The Untold Story of World War II’s Largest Airborne Invasion and The Final Push into Nazi Germany

Four Hours of Fury’s epic narrative follows the American 17th Airborne Division as they survive a bloody tune-up in the Battle of the Bulge and then prepare for Operation Varsity, an airdrop that rivaled Normandy’s in scale and complexity.  Indeed, the planning was so massive that the element of surprise was lost—which meant that thousands of the Third Reich’s soldiers were ready and waiting for the Allied paratroopers and glider riders when they flew over the Rhine River for their drop.

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Operation VARSITY

To learn more about Four Hours of Fury, watch this short video that provides an overview of the book’s narrative and the epic events that took place on March 24, 1945 when the Allies crossed the Rhine River.


1945 News Reel

This short video provides an overview of the book’s narrative and the epic events that took place on March 24, 1945.


These authors were kind enough to offer their reviews of the book.


These are just a few of the heroes of Operation VARSITY featured in Four Hours of Fury.


Question: What inspired you to write the book?

James: After leaving the military in 1999 and being subsequently inspired by the dearth of public information about Operation Varsity, I started a multi-year quest to document the experiences of the 17th Airborne Division. I spent the next decade interviewing dozens of Varsity veterans and scouring for period documents in the US National Archives, the Army Historical Institute, the Silent Wings Glider Pilot museum, the National Archives of the United Kingdom, and the Imperial War Museum.

What I gained from all that research was the material to chronicle the operation from the most compelling perspective, that of the average Joe: the guy crammed into the back of a C-47 or throwing up in the bouncing cargo hold of a canvas-covered glider. These were the guys that ultimately brought the Third Reich to its knees, and all too often paid the price with their lives. It’s their story I wanted to tell.

Question: Could you tell us where the book picks up and what is covered?

James: Four Hours of Fury begins with the American 17th Airborne Division withdrawing from combat in Belgium after several weeks of heavy fighting. They had their baptism of fire in the Battle of the Bulge and were pulled back to rest camps in France to recover and integrate 4,000 new men to make up for their casualties. In the spring of 1945, the Allies were closing in on Germany, with the last great obstacle being the 400 yard-wide Rhine River. The Americans had crossed it on the fly at Remagen, but the main Allied effort was to be led by the British Field Marshal Montgomery near Wesel.

The book’s narrative recounts the 17th Airborne troopers’ experiences as they trained and prepared for their drop into Germany—the largest single-day airborne operation of the war. Their preparations are juxtaposed against those of the Germans, who through their reconnaissance efforts were aware the Allies would use paratroopers and glider infantry as part of their assault crossing. Through effective radio propaganda, the Germans made it known to the Allies that they were expecting them.