The Jedburghs

  • by Will Irwin
  • Narrated by Patrick Lawlor
  • 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The first full history of the pioneering Special Forces units of World War II, dropped behind German lines into France to assist with the D-Day landings, told by a former U.S. Special Forces colonel with unique access to surviving veterans. The story of the Special Forces in World War II has never fully been told before. Information about them began to be declassified only in the 1980s. Known as the Jedburghs, these Special Forces were selected from members of the British, American, and Free French armies to be dropped in teams of three deep behind German lines. There, in preparation for D-Day, they carried out what we now know as unconventional warfare: supporting the French Resistance in guerrilla attacks, supply-route disruption, and the harassment and obstruction of German reinforcements. Always, they operated against extraordinary odds. They had to be prepared to survive pitched battles with German troops and Gestapo manhunts for weeks and months while awaiting the arrival of Allied ground forces. They were, in short, heroes. The Jedburghs finally tell their story and offer 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.


What the Critics Say

"Irwin's detailed retelling of these early covert operations and his ability to place these relatively small operations in the context of the Allied campaign will please military history readers." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Really Enjoyed It

It might be two folksy for some military history buffs, but I really liked this book. While it covered your basic military history - how people trained, what they did, etc. - I really liked that you got the background of the people involved. This person was smart, but couldn't afford college because his father was sick... This person was in law school from a well-to-do family... AND at the end of the book, he gives the further story of the people. This guy was married to ... on ..., 1946 had three boys and two girls and was a diplomat, etc. Really made the people live!
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- Alex

good history; not so good reader

The history was fascinating, and I learned alot, in spite of a reader who wasn't very familiar (in my opinion) with the material ... his sense of timing and punctuation via vocal inflection was, and I don't mean to be unkind, atrocious, nearly to the point of keeping me from finishing the book. It was only because of the storyline that I was able to continue to the end.

In short, I recommend the author and the history; I will avoid the reader in the future.
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- andrew

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-20-2005
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio