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Abundance of Valor: Resistance, Survival, and Liberation - 1944–45

by Will Irwin

The operation known as "Market Garden"--made famous in the book and film A Bridge Too Far--was the largest airborne assault in history up to that time, a high-risk Allied invasion of enemy territory that has become a legend of World War II, even as it still invites criticism from historians. Now a thrilling and revelatory new book re-creates the operation as never before, revealing for the first time the full adventures of the bold "Jedburgh" paratroopers whose exploits were almost unimaginably risky and heroic. Kicked off on September 17, 1944, Market Garden was intended to secure crucial bridges in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands by a parachute assault conducted by three Allied airborne divisions. Capture of the bridges would allow a swift advance and crossing of the Rhine by British ground forces. Jedburgh teams--Allied Special Forces--were dropped into the Netherlands to train and use the Dutch resistance in support of the larger operation. Based on new firsthand testimony of survivors and declassified documents, Abundance of Valor concentrates on the three teams that operated farthest behind enemy lines, the nine men whose treacherous missions resulted in deaths, captures, and hair-breadth escapes. Here in unprecedented detail are the heat and stench of fuel, oil, and sweat in the troop carriers going over, the remarkable (and misleading) initial success of the daylight parachute landings, and the deadly, brutally effective German response, particularly by crack SS armored units in the blood-soaked town of Arnhem. Abundance of Valor portrays with stunning verisimilitude the experiences of Lt. Harvey Allan Todd, who fought from a surrounded position against overwhelming numbers of the enemy before surviving capture, near-starvation, interrogation, and solitary confinement in German POW camps, and Maj. John "Pappy" Olmsted, who made a hazardous journey, in disguise, from safe house to safe house through enemy territory until finally reaching friendly lines.

The Jedburghs

by Will Irwin

The first full history of the pioneering Special Forces units of World War II - dropped behind German lines into France to assist with the D-Day landings - told by a former U. S. Special Forces colonel with unique access to surviving veteransThe story of the Special Forces in World War II has never fully been told before. Information about them began to be declassified only in the 1980s. Known as the Jedburghs, these Special Forces were selected from members of the British, American, and Free French armies to be dropped in teams of three deep behind German lines. There, in preparation for D-Day, they carried out what we now know as unconventional warfare: supporting the French Resistance in guerrilla attacks, supply-route disruption, and the harassment and obstruction of German reinforcements. Always, they operated against extraordinary odds. They had to be prepared to survive pitched battles with German troops and Gestapo manhunts for weeks and months while awaiting the arrival of Allied ground forces. They were, in short, heroes. The Jedburghs finally tells their story and offers a new perspective on D-Day itself. Will Irwin has selected seven of the Jedburgh teams and told their stories as gripping personal narratives. He has gathered archival documents, diaries, and correspondence, and interviewed Jed veterans and family members in order to present this portrait of their crucial role - a role recognized by Churchill and Eisenhower - in the struggle to liberate Europe in 1944-45.

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