cover image

All Souls Day

The World War II Battle and the Search for a Lost U.S. Battalion

Joseph M. Pereira

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Potomac Books
Published: 11/2020
Pages: 264
Subject: History
eBook ISBN: 9781640124202


The U.S. Army attacked three villages near the German-Belgium border, surprising the Germans who surrendered with little resistance. The German army regrouped and counterattacked. A brief but horrific battle ensued, and as the enemy pressed forward, the Americans retreated in haste, leaving behind their wounded and their dead. Discussion of this week-long conflict that began on All Souls Day, November 2, 1944, has been confined to officer training school, in part due to its heavy losses and ignominy. After the war the U.S. Army returned to the battlefield to bring home its fallen. To its dismay it found that many of these men had vanished. The disappearances were puzzling and for decades the U.S. government searched unsuccessfully for clues. After poring over now-declassified battlefield reports and interviewing family members, the authors reconstruct a spellbinding story of love and sacrifice, honor and bravery, as well as a portrait of the gnawing pain of families not knowing what became of their loved ones. Ultimately this work of history and in-depth contemporary journalism proffers a glimmer of light in the ongoing search.  


Joseph M. Pereira is an award-winning journalist who worked for the Wall Street Journal for more than two decades. He has taught journalism at Emerson College and at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University. He was a member of the Wall Street Journal staff that won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 9/11 attacks, and he has won several other awards for his investigative work. John L. Wilson served in the U.S. Army and earned a BS from Boston College and an MBA from Boston University. He has worked for major multinational corporations leading international business development throughout Europe and Asia. Because of Wilson's extensive research for missing soldiers in the Hürtgen Forest Battle, he has been invited to the Pentagon to propose additional methodologies to search for many more still-missing American soldiers.  


"No family, no community, and no nation rests fully until its sons and daughters in arms have come home. In that spirit, we should all honor and encourage the work expressed in this book."—Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts  

"You might think that by now every story about World War II has been told. Think again. This book, based on in-depth investigative reporting, tells a compelling story that you've never heard about. It's a story that has needed to be told and is one you'll want to read."—Joe Bergantino, cofounder of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting  

"An impressive historical investigation into the battle on All Souls Day and into the men and the mystery of the lost battalion. . . . It is a remarkable and impressive effort to apply investigative journalism skills to bring to life a battle buried in the annals of World War II."—Brett Arends, author and columnist for Dow Jones publications