Down a Dark Road by H. W. "Buzz" Bernard tells the historically fictional story of how Colonel James Thayer of the United States army reserve carried on in the last days of WWII. With historical accuracy and detailed descriptions of tactics and weapons, Bernard brings us down, "boots to the ground," with Jim Thayer and his men. Their mission against the Nazis takes a gruesome turn. They pass through dilapidated towns where disheveled and displaced people are scraping at a semblance of living. But the horrible impact of war on the German people from their own army has not only ravaged the cities and towns. What Jim Thayer and his men find down the road from a particular town horrifies them and would stick in their memory forever. What Jim and his men then did in response was risky but ultimately courageous, honorable, and heroic.
Down a Dark Road was an enjoyable read. The reader can tell that Bernard has done his research and probably has some first-hand experience with the military. The fictional parts (which he mentions at the end of the book) seemed like good choices to make. The historical parts of the story were interesting and seemed accurate. The real genius of the book is how the characters "emote" and the reader gets to feel to some degree what the characters would have felt: the gut-wrenching sorrow and grief, the heartache, the inner struggle whether to fight or flee, and the joy of courage when heroism saves lives. Stories like Down a Dark Road not only stir the heart and mind because of the atrocities and unspeakable things about war, but such stories also remind us why we need brave men and women to fight those wars. Overall, an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it.