Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Released Today!

The day has finally arrived. Today we released The Boldest Plan is the Best: The Combat History of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion during WWII. I say “we” because a lot of people helped with the book, not the least of which is my wife, Sheila, who did the maps, the cover design, and helped with the proofing and editing.

I’ve been working on this project for about ten months, but a lot longer when if you add in the time I thought about it, talked about it, and casually researched it, before finally sitting down to write it. I haven’t talked a great deal about it on this blog because I wanted to have the project completed before bringing it out to the public. After all, it was bad enough having my dad ask me once a week when the book would be done. ;-)

Before writing this book I had no affiliation to the 509th Parachute Infantry, the “Geronimos,” other than being tortured by some of their members when I went through an air assault school they were running at Fort Rucker, Alabama in 1984. But in 2009 I did meet a former “gingerbread man” by the name of Mike Ponzini of Helper, Utah. Mike told me about the history of the unit and really sold me on the idea. Here’s some points on why this unit history is so compelling:

- They were the first American Airborne unit to deploy to England in WWII.

- They were the first American Airborne unit to make a combat jump during WWII (North Africa).

- The unit fought as an independent battalion alongside other elite units like Darby’s Rangers and the First Special Service Force at Anzio, in southern France, and at the Battle of the Bulge. The 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion was awarded three Presidential Unit Citations during the war. Twice, at Anzio and during the Battle of the Bulge they held off attacks by superior numbers of the enemy, which had they not, would have arguably changed the outcome of the battle.

In the coming weeks I’ll post more information on the 509th PIB and some excerpts from the book. Soon we’ll have a companion website for the book with some extra pictures and copies of some of the primary source documents. In the meantime, I truly hope you’ll give it a read and let me know what you think: jim@rovinghistorian.com.

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