The Jedburghs finally tells their story and offers a new perspective on D-Day itself. Will Irwin has selected seven of the Jedburgh teams and told their stories as gripping personal narratives. He has gathered archival documents, diaries and correspondence, and interviewed Jed veterans and family members in order to present this portrait of their crucial role — a role recognized by Churchill and Eisenhower — in the struggle to liberate Europe in 1944-45.
This is narrative history at its most compelling; a vivid drama of the battle for France from deep behind enemy lines.
Kicked off on September 17, 1944, Market Garden was intended to secure crucial bridges in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands by a parachute assault conducted by three Allied airborne divisions. Capture of the bridges would allow a swift advance and crossing of the Rhine by British ground forces. Jedburgh teams—Allied Special Forces—were dropped into the Netherlands to train and use the Dutch resistance in support of the larger operation. Based on new firsthand testimony of survivors and declassified documents, Abundance of Valor concentrates on the three teams that operated farthest behind enemy lines, the nine men whose treacherous missions resulted in deaths, captures, and hair-breadth escapes.
Here in unprecedented detail are the heat and stench of fuel, oil, and sweat in the troop carriers going over, the remarkable (and misleading) initial success of the daylight parachute landings, and the deadly, brutally effective German response, particularly by crack SS armored units in the blood-soaked town of Arnhem. Abundance of Valor portrays with stunning verisimilitude the experiences of Lt. Harvey Allan Todd, who fought from a surrounded position against overwhelming numbers of the enemy before surviving capture, near-starvation, interrogation, and solitary confinement in German POW camps, and Maj. John “Pappy” Olmsted, who made a hazardous journey, in disguise, from safe house to safe house through enemy territory until finally reaching friendly lines.
With piercing criticism of the mission’s ultimate failure from faulty use of intelligence—and Field Marshall Montgomery’s distrust of the Dutch underground—Abundance of Valor is a brutally honest and truly inspiring account of fighting men in a noble cause who did their jobs with extraordinary honor and courage.
From the Hardcover edition.