Nov 1, 2010

Book Review: A Photographic History of the 82nd Airborne Division at War

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Nordyke, Phil
Zenith Press, 2010
192 pages


Few American fighting forces can boast the sort of storied history associated with the exploits of the members of the 82nd Airborne Division, an airborne infantry unit of the United States Army. Phil Nordyke's A Photographic History of the 82nd Airborne Division at War provides a laudatory collection of images (some never before published) related to the unit's role in numerous campaigns in the European theater during the Second World War.

Over the years I typically cast a wary eye at pictorial histories, as there is a tendency in such books to produce trivial or superficial text to accompany the images. Nordyke, however, skillfully avoided this trap, and the chapters provide both detailed photographic captions as well as insightful accompanying text.

What I liked most about this book is its intriguing blend of photographic themes. There are of course plenty of images in the book related to combat, but Nordyke also included some fascinating shots of everyday life for members of the 82nd Airborne Division, like the image of troopers walking with a pair of mules hauling 81 mm mortars. Both World War II specialists and general readers will find A Photographic History of the 82nd Airborne Division at War a useful and informative addition to their libraries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

If you like the "small picture" of small unit WWII Airborne combat operations, I'd suggest anything by 101st Airborne historian Mark Bando. He's a former Detroit cop, one of the world's foremost experts on the 101 in WWII, lived a couple miles from where you grew up, and has been interviewing 101st vets for over 40 years. (Way before Stephen Ambrose even thought of "Band of Brothers"). Mark is retired from the PD and just returned from his second trip embedded with the 101st in Afghanistan to see the "new Easy Company" up close in Indian country.

My favorite Bando books: "Vanguard of the Crusade", "Breakout: The Second Armored Division In The Land of the Dead" and "Avenging Eagles: Forbidden Tales of The 101st Airborne In WWII". There are stories in "Avenging Eagles" that you'll never read about anywhere else. A couple of the stories in AE involve a guy who lived on Abington south of Warren. You may have known him or his kids.

Bando also has published several coffee table books with many never before published photos.