JAMES M. FENELON
WRITER AND MILITARY HISTORIAN
James Fenelon is the paratrooper-turned-author of Four Hours of Fury, the untold story of Operation Varsity, the American 17th Airborne Division’s combat jump over the Rhine River in March 1945. Fenelon’s motivation to write about this massive airdrop originated with his love of history and his time in the military. He served for over a decade and is a graduate of the US Army’s Airborne, Jumpmaster and Pathfinder schools.
As an author Fenelon leverages the perspective he gained during his service to provide readers with absorbing accounts of average GIs swept up by events beyond their control. His desire to give readers a “boots on the ground” view of events is reflected in his narrative-driven writing style.
Fenelon’s avid interest and dedication to the study of WWII combat has taken him to numerous battlefields and historically-related sites, including those in Southern France, Italy, Britain, Holland, Belgium, Egypt, Germany and Crete. Additionally he has made multiple trips to Normandy, including parachuting out of a C-47 near Ranville as part of D-Day’s 60th anniversary commemoration ceremony.
Fenelon is a regular contributor to World War II magazine and has been previously published in FlyPast, Britain’s largest selling aviation magazine. Leveraging his expertise in military history, he has consulted as a technical advisor for video games, screenplays and documentaries.
Fenelon first learned of Operation VARSITY in 1988 when he was an eighteen year-old private going through the US Army’s Airborne school at Fort Benning, Georgia. One weekend he went to the Infantry Museum and saw a plaque listing US combat jumps in Europe during World War II. Listed last was the 17th Airborne Division’s drop across the Rhine. Foolishly assuming he’d learned everything he needed to know about WWII in his high school history class, Fenelon was surprised he’d never heard of Operation VARSITY. Several years later he got serious about studying VARSITY and learning more about the troopers of the 17th Airborne Division. The result of his effort, Four Hours of Fury, is based on over a decade of research and interviews.
An alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, he and his wife live in the Texas Hill Country. Four Hours of Fury is his first book.