';Compelling and readable . . . I had serious trouble putting this book down.'John C. McManus, author of Fire and Fortitude and The Dead and Those About to Die The epic story of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, whose elite soldiers broke the last line of German defenses in Italy's mountains in 1945, spearheadingthe Allied advance to the Alps and final victory. At the start of World War II, the US Army had two cavalry divisionsand no mountain troops.The German Wehrmacht, in contrast, had many well-trained and battle-hardened mountain divisions, some of whom by 1943 blocked the Allied advance in the Italian campaign. Starting from scratch, the US Army developed a unique military fighting force, the 10th Mountain Division, drawn from the ranks of civilian skiers, mountaineers, and others with outdoor experience. The resulting mix of Ivy League students, park rangers, Olympic skiers, and European refugees formed the first specialized alpine fighting force in US history. By the time itdeployed to Italy at the beginning of 1945, this ragtag grouphad coalesced into a tight-knit unit. In the months that followed, at a terrible cost, they spearheaded the Allied drive in Italy to final victory. Ranging from the ski slopes of Coloradoto the towering cliffs of the Italian Alps, The Winter Armyis a saga of an unlikely band of soldiers forged in the heat of combat into a brotherhood whose legacy lives on in US mountain fighters to this day.
MAURICE ISSERMAN, PhD, is the Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History at Hamilton College. His prize-winning books include Fallen Giants, which won the prestigious Banff Mountain Book Festival prize for best mountaineering history.