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Abundance of Valor: Resistance, Survival, and Liberation: 1944-45 Hardcover – March 23, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Allied special operations units fight and flounder in the ill-fated Market-Garden offensive in this colorful but unfocused WWII picaresque. Former Special Forces fighter Irwin (The Jedburghs) recounts the exploits of three-man Jedburgh Teams sent into German-occupied Holland to organize Dutch resistance fighters in support of General Montgomery's infamous bridge too far debacle. The author focuses on two Americans: Lt. Harvey Allan Todd, who was taken prisoner by the Germans at Arnheim, and Maj. John Olmsted, who organized a secret intelligence network behind enemy lines. There's not much shape or significance to these largely unrelated plot lines, which concern some of the most ill-conceived and useless operations of the war. Olmsted lost important enemy plans; in Todd's case, an American rescue force is captured by the Germans and imprisoned in the very POW camp it was supposed to liberate. Still, the author vividly recounts many varieties of WWII experience: blood-and-guts combat set pieces; a tense espionage thriller; and a harrowing captivity narrative. Irwin's angle on the oft-told Market-Garden fiasco doesn't make for a grand epic, just a collection of well-told war stories. Photos, 4 maps. (Mar. 23)
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From Booklist

A thoroughly enthralling book for serious students of World War II, this is the labor of love of a Special Forces veteran with a rare talent for writing and research. He tells the story of the handful of small Jedburgh Teams dropped into the Netherlands to lead local resistance groups in offensive action. They immediately got sucked into the disastrous failure of Operation Market Garden, better known as the Arnhem operation (see Cornelius Ryan’s classic A Bridge Too Far, 1974). After that mismanaged affair crumbled, they faced survival against long odds in the ranks of the hard-pressed Dutch Resistance, death at the hands of the still resilient German occupation troops, and in one case survival by a hair’s breadth as a POW endured not only confinement but also grueling marches from east to west ahead of the advancing Russians. For exhaustive studies of little-known episodes that add much to general WWII knowledge as well as provide enthralling reading, this book is hard to beat. --Roland Green

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; Stated 1st Edition edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345501764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345501769
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James T. Anderson on April 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Abundance of Valor" is a fascinating new look at Operation Market-Garden, the Allied airborne mission to facilitate the push across the Rhine River. Will Irwin, a retired Special Forces veteran, gives us an insightful look at the operations of three different OSS teams and their efforts to coordinate activity with the Dutch resistance.

Irwin tells the story with adventurous gusto and a critical eye. The story revolves around two characters: LT Harvey Allen Todd and MAJ John Olmstead, both Americans in serving with the legendary "Jedburghs" in the ETO. Although he chronicles their heroic deeds, Irwin is quick to point out that Jedburgh operations were far from perfect. Olmstead lost vital enemy plans and Todd found himself imprisoned in the same POW camp he was expected to liberate.

We also see that Market-Garden was especially hard on the Jedburghs. German infiltration of the Dutch resistance led to several British agents being captured by the Wermacht. Other agents were parachuted into areas heavily fortified by enemy troops. And of the nine Jedburghs who penetrated the farthest into German territory, two were captured, three were killed, and three were wounded - leaving only one operative left to complete his mission. In spite of these hardships, however, their valor has been preserved through Irwin's excellent prose. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the OSS, the Jedburgh missions, or the European Theater.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By emiller66 on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Still reading this, but it comes across like a novel. GEN Brown (former USSOCOM CDR) puts his endorsement on this one and I'd categorize his praise to be selective on most things.
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