the European war, the fight for Cologne, the “Fortress City” of Germany.
Battling through the ruins, Clarence engages the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he squares off with Gustav Schaefer, a teenager behind the trigger in a Panzer IV tank, whose crew has been sent on a suicide mission to stop the Americans.
As Clarence and Gustav trade fire down a long boulevard, they are taken by surprise by a tragic mistake of war. What happens next will haunt Clarence to the modern day, drawing him back to Cologne to do the unthinkable—to face his enemy one last time.
The reception and presentation, which are free and open to the public but please register to attend, are presented by the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy with generous support from the Strake Foundation.
For more information or to register, call 504-528-1944 x 412.
About the author: Adam Makos has been hailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the Associated Press, and is the author of the New York Times best seller A Higher Call and the critically acclaimed Devotion. Inspired by his grandfathers’ service, Makos chronicles the stories of American veterans in his trademark fusion of intense human drama and fast-paced military action, securing his place “in the top ranks of military writers,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In the course of his research, Makos has flown a WWII bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American airman.
Don't have the book? Buy it from the Museum Store before you come.