Army Times spoke with Kershaw on the eve of the series release. Q: Do you think that the series might appeal to people who might not normally look for books on World War II? [2], On Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries holds an approval rating of 64% based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7.15/10. He was a very outspoken guy. "The Liberator," by Alex Kershaw, is the book on which the four-part Netflix series of the same name is based. A: In the 70s when I was young we had only two or three channels on TV. "[15] On contrast, Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter called the show a series which is "very watchable" but is infuriating due to its "inconsistent focus and narrative choices" even though his interest never wavered due to the interesting and "eye-popping" animation. ‎ _____ The true story behind the hit NETFLIX drama From the invasion of Italy to the gates of Dachau, no World War II infantry unit in Europe saw more action or endured worse than the one commanded by Felix Sparks. The Liberator is a war story like you've never seen before. Those same men, the Army’s 157th Infantry Regiment, part of the 45th Infantry Division, had borne the war on their backs from Sicily to the heart of Germany during more than 500 days of combat in less than two years. Just as The Pacific offers a different look at World War II by focusing on three U.S. soldiers from the 1st Marine Division, The Liberator similarly tells a unique story with the inherent diversity of the 157th regiment. Sparks, and the regiment’s companies under his command, are now the focus of a four-part animated series released on Veterans Day on Netflix, “The Liberator.”. Then I became a journalist after college, but in college I studied history and we read everything but World War II. He didn’t like people abusing their power. Finally, a fortunate trip allowed him to interview Sparks only months before his death in 2007. The division spent more than five hundred days on European battles and participated in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp prisoners. Q: You’ve written at least nine books to date on World War II. The series offers a thrilling immersion into the battlefields of the war, but suffers from its short length and occasional lapses in narrative. But he wasn’t overly familiar. “The Great Escape,” “The Dam Busters,” “Battle of Britain.” I remember Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day in England was always a huge deal. The project and Sparks was surprised when he could keep it together when things got really hard. [12] An official trailer was released on October 22, 2020 and the limited series was released on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020. Follow the 157th regiment from Sicily to the heart of Germany when The Liberator premieres this Veteran's Day. Follow the 157th regiment from Sicily to the heart of Germany when The Liberator … In a ten-year active duty army career, Sparks rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. But long before it was a Netflix series, it was a book by the same name. The new Netflix miniseries The Liberator is a World War II story about brave men who bond through that terrifying experience. My mother’s father died in the British Navy in World War II. Sparks rushed back and ordered the guys to stop. I just devoured them. Summary: The four-part World War II animated series (using new patent-pending Trioscope Enhanced Hybrid Animation) is based on Alex Kershaw's 2013 book of the same name about U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment from Oklahoma that included cowboys, Native Americans and Mexican-Americans as they invaded Italy and freed The four-part World War II … The Liberator premiered this Veteran’s Day 2020. The teaser for Netflix’s upcoming series, The Liberator, ... An infantry officer with the 157th Infantry Battalion of the 45th Division, Sparks led … Get the military's most comprehensive news and information every morning. Sparks and his battalion of "Thunderbirds" were classic citizen soldiers, and for over 500 days they led a special group of American soldiers from Italy to France to the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, through some of the most grueling battles of the war, becoming one of the most decorated American combat units of World War II. Next, it was a friendship with a veteran of the 45th ID that drew him into the research. The Netflix series acknowledges that the unit was comprised of Apache, Seminole, Cherokee, Sioux, Choctaw, and Mexican Americans — the problem, however, … Q: You met Sparks during this process. I cried my eyes out and laughed very hard. He participated in four amphibious operations, first leading men into combat in September 1943 as captain of E Company, 157th. And it was that photograph that caught author Alex Kershaw’s eye, the catalyst for years of research to set down the tale. A move against Hollywood's cliches. A: I hope and pray that’s the case. And if this does, that would be amazing. Bodies slumped against a wall, weapons still hot, smoking. The proudest point in his life was being a company commander. The Real Liberator. It was one of the primary Allied forces to enter the Dachau concentration camp and liberate its prisoners. Now, after 20 years of writing about it, it gets into your blood. The book we discuss today is The Liberator: ... Company E of the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division. Countless hours of research and interview after interview peeled back more layers of not only Sparks' journey, but the men who served alongside him. According to its developers, L.C. Starring Bradley James as Sparks, The Liberator centers on the U.S. Army's 157th regiment. Based on a true story, The Liberator is a Netflix original miniseries surrounding Felix Sparks and the 157th regiment comprised of Seminole, Sioux, Apache, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Mexican Americans. In a ten-year active duty army career, Sparks rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He lost his entire company other than one man at Anzio in February 1944 and almost all of his battalion to the SS in January 1945 in the Vosges. The website's critics consensus reads, "The Liberator's eccentric animation gives it some creative gloss, but clichéd storytelling and stock characters keep this World War II tale from being wholly salute-worthy. The 157th Infantry Regiment — and their respective division — … The television show "The Liberator" was based on his command of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment. Yes, for the … Sparks led the US Army's 157th Field Artillery Regiment – part of the 45th Division – on a 500-plus day campaign, beginning in 1943 in Sicily and ending in … Texas-born Felix Sparks began WWII as an executive officer with 157th Infantry Regiment. Sign up for the Early Bird Brief - a daily roundup of military and defense news stories from around the globe. I remember my mom saying she saw me walking along a street and worried I’d run into a street sign because I had my head buried in these comics. I’m a blatant booster for anything that gets people into history. [1], Directed by Greg Jonkajtys, the miniseries was released on November 11, 2020 on Netflix. The soldiers in "The Liberator'' were from the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division -- also known as the "Thunderbirds." [5], The Liberator is a character-driven action miniseries based on the true story of World War II infantry commander Felix "Shotgun" Sparks (played by Bradley James), who led the members of the 157th Infantry Battalion of the 45th Infantry Division, an integrated group of white cowboys, Mexican Americans and Native soldiers drawn from across the west. An already accomplished author of six books chronicling World War II, Kershaw was looking for his next story when he stumbled upon that frozen moment. Follow the 157th regiment from Sicily to the heart of Germany when The Liberator premieres this Veteran's Day. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War. Netflix just released a hyper-realistic animated series where the main characters are Mexican-American, Native American, and African-American soldiers. A lot of them were very keen on handing out some kind of vengeance. The idea that a teenager or anybody from 16 into their 20s wouldn’t be interested in these stories would be insane, because these stories are about them. I started talking with him, but still couldn’t work out a way to tell the story. It tells the true story of U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks as he leads a ragtag group of soldiers in the 157th Infantry Regiment during World War II. They went through the complex and kicked out anyone in an SS uniform. It’s entertaining, informative and extraordinarily accurate. Copy to Clipboard. The Netflix original tells the story of one of the bloodiest battles that ever occurred in World War II and follows US Army officer Felix Sparks of the 157th Infantry Regiment … Drawn from more than 50 Native American tribes and Mexican-American recruits, some who couldn’t speak English, the unit would see more fighting than almost any other in the war. But from the beginning they fought as excellent soldiers. The four-part, live-action animated series tells the story of Col. Felix Sparks and the diverse soldiers he led in the 157th Infantry Regiment. The remaining SS were frontline soldiers recovering from wounds and hadn’t been involved in the camp. He led from the front, business all the time. Q: The 45th ID, and specifically the 157th IR, were very racially diverse units for their time. If you’re a young American and you don’t know about World War II, what was sacrificed, what was earned, and understand what it really came down to, then you can’t know what it means to be an American. But every guy who put his life on the line for him knew he was going to look after them. But most of the actual camp guards had fled. Lost among the fallout after the presidential election was the debut of a compelling four-episode on Netflix, The Liberator. The soldier was 27-year-old Lt Col Felix Sparks, who led the 3rd Battalion of the 157th Infantry Regiment, one of three regiments that made up the 45th “Thunderbirds” Division. The show follows the 157th Infantry Regiment in its battles from Italy through Germany. By John Ruberry. So, I left it alone for a year or two. He actually demanded that he be given a leadership role. [9] On November 9, Brandon Barr, chief content officer at Trioscope Studios, was interviewed. Fienberg concluded that people should check out the show for the animation, for a commemoration of Veterans Days but to be prepared for frustration over "how much more complicated, and how much richer" the actual history is and how the show could have been better. The Liberator premiered this Veteran's Day 2020. Sparks was a real army officer for the 157th Infantry Regiment from Oklahoma. You made a decision and my guys paid for it.” But he did it. Lost among the fallout after the presidential election was the debut of a compelling four-episode on Netflix, The Liberator.It tells of exploits of the leadership of Felix Sparks (Bradley James), who eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, of the 3rd Battalion of the 157th Infantry Regiment in the European theater of World War II. Could you tell us more about him and what you learned in researching the story? [1] In January 2019, Bradley James was cast in the leading role of Felix Sparks and Martin Sensmeier was cast as Samuel Coldfoot. Jack called me later and said Sparks was dying, so I went out to Colorado to interview him on his deathbed — he died later that spring. I think his men respected him because he was prepared to stand up. Netflix’s new show The Liberator is yet another chapter in a larger attempt to make World War II the new multicultural founding myth of the nation. They didn’t know what they were seeing. Alex Kershaw’s acclaimed WWII nonfiction book The Liberator is now a bold new animated project. It takes place during World War II and tells the story of the U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment. Alex Kershaw’s acclaimed WWII nonfiction book The Liberator is now a bold new animated project. He wanted to lead men in combat, and he got his wish. Years later he said it was something people couldn’t get their head around, something beyond what people could process. National Guard troops in Washington in the wake of a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 talk about the experience of being mobilized to the city in the midst of potential unrest around the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Sparks had left Lt. Bill Walsh in command of soldiers in the coal yard while he went to inspect the rest of the camp. The Liberator, available to stream on Netflix, is a rugged World War II odyssey that's presented through unique hybrid animation similar to rotoscoping. The series, at times heart-pounding, other times full of a profound stillness, presents timeless slices of the combat experience — fear, chaos, confusion, bravery, despair, callousness, tenderness and camaraderie. It tells of exploits of the leadership of Felix Sparks (Bradley James), who eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel, of the 3rd Battalion of the 157th Infantry Regiment in the European theater of World War II. As a journalist I eventually went down and did a story about the Channel Islands, one of the only British lands occupied by the Germans during the war. The Liberator One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey From the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau (Book) : Kershaw, Alex : The true story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War: the battlefield odyssey of a maverick U.S. Army officer and his infantry unit as they fought for over five hundred days to liberate Europe - … [16], 2020 American war drama television series, "Netflix Orders World War II Animated Drama Series The Liberator", "Best New Shows and Movies on Netflix This Week: Dash & Lily, The Liberator", "Netflix Orders Innovative Animated World War II Drama Series 'The Liberator' From A+E Studios, Unique Features & Jeb Stuart", "Trioscope's Gripping WW2 Animated Drama 'The Liberator' Premieres Today", "The Liberator: Netflix Enlists Medici's Bradley James for WWII Animated Series", "Trailer: Animated WWII Drama 'The Liberator' Lands on Netflix Veterans Day", "L.C. By the end of the conflict the 157th IR would accrue nine Medals of Honor, 61 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1,848 Silver Star Medals, 38 Legion of Merit Medals and 59 Soldier’s Medals. “The Liberator” centers around the men of the 157th Infantry Regiment. The Liberator on Netflix tells the real-life story of the United States Army officer Felix Sparks, who commanded the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment. Crowley and Grzegorz Jonkajtys, the technique gives off “unprecedented level of emotion and fidelity to the animated drama experience.”[11], A teaser trailer was released on October 9, 2020. They’d show it on the news, all these rows and rows of World War I veterans, and my dad would tell me about them because my grandfather had served in the trenches. Walsh ordered the guys to start firing. A diverse, deeply brave crew of ragtag soldiers become some of the most heroic fighters of the European invasion in World War II. The show is an adaptation of the book titled, 'One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau' that hints at the depth of drama that happened. Starring Bradley James as Sparks, The Liberator centers on the U.S. Army's 157th regiment. The Liberator is based on a true story. A: First I found the photo and learned some of the story, then I called up the 157th Infantry Regiment Association and met Jack Hallowell. [1][2][3][4], The Liberator takes place during World War II where maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment fought for over five hundred days alongside the Allied forces during the Italian campaign. The television show "The Liberator" was based on his command of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment. Q: What did you learn from Sparks and your research about the incident at Dachau? [10] He also hoped that the company could be part of "bringing nuanced emotional drama to that broader adult animation push. The Liberator takes place during World War II where maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment fought for over five hundred days alongside the Allied forces during the Italian campaign. The Liberator on Netflix tells the real-life story of the United States Army officer Felix Sparks, who commanded the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment. The four-part World War II series is based on Alex Kershaw's 2013 book of the same name about US Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment from Oklahoma By Anoush Gomes Published on : 22:00 PST, Nov 10, 2020. Interviews: National Guardsmen in US capital for inauguration, Capitol riots aftermath, and a new push for counter-drone efforts - Defense News Weekly 01.17.21, Reporters Roundtable: Defending the Capitol, National Guard at the Capitol | Military Times Reports, Meet the OnlyFans model and neuroscience student who’s giving back to the troops, USO brings drinks, snacks and a ‘warm welcome’ to Guard troops at the Capitol, DC pizza shop is helping feed the National Guard, A definitive ranking of troops’ extreme napping positions, Liam Neeson takes down the cartel as a retired Marine in ‘The Marksman’, https://www.militarytimes.com © 2021 Sightline Media Group. “The Liberator” centers around the men of the 157th Infantry Regiment. It was one of the primary Allied forces to enter the Dachau concentration camp and liberate its prisoners. Then again, I became absolutely obsessed with World War II when I was nine or 10 years old and found a stash of comics about the war in my grandparents' house. 'The Liberator': Meet Bradley James, Martin Sensmeier and rest of the cast of Netflix's animated World War II series . Follow the 157th regiment from Sicily to the heart of Germany. It’s just fantastic to think of a 15-year-old in Italy learning about what happened there and who liberated their country. AK: Yeah, eager for duty. He stated that the project was "particularly challenging" and a lot of work, while arguing that anime opened the door for other visual techniques and styles. So, she never really had a father. [1] It is based on the book The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey by Alex Kershaw. Summary: The four-part World War II animated series (using new patent-pending Trioscope Enhanced Hybrid Animation) is based on Alex Kershaw's 2013 book of the same name about U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment from Oklahoma that included cowboys, Native Americans and Mexican-Americans as they invaded Italy and freed … The 157th Infantry Regiment — and their respective division — were the most diverse set of soldiers the war had seen. Along with the trailer of the series, Netflix has provided the plot synopsis. What is it about the conflict and the stories that continues to bring you back? Based on Alex Kershaw's eponymous 2012 book and developed for Netflix by Jeb Stuart, The Liberator released in November 2020. That stays in the family. Q: What do you think of the Netflix series? Upon returning to civilian life, Sparks attended the University of Colorado Law School, graduating in 1947. Additionally, the 500+ day trials of the 157th Regiment helped to paint a broader picture of the war. Netflix just released The Liberator, a ... Sparks was a real army officer for the 157th Infantry Regiment from Oklahoma. A: It was amazing. Crowley, Brandon Barr & Greg Jonkajtys, Team Behind Netflix's 'The Liberator', Launch Trioscope Studios", "TBI In Conversation: Trioscope's CCO on launching Netflix's 'The Liberator' & an animation revolution", "Courage is a decision in Netflix's animated WWII drama miniseries The Liberator", "Alex Kershaw's acclaimed WWII nonfiction book The Liberator is now a bold new animated project. A: He’d grown up in a region where he knew the discrimination that Mexican-Americans and Native Americans had faced. A thrilling immersion into the battlefields of the European invasion in World II! D grown up in a region where he knew the discrimination that Mexican-Americans and Native,! The case Sparks had left Lt. Bill Walsh in command of soldiers the. Tell the story to keep records to make sure that people got right! Coal yard while he went to inspect the rest of the Dachau concentration prisoners. Slumped against a wall, weapons still hot, smoking division — the! Combat, and they were seeing, '' by Alex Kershaw and defense news stories from around the men the! Still couldn ’ t work out a way to tell a more complete version of America ’ 500-Day. By the same name heroic real life figure and his men fought for 500 days to Europe! The Silver Star Medal for valor in combat, and they were, and.. More about him and what you learned in researching the story year or two Allied invasion of Italy 's! Be part of the 157th Infantry Regiment — and their respective division were! By giving us your email, you are opting in to the heart of Germany for. Make sure that people got the right Medal recommendations the rank of Lieutenant.. 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