The General and His Daughter

  The Wartime Letters of General James M. Gavin to His Daughter Barbara

   By Barbara Gavin Fauntleroy

   Commentary and Notes by Starlyn Jorgensen

    Edited by Gayle Wurst




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     James Maurice Gavin left for war in April 1943 as a colonel commanding the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division--America's first airborne division and the first to fight in WWII.  In 1944, "Slim Jim" Gavin, as he was known to the troops, at the age of thirty-seven became the 82nd's commanding general--the youngest Army officer to become a major general since the Civil War.  At war's end, this soldier's soldier had become one of our greatest generals--and the 82nd's most decorated General officer.


Now James Gavin's letters home to his nine-year-old daughter Barbara provide a revealing portrait of the American experience in WW II through the eyes of one of its dynamic officers.  Written from ship decks, foxholes and field tents--often just before or after a dangerous jump--they capture the day-to-day realities of combat and Gavin's personal reactions to the war he helped to win.  They provide an invaluable self-portrait of a great general, and a great American in war and peace.


"General Jim Gavin was one of the foremost combat commanders of World War II.  He was also the father of a young girl who was only nine years old when he left home, and he stayed connected to her through these letters.  They are touching and highly personal, even as they give us a remarkable view of some of the century's most momentous events.  Writing from foxholes and airplanes, muddy tents and castles, he was a teacher, historian, strategist, and loving father.  In this volume--a gift for historians and general readers--Barbara Gavin Fauntleroy is an articulate and sensitive guide to the personal life of a great warrior who also happened to be her Dad."

---Ed Ruggero, author of Combat Jump: The Young Men Who Led The Assault Into Fortress Europe, July 1943 and The First Men In: U.S. Paratroopers and the Fight to Save D-Day