New Ernie Pyle Documentary by Professor Stephen Krankhe

Ernie Pyle Stephen Krankhe

On 18th July this year, I was privileged to spend an enthralling day with Professor Stephen Krankhe of Indiana State University. Prof. Krankhe is planning to make a documentary film about the American War Correspondent Ernie Pyle and I was honored to be chosen by him to guide him to some of the locations and sites from which Ernie Pyle’s sent his famous dispatches rogress through Normandy in 1944. Professor Stephen Krankhe is an accomplished film-maker and he has won two Emmy awards. He has produced some of  the Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) most acclaimed programmes including Hoop Dreams, Liberty! The American Revolution, American Experience, Kinsey and Cuba, The Forgotten Revolution, among others. His forthcoming documentary on Ernie Pyle is an important production and will be distributed by PBS. Professor Krankhe has already hosted a conference of Ernie Pyle scholars to discuss potential themes and suggest interview subjects for the film.

Ernie Pyle landed on Omaha Beach

We followed Pyle from his landing on OMAHA Beach on 7th June 1944, to St Lo and Operation COBRA.  Ernie Pyle was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He earned worldwide acclaim for his accounts of ordinary soldiers instead of recounting the movements of armies or the activities of Generals. Pyle wrote from the perspective of the common soldier. This everyman approach won Pyle particular popularity amongst the soldiers themselves. When he won the Pulitzer in 1944 Harry Truman said “No man in this war has so well told the story of the American fighting man as American fighting men wanted it told. He deserves the gratitude of all his countrymen.”

Whilst he survived the Normandy Campaign, Ernie Pyle was killed covering the invasion of Okinawa in 1945.
I recommend the books Brave Men (1944) by Pyle himself or Ernie Pyle’s War, America’s eye witness to World War 2 by James Tobin (1997). James Tobin is working with Prof. Krankhe on his new film.