The First Men In: U.S. Paratroopers and the Fight to Save D-Day

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9780060731281: The First Men In: U.S. Paratroopers and the Fight to Save D-Day

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About the Author:

Ed Ruggero is the author of Combat Jump: The Young Men Who Led the Assault into Fortress Europe, July 1943 and Duty First: A Year in the Life of West Point and the Making of American Leaders. He was an infantry officer in the United States Army for eleven years and is an experienced keynote speaker on leadership development. He lives in Wallingford, Pennsylvania.

From Publishers Weekly:

Ruggero retraces the course of the storied 82nd Airborne Division as it jumped into occupied France on the night before June 6, 1944, in this vivid and often intimate account. Focusing on "those crucial first three days in France," he portrays the chaotic, often frantic fight, led by Maj. Gen. Matt Ridgway and Brig. Gen. Jim Gavin, to secure the critical roads and bridges leading to Utah Beach in order to prevent a German counterattack. Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower knew the dangers inherent in putting lightly armed paratroopers behind enemy lines—casualties were projected at 70%—but approved the operation since he believed the paratroopers were crucial to the assault. Despite missed drop zones, scattered units, lost equipment and fierce German resistance, the 82nd pulled together ad hoc units and proceeded to accomplish its mission with skill and uncommon valor. Relying on memoirs, histories and especially interviews with campaign veterans, Ruggero, a former infantry officer, draws on his skills as a novelist (The Academy) and historian (Combat Jump) to deliver a moving portrait of the service and sacrifices of the U.S. Army's first airborne division. (June 1)
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