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PARATROOPER -  The Life of Gen. James M. Gavin
By T. Michael Booth  and Duncan Spencer

From the fly-leaf:

General James M. Gavin was a legendary military hero, a pioneer of airborne warfare, and one of the most brilliant battlefield commanders in World War II. Paratrooper is the first full biography of Gen. Gavin, written with the cooperation of his family and drawing on Gavin's own unpublished autobiography.

James Gavin grew up as an adopted child in Pennsylvania coal country. After an unhappy childhood, he enlisted in the army at seventeen. He earned admittance into West Point, where he chose Stonewall Jackson as a model because of Jackson's success with speed and surprise. Gavin became fascinated by the new air power that was revolutionizing warfare and bringing Jackson's tactics to a new level. He decided to become a paratrooper.

Gavin joined the Army's first paratroop units under the leadership of the man who became his mentor, Gen. Matthew Ridgway. Under Ridgway, Gavin rose to command the famed 82nd Airborne Division in World War II. Always the first to jump in combat, Gavin led his men on missions in Sicily, Italy, Normandy (providing support behind the German lines for the D-Day invasion), Holland (the tragic battle for the bridge at Arnhem, "The Bridge Too Far"), and the Battle of the Bulge. Superb in combat, Gavin earned praise from Eisenhower, Bradley, and other top commanders and became the youngest American major general since Custer.

After the war, Gavin became a strategic planner at the Pentagon. An adviser to President John F. Kennedy, he was named ambassador to France. Gavin was a critic of the war in Vietnam and flirted briefly with politics.  For many years he was chairman of the Arthur D. Little company in Massachusetts.  Gen. Gavin died in 1990.

Paratrooper is the fascinating story of one of the most important and innovative military figures in American history.

ISBN:0-671-73226-9.   Published by SIMON & SCHUSTER, New York, NY.  Now out of print but may be available on the Internet.

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