Add Best Comp

Add comparable title

Remove comparable title

Random House Publishing Group, Spring 2019

  • Thumbnail View
  • Scrolling view
  • Grid view
An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II
By (author): Adam Makos
9780804176729 Hardcover English General Trade HISTORY / Military / World War II Feb 19, 2019
$37.00 CAD
Active 6.42 x 9.54 x 1.35 in 416 pages B&W PHOTO INSERTS & THROUGHOUT; MAPS Ballantine Ballantine Books
From thebestselling author of A Higher Call comes the untold story of a World War II tank company fighting from Normandy to the heart of the Third Reich, where a humble gunner would meet destiny in an iconic duel.

Clarence Smoyer began the war as a gentle giant, a factory worker from Pennsylvania coal country reluctant to unleash the power of the Sherman tank he crewed. But as his tank platoon fought its way across Europe, into Germany, and he watched his friends cut down one by one, he learned to kill with deadly accuracy and efficiency, in a new state-of-the-art Pershing tank that spearheaded the way forward. His fight would climax in Cologne, in the shadow of the great cathedral, where he took a shot immortalized in a chance film clip—and where he would later forge a friendship with the German tanker he faced in a dramatic duel.

Story Locale: WWII Europe

BESTSELLING DEBUT: A Higher Call became an instant national bestseller, spending 18 weeks on the New York Times list and debuting at #3 on the Sunday Times list in the UK.

Clarence Smoyer, the central figure in Spearhead, is eager to promote the book, and is featured in our electrifying video meeting his German counterpart in Cologne, revisiting sites associated with their fateful encounter, and forging a lasting friendship. We will be distributing the video widely as we move closer to pub. The video Adam created for A Higher Call has 3.2 million views to date (

EVERGREEN SUBJECT TOLD FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE: World War II stories continue to hit the bestseller lists—and Adam is telling them in a fresh, broadly accessible way, centered on moving, very personal human interest accounts. Spearhead features as its central focus the gunner from history’s iconic tank duel in Cologne and is a rare re-creation of the experiences of a tank crew, captured most recently in the hit Brad Pitt film Fury.

EXPERIENCED, CONNECTED PROMOTER: Adam promoted A Higher Call on Fox, NBC, CBS, and NPR radio, among others; and has been featured in such print publications as Time magazine and USA Today, among many others. He has maintained his media contacts with Devotion and will work with us to deploy them for Spearhead.


FILM DEALS: A film based on Devotion is in development with Black Label Media (producers of La La Land). A Higher Call has been optioned by a soon-to-be announced director with a billion-dollar box office tally. There is also early film interest in Spearhead.

Hailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the Associated Press, Adam Makos is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Higher Call, and the critically acclaimed Devotion. Inspired by his grandfathers’ service, Makos chronicles the stories of American veterans in his trademark fusion of intense human drama and fast-paced military action, securing his place “in the top ranks of military writers,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In the course of his research, Makos has flown a World War II bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American airman. He lives in Denver.

Author Residence: Denver, CO

Author Hometown: Williamsport, PA

Marketing: Pre-pub consumer outreach and review push

Digital advertising campaign

Online marketing outreach

Social media campaign

Targeted email marketing

Random House e-newsletters and websites

Library outreach

Publicity: National media attention

National/local review and feature print attention

National/local radio attention

Digital review and feature attention

NPR campaign

Local author promotion: Denver, New England, Mississippi

Author Website:

“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…. A thoroughly enjoyable battle story, and a tribute to the everyman warrior.”
Jonathan W. Jordan, The Wall Street Journal

“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.”
George Petras, USA Today (four out of four stars)

“This singular book is redolent with war. I cannot remember another narrative in which my abiding sensory experience was tasting grit and smelling smoke so often.”
—Philip Kopper, The Washington Times

“A superb book that combines a firsthand look at war with a story of healing.”
Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post
“Strong and dramatic…Makos established himself as a meticulous researcher who’s equally adept at spinning a good old-fashioned yarn. …For a World War II aficionado, it will read like a dream.”
Kim Curtis, Associated Press  

“This is narrative history at its best, told by a master storyteller.”
—Col. Cole Kingseed, Army magazine

“[A] dramatic, haunting true story.”
AARP The Magazine

“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

“An engaging story of blood, sweat and tears…a wonderful homage to the Greatest Generation.”
David Kindy, The Providence Journal

“The tension, death, and courage that were everyday experiences for American tankers fill the pages of Makos’s book. This moving story of bravery and comradeship is an important contribution to WWII history that will inform and fascinate both the general reader and the military historian.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

of 103


Step 1 of 2

Thanks for signing up! Please tell us a little about yourself.
* Indicates required field

Step 2 of 2

Forgotten Password

Please enter your email address and click submit. An email with instructions on resetting your password will be sent to you.

Forgotten Password

An email has been sent out with instructions for resetting your password.