Aaron Bank and the Early Days of US Army Special Forces

  • by Darren Sapp
  • Narrated by Dean Wagner
  • 2 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Aaron Bank was an OSS Jedburgh in World War II and the subject of William Donovon's quote, "Tell Bank to get Hitler." He'd later become the inaugural commander of the 10th Special Forces Group, earning the moniker Father of the Green Berets. The development and use of unconventional warfare in WWII created a desire to develop permanent units for future wars.
Bank parachuted with three others behind enemy lines in France to work with the French Resistance in harassing the Germans retreat from Normandy. He followed that action by recruiting former Wehrmacht soldiers with anti-Nazi sympathies to kidnap Hitler and other high-ranking officers in the Alpine redoubt. Although that mission was called off, he gained more experience with a POW rescue mission in Indochina, even spending time with Ho Chi Minh.
These World War II experiences, followed by service in Korea, shaped Bank's view of the need to make an OSS-type force permanent in the United States Army. Under the leadership of Brigadier General Robert McClure, Bank joined Russell Volckmann and Wendell Fertig - veterans of guerrilla warfare in the Philippines - to play an integral role in the creation of the US Army Special Forces.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Special Forces History Lesson

Where does Aaron Bank and the Early Days of US Army Special Forces rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Upper 50%


What did you like best about this story?

The history about how special forces was developed.


What does Dean Wagner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A nice steady delivery that helped bring the story to life.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Special Forces, Special People


Any additional comments?

“I was provided this free review copy audiobook by the author or narrator." This review is for the audio copy of Aaron Bank and the Early Days of US Army Special Forces by Darren Sapp and narrated by Dean Wagner.
This book was an interesting history lesson. I didn’t know any of the background about how Special Forces came to be and this book explained it in a way that was easy to listen to and very informative.
This is the second book by Darren Sapp that I have listened to and was quite satisfied with it. I recommend this author and this narrator.

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- Cycletrash

A short and consice look into Special Forces

Although the title may lead one to expect this to be a biography of Aaron Bank, the book is properly listed under the genre of history. Darren Sapp has put out a well researched work that sheds a tremendous amount of insight as to how a current day 'special forces' have come to be, and he does this in a brief 2.5 hour listen.

Non-conventional warfare has been around throughout all of history as men have always sought to devise new and effective means by which to defeat their enemies. However, this book focuses primarily on how the special forces developed during WWII and shortly there after. Sapp brings up the challenges these types of warfare (e.g. guerilla, non-conventional, psychological, special, etc.) faced. Some of these challenges included resistance from traditional military types who viewed special forces as having a lack of discipline and leadership; to the point of questioning their capabilities and effectiveness. Others were the result of having to train and entrust indigenous fighters in order to infiltrate varying cultures, as well as the length of time invested into each mission in order to be effective. The irony in these is that, looking back, we have come to realize just how dedicated these men are, the amount of leadership they exude, and the overall success rate our Special Forces have demonstrated.

Although I had a decent grasp on the history behind the special forces, this work brought it to an entirely different level. For example, the author tells of the personal meetings between Bank and Ho Chi Minh as WWII was coming to an end and how the Japanese surrender would impact Indochina. Had Bank been listen to at the time, perhaps 58,000 American lives could have been spared if we had not abandoned Vietnam to the communists as Ho Chi Minh was not a communist at the time. The added insight, through the details such as this, found only through in-depth research, made the listen well worth the time.

Needless to say, the value and importance of our Special Forces in today's world are a result of many years of service and dedication of men such as Aaron Bank, Robert McClure, and numerous other proponents. This work (which Sapp refers to as a 'thesis') speaks directly to those years of dedication and I would highly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. In addition, the narration by Dean Wagner makes for a steady,smooth, and easy listen. Well done all around!

Finally, I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review and I hope it proves helpful to those considering purchasing this book.
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- Bill Beaulac

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-18-2017
  • Publisher: Darren Sapp