08 June 2011

Six Sixth of Junes (Two Astonishingly Bad)

Reporting Lionel Shapiro's death, an anonymous journalist for The Canadian Jewish Review wrote that the late author's books had sold more than two million copies. I don't doubt the figure for a second. The Sixth of June continued to hit bookstore shelves for two decades, the last edition being a cheap 1975 paperback from New York's Pinnacle Books.

The Americans seemed particularly taken by the novel – it's very much an American story – but the Finns showed even greater dedication. As Kahdet jäähyväiset, the 1956 first Finnish edition (above) was followed by a string of unattractive books that continued into the 1990s.

With Brad Parker cast as a doughboy and John Wynter as a voyeur, one might assume this 1985 cover is the worst.


Blame Gummerus, the original publisher of the translation, which issued this five years later.

The 1956 Dutch edition is much more accomplished, gracing the work with a multipurpose illustration suitable for a use on thrillers, political tracts and almost anything featuring Sherlock Holmes.

Au sixième Jour, the Presses de la Cité translation, was the one that appeared in Montreal's French bookstores. Published in 1956, it features the illustration Len Oehman provided Doubleday.

The Spanish edition, also published in 1956, presents a curious reworking of the Oehman painting in which it appears that Wynter gets the girl. Actually, the Lt Col is killed when he steps on a mine.

There, I've spoiled it for you.


  1. Thanks a lot, Dusty. The mine is the only good or surprising thing in the movie. But I supposed work had already leaked out. If you have Netflix, skip everything but the last ten minutes.

  2. Agreed. The best of D Day: The Sixth of June are the ten minutes that actually take place on the sixth of June. Even here, only Wynter's death seems real. And does it ever. He blowed up good, blowed up real good. Trips to Malibu will never be the same.