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Glider Infantryman: Behind Enemy Lines in World War II (Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History) (Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series) Hardcover – 21 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A & M University Press (21 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603444246
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603444248
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,815,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A gripping first person account . . . a well written and exceptional book."--"American Airborne Association Journal" --Col. William E. Weber, USA-Retired"American Airborne Association Journal" (02/27/2012)

About the Author

DONALD J. RICH served in 1943 and 1944 with 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, G Company, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He lives in Wayland, Iowa. KEVIN BROOKS, a former resident of Wayland, is a freelance writer based in Mahomet, Illinois.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Definitely one of the best peronal story books in this genre.
Brooks knows how to write an interesting and flowing story, and it is remarkable to read how many facts and stories Don Rich was able to tell.
One of my favorites for sure.

Gives an indepth view of what it was like to be a gliderborne infantryman in these days that decided our lives.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An American Soldier's Story 3 Dec. 2012
By Whiskey Charley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Many of us who have served in the 101st Airborne Division are proud of our "Airborne" heritage. Most of the images of the Division from World War II are of the jumps into Normandy and Market Garden. Often overlooked are the contributions of the Glider Infantry Regiment, the 327th GIR. This work adds balance to our retrospection and provides one heckuva story in doing so.

Donald J. Rich came back to Iowa after the war and got along with his life. In that he was like veterans from every one of our Nation's wars. His best friend's son was always intrigued by the fact that "Mr. Rich" had served in the 101st Airborne Division. Kevin Brooks determined to follow a career in "words" as a reporter. Later, he decided to capture Don Rich's memories from the war.

Rich's story resonated with me. My father and uncles, each a veteran, were also mid-westerners. None of them would have served if the war had not occurred. The "regularness" of Rich's recollections of enlisting, training, troop trains, combat training, his decision to become a glider infantryman struck a chord with me. Though he followed a different path, he was the sort of man who populated my home town when I was a youth. He was a regular, decent American boy.

After deploying to England, he joined his unit in the amphibious assault of Utah Beach at Normandy since there were insufficient aircraft for a glider insertion. He describes the fighting at Normandy and how he was wounded at Carentan. After recuperating, he re-joined his unit and made a glider insertion during Market Garden. He continued with the 327th GIR through Bastogne and the subsequent fighting to the end of the war.

This is, what I term, an "Ernie Pyle History." It tells the story of a man and his comrades in the greatest war in history. The story has the tone of authenticity. That authenticity is reinforced by Rich's description of his resentment at not being promoted. Despite being a veteran ... and survivor ... and being repeatedly tagged to lead his squad, his captain would never promote him to sergeant. During the Battle of the Bulge, he was tasked to lead a section of men to guard a road and farm house. His sergeant told him to hold the position and not to leave until properly relieved. Unfortunately, he and his men apparently were forgotten at that location. It wasn't until days later that they were relieved and reunited with their unit.

I can barely remember what I had for breakfast and Vietnam is nearly a blur, so the detailed tracking of dates and places stateside and in Europe that we find in this work is particularly impressive. This memoir is an obvious testament to great interviewing and research techniques by Kevin Brooks as much as it is to a good memory or notes by Donald Rich.

This is a good, American story well told. I enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Unique Perspective 2 April 2012
By C. Wolfe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended to me by a friend. The friend knows I've read dozens of WW2 themed books including several on the siege of Bastogne. He informed me that this book was different than the others and that I would enjoy it. I began reading the book the day I received it. I didn't put the book down until I was over halfway through the book. The only reason that I put it down a that time was due to an appointment that I could not miss. I finished the book soon after. This was a thoroughly enjoyable story, from a fist person perspective. I elaborated on his personal views and experiences during his military time during WW2. I would classify it as a very personal look into events that the author experienced during his military tour. I highly recommend to anyone that is interested in WW2 history and also to anyone who is interested in what a soldier's perspective is during wartime events.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Insight into a Soldier's Emotions 5 Jan. 2012
By Andrew J Finke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I recommend "Glider Infantryman" as an easy to read account of the emotions a soldier has gone through starting with a high school kid's draft concerns, continuing with a soldier's fight across Europe, and finishing with a battle hardened soldier's anxious wait to be home again. The battles of many soldiers continue long after they are discharged, and Don's insight into this was very refreshing at bringing the fight off the "glorious battlefields" and close to home.

Don and Kevin do an excellent job of writing in a matter that readers of any age and with little historical knowledge will be able to understand, but with enough detail for the history buff to enjoy as well. They vivdly depict the training of glider troops, the cramped sea travel conditions, and confusion of war for the reader to experience. There is a good relationship between what Don is experiencing in the moment of combat and what the 101st Airborne Division is trying to achieve as a whole to give the reader an idea of how one soldier fits into the Allied battle plan.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By glider into battle 24 Dec. 2013
By John E. Larsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Donald did not join the army voluntarily but after basic training, did express an interest in the glider infantry. It was not a role you could nominate for but Don did end up with G Company, 327th Gilder Infantry Regt of the 101st Airborne Division. With this famous formation he participated in the battles of Normandy, Holland and Bastogne.

The author gets straight into his war service. He trains and then departs for England. Don is an observant man and he has much that is interesting to say about transport and other day-to-day activities. He is a decent man and he had some lovely interactions with British families prior to D-day. Despite their glider training, their entry to Normandy is by boat. They then advance to find the Germans and there is excellent detail on this. The roads, hedges and waterways make it very complicated and the enormous confusion of their first action is very well described. Don is wounded and evacuated. Again, there is much to learn about the process here.

Don did enter combat by glider in Holland, as part of Market Garden. This was exceptionally interesting. There was significant flak and there are some remarkable stories. While the companies early operations were basically clearing German positions, the ensuing campaign to establish themselves and hold ‘The Island’ was extensive. They faced ferocious German attacks and it is astonishing that the line was held. They were at all times subject to German shelling and the conditions were awful. There are heavy casualties and some distressing events take place.

The Bastogne battle is also very fierce. Don is stationed in Marvie which is subjected to some strong attacks. The line is very fluid and confusion, on both sides, is rife. The Germans have some powerful forces here, including tanks. On this, for the bulk of his combat time Don is a bazooka man. In my reading this is a bit of a first, so his actions operating this weapon were quite interesting. Following their relief they participate in the counter-offensive and after a brief break, the advance into Germany and ultimately occupation of Berchtesgaden.

This is a very interesting story. The key element is the sometimes extraordinary detail that Don gives, virtually day to day and blow by blow. I found it absorbing! It seems that co-writer Brooks put most of it together but it is strongly based on Rich’s vivid first hand recollections as well as excellent research (there is an impressive index and chapter notes) that gives useful context to the operations. While the battles are extremely well conveyed there is also much else of interest. Don’s connection to his comrades is clear and then there are the many frustrating things about an army; poor supply and planning, excessive demands on combat soldiers, unfairly allocated rewards etc. The war impacted Don’s post-war life considerably and he writes how his new-found religious faith saw him through. This was a powerful passage for me. I have reviewed many US airborne accounts now (see my list) and I found this book to be in the top echelon. The detail is of an impressive level and Don has an amazing story to tell. Very highly recommended. 4 ½ stars
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I felt I was there! 29 July 2013
By Dorothy Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I stumbled on this book during some genealogy research and I am glad I did!

My father, now deceased, was in the 101st Airborne and 327th Infantry, Company C. We heard few stories and now I understand why. My father's courage and determination were evident but this book gave me such a deeper understanding of his experiences and what helped to shape his love of country and love of life.

The story is written is such an engaging way, I felt I was there.
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