Sky Men

Sky Men

5.0 1
by Kirk B. Ross

Features 122 photographs—including many previously unpublished images by famed combat photographer Robert Capa—and 4 maps. See more details below


Features 122 photographs—including many previously unpublished images by famed combat photographer Robert Capa—and 4 maps.

Editorial Reviews

Tells the story of the F Company of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th US Airborne Division. Describes the selection and training of this elite force and their actions against the German Army in Belgium during the hardest European winter in 40 years. This account honestly describes the paratroopers' ruthlessness in combat and demonstrates how sometimes deadly mistakes in judgment by higher commanders were transcribed on the battlefield, resulting in high casualties. Material draws on first-person accounts of some 100 men of F Company and other associated organizations. Includes b&w historical photos. Author information is not given. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.86(d)

What People are saying about this

Clayton D. Laurie
The most comprehensive small unit history of World War II ever written. (Clayton Laurie, Ph.D., U.S. Army Center of Military History and Author of The Propaganda War)
Joe Quade
I found it both entertaining and educational. Congratulations on a fine Job. Airborne! (Joe Quade, Editor, Thunder From Heaven, the 17th Airborne Division Association newsletter)
Russell F. Weigley
I am . . . favorably impressed, because while I especially admired your description of F Company, 513th Parachute Infantry's part in the Battle of the Bulge——the Ardennes campaign always has to have a special place in World War II histories——I ended up admiring even more your account of the company in Operation VARSITY and the push eastward afterward. That is because the final American campaigns of the war in Europe have received relatively short shrift from most historians, to some extent including me. Therefore your GI's-eye view of the last part of the war is especially fresh, excellently capturing the feeling that went with increasingly assured victory. Your book is a model of effective use of oral history to bring the ordinary soldier's experience back to life . . . . It was a pleasure and a reward to read The Sky Men. (Russell F. Weigley, author of Eisenhower's Lieutenants, The American Way of War, and A Great Civil War)
Scott E. Belliveau
The Sky Men is one of the more rewarding recent works on World War II history. Admittedly, its basic form——a unit history——is hardly original. Furthermore, many units tread the path of F Company of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th US Airborne Division from its origins in Alabama and Georgia, through its training in Tennessee and England and, finally, into combat in Belgium and Germany.

What elevates The Sky Men well above the ordinary is the author’s approach. Kirk Ross sheds an unsparing light on his subjects and pulls no punches in his narrative. He thus constructs a forthright picture of these men and their behavior in the front lines and behind the lines. Often, it isn’t pretty. Ross is as unflinching in his descriptions of the men’s whoring and drinking in England as he is of the horrors of front-line combat and the blunders——at many levels——that led to the deaths of so many of these men.

Some readers——especially those who bask in the rosy nostalgic glow of such works as The Greatest Generation——might be put off by this aspect of The Sky Men and tempted to dismiss it as yet another attempt at "myth debunking." Resist that temptation. The Sky Men is, from start to finish, suffused with an abiding respect of these men and their courage and dedication. Such an honest, powerful narrative should not diminish our admiration of these men and our appreciation of their service. Quite the contrary, by showing that these men were not plaster saints but flesh-and-blood soldiers and that every inch of every advance was made possible only by their blood and suffering, their courage and grit, The Sky Men only serves to increase our appreciation of the service and sacrifices not only this small band of paratroopers, but of all those who fought in World War II. (Scott Belliveau, former Acquisitions Editor, Naval Institute Press)

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