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IF CHAOS REIGNS: The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944 Hardcover – June, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate; First Edition edition (June 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612000002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612000008
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Flint Whitlock graduated from the Army's Airborne School in 1965 and spent five years on active duty, including a combat tour in Vietnam. He is the author of nine books, and is currently the editor of WWII Quarterly.

Customer Reviews

This well written book covers both sectors and I found it a very enjoyable read.
Paul Woodadge
I don't have any thoughts about how the author might have presented his material in a more coherent fashion, but felt he jumped around too much.
Amazon Customer
As an ex paratrooper I found this a well written history of the airborne drops on Normandy.
Earl Roye

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James T. Anderson on December 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've been collecting titles on Allied Airborne operations in the ETO for nearly 40 years. Much has been written about the epic battles at Market Garden, Operation Varsity, etc. While these stories of the ETO are nothing new, they never seem to get old.

"If Chaos Reigns" is by far one of the best...and one of the few books that deals with the Airborne operations from the American, Canadian, and British perspective in one volume. Whitlock begins his treatise with a discussion of the German airborne operations in the Blitzkrieg campaign. Its interesting to see how brillantly the Wermacht pioneered the airborne art. The rest of the book takes turns looking at the different Allied armies' skirmishes on the European mainlaind during D-Day. While these battles have been covered in other books, Whitlock tells the story with as great a gusto as any of his predecessors.

Highly recommended for any wishing to learn more about the history of the daring Allied airborne campaigns in World War II.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Before the first troops waded ashore on Normandy beaches, 30,000 American, British and Canadian paratroopers dropped out of the night sky to seize vital bridges and other choke-points. The drops generally did not go as planned. The fighting that ensued often took the form of desperate combats fought by under-strength groups of men determined to seize and hold their objectives until relieved. Flint Whitlock chronicles the development of the Allied paratroop effort and their role in the D-Day invasion in this exciting 2011 release from Casemate Publishers.

Whitlock, himself a former Army paratroop officer, subtitled his book THE NEAR-DISASTER AND ULTIMATE TRIUMPH OF THE ALLIED AIRBORNE FORCES ON D-DAY, JUNE 6, 1944 and that is an apt summary of the night drop. During the run-in to their Normandy targets, the Allied troop carrier groups ran into heavy anti-aircraft fire and obscuring cloud cover. As a result, the men of the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and the British 6th Airborne Division were scattered about, landing miles from their objectives and often without needed equipment. Hurriedly banding together and orienting themselves, the various units set off to attack and seize prime targets such as Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Carentan and the Merville Battery. Initially thrown into confusion by scattered drops, the Germans were slow to respond but eventually moved against the Americans, British and Canadians. Bitter fighting ensued but as Whitlock states, through "the courage, cunning and indefatigable spirit of the Allied airborne/glider soldier," the Allies triumphed.

As Whitlock relates in IF CHAOS REIGNS, that triumph had its roots in pre-war experiments involving "vertical envelopment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeff H. on July 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is a lot of detail in this book about the individual actions of the various airborne units, of Britain, the U.S. And Canada on D-Day and beyond. There is also a lot of jumping back and forth between those small unit actions which tends to make the narrative itself chaotic and hard to follow. There is also a detailed history of airborne warfare and its development by both Germany and the allies. One must love military history to really enjoy this book otherwise it can be a rather sorrowful slog. What the author does do well is give us a new respect and admiration for those amazingly brave soldiers who jumped or glided into the harrowing night that preceded the D-Day landings, who fought courageously thereafter and in many cases died.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Woodadge on May 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is unusual for an American author to devote any time to writing about British and Canadian efforts on D-Day and as such this book is to be applauded. The British 6th Airborne Division's landing and the fierce fighting around the Dives and Orne valleys on the eastern flank on the Operation Overlord was just as important as the American jump 80 miles to the west. However where many books have been written by both American and British authors about the American battles, few American authors have tackled the British action. This well written book covers both sectors and I found it a very enjoyable read. There have been more detailed books published about specific units and actions, but for a concise and readable overview this book is excellent. Some readers may find the lengthy introduction about the development of Airborne units a little heavy going but it is important history and sits the scene for the action that follows.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By cpl. cal on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book puts you right in the battles with the first person accounts of these fighting paratroopers.These men are truly of the greatest generation. Very well written, I highley recommend this book for some real insight to what these men went through to defeat the German war machine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jule A. Miller on July 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very detailed book. So detailed that it is probably better suited to being a reference volume than a book one can sit down and read straight through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jo Urquhart on October 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In taking on such a vast topic, the narrative gets spread thin and scattered like the airborne mis-drops it describes. It made sense to have such a broad coverage for the build up, but I wanted to stay with certain units and locations longer instead of bouncing back and forth. Maybe covering the British from beginning to end, and then the Americans? Hard task to pull off, I'm sure. Also wanted more "pull you in" descriptions interspersed more evenly amongst the mountains of raw historical data.
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