Red Devils The Trailblazers of the Paras in World War Two : An Authorized History of the Parachute Regiment

Paperback (20 Jul 2023)

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Publisher's Synopsis


'Riveting . . . Full of daring action, standout characters and cutting edge operations, this is unputdownable' Damien Lewis

'Gripping and authoritative. Family men, circus performers, solicitors, communists, and reactionaries all fought together and shed blood for their country - a true and moving story of war' Andy McNab


Their German enemies called them the 'Red Devils'. Montgomery described them as 'men apart - every man an Emperor'. The cards they received on qualifying began: 'You are the elite of the British army'.

The Parachute Regiment.

In this gripping, authorized account, bestselling historian Mark Urban tells the story of the wartime creation and development of Britain's elite airborne infantry - who ranged from circus performers to solicitors, policemen to gravediggers, Christians and Jews to communists.

Through the fates of six men - including recently widowed Geoffrey Pine-Coffin, who had to leave his little boy at home to head to the front, and Mike Lewis, whose photographs became iconic images of war - Urban vividly shows what it took to succeed in this new regiment. All six men would shed blood for their country in daring actions at D-Day, Arnhem and across the Second World War; two would not survive, and one would face disgrace.

Based on deep archival research, British and German sources and new material from the men's families, and giving overdue recognition to the North African campaign, Urban's unvarnished history is a compelling and moving depiction of the highs and lows of battle.

Book information

ISBN: 9780241995228
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint: Penguin Books
Pub date:
DEWEY: 940.541241
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: xxxix, 343 , 24 unnumbered of plates
Weight: 304g
Height: 128mm
Width: 198mm
Spine width: 27mm