In Seven Days in Hell, on sale as of October 29, Canada’s foremost military history sleuth takes readers where no one has dared go before – inside the sub-culture of a fighting battalion, into the psyche of its snipers, beyond its superstitions and rituals, right to the marrow of its citizen soldiers, who developed “a desire to hunt down the enemy and kill him, and either like doing so or learn to live with it.”
Drawing on formerly classified documents and rare first-person testimony of the men who fought on the front lines, David O’Keefe takes us on a heart-pounding journey at the sharp end of combat during the infamous Normandy campaign.
More than 300 soldiers from the Black Watch Highlanders found themselves pinned down, as the result of strategic blunders and the fog of war, and only a handful walked away.
Thrust into a nightmare, Black Watch Highlanders who hailed from across Canada, the US, Great Britain, and the Allied world found themselves embroiled in a mortal contest against the elite Waffen-SS units and grizzled Eastern Front veterans – where station, rank, race, and religion mattered little, and only character won the day.
“From the heroics of the regimental snipers and the tragedy of the acting battalion commander to the questionable decisions made by senior commanders, O’Keefe sheds new light on the Battle of Verrières Ridge,” reviews Mike Bechthold, Head of the Juno Beach Centre and author of Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign, 1940–1941.
O’Keefe is an award-winning historian, documentarian and professor at Marianopolis College, QC, who served with the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada – in the Canadian Forces in Montreal and worked as a Signals Intelligence research historian for the Directorate of History and Heritage (DND).
He has also created and collaborated on more than 15 documentaries for History Television and National Geographic. He has appeared on the CBC, CTV, Global Television and the UKTV Network in Great Britain. He wrote and produced the groundbreaking documentary Dieppe Uncovered, which made headlines around the world, as well as the documentary Black Watch Snipers.
He is also the writer, producer, and host of the History Television Program War Junk. He is the bestselling author of One Day In August: The Untold Story Behind Canada’s Tragedy at Dieppe, a finalist for the John W. Dafoe Book Prize, the CAA Lela Common Award, and the RBC Taylor Prize.
He lives in Rigaud, Quebec.