The Sword of St. Michael: The 82nd Airborne Division in World War II (Hardcover)

The 82nd Airborne Division in World War II

By Guy Lofaro

Da Capo Press, 9780306820236, 746pp.

Publication Date: August 30, 2011



The 82nd Airborne Division spent more time in combat than any other American airborne unit of World War II, and its fierce battlefield tenacity earned it the reputation of one of the finest divisions in the world. Yet no comprehensive history of the 82nd during World War II exists today. The Sword of St. Michaelcorrects this significant gap in the literature, offering a lively narrative and thoroughly researched history of the famous division.

Author Guy LoFaro, himself a distinguished officer of the division, interweaves the voices of soldiers at both ends of the chain of command, from Eisenhower to the lowest private. Making extensive use of primary sources, LoFaro offers a work of insightful analysis, situating the division's exploits in a strategic and operational context.

About the Author

Guy LoFaro is an 82nd Airborne Division combat veteran and former West Point history professor. He lives in Atlanta.

Praise For The Sword of St. Michael: The 82nd Airborne Division in World War II

Kirkus Reviews, September 2011
“A comprehensive history of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II, from an officer of that famed unit…A tour de force for military historians and WWII buffs, and a lesson on the leadership skills required to effectively conceive and coordinate a mission.”

Booklist Online, 9/27/11
“An established military historian proffers a massive volume on the 82d Airborne Division in WWII…This tome is so massive that it holds material on everything from grand strategy to developments in tactics and equipment to the colorful personalities in which the airborne troops abounded. Military specialists are not the only ones likely to find this book absorbing and valuable.”

Asbury Park Press, 10/23/11
“[A] scholarly and really interesting account…Talk about detailed! The author…seems to know his stuff, and then some.” 

Tucson Citizen, 11/6/11
“This book brings into sharp focus the struggles and triumphs of WWII’s most famous fighters.”

Roanoke Times, 11/13/11“LoFaro provides detailed accounts of the movements of the division and how it secured victory for the Allies…His skill is putting the reader in the camps, in the battlefield, in the middle of the action and putting all that into the political context in which the war was waged and won. LoFaro’s story will re-kindle pride in those of us who knew America’s Greatest Generation.”

Internet Review of Books, 11/21/11
The Sword of Saint Michael is not the story of the 82nd airborne division. At 358,000 words, it is the encyclopedia of this amazing division…This book may contain more than you want to know about this military group, amazing though it is in every respect…The author uses official records, letters, journals and testimonies of the soldiers to weave a complex tale of every engagement large and small.”

WWII History, Fall 2011
“The definitive account of the unit’s history…LoFaro has really done his homework…A really masterful job and a real tribute to those ’devils in baggy pants’ that gave the 82nd Airborne Division its much deserved reputation as a premier fighting unit in World War II.”

Army magazine, January 2012
“The definitive combat history of the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II.”

Journal of Military History, January 2012
“LoFaro makes his own attempt at a complete division history and succeeds mightily…[His] combination of soldierly and scholarly credentials makes him the perfect person to take on such a daunting task…[A] fine book…His research is, quite simply, first rate…It will long endure as perhaps our best example of a quality unit history.”

Collected Miscellany, 3/6/12
“Engaging and incredibly well-written…[LoFaro’s] combination of the detailed narrative of the small unit combat with the Division’s overall fight is wonderful.”

War, Literature and the Arts“A comprehensive history of the 82nd Airborne Division…A compelling and fascinating study in what constitutes success in combat…[LoFaro’s] style is both academically rigorous and personally engaging. While troop movements and engagements are scrupulously recorded, LoFaro includes individuals’ reminiscences in his characteristically unsentimental and honest way.”
On Point: The Journal of Army History,
Fall 2012

“Highly readable…The narrative engages the reader and places one in the time and place of some of the most desperate battles of World War II. Furthermore, it is a thoroughly researched history…A work of insightful analysis…An outstanding account of men during the strain of battle.”