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Battling Buzzards: The Odyssey of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team 1943-1945 Mass Market Paperback – October 9, 2001


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Battling Buzzards: The Odyssey of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team 1943-1945 + The Mighty Eighth: The Air War in Europe as Told by the Men Who Fought It
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (October 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440236932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440236931
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 517th saw action in Italy, southern France, the Ardennes Forest and the final thrust into Germany. What makes this account one of the best WW II unit histories is the attention Astor pays to the leadership aspect, particularly the regimental and battalion commanders. The reader gets a clear and detailed look at the bombastic, hard-driving Lt. Col. Louis Walsh's leadership style and that of his low-keyed, self-effacing successor, Lt. Col. Rupert Graves. Their approaches differed drastically, but both elicited a high level of combat performance from the troops, giving the 517th its reputation as one of the U.S. Army's elite outfits. Astor traces the unit from its inception, through its innovative training and confrontation with the realites of war, to its deactivation in 1946. Astor is the author of A Blood-Dimmed Tide: The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The newly fledged paratroopers of the 517th never made the famous D-Day drop in Normandy, but they more than made up for it on other battlefields. The 2500 men of one of the U.S. Army's more elite outfits fought major actions in Italy, southern France, the Ardennes, and Germany itself. Like most regimental books, this one by a man who served in the 97th Infantry Division is based on numerous personal interviews and recollections and all sorts of unpublished diaries and journals as well as official documents. Although it is heavy on names and personalities, it never gets bogged down in nostalgic detail, and the narrative is straightforward and exciting. The result is one of the better military unit histories available. Recommended to general collections.
- Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is an excellent book about one of WWII's special forces-an Airborne Regimental Combat Team.
T. Dahlstrom
If you know of a copy of this book and are interested in selling it, please contact me at ccamp@mindspring.com.
Corbin H G Camp
I highly recommend this book to those who served in the 517th, their families and friends, and history buffs.
Robert J. Reginato

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Dahlstrom on August 13, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book about one of WWII's special forces-an Airborne Regimental Combat Team. The accounts range from gruesome to humorous, and cover both the combat and the non-combat parts of this unit's history. Military veterans will appreciate the real life view of life in the service, and others will get a look into this unique world. If you read "Band of Brothers" by Stephen Ambrose, you will appreciate the differences. Different places, different units (it includes the engineers, artillery and medical corps for example, not just infantry), and a different style of history. It's very engaging, and you get to know the people in the book. This should have been made into a movie. My dad, Robert Dahlstrom, was a 517th vet. He told very few stories about his experience. This book did a great job of telling the rest of the story, a very unique story in the annals of army history.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Eugene on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I grew up listening to the oral history of my Dad's (Don Eugene) experiences in the 517th. From parachuting off course into the vinyards of southern France, to the wild rides on scooters through Rome, Gerald Astor captured, in exqusite detail, every account of the war my father passed on to me. As I reflect on his humble accounts, I now know the significance of the 517th in WWII. Anyone who had a father, son, friend, relative, or interest in WWII must read this book. Anyone who has more information on the 517th and/or knows where to find more copies of the book, pleaseemail me. Thanks!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Reginato on March 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Gerald Astor has done a marvelous job in detailing the formation, exploits and termination of the 517th. My brother joined the unit in June 1943, and was with them until he was killed in September 1944, when was only 9 years old. Among my mother's possessions I ran across every letter he wrote to our family from the time he was on the train to Georgia until a week before his death. The "Battling Buzzards" gave me a more complete view of what he went through from boot camp to battle. This narration filled in some of the details that my brother couldn't write about. His letters added that personal touch for our family and also complemented the book's story. I highly recommend this book to those who served in the 517th, their families and friends, and history buffs. I treasure my copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Reber on August 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a special book about special men. My father was one of them and mentioned in the book. I have met many of the men of the 517th and they are all first class. This unit was overlooked for far too many years. Mr. Astor has truly done this unit the belated justice it richly deserved. This is a great book and deserves another printing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Garces on August 21, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A well written and extraordinarily researched work concerning one of the US Army's elite, yet unknown units of WWII. I couldn't put it down as the story was told in the trooper's own words. The full history of the Combat Team from when they were first established to their final dissolution. A victim of their own successes, the 517th was the subject of jealousy from other airborne units which didn't train nor fight as well. A must read for any military enthusiast.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is an excellent description of a tough fighting force, the 517th. It is written along the lines of Stephen Ambrose's war books, or Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation; stories told through interviews with the men who were there & their experiences.

I've read this book before but wanted to own a copy because my brother is mentioned in it, as are many other members of the airborne combat teams.
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By Meg Ambabo on May 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My father was a member of this unit and I purchased the book for him. It brought back a ton of memories for him - some good, some bad, but he thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
My grandfather was amember of the 517th and was wounded. He is still alive. My father and I are trying to gather as much as we can about his division. If you know of a copy of this book and are interested in selling it, please contact me at ccamp@mindspring.com.
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