Four Hours of Fury

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 May 2019

Member Reviews

Really good book and was easy to read. I liked the details the author gave and all the research he did.
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James Fenelon’s 'Four Hours of Fury' ranks among the best of WWII novels. The book covers Operation Varsity, the airborne invasion of Germany during the final months of the war. Fenelon describes a vivid battle  by describing the process of planning the invasion and conflicts among the commanding Allied generals, as well as the issues facing the German leaders. As the operation unfolds, Fenelon includes many gripping, first-hand accounts from the paratroopers, the ‘glider riders’ and the aircrew members that participated in the operation. These accounts gave me a greater understanding and gratitude for the courage and sacrifices made by our servicemembers during this war. An excellent, well-written account - highly recommended.
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I consider myself well read about WWII.  However, I had not heard of Operation Varsity that took place on March 24, 1945,  This book tells the story of the brave men of the  U.S. 17th Airborne and the British 6th Airborne and the first major push into Nazi territory.  I loved this book and I will be saying a special prayer of thanks to these brave men when I go to bed tonight.
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I love good military history, and so when I saw this title I requested and received a review copy, thanks to Net Galley and Scribner. It’s for sale now, but I can’t recommend it to you. 

One of the first things I do when I read a new author in this genre is to check notes and sources.  A first rate military historian will have multiple sources for each fact cited, and a reasonably good one will have a variety of sources, primary sources being most desirable. 

Fenelon doesn’t do this. Much of his information hangs on a single source, and, often they are not well integrated. This is the first time I have seen military history published by a major house, that uses Wikipedia as a source. All of the history teachers I know send their students back to do a rewrite if they hinge their citations on Wiki, and if teenagers aren’t allowed to do it, I cannot think why Scribner permitted it. 

What drew me to the book is the paratroopers. There seems to be a spate of these coming out right now, and I find it fascinating subject material. There’s also a trend, of which this book is also an example, of embracing the brave German troops against whom American forces fought, and not unnecessarily, either. I could get behind this trend more easily were it more universal, but somehow U.S. historians are quick to recognize the shared humanity of former enemies that are Caucasian, and others, not so much. If I could see one, just ONE WWII history that recounts kind of brave actions on the part of the Japanese during this conflict, I would be a good deal less cranky.

Be that as it may, this book is inadequately researched and inadequately documented. It’s not professionally rendered, so if you want to read it, do so critically and evaluate as you read. Get it free or cheaply; don’t pay full price.
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I received an advance ebook version of this book from NetGalley and Scribner Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The book details the events of Operation Varsity on March 24, 1945, the largest airborne operation of World War II.  Over 17,000 allied paratroopers and glider troops were dropped in the middle of German lines to force a large-scale crossing of the Rhine River into the heart of Germany itself. The airborne troops involved were the U.S. 17th Airborne and the British 6th Airborne. The book documents the role of the 17th Airborne. 
I was especially interested in this book because I had an uncle who was a paratrooper with the 513th Parachute Infantry regiment of the 17th Airborne. He was KIA during Operation Varsity.
The book is well written and documented. The number of sources used is astounding. I liked the author’s writing style and his frequent use of the words of first-person participants.  The first part of the book details the planning and development of Varsity, the airborne portion, and Plunder, the ground portion of the Rhine crossing. It provides background on the 17th Airborne’s training and their first action during the Battle of the Bulge.
The second half of the book describes the events of Varsity itself, both the actions of the paratroopers and the glider riders. The author does a good job of describing step by step the actions during the battle of many different companies without bogging the reader down with needless detail or getting lost in complexity. Maps are included throughout to illustrate the action.
I am grateful to the author and the publisher for providing this excellent account of a major World War II battle that has been largely ignored. It deserves credit for documenting the outstanding record of the 17th Airborne Division who lost 1,382 men killed in action and another 4,713 wounded in this battle. They had four Metal of Honor winners. I was also very impressed by the German soldiers, who fought with great bravery even when it was clear that all was lost.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in World War II history, especially in the airborne operations.
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This paratrooper turned historian book on Operation Varsity is a stellar example of  research balanced by real life experience and strong writing skills on the part of James Fenelon.  The writing is conversational in tone, the people profiled are layered and fully dimensional. I really appreciated that He took the time to portray all sides of the story. This  account belongs in any military history collection. 
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
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The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book.  There were many facts that I only discovered after reading this!
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I received a complimentary ARC copy of this book through NetGalley from Scribner Publishing. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you to Scribner, NetGalley, and of course James Fenelon for the honor to receive and read an ARC of this book! 

4*
I really enjoyed reading Fours Hours of Fury and about Operation Varsity (the largest Airborne assault of WW2) as I wasn’t as knowledgeable about the operation as many others during WW2. Mr. Fenelon does an excellent job of detailing the events of the operation for the reader. The sources used to write this book are profound. I really appreciate the fact that the author also focused on the goal of a historian to ‘bring back the dead.’ Much respect for that and how he reached out to the soldiers individually. 

The first half of the book talks about the operation planning, development, and short bio’s about the soldiers about to undertake the epic battle. The generals and leaders are focused upon a little extra. It’s unbelievable what all went into the operation! The reason I gave 4* and not 5* is here. There was A LOT of information to digest and it was very difficult to follow many of men’s stories throughout the whole book. I would’ve preferred character development with just a few of the men to make it more personal but that’s just me. I can understand that the author had gained many of the stories from the men on the book personally and probably felt it his duty to tell about each one. 

The second half of the book focuses on the operation actually being carried out. It makes me proud as an American to read about the sacrifice and skill that went into each man carrying out his orders. It’s really humbling! The author also has the reader see how brave the Germans were also. The author describes how they really had NO chance but fought hard anyways. There are also side stories involved in the operation where some soldiers posthumously won the Medal of Honor. These stories were probably my favorite parts of the book. 

Would I recommend this book? Yes! If you like WWII history (especially stories including Airborne operations) then you’ll be happy you read Four Hours of Fury! 

Favorite quote/part: Story about George Peters
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Thank you NetGalley for the free Kindle copy in exchange for a review.

This is the first that I have read about the 117th Airborne Division and their role in OPERATION VARSITY..  It is a book of two halves with the first part detailing training and what went into the operation and then of course the second part captures/chronicles the actual landing.  Very, very good for the history that made America and Europe GREAT!!
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I found the book very informative and was well researched.  This book gives you a complete picture from training to the battle field of the role of the 117th Airborne in OPERATION VARSITY.  I am a big history fan and this book was fantastic.  I learned a lot about this theatre of the war while reading this book and I recommend it highly for any WWII buff.
Thank you NetGalley for the free Kindle copy in exchange for a review.
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This book is well written and researched. I have read a great deal about World War II, but this is the first that I have read about the 117th Airborne Division and their role in the impending conclusion of World War II in Europe. The first half of the book details the events leading up to the four hours of fury and the various decisions (good and bad) that made it successful and not as successful as it could have been. The second half focus on the four hours and the heroic efforts of the men of the 117th to make it a success.

I recomend this book for those looking for more information on the events of World War II that have not been covered in detail elsewhere.

I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook and Twitter pages.
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