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Spearhead

An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II
Written by: Adam Makos
Narrated by: Johnathan McClain
Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, LOS ANGELES TIMES, AND USA TODAY BEST SELLER

“A band of brothers in an American tank...Makos drops the reader back into the Pershing’s turret and dials up a battle scene to rival the peak moments of Fury.” (The Wall Street Journal) 

From the author of the international best seller A Higher Call comes the riveting World War II story of an American tank gunner’s journey into the heart of the Third Reich, where he will meet destiny in an iconic armor duel - and forge an enduring bond with his enemy.

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” - thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: 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 will engage the fearsome Panther in a duel immortalized by an army cameraman. And he will square 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. 

“A detailed, gripping account...the remarkable story of two tank crewmen, from opposite sides of the conflict, who endure the grisly nature of tank warfare.” (USA Today, four out of four stars) 

©2019 Random House Audio (P)2019 Adam Makos

What the critics say

“A band of brothers in an American tank.... [Adam] Makos drops the reader back into the Pershing’s turret and dials up a battle scene to rival the peak moments of Fury.... Brilliant...[a] gripping action narrative...a thoroughly enjoyable battle story, and a tribute to the everyman warrior.” (The Wall Street Journal

“[Spearhead is] a compelling, exciting adventure.... An in-the-moment re-creation of the Allied breakthrough of the West Wall into Nazi Germany by a remarkable cadre of tank crewmen of the 3rd Armored Division.” (Kirkus Reviews

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Superb storytelling AND it's true!

Real young men in a very real war. This book will give you an appreciation of tank warfare better than any other way. Graphic tragic and awe inspiring...all at the same time!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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best book yet

I love this book how it was written and how it was read. I also love the fact that I could find videos that were mentioned 10 out of 10 would recommend

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I felt like I was a witness

This book painted the sorrows of war so vividly. The detail and the perspectives of every character were precise. I could feel every bit of exasperation and desperation on both sides of the battles. Those who have not fought for their lives could never understand what these soldiers and civilians endured, but this book's description of the events can make us feel like we were witnessing the suffering of those caught in the horrors of war.

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Fantastic, powerful story

Great story, I really liked how the author brought all the storeies together of these brave men. This book has given me a different perspective of how I thought WW2 might have been.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-03-12

An Exceptional Story

This Book was amazing, Adam Makos is an amazing author. At points in this book it made me almost want to cry thinking of what our soldiers went through defending liberty in a place far from home. Clarence Smoyer and his tank crew as well as the other characters in this book deserve our undying gratitude for all that they gave for us. This is an amazing book that is definitely a must read/ listen.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Msgr. John R. McGrath
  • 2019-03-11

Excellent

Spearhead is the best historical story of WW II I have heard and recommend it with out hesitation.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • jarrett hughes
  • 2019-06-29

Phenomenal !!

Couldn’t quit listening. One of the best world war two books out there. I highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • RoverToad
  • 2019-05-03

Excellent WW2 History Lesson

This is the type of story I love to hear. It’s a tale of machines, the troops that operate them and men who support and are protected by them working as a team.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Lerner
  • 2019-09-12

Powerful, different and captivating

Yes, the Fury-like battle sequences are riveting (and, unlike in Fury, 100% true), but the tender examination of war and its effects on absolutely everyone in the last third of the book is some of the most powerful work I've ever read on any subject.

One last thing to mention, I listened to the book on Audible and the narration by Johnathan McClain is captivating. Listen to it in your car and you'll find yourself parked somewhere unable to turn it off.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan C.
  • 2019-07-03

the greatest book

never have I been so moved by a story what these brave men went through and survived is truly unbelievable. that the story is true makes it even better. great flow by the author and if this book isnt made into movie, Hollywood is missing out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Currie
  • 2019-06-25

Great story told by a great narrator

This was a very well read book about tank combat in WW II. It is a nonfiction book that keeps you enticed like a “can’t put it down” action packed fiction!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Arthur
  • 2019-05-03

Well researched!!

Again Adam Marlos has duplicated his amazing tenacity in research to scope out these stories from the last remaining veterans of WW2. The story is stranger than fiction..but it’s all true. My hat is off to all of the veterans of WW2. Ordinary men doing the extraordinary on both sides of the lines. If you are not crying by the end there is something wrong with you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 2019-03-06

The Story is great , but...........

The author does a great job in his research and bring the tank crews to life. The story is laid out well, and is very emotional!
My only problem is with the style of writing. The author writing make it seem like he is writing for a 6 year old. I felt that I was being talked down to for 2/3 of the book. The last 1/3 was must better.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 2019-09-17

Outstanding Story by my New Favorite Author

This is my third Adam Makos book - all 3 are riveting, moving history looking at the lives of American heroes. He takes history and brings it down to the individuals who actually went through the horrific events and then records how they used their lives afterwards. He truly makes history live. Jonathan McClain does an excellent job with the narration.