From the fly-leaf:
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his family and drawing on Gavin's own unpublished autobiography.
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.
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
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
Paratrooper is the fascinating story of one
of the most important and innovative military figures in American history.