The best books on D-Day airborne operations

Why am I passionate about this?

Flint Whitlock spent five years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army (1965-1970, including tours in West Germany and Vietnam), and is a qualified parachutist (Fort Benning, 1965). He has been an award-winning, full-time military historian since 2003, and has 14 books (mostly about WWII) to his credit. He has also been the editor of WWII Quarterly magazine since 2010 and gives battlefield tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other organizations.


I wrote...

If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

By Flint Whitlock,

Book cover of If Chaos Reigns: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944

What is my book about?

The Allies’ parachute and glider operations on D-Day were the most daring—and dangerous—of all the aspects of Operation Overlord. Most Americans have heard of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions’ pre-dawn drops into Normandy, but the glider operations are less well known. And few Americans know much about the British and Canadian airborne operations—or even history of combat parachute and glider development and training. I wanted to cover it all and give America’s allies equal representation.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II

Flint Whitlock Why did I love this book?

Published in time for the 50th anniversary of D-Day (Operation Overlord) in 1994, Ambrose’s 656-page tome covers the broad scope of the massive, history-changing operation, with special attention paid to the parachute and glider operations. The author details the overall planning of the air-and-sea operation—and analyzes why the most carefully planned invasion in history nearly went terribly wrong. This is the ultimate history of the battle that changed the outcome of World War II.

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked D-Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chronicles the events, politics, and personalities of this pivotal day in World War II, shedding light on the strategies of commanders on both sides and the ramifications of the battle.


Book cover of Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

Flint Whitlock Why did I love this book?

By focusing on the members of one company of parachutists, Ambrose gave life to the experiences of real human beings caught up in a war none of them wanted. As the dust-jacket copy says, “This is a story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.” This is the book that was the inspiration for the award-winning television series.

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Band of Brothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They fought on Utah Beach, in Arnhem, Bastogne, the Bulge; they spearheaded the Rhine offensive and took possession of Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden. Easy Company, 506th Airborne Division, U.S. Army, was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to D-Day and victory, Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company, which kept getting the tough assignments. Easy Company was responsible for everything from parachuting into France early D-Day morning to the capture of Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. BAND OF BROTHERS is the account of the men of…


Book cover of Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944

Flint Whitlock Why did I love this book?

One of my all-time favorite books; it inspired me to become a military historian. Through extensive interviews with the actual participants, Ambrose detailed how gilder-borne British commandos pulled off a nearly textbook example of how to take an enemy-held bridge. Whenever I lead tours to Normandy, I always make sure we stop at Pegasus Bridge and recount the valor of the British troops who performed what many said was impossible.

By Stephen E. Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pegasus Bridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author traces each step of the D-Day preparations and gives a minute by minute account of the conflict.


Book cover of Call of Duty: My Life Before, During, and After the Band of Brothers

Flint Whitlock Why did I love this book?

Buck Compton led an extraordinary life. Not only was he one of the heroes of the storied "Band of Brothers,” in which he fought in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, and the frozen hell of Bastogne, but he had been a remarkable athlete before the war (baseball and football at UCLA). After the war he went into law and became a prosecutor in California and helped convict Sirhan Sirhan for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. An excellent, fully realized autobiography.

By Lynn Compton, Marcus Brotherton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Call of Duty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The national bestselling World War II memoir by Buck Compton, a hero from the famed Band of Brothers, with a foreword by John McCain.

As part of the elite 101st Airborne paratroopers, Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton fought in critical battles of World War II as a member of Easy Company, immortalized as the Band of Brothers.

This is the true story of a real-life hero. From his years as a two-sport UCLA star who played baseball with Jackie Robinson and football in the 1943 Rose Bowl, through his legendary post-World War II legal career as a prosecutor, in which he…


Book cover of Paratrooper!: The Saga of the U. S. Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II

Flint Whitlock Why did I love this book?

This large (718 pages) book covers the entire history of U.S. military parachute and glider operations—from the early evolution of the concept through landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, Southern France, Holland, Battle of the Bulge, Leyte, Manila, and Corregidor. Anyone wanting to appreciate the myriad American parachute and glider operations will find a wealth of information in Devlin’s book.

By Gerald M. Devlin, William P. Yarborough,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paratrooper! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Photographs and text document the bravery and daring exhibited by American parachute and glider combat forces and offer in-depth treatment of British, German, Japanese, Italian, and French parachute operations


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Book cover of The Forest Knights

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Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good fight scene! It doesn’t need to be long and gruesome, but it must be visceral and make me nervous for those involved. Don’t get me wrong, I also love a good first-kiss scene but unfortunately, my past has made me more adept at recognizing and writing one over the other. I started training in martial arts at the age of nine and continued for thirty years. I don’t train much these days but I took up bowmaking a few years back and now spend a lot of time carving English longbows and First Nations’ bows. I recently also took up Chinese archery.

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The Forest Knights

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What is this book about?

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