Sneha Girap (Editor)

Joseph Balkoski

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Joseph Balkoski


Joseph Balkoski dgrassetscomauthors1219699947p5381511jpg

Beyond the beachhead, The Last Roll Call: The 29th I, From Beachhead to Brittany, Our Tortured Souls: Th, From Brittany to the Reich

from brittany to the reich by joseph balkoski

Joseph Balkoski (born June 13, 1954) is an American military historian and wargame designer who has authored eight books on American involvement in the European Theater in World War II, including a five-volume series on the history of the 29th Infantry Division in World War II and a two-volume set on American participation in the D-Day invasion. He has also designed 35 board wargames, several of them award winning.


Life and career

Joseph Michael Balkoski was born in New York City on June 13, 1954, the son of Itala Tomasulo Balkoski and John Balkoski, a World War II veteran of the Pacific theater. He graduated from Great Neck South Senior High School in June 1971 and later from Vassar College in 1975. He received an M.A. in history from New York University in 1976.

When he moved to Maryland in 1981, by chance he met many residents who were veterans of the D-Day invasion, all members of the 29th Infantry Division, which spearheaded the assault. His first book, Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy, was published in 1988 and remains in print a quarter of a century later, defined by Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, as "an amazing book... If you want to know what D-Day and Normandy were like, from private to general, from rifle to tank, from beginning to end, this is the book for you." Balkoski's highly detailed series on the history of the 29th Division in World War II closed in 2015 with the publication of the fifth volume, The Last Roll Call, which recounts the end of the war in Europe and the GIs' return to civilian life. His thirty-year effort to detail the history of this celebrated outfit was praised by author Rick Atkinson, who described the series as "a magnificent achievement; the U.S. Army and the 29th Division are lucky to have an historian of Joe Balkoski's stature and skill to tell the tale of combat in Western Europe from the perspective of both the ordinary GI and his leaders." In 2004, Balkoski published Omaha Beach, which meticulously documented the June 6, 1944, American invasion of that pivotal Normandy objective. Two years later, he released Utah Beach, which told the story of the amphibious and airborne operation in Normandy' Cotentin Peninsula on D-Day. The two-volume set was critically well received: the Wall Street Journal described Balkoski as "a true maestro of original D-Day history," while USA Today categorized him as "the top living D-Day historian."

Military and academia

Balkoski served for many years as the command historian of the Maryland National Guard, and runs the 29th Infantry Division Archives and Maryland Museum of Military History, both at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore, housing one of the finest collections in the United States of archival papers devoted to the World War II history of a single U.S. Army or Marine Corps division. In 2014, he designed the exhibit "When Freemen Shall Stand" at the Maryland Museum of Military History, which focused on the defense of Baltimore by Maryland citizen-soldiers in September 1814 against an attack by a British expeditionary force,an event that led to the writing of The Star Spangled Banner. He has also served as an adjunct professor in both the history and writing departments at the University of Baltimore and the Community College of Baltimore County. He frequently conducts battlefield staff rides in the U.S. and Europe for U.S. Army soldiers as part of their military training. Balkoski currently serves on the National Executive Committee of the 29th Division Association, which formulates and executes policy in support of all 29th Division veterans and their families; and the Maryland Military Monuments Commission, which oversees hundreds of military monuments within the state.


  • 2013: Baltimore City Historical Society Lifetime Achievement Award, Mayor's History Reception
  • 2012: Secretary of the Army, Honorary Membership, 175th Infantry Regiment
  • 2010: Meritorious Service Medal (Maryland)
  • 2008: Secretary of the Army, Honorary Membership, 116th Infantry Regiment
  • 2005: Meritorious Civilian Service Medal (Maryland)
  • 2004: U.S. Army Military History Institute, Matthew B. Ridgway Research Grant
  • 2004: Appointed Commissioner, Maryland Military Monuments Commission, by Governor Robert Ehrlich
  • 1991: Secretary of the Army, Honorary Membership, 115th Infantry Regiment
  • 1989: Charles Roberts Award, Wargame Design Hall of Fame
  • Family

    Balkoski currently resides in Baltimore County, Maryland, with his daughters Leah and Emma.

    Works by Joseph Balkoski

  • Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy. Harrisburg: Stackpole, 1989. ISBN 0811702219 OCLC 18222837
  • The Maryland National Guard: A History of Maryland's Military Forces. Baltimore: Maryland Military Department, 1992. ISBN 096126702X OCLC 25060294
  • Confederate Tide Rising -- The Antietam Campaign: Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, and Antietam Battlefield Staff Ride/Leadership Development Seminar Reference Book. Leesburg: OSS Publishing, 2001.
  • Omaha Beach. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2004. ISBN 0811700798 OCLC 53162877
  • Utah Beach. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2006. ISBN 0811701441 OCLC 57754302
  • Father Eugene Patrick O'Grady: A Legendary Twenty-Niner and Baltimorean. Maryland Historical Magazine, 102 no. 1, Spring 2007.
  • From Beachhead to Brittany: The 29th Infantry Division at Brest. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2008. ISBN 9780811703253 OCLC 166390928
  • From Brittany to the Reich: The 29th Infantry Division in Germany. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2010. ISBN 9780811711685 OCLC 779262402
  • Our Tortured Souls: The 29th Infantry Division in the Rhineland. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2013. ISBN 9780811711692 OCLC 800040895
  • The Last Roll Call: The 29th Infantry Division Victorious. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole, 2015. ISBN 081171621X
  • References

    Joseph Balkoski Wikipedia

    Similar Topics