ANGELS AGAINST THE SUN
A WWII Saga of Grunts, Grit, and Brotherhood
The 11th Airborne—nicknamed ‘The Angels’— were trained to enter combat via airdrop: by parachutes and engineless gliders. They were one of five such divisions created by the US Army during the war and the only one sent to the Pacific theater. There they were pitted against two merciless foes: the Imperial Japanese Army and the combined forces of monsoons, swamps, insects, mud, privation and disease. The Angels’ combat operations were some of the most dramatic of the war, ranging from miserable jungle battles to the gritty urban combat required to push the Japanese out of Manila, the Philippine’s capital city of almost a million inhabitants.
Based on exhaustive archival research, including interviews, letters, and diaries, Angels Against the Sun takes readers on a soldier’s journey from the routine of stateside training to the diversions of football, boxing and distilling moonshine before descending into the hardships and tragedies of war. Written in an engaging, character-driven, narrative-style, the book provides readers with the human perspective of little-known aspects of the war in the Pacific.
Table of Contents (Jump to Topic)
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
These authors were kind enough to offer their reviews of the book.
These are just a few of the 11th Airborne Division troopers in Angels Against the Sun.
PHOTOS OF THE 11TH AIRBORNE'S PACIFIC CAMPAIGN
AUTHOR Q & A
Question: What inspired you to write the book?
My first book recounted the story of the 17th Airborne Division so it seemed natural that for my second effort I should chronicle another of the lesser-known airborne units. Additionally, I found it a personal challenge to switch from the European theater to the Pacific. So, it was the combined appeal of shedding light on an overlooked Army unit in a theater typically associated with the Marine Corps that motivated me.
Coincidently, the US Army recently reactivated the 11th Airborne Division in Alaska, which not only validates the continued necessity of the airborne capability, but also provides a continuation of the historic legacy started in early 1943.
Question: Could you tell us where the book picks up and what is covered?
James: The book is largely chronological, starting with the formation of the division in 1943. Readers follow the troopers through their training, which includes runs up the fabled Mount Currahee, made famous by the 101st’s Band of Brothers. After several delays, the Angels are sent to New Guinea and then to the Philippines for their first combat. Their campaign ranged from the Leyte jungles, to Manila’s urban sprawl, to Luzon’s mountains and finally to Japan where the Angels landed in the vanguard of the occupation—several days before the formal surrender, as a matter of fact.