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Beyond Valor

World War II's Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat

About The Book

The thrilling story of the Airborne and Ranger troops that saw the worst of WWII action—told for the first time in the voices of the soldiers themselves.

From the first parachute drops in North Africa to the final battles in Germany, U.S. Ranger and Airborne troops saw the worst action of World War II. In Beyond Valor, Patrick O'Donnell, a pioneer of internet-based “oral history” who has collected the first-person stories of hundreds of veterans on his online oral history project, re-creates the frontline experience in stunning detail, weaving together more than 650 “e-histories” and interviews into a seamless narrative.

In recollections filled with pain, poignancy, and pride, veterans chronicle the destruction of entire battalions, speak of their own personal scars, and pay tribute to their fallen colleagues. Beyond Valor brings to light the hidden horrors and uncelebrated heroics of a war fought by a now-vanishing generation and preserves them for all future generations.

About The Author


Bestselling author Patrick K. O’Donnell is a special operations historian who has written numeroous books, including, The IndispensablesFirst SEALs; Beyond ValorInto the Rising SunOperatives, Spies, and SaboteursThe Brenner AssignmentThey Dared ReturnWe Were One (selected for the Marine Commandant’s Professional Reading List); Give Me Tomorrow; and Dog Company. The author is the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious William E. Colby Award and the OSS Society’s John Waller Award. He has provided historical consultation for DreamWorks’s award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers and for documentaries produced by the BBC, the History Channel, and Fox News. He served as a combat historian in a Marine rifle platoon during the Battle of Fallujah and is in demand as an expert speaker on WWII espionage, special operations, and counterinsurgency on the modern battlefield. Over the past twenty years, O’Donnell has interviewed more than 4,000 veterans who fought in America’s wars from WWI to Afghanistan and specializes in “unearthing untold true stories that read like novels.” Visit him online at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Free Press (August 30, 2001)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743213295

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Raves and Reviews

Carlo d'Este author of Patton: A Genius for War What Steven Spielberg accomplished visually for the cinema in Saving Private Ryan, Patrick O'Donnell has accomplished through the printed word.

General Henry H. Shelton former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff An extraordinary book. The unselfish actions of these incredible men will serve to inspire future generations of Americans whenever our nation's security is threatened. Their sacrifices and accomplishments will live through the ages.

Douglas Brinkley director of the Eisenhower Center and professor of history at the University of New Orleans The pioneering oral historian Patrick K. O'Donnell has done a wonderful job of making the experiences of America's elite troops come alive again.

USA Today Captures what the average soldier went through during combat.

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