HISTORY

The Winter Army: The World War II Odyssey of the 10th Mountain Division, America’s Elite Alpine Warriors

Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2019. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9781328871435. $28. HIST
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Isserman (Fallen Giants) combines his interests in World War II and mountaineering by chronicling the creation and deployment of the 10th Mountain Division during WWII. While the war in Europe seldom entered the mountains, the creation of a division that would be expert in skiing and mountain climbing seemed essential to Americans with knowledge of the Nazi offenses in Norway. Convincing the War Department that mountain troops would benefit the war effort was an uphill battle. The Division was created in 1941, but it was several years before the troops were sent to the European theater. The bulk of Isserman’s text recounts the creation and training of the mountain troops, including the recruitment of wealthy white Americans who were already experienced skiers or climbers. The last part of the book chronicles the battles that the 10th Mountain Division engaged in during the final months of the war. While the deeply entrenched Nazi army in the Apennine Mountains continued to offer resistance to Allied forces, the perseverance of the mountain troops proved their creation was worth the effort.
VERDICT This work will appeal to World War II buffs and fans of nonfiction adventure or sports.

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