101st Airborne and related Books
101st Airborne and related WWII books
BOOKS BY MARK A. BANDO:
Now Available- Insignia & Artifacts of the Waffen SS
By Michael D. Beaver and Mark A. Bando
Before his premature passing at age 50, Mike Beaver
authored a series of books about WWII German SS uniforms. At the time of his passing circa 2005,
he had assembled thousands of additional photos for planned books on SS helmets, SS soft headgear and
SS cloth insignia.
After Mike's passing, Kelly Hicks completed the SS helmets book, and Bill Shea completed the headgear book.
Both authors listed Mike Beaver as the primary author and placed their names beneath his, as co-authors.
Several years ago, Bill Shea asked me to complete Mike's planned SS Insignia book. After working on it
relentlessly, from April to October of 2011, I laid out all the photos using Adobe In-Design, wrote captions
and a narrative and again, listed myself as co-author. The result is a 370 page tome, with 1200 images. The
insignia are depicted in full color, while there are also many WWII vintage B&W photos, showing the insignia
in-wear. What I brought to the project was a historical aspect, relating much information on battle context,
as well as veteran war stories connected to specific examples of insignia.
As such, I feel this book will be an interesting read, as well as a visual treat for anyone who is interested
in the ETO fighting between the US Army and elite Waffen SS troops. The historical information gives this book
a dimension which has been lacking in most previous collector reference books.
UPDATE 6 February, 2013:-The SS Insignia book is in-print and I have copies, which are available by snail mail, by
sending a check, payable to Mark Bando, for $92.50 (Priority Mail) or $87- (media mail). Two books will fit in a Medium
flat rate Priority Mail box, so you can order two copies for a total of $172-. Send your check to:
Mark Bando, PO Box 350, Walled Lake, MI 48390.
Regarding OVERSEAS ORDERS
Update, 6 Februrary, 2013: The US Postal Service recently increased all rates, (thank you Obama), and now, the price
for overseas shipping of a medium flat rate priority box, is close to $60-. If any customer in the UK, western continental
Europe or Japan wants to pay the high postal rate for shipping this book, the price for postage is now $60- for one or two books,
which will fit in a medium Priority Mail box.
Total cost for 1 book sent overseas is $140- USD. For two books, $220-. Use the link below to order.
Also, be advised that a French language edition of the same book has been published in France, under the title of 'SS
Prises de la Guerre' and can be found in European bookstores or ordered from the Heimdal Press or from Amazon.com.
Use this online paypal link, for credit card orders, by Media Mail:
Use this online paypal link, for credit card orders by Priority Mail:
Use this online paypal link, for credit card orders shipping Internationally:
Reviews of 'Insignia & Artifacts of the Waffen SS'
SUPER BOOK! I have of course not read the entire thing yet, but I did manage to get lucky yesterday & find some good
time to go thru it. One thing I really like, that I have not seen other authors do on this type of subject matter,
is your section where you talk about collecting the TR memorabilia, and that most, nearly all, collectors collect the
stuff due to its historical connection to the Second World War. Its about time somebody finally put that into a very-
well written, exceptionally-communicated prose! As a fellow militaria collector and World War II historian myself, I
THANK YOU!! Moving on to other attributes of your book -- the pictures! THEY ARE FANTASTIC!! They are crisp, clear,
well-put-together, and articulately organized! Another major point of this book that I really really like -- all of the
historical "extras" that you have added, such as the section on Tychsen (awesome add!), and the sections at the end that
cover collecting and the vet connection to bringing back war souvenirs. This is the first book on any WWII militaria
that I have ever seen in which the author cared enough to include the history of the artifacts themselves AND the vets
that brought them back! Again -- THANK YOU! I am VERY impressed with this book, Mark, and I cannot wait to get into
the detail on it! As you know, I am not an SS collector, per se, nor is cloth a big part of my collection. However, I
am drawn to this book, because it is so well organized and goes so well beyond all of the great pictures of the items.
That is why YOU were such a GREAT person to take the lead on this publication!
I think this book will do VERY well in the World War II collector community, which in terms of numbers is still a pretty
Colonel JDF, US Army Retired (USMA Class of 1984).
Review from Steve Ward
This is a remarkable book! It is more than a photo survey of the insignia and artifacts of the Waffen SS.
Yes, it is indeed a beautifully illustrated collection of many heretofore (at least for me) unseen and rare Waffen SS
items. The photo collection alone is well worth the price of the book. Perhaps even more significant-again, at least
for me-are the detailed stories and information tied to each item. Thus, the book is a significant contribution to the
history of WWII, the 101st, the 2d AD, Nazi propaganda, wartime atrocities, the German home front, etc. It is one of the
very finest WWII history books I have ever read. Mark's intimate knowledge of these numerous subjects frankly amazes me.
His knowledge and erudition shine forth. On top of all that, it is a beautifully crafted book. Better buy one before they
disappear and end up on the oop market at $500 or more.
Review from Bob Hritz, Long Time SS collector
I hope everyone gets a copy of the new book that was started by the late Mike Beaver and worked on by Bill Shea and
published by the work of Mark Bando. This is a work that Mike Beaver wanted to complete in his short lifetime. Mark Bando
has done a fantastic job of editing and writing the text and the book has the finest illustrations of all original
This should be in every collector's library. The full size illustrations make authenticating original
insignia much easier. I give a lot of credit to Bill Shea for following up on Mike Beaver's project and my thanks and
gratitude to Mark Bando for doing the editing, writing, and layout, not to mention the addition of many pieces from his
The medal collectors have had quality books, in the last few years, and the SS insignia collectors have finally gotten
the tome we have been waiting for. I can only hope for further books by these giants.
Review from Pionier SS Collector Jim Toncar
I am in the process of reading Mark Bando's book as we converse. It is really a great new reference, detailed, colored
pictures of original insignia, large format, progression of insignia in a unit...its all there. He has gotten it RIGHT.
I commend his cavalier attitude; this book will sell itself. It's certainly like no other reference work published in the
past, such as Angolia or ??? If you have the opportunity to get it and want to collect SS insignia I would not hesitate.
These reference books published under Beavers flag really can give a understanding of the SS that no one else has been
able to accomplish. My hat is off to you Mark, you did a great job ...best, Jim Toncar
Comments from Dudley Cone
When I first got the book I went through every page just to see all the insignia. Have started reading it and
its outstanding, great detail and outstanding photos. I'm sure this will sell out soon.
My wife, who never reads any of my 'war books' was up reading it one night when I got home from work.
As a person who thinks the world of veterans, but has no interest in WWII items and especially SS insignias,
I asked why she was reading that. She thought it was the best put together book she had ever read. No small
compliment from this critic, I assure you.
From a Satisfied Reader in the UK
Since I initially wrote to you I have now read the book and to be candid, I think that this is one of the best books that
I have read on the subject. It has for me a “wow” factor and that is the opportunity to examine the detail of items on
the page that have never been available before.
As a UK collector (where there is a dearth of original items in the first place) I can totally understand why you have
chosen to confirm the originality of these items by the juxtaposition of original SS insignia with the actual captors of
said items, in order to validate their originality.
I also applaud the fact that your work is also historically neutral, insofar as that it allows an element of
“combat rage” from both sides to be exhibited which is regrettable but unavoidable in the circumstances.
Please note also that as far as I am aware such a work could not have been undertaken by anyone from the UK on the basis
that the collection of items from the enemy was discouraged in the UK to the extent that those troops who were returning
home by ship were informed that if they were found to be in possession of “contraband” such as Nazi or Axis insignia,
helmets, uniforms or weapons would be fined against their existing back pay and also subject to incarceration, if
appropriate, so most of their stuff ended up in the Atlantic.
"Copy was passed around during gun show with John Kalvelage...it's militaria PORN! I love it."- Steve Flanagan- TX
Latest Review, from Charles W.
I acquired a copy of your absolutely wonderful SS insignia book, by far the best SS reference volume in my vast library.
I want to personally thank you for all of your literary efforts, but especially this one, a work which deserves to be as comprehensive and accurate as possible. I expect you will need to reprint it. I would be willing to contribute photographs, information, and as well some ideas which occurred to me as I have been reading and re-reading your book. It is your baby,
and what a fine thing indeed.
My congratulations on the creation of a masterpiece.
Comments from a WAF Forum Customer, July, 2013
I received the book today in perfect condition. Thanks for packing it so well.
I spent all day looking through it. It's wonderful to be able to see such rare items that are out there in collections all in one book. I particularly liked the section on cut-out/off insignia. It's also interesting to read the veteran's stories as well as see attributed items.
Congratulations on completing such an excellent resource. It will be a great reference tool for me to compare with items on dealers websites!Thanks again and also thanks for signing the book too! Robert S.
Some of the American GIs Who Contributed to the Book
WWII veteran Peter Logerfo (92 years old) was a Sherman tank gunner in
Company 'H' of the 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division. He took the photo of the Haut Vents road junction
where Obstubf Christian Tychsen was fatally ambushed in July, 1944. I took this photo of Peter with the new book, in
Captain Werner J. Meier was commander of IPW Team #9, 501st Prcht Inf Rgt. He and his men interrogated many German prisoners
in Normandy, Holland, Bastogne and Alsace. Werner contributed some rare SS items which are pictured in the book. He passed away
in June of 2014. I'm glad he was able to receive a copy of the book, before his passing.
VANGUARD OF THE CRUSADE-The 101st Airborne Division in WW2-
This much sought-after title is once again available, from Amazon.com
This hardcover volume was actually the reprinting of my first 2 books,
'The 101st Airborne at Normandy'(MBI, 1994) and 'The 101st Airborne From Holland to Hitler's Eagles Nest' (MBI, 1995).
(Both of those books went out of print in 1999). As of October, 2005,'Vanguard' went out of print and was unavailable,
except from used book dealers, where copies have sold for as high as $400-.
Update: September, 2012- Heimdal Press in Bayeux, France has republished 'Vanguard of the Crusade' in June, 2012,
in both a French and an English language edition. The photos have all being re-scanned from actual prints and the clarity
and quality of those images make this a vastly improved visual presentation, compared to the original version, in
which the images were muddy and not nearly shown at their potential for clarity and detail. In addition, the chapter
about 101st Uniforms and collectibles, which appeared in B&W in the original edition, now has color photos.
Amazon.com is now selling the new Heimdal edition of 'Vanguard' for under $50- online. You can order here:
The Heimdal edition is also available in the US via the Casemate mail order catalogue.
This will give many readers who missed out on the original edition, the chance to read a condensed history of the 101st
Airborne Division in all of their WWII campaigns, with a splendid assortment of photos not seen elsewhere.
As with my other WWII titles, my hundreds of interviews over four decades with WW2 survivors enabled me to present
the human experience stories behind these history-making battles. As such, this is a highly readable work, which puts
the famous battles of the 101st Airborne in-context, making them understandable to any reader.
-Forbidden Tales of the 101st Airborne Division in WW2-
This Title is Sold Out & Out of Print
Update: Until/Unless a US publisher decides to re-publish this book, it will only be available from used book dealers, as of January, 2014.
Heimdal Press in France will release a French language edition, with 50 'new' photos, some time in 2014.
...This is not a 'Politically Correct' history book. It tells the down and dirty side of WWII that is not discussed in polite company. This 101st Airborne book takes-up where 'Band of Brothers' left-offThese are stories about the WWII Airborne experience that you don't get to read about in regular history books-a rare opportunity to own a unique book. It is the result of 38 years of interviews with over 980 WW2 Screaming Eagle veterans.
This book contains stories about:
Brawls with members of other units in Phenix City, Fayetteville, etc.
Parachuting animal mascots
Wanton sexual encounters
Accidental deaths and wounds, through shooting and parachute malfunctions
Summary execution of prisoners in combat
Selfless, incredible heroism, above and beyond normal comprehension
Walt Whitman wrote:
"THE REAL WAR WILL NEVER GET IN THE BOOKS."
By self-publishing this work and avoiding any potential censorship, sanitizing or editing, I am trying to ensure that this particular slice of WW2 DOES reach a public audience in book form. Only some of the names have been changed, to protect the concerned parties and their families from any potential embarassment or hurt.
Why do you need this book? Please read the READER REVIWEWS posted below and then decide.
WW2 101st Veteran Comments on Avenging Eagles
"Yep...that was US."
-John Kliever Sgt D/506th Toccoa to Austria
"I read your book through the day I got it. Thanks. For sixty years, I've been waiting for for someone with the guts
to write a book like that. I want to thank you for writing that book."
-Dan McBride Company F/502 PIR Ft Bragg to Austria
"Your new book 'Avenging Eagles' is very outstanding. I'm sure all who read this warrior book will also love it. I'm on page 74 with my second reading."
-Charles E.S. Eckman HQ/2 501 LMG Platoon
"Received your latest book, 'Avenging Eagles' It is an uncanny title and most descriptive. Much gratitude and deep appreciation for your efforts. You are in essence a missionary. I thank you for your dedication and efforts".
-Frank Anness D/506th Toccoa to Austria
"I thoroughly enjoyed 'Avenging Eagles'. It's rough stuff in parts, but overall, it's a great balance of well written stories. In Normandy and elsewhere, decisions had to be made almost instantly-not always so good-but the very nature of airborne operations invites absolute disaster--or success. We DID get the job done. Only a very few did disgraceful things. We had not more than 1-3 bad "eggs" in our platoon at any one time. They would get weeded out as soon as possible, but not always too soon.
We did fight a lot in town and out of town, with many of our guys feeling they were invincible. Don't let the little negative reaction you may get from your book bother you! It's all part of the business of putting it as it was. We were not a group of "pussycats" at the time and bad and nasty things DID happen".
Guy Whidden HQ Co. 2/502 PIR
Reader Reviews of Avenging Eagles
The first review of 'Avenging Eagles' was written by former Detroit Police Officer Doug Topolski, on 21 June, 2006. It runs:
('Avenging Eagles') was a great read and is written in chronological order all the way up to the division's return to England after Normandy. I guess my first impression is that growing up watching all the usual WWII movies, I never really realized that these guys swore, let alone did all the same kind of stuff that young guys of my generation did on a paynight. The book starts with training and chronicles the pre-invasion hijinks of a bunch of young guys, all of whom really love life but many of whom are about to find out that a life, unless it's your own or that of a friend, can really be pretty cheap, if not worthless.
Mark spends some time in the preface explaining why he felt this book needed to be written. He did an insightful and convincing job explaining his position without sounding like he was trying to rationalize. In this day and age of "reality TV", I think it was important that Mark explain that the book is not just a lot of shock reality for the sake of shock reality.
The media NEVER gets the whole story right whether they're restricted like they were in 1944, or whether they're "embedded" like they are today. Hollywood never gets it right either. There's always an agenda other than just telling it like it was. Even with the vaunted "Band of Brothers", you did not get enough objective information to get close to what the total picture was.
This book will likely be controversial for some and cause some resentment among those who have unrealistic assumptions about what it meant to be a very young adult tasked with destroying the best and most ruthless war machine of its time in Europe. One trooper said that in order to defeat the toughest and most ruthless, you had to be willing to to be tougher and more ruthless. That might be a lesson we've forgotten over the years.
Mark opens the box of information he's collected over the past 40 years and talks about what isn't talked about in polite company. As in all of his books, but especially this one, he gives the reader the information, right from the horses' mouths and lets him be his own judge or morality cop. Even though he chastises the reader that they have no right to judge the people described in the book, judge you will, even if it's only to wonder "Would I, or could I have done THAT myself?"
These stories of total war and revenge and survival beginning with the Normandy invasion aren't told with any intent or agenda other than to let the reader know how it really was as told by the people who saw it and the people who DID it (no pun intended). This isn't an homage to the "Greatest Generation", although it can be a tribute to them if you can identify at all with what they did to make it out alive. One man's brutality is another man's justice, and justice is a pretty subjective thing, especially after one gets the upper hand on the person who just did his best, but failed to kill you or your friends. This book takes the romance out of the black and white, Hollywood, Movietone Newsreel image of the WWII combat soldier and puts that image into the universal, intergenerational, timeless gray perspective of war and the best and worst of human spirit and frailty.
I also enjoyed reading about some of the Lunch Bunch regulars in more detail as well as many of the people talked about over the years on Trigger Time. It's not that hard to figure out who some of those italicized guys are.
I agree with Mark that it is time to tell these stories. He has a tremendous resource that he began to compile, even before casette tapes and camcorders. I'm glad that he's decided to share another aspect of his research and look forward to the next installment.
A Review from Katey Mishler
As to "Avenging Eagles"...IT WAS AWESOME! I was so proud of you for that book, and I do very much hope Part II gets off the ground someday!...It's like you said in the preface, that these stories are worth publishing on the merit that "they happened". For better or worse, these are the stories of what war is really like. I was really impressed with the way you matter-of-factly told the stories, and explained behaviour and psychological processes without trying to justify, redeem, or rectify anything. It put those brave men in context and really brought out their humanity; as emotional beings trained to be expert killers. --how they grappled with the very high probability of their own death, and the behaviour that accompanied being part of "suicide troopers"-- in deep bonds of friendships with their fellow troopers, sexually, in the emotionally charged moments of exacting revenge on POW's following a bloody battle where a buddy was killed, I could go on and on. On every page I was impressed with the sensitivity of the subject matter that you present head-on, yet with the subtleties of care, concern, deep respect, and grief for the ones who never got to tell their story.
Your work shines through with integrity. It's free of politics and ego, and it's committed to peeling back the layers and revealing the story and truth beneath, for better or worse.
A Review from a reader in Europe-Laurent Olivier
Mark Bando, author and WWII historian has written excellent books but Avenging Eagles is far beyond what he has previously published. While this is not a pictorial book, the 25 pictures illustrate well the events described in Avenging Eagles, like those dramatic shots of wounded soldiers from Captain Lillyman’s movie. A picture of Colonel Johnson shaking hands with his men at Merryfield on D-Day eve depicts the high spirit of the American Paratroopers.
The reader will meet the most secret stories of 101st Airborne Division soldiers from the activation of the unit til the summer of 1944 when the unit came back from Normandy. The author will also take you deep into the inhumanity those brave men had to go through, this to give freedom back to the nations occupied by the Nazis, a fact that must never be forgotten. While English is not my mother tongue, the book is easy to read and to understand for all even with a limited knowledge of the English language. I recommend Avenging Eagles to everyone interested in war histories. Avenging Eagles is the war as you have never read it before.
A Review From Jeff Thomas:
Avenging Eagles has been all that I knew it would be. Well written, easy to read and an insight into the lives of the 101st in WWII never before read.
As I read (this) work I think of all of the human stories of warfare from the begining of recorded history that have been lost because they were never recorded...this will not be the case with the 101st...Buy it to better understand, It will be hard to beat.
Some Comments from Betty Taylor-Hill
I'm still reading, almost finished; I am enjoying it sooooooo very much!!!
...occasionally have to stop for a deep breath! What awful horrors those men suffered. Personally, I don't hold blame for anything I've read about the avenging actions of the US troops. Under agonizing circumstances, humans do these things. That is the horror of war! And if not for many of their actions, all of Europe and we might be speaking German today....instead of having to learn Spanish!!!
I found the "ghost" tales interesting!! And, I believe them!!
(Betty is the younger sister of Lester Taylor of I/502 PIR, who was KIA in Holland September, 1944. She publishes the Company newsletter for Item Co. 502). MB
Comments from Tom Colones
"I received my copy today in the mail when I got home from work and read all 179 pages and wanted 379 more pages of stories that (MB has)gathered over the last 30 years with (his) involvement with the 101st and its veterans. The individual stories from these men tell the personal conflict each of them has faced since the day it happened to them and seeing friends die horrible deaths. I appreciate the way you documented these stories from the veterans without hurting those loved ones who are still around & the veterans themselves ! ...no one who is interested in the history of the Airborne & the 101st should be without this book ! Congrats on this fine work of historical importance in telling the story of "The Screaming Eagles" Truly amazing stuff... Thanks Mark!"
A Review from Robert 'Drew'Cook-Cincinnati, OH PD
"Avenging Eagles" is an instantly engrossing, continually fascinating chronicle of ribald, hilarious, surprising, shocking, gritty, and even other-worldly stories from the WWII veterans of the great 101st Airborne Division, now published and available for all to read and marvel at -- as I did. I've read it twice since receiving it in the mail last Monday.
A new and totally unique perspective on the actual, untold experiences of some of the most elite fighting men of the Second World War -- that not for your efforts, would never have seen the light of day -- it's a sterling product of your decades-long admiration and respect for these (as you often call them) "mighty warriors."
The book is written in your typically intimate, highly knowledgeable and knowing style, which has always made your books stand out among the many unoriginal, cookie-cutter WWII tomes that have flooded the bookstore shelves the last ten or twelve years.
I think your thoughtful and perceptive preface to the book is absolutely outstanding, and practically worth the price of the book alone. The insight into, and understanding of, human nature that you quite naturally possess, and developed further through your 25 years of service on the mean streets of Detroit as a police patrol officer, have stood you well in recounting these "forbidden" stories of some of the greatest combat soldiers in history.
Like the dust jacket of your book states, the book certainly "is an entertaining smorgasbord," and I found it a rich, delicious stew of unexpurgated truth and honesty. It presents, without judgement or condemnation, an additional, important, and of course previously untold part of the wartime experiences of these tough and brave men...
Congratulations on "Avenging Eagles," Mark, and thanks on a job well-done and well-told!
From Paul Woodage-Fulltime Normandy Tour Guide
I have just this second finished reading Mark's new book.
I understand why Mark made the warning to "not judge" and why he explained his reasons for writing the book, but my respect for the Screaming Eagles has in no way lessened after reading these sometimes horrific tales. If anything my admiration has soared for these young men, trained to do a job-who found themselves in some of the most hellish combat situations man has ever known.
I have now come as close to living vicariously through the Normandy campaign as I can imagine.
To hear further tales of these heroes - some of whom I have written to or met - like Bob Sechrist and Ray Hershner has filled me with a respect for their service I cannot put into words. I think of the worries and dilemas I had at 19 years old, that at the time seemed difficult and can only wonder as to how I would have dealt with the situations these troopers found themselves in.
I am used to Mark's books being packed with photos and I think it took a book of mainly text for me to realise just how beautifully he writes-not pretentiously written or with the self-importance of an Ambrose, just easy to read but eloquent language that places you in the action, but doesn't judge or steer you to any conclusions.
It's a masterpiece, pure and simple. And just because I would count Mark as a friend doesn't mean I would automatically rave about the book if I had not liked it, I would have given my opinion and offered a review whatever I thought.
Be proud Mr Bando it's a wonderful book.
From Tom 'Umbriago'Boyle, Member WWII ADT
I think it was a fascinating read.....I mean, this was (is) a truly extraordinary generation of men (and women). But amidst the admittedly deserved homage we pay them, it's easy to forget that these guys, in addition to everything else, were human....and being human means having faults as well as strengths...not to mention some pretty eccentric foibles. Striding up and down an aisle in a barracks, lecturing your subordinates, stark naked??? Geezus....and I thought that the stories about officers duking it out with their men amazing...and common enough amongst the men's recollections that they can't be fabrications. When you think about it though, to gain the respect, and more importantly, the instant obedience of a pretty unruly type of individual, you better be able to impose your will...especially on that small percentage of shitbirds of which every unit has examples. With some guys, a stern, tough as nails demeanor won't cut it. If yer gonna be the tallest hog at the trough, ya gotta BE the tallest hog at the trough. Human nature being what it is, letting the shitbirds get the better of you is going to gradually erode the the respect you get from the other guys.
From Jason Wolcott-Another WWII ADT Member
To me, this compilation is absolutely incredible. One aspect I enjoyed the most about the book is that it made these men seem a little more human to me. These are personal stories that you aren’t going to get in your average history read. Hearing the not-so-mainstream and sometimes taboo stories of these men during training, combat and just their day to day during that time, made the war and the men who fought it all much more real. To me, these personal tales are extremely valuable from a historical aspect. Unless a Vet gives the account to someone and then that person shares them with others, the stories are lost for good. As I read, I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of thousands of tales such as these that are already lost to time. That’s why I’m so grateful to Mark for putting this together.
The stories that were the most interesting to me took place during training. I got a real kick out of the tale about the 502 Captain that burned down the “In the Pines” Bar in Phenix City. Another of my favorites was about “Mac”, the “slow” Trooper who had been a boxer (maybe too many hits to the melon). I got a mental picture of him leaping off the 34-foot tower without his harness…... and walking away basically uninjured! I wonder if he survived the war?
Another story that really intrigued me was the one about Lt. Hassenzahl having an encounter with Lt. Beatty after Beatty’s plane went down near Picauville with no survivors. I wonder how many other soldiers have tales like these but never shared them with anyone.
I know that some folks might view the stories in the book as taboo! This must be the case because to my knowledge, a book like this has never been compiled and published. Not to mention the fact that there aren't too many folks who have spent as much time interviewing as many Vets as Mark has over the years. Sometimes in our politically correct society, we don’t want to hear stories like these. I feel too that sometimes, people tend to glamorize and romanticize WWII and the “Greatest Generation”. Some people might not want to read these tales out of fear of tarnishing the image that they have of the American soldier of WWII. That, I feel is unfair to these men as they are just that ….men. They did what they had to do during those times.
Review from Shane Lamb, another WWII ADT Member
I received "Avenging Eagles" from Mark and had it read in 2 days; I couldnt put it down. These stories were so good to learn about(I cannot put into words how I feel about what is contained in the book) - I felt it was something fresh and new to learn.
As I continue on this journey of learning about these men, getting to know some personally and forming solid friendships with them, I have to admit- yes,there is a level of hero worship there. All of them, those who returned home and those who didn't, are heroes to me. It is hard to not put these guys up on a pedestal. I guess it is just a natural thing to do. Having gone through ADT's jump school and getting just a little taste of the danger and stressful conditions that these guys faced even in training (ADT graduate, Summer, 2003/2004) is really awe inspiring. I mean, if that's what a training jump is like, I cannot imagine what it was like around 1 am, 6 June 44, or sitting in a foxhole facing the Rhine, or running for cover during a barrage of 88 fire.
So yes, one cannot help but forget that these guys, while extraordinary, are human as well. Mark's book reminded me that these guys were just as prone to all sorts of things under the most stressful of conditions. That even the most steady sometimes goes 180 degrees the other way. Bad things happen in times of war, even by good people- that is what war is. It is supposed to be messy, horrific, terrible, painful, dreadful, glib, nasty. This book reminded me more-so of that.
It also reminded me of the wonderous fortitude that is shown in times of wartime durress. There were a couple of parts where I laughed out loud, where I smiled and felt pride in being an American. There were also a couple of times I was floored by the unexplainable miracles that sometimes happen in war as well.
Bottom line, this is probably my favorite book next to Devlin's "Paratrooper" book and Bill True's "The Cow Spoke French". While "Paratrooper" educated me, "Cow" delighted me. Mark's book, well, I dont think there has been a book that has caused me to have such an emotional feeling like I had reading this one. I really enjoyed it- so much so, I have read it again, not so much to cover parts that I may have forgotten, but more so to re-experience the feelings I had when I read it.
Mark- you have really outdone yourself. THANK YOU. The tales you have cannonized are priceless bits of history that deserve to be told. More over, they NEED to be told. For me, I took your "don't judge" in your preface to heart. Having said that, even if it weren't there, I still would (and do) hold these brave men of WWII with great esteem. Your book shows WHO these guys were and who they are. I think(the stories)do not show any dishonor or disgrace to those who were mentioned in the book in the least. It shows humans being humans, in times of stress and danger- it paints a real picture.
Review from USMC Wayne, Malta, MT
In basically one long sitting, I finished the book late Saturday night.
Avenging Eagles is a remarkable read. While I’ve read snippets of other so-called forbidden tales of other soldiers and Marines in other books, I’ve never come across a more in-depth and complete recounting of those stories that are not normally shared in “polite” society.
Well before and after World War II, generations of young Americans have trooped off to war. After all of those conflicts, the books and stories have almost always been those of heroic effort, patriotism, and flag-waving. Even first-person accounts, while a bit edgier, were still lacking.
But, speaking from personal experience, I know that the “typical” American spends a good portion of his time more involved in whoring and drinking than in drilling and shooting. There’s also plenty of theft, racial incidents, barroom brawls, and maybe even a time or two when your unit is kicked out of a country after being a bit more rambunctious than even the most wide-open and free-spirited city allows.
Decades later when those young Americans, now middle-aged, gather together, those private, wild, and embarrassing moments come back in recollections between brothers in arms.
Being able to capture and share those captivating moments, Mark Bando has done the world a great favor. Bando is the first (and probably only) author to ever share the stories of what really happens when a varied mixture of young, energetic, and vigorous American men ship off to war.
Of all of Mark’s books, Avenging Eagles is the best written and least visual, and is certainly a book that merits a place on just about anyone’s bookshelf, regardless of their interest.
While I know a bit about the 101st Airborne, I recognize my knowledge is minimal compared to many others. But I was struck by the transparency of at least one supposed anonymous recount, that of Captain Ronald Speirs.
Just knowing the whole truth and nothing but the truth about much of the fiction surrounding Speirs' WW II actions made the book purchase worth it.
The tales, from training through just before Holland, were captivating and engrossing, humorous and heart-rending.
My biggest disappointment and joy was thinking to myself, as I was about ¾ of the way through the book, “how in world is Mark going to cover Market Garden, Bastogne, and everything else, in 25 pages?!”
My disappointment was the book ended way too soon, and my joy was in knowing there would be a Volume II, covering Market Garden and beyond.
How anyone can read your book and NOT laugh out loud, I have no idea! So many of the stories are hysterical. My latest favorite is the potato salad story. I could absolutely picture the scene. So funny! And LOVED the condom story about needing to go "one more time."
Every night after reading, I recap my favorite tales to my husband. He hasn't even read it himself and he's been laughing out loud, if that tells you anything about how great the stories are, as well as how well you succeeded in conveying them.
If you tried to please everyone who ever read your book, then I'd say you'd probably end up with a pretty boring piece of work. As far as I'm concerned, YOU know the good intentions you had behind your compilation, how extensively you've researched and interviewed, how sensitive you've been about protecting identities when needed, and, most importantly, how much the truth, both good and bad, honor history and the heroes attached to it.
So BRAVO from me and the majority of your readers!
-KRISTINA McMORRIS WW2 novelist
Review from Kevin S.
I wanted to let you know that I finished reading your book Avenging Eagles. It is a fantastic book! My only regret is that I did not immediately start reading it the day it arrived in the mail. As it stands, I found myself staying up until the wee hours of the morning unable to put the book down.
I want to commend your masterful ability to tell a great story. While reading the book, many times I felt like I was sitting there in the barracks listening to the vets tell their stories firsthand. In my opinion, that is what makes a book truly great. I must admit that I envy the fact that you’ve been able to spend time with these great men and hear them talk about all of their wartime experiences: the good, the bad and the ugly. I am just glad that you have decided to put pen to paper and share these gems with the rest of us.
I was also excited to read that you are planning on writing Avenging Eagles Volume Two. I most definitely want one of the first copies of it when you are finished!
Congratulations on a superb book. My words simply cannot do it justice. I highly recommend it to anyone yearning to know more about the greatest generation and their experiences in WWII.
Notice (Spring, 2014), Avenging Eagles is SOLD OUT & OUT of PRINT-
Hopefully a contract will be made soon with an American publishing house, to reprint the book, along with the
addition of later war stories, for Volume II.
101st Airborne-The Screaming Eagles at Normandy-
Now Available in Paperback Edition
Update, September, 2012: This title was re-published in soft cover (trade paperback) in the spring of 2011.
This book has become a standard reference on the subject and is in its seventh printing. It has now sold over 30,000
copies and is still selling.
Zenith Books (catalog sales), and Amazon.com are the best sources.
This book was my first hardcover, 10x10", with glossy pages and a dust jacket, and the new Zenith paperback
edition costs under $30- but can be purchased for much less at Amazon.com.
In it, you will find never-before-seen color photos of 502 men taken IN NORMANDY in 1944. These photos are so rare, they
shouldn't even exist. There are also some great B&W shots made from the original negatives of the 506th photographer,
fabulous in detail, which are also unknown to the public. There are about 225 total photos in the book, of which 200 have
never been published before. Info acquired in my annual trips to Normandy, plus the journals of 502 S-1 Hugh Roberts, and
the after-action questionnaires provided by Bill Kennedy (1/506th)have been integrated into the text. Add to this a lot of untold stories, including the experiences of
half a dozen paratroopers describing how they killed the enemy for the first time, and you'll begin to understand why I had
to reprise the subject of my first book. This material is ALL DIFFERENT from what I used in my first book,
'The 101st Airborne at Normandy', currently out of print and unavailable.
Some early comments regarding my 4th book:
"I am still in awe of your ability to recreate the
WW2 history of the 101st Airborne, in a manner far superior to that of other authors."
-Lt Tom Kennedy, G/506th veteran
"Great, great book. I spend many hours looking, reading, dreaming with this masterpiece. It is most excellent. No words
come to mind when I want to express what I feel when I open this book. It is a terrific book, and I like it all the way.
We fans of your work want to see more."
-Michel Detrez, Airborne collector and author of many important books
on the WW2 U.S. Airborne.
Breakout at Normandy
THIS OUT OF PRINT BOOK WILL BE AVAILABLE ONCE AGAIN, in mid-2013
September, 2012-This is one of my most popular titles ever but it went OOP in 2003. MBI did only one printing of 6,000
copies and then it was gone. OOP copies have become quite valuable on the used book market. However, I signed a contract
with Heimdal Press in Bayeux, France to do a new edition of this book in 2013. The plan is to do both a French
and an English language edition. The English version will be marketed in the states via the mail order catalogue of
Critics pointed-out only one main fault with the original edition: the total absence of MAPS.
That resulted from a decision of my then-editor. However, the new Heimdal edition will contain half a dozen maps of
the 2nd AD Breakthrough areas, as well as twenty 'new' vintage photos, some of which are Great, previously unknown
shots, taken both by the Signal Corps and by indivdual soldiers of the 2nd AD.
Norris Perkins a former officer in Company 'H', 66th Armored regiment wrote in the Hell On Wheels veterans'
Mark Bando sent me a copy of his masterful book "Breakout at Normandy-The 2nd Armored Division
in the Land of the Dead' I can hardly sleep since reading it. I am back in the war and Bando has become one of us.
His penetrating and perceptive research and anaylses and graphic descriptions immerse you in the most violent, terrifying
and brutal one week of all 2nd AD actions in the war. Fully placed in historical, political and geographic perspective,
his chronicle has not shied away from controversial events. His sharp focus has named and thrown into relief scores of
participants. This is the last word of the greatest valor and fulfillment of Hell On Wheels, a fine companion piece to
all other histories of the 2nd AD. I'm happy to see on the cover two great heroes, one German and one American."
Webmaster's 7th book Now Out of PRINT
Update: February, 2012
Well, I was and am really proud of my 7th book '101st Airborne-The Screaming Eagles in WWII'. However,
the title did not sell as well as might be expected, because it was buried by the numerous Band of Brothers follow-up books.
It seems the reading public is only interested in learning more and more about ONE COMPANY, which comprised about
2% of the WWII 101st Airborne Division.
My agent has discussed plans with another publisher for bringing this title
back into print in some future year, but nothing definite at this time.
If you can get a copy of the book, used,
at a reasonable price (under $50-), it would be a good investment to grab a copy.
Eagle Patch Variants Guidebook:
Update: September, 2012, Book Sold Out and no longer available
As of now, I've run-out of this title and until/unless I get more from my supplier, it will not be available until
further notice. Check back here occasionally and perhaps some day it will be available again-Thanks MB
This is a privately-produced full color guide to eagle patch variants of WW2. It totals 24 pages, and measures about
5.5 x 8". Much of the info and photos are the same as those illustrated on this website in the Eagle Patch Corner
section, however many additional variants are depicted. In all, some 75 different WW2 vintage patches, representing
Types and sub-variants are depicted in 50 color illustrations and 12 B&W photos. This is a handy little guide and has
only been produced in small numbers.
TT Website Book
Trigger Time, the book is a 8.5x11" paperbound book containing the best materials from this website,
printed in hardcopy Black & White. The newer edition contains a few new stories and an amendment to the info on eagle
Update: April, 2010-Apologies, this title is once again out of print and unavailable.
Also Available from the Webmaster
The pen and ink drawings depicted above, were executed by
the webmaster, with India Ink, by using dots made with a crowquill pen. I first sketched these in pencil, from photos of
Michael Wittmann one of the highest scoring tank aces in history, who was killed in a battle with British armor in August of
1944 above Falaise, and also the ruthless Waffen SS LTC Jochen Peiper of Malmedy infamy.
Then I went over the entire
sketches with my dot technique, a method I learned at my trade school, Cass Tech. Very pedantic and old fashioned, and it
took many hours to execute the thousands of individual dots.
By popular demand, I've had prints made, numbered and
signed, measuring about 8 x 11", and suitable for framing. These excellent copies contain every dot and detail of the
originals, and are the actual size.
Prints are available for sale-make inquiries to the webmaster at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Burgett's Classics
Since the release of 'Currahee' in 1967, Donald R. Burgett has been the unchallenged master of first-person WW2 combat reporting. 'Currahee', describing Don's experiences as a 19 year old paratrooper in the Normandy Invasion, was the only book on D-Day ever endorsed by Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1999, Presidio Press re printed 'Currahee' for the first time in many years. They also released three new books by Don. 'The Road to Arnhem' describes the Market Garden campaign in the fall of 1944. 'Seven Roads to Hell' gives a firsthand account of the defense of Bastogne against impossible odds. 'Currahee', and 'Seven Roads'. as well as Don's books on Holland ('The Road to Arnhem'), and Germany ('Beyond The Rhine'), are now all available in mass market paperback editions, from Dell.
Don's books have been compared in writing style to Hemingway's. They are direct and straight from the shoulder, unvarnished with fancy prose or unnecessary verbiage. These books simply tell in graphic detail what it was like to be there, immersed in the terror and the killing. They will hit you like a near miss from an 88 shell. Highly recommended. Available at all major book retailers and from
I took the color photo in 1970, when I first met Donald R. Burgett. He was 45 years old, and was holding the famous nickel-plated .45 auto pistol he described in his first book,
'Currahee.' Everyone in Don's squad had a place in line to inherit the gun if Don got killed, but he fooled them! He still has the gun. The photo at right shows Don at the age of 74 and was taken in 1999, upon publication of his 2nd and 3rd books and the revival of 'Currahee'. Don's fourth book 'Beyond the Rhine', was released in August of 2001. I've now read it and found that it sheds much interesting light on events in Alsace, the Ruhr Pocket, Landsberg, Berchtesgaden and Austria as the ETO war drew to a close. This is a must for Don's fans, to complete the story related in his previous books on WW2.
Pictured above are (l)The dust jacket of
the 1st edition of Currahee, published by Houghton-Mifflin in 1967. (r)The famous paperback edition, which is how
thousands of fans first read it.
Long Awaited Company History of F/506th, by Terry Poyser
As I write this, in late January, 2014, Terry's book is due to be released in February. This book is the result of many interviews and over a decade of research by Mr Poyser. He has also combined the findings of historian Bill Brown, who began researching this company decades ago. Trigger Time is proud to endorse and recommend this work, which can be ordered online, from Amazon.com or directly from the publisher, Casemate Books.
Here is some promotional info from the publisher:
Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division has become one of the most famous small units in U.S. history, thanks to Stephen Ambrose’s superb book Band of Brothers, followed by portrayals in film. However, to date little has been heard of Fox Company of that same regiment—the men who fought alongside Easy Company through every step of the war in Europe, and who had their own stories to tell.
Notably this book, over a decade in the making, came about for different reasons than the fame of the “Band of Brothers.” Bill Brown, a WWII vet himself, had decided to research the fate of a childhood friend who had served in Fox Company. Along the way he met Terry Poyser, who was on a similar mission to research the combat death of a Fox Company man from his hometown. Together, the two authors proceeded to locate and interview every surviving Fox Company vet they could find. The result was a wealth of fascinating firsthand accounts of WWII combat as well as new perspectives on Dick Winters and others of the “Band,” who had since become famous.
Told primarily through the words of participants, Fighting Fox Company takes the reader through some of the most horrific close-in fighting of the war, beginning with the chaotic nocturnal paratrooper drop on D-Day. After fighting through Normandy the drop into Holland saw prolonged ferocious combat, and even more casualties; and then during the Battle of the Bulge, Fox Company took its place in line at Bastogne during one of the most heroic against-all-odds stands in U.S. history.
As always in combat, each man’s experience is different, and the nature of the German enemy is seen here in its equally various aspects. From ruthless SS fighters to meek Volkssturm to simply expert modern fighters, the Screaming Eagles encountered the full gamut of the Wehrmacht. The work is also accompanied by rare photos and useful appendices, including rosters and lists of casualties, to give the full look at Fox Company which has long been overdue.
New Novel About Poignant Uncertainty of Romance in Wartime
The author of this book sent me the manuscript to prrofread for
historical accuracy before the book was published. She was inspired to write it after discovering a box of love
letters exchanged by her Grandparents during WWII.
I found the story to be well presented and rather riveting,as the plot unfolds and the reader must continue on
to the end, to discover how it turns-out.
This is a story about mixed signals, seemingly missed opportunities,
and an example of how things aren't always as they appear to be. If only we could be clairvoyant and could know the
true thoughts of that mysterious and special somebody of the opposite sex. The author is a young woman, who reveals a
lot about the thought processes and inner workings of the feminine heart.
The webmaster seldoms recommends novels but
this one is worth reading and is the only one I have said that about on this site except for Varner's book, 'The Great Hour
Struck'. If you're looking for an absorbing read to get lost-in, this book fills the bill.
This book by Kristina McMorris is published by Kensington Books, ISBN 978-0-7582-4684-4
Retail price is $15-. Amazon.com has a great deal on the paperback edition of 'Letters From Home' for $8.99-
'The Great Hour Struck'-A Valuable Novel of Paratroopers in
Normandy-By Gary Varner
The many years of research spent by author Gary Varner, in walking the
former battlefields near Carentan and exploring other locations in England, enabled him to combine real historical
knowledge with his superior fiction writing ability, to produce a highly readable historical novel. Like most
who frequent this website, the webmaster devotes little or none of his finite availabe reading time to fiction.
However, this eloquent and captivating bit of story-telling was worth the read. So I can suggest it to anyone
who is interested in D-day. The central character is a fictional lieutenant in Able Co. 501 PIR, stationed at
Lambourne, England before the great Invasion. Although highly-educated, he is agnostic, but he finds his earthly
salvation in the arms of a spirited English schoolteacher and (hopefully) also an ephiphany with his creator, during
apocalyptic combat in France. This story follows the mis-dropped lieutenant right into combat, from St Georges de
Bohon to Bloody Gulch. The parachute and combat scenes are vivid and graphic and this story will put you
in the action in a surprisingly effective manner.
I would never attempt to write historical fiction on this
subject, even after 40 years of interviewing D-day veterans. However, I will state that I certainly could not do
as well as Mr Varner has, in creating a rich story of fiction in this historical context. I might even venture to say
that it's doubtful that any other fiction writer will be able to surpass the quality of this book in a similar project.
For ordering info, go to Gary's website, shown in the web address above.
EXCELLENT AIRBORNE/TROOP CARRIER BOOK
June 2004: A book that was 20 years in the making. Jerome McLaughlin's uncle was a navigator on a C-47 that was shot, down enroute to DZ 'C' on D-day.
This plane was carrying members of G/501 PIR. The plane flying beside it was also shot down, with total loss of life. This book details the human stories behind the victims, both Air Corps and Airborne, as a result of Jerry's long personal investigation into the events leading-up to, and following his uncle's death. A true evocation of the tragedy and human loss of war.
You've never read a WW2 book quite like this one-highly recommended.
You can mail order a copy from Jerry, for $25-per copy, postpaid.
For ordering info, email Jerry at: