The Last Ridge: The Epic Story of America's First Mountain Soldiers and the Assault on Hitler's Europe
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The Last Ridge: The Epic Story of America's First Mountain Soldiers and the Assault on Hitler's Europe

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  79 ratings  ·  13 reviews
When World War II broke out in Europe, the American army had no specialized division of mountain soldiers. But in the winter of 1939–40, after a tiny band of Finnish mountain troops brought the invading Soviet army to its knees, an amateur skier named Charles Minot “Minnie” Dole convinced the United States Army to let him recruit an extraordinary assortment of European exp...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 9th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published August 26th 2003)
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Jacob
The first half of the book that was devoted to the forming of the 10th Mountain Division, the recruits sought after, and the training they engaged in was fairly interesting. The writing style was choppy and often disjointed but my interest in the subject material was high which kept me going.

The second half of the book was absolutely dismal. Stephen Ambrose was the master at weaving together the soldier's individual story with the wider tactical and strategic picture of the war. Jenkins' erratic...more
Wendy
As a kid I learned to ski at the inexpensive, one-lift "Ski Cooper" just outside of Leadville, Colorado near Tennessee Pass. Years later I discovered that Cooper Hill was originally where the 10th Mountain Division learned to ski during WWII. If you keep driving past Cooper, away from Leadville, you will see a wide, flat glacier-carved valley, with perhaps a few elk out grazing in the middle of it. This valley, and a few cement foundations, are all that is left of Camp Hale, Home to the 10th Mou...more
Christian
Call it what you will — literary journalism, military history, narrative nonfiction — The Last Ridge is just damned good storytelling.

Jenkins' depiction of the formation, training, and war efforts of the 10th Mountain Division will appeal to readers of military history and American environmental history alike. "It is not too much to say that the conservation and exploration of American wilderness are as much a part of the division's history as its contribution to the war," in Jenkins' words. The...more
John
This was a very good book about a very good World War II U.S. Army Infantry Division. I picked this book up from the bookstore because I recently moved to Colorado, and the 10th Mountain Division did most of their pre-deployment training in the mountains of Colorado. This book was particularly good for the insights that it gave into the training of elite mountain troops, the development of equipment and techniques that are necessary for mountain survival that are still used today, and then how m...more
Jfk
A pretty good special interest WWII history book. I really liked some of the history of mountaineering too. The strength of the book is in the first sections of the book dealing with training. The later parts of the book of the dealing with actual deployment and combat in Italy are weaker, but still a good read. However, I don't feel that the context for some of the battles is fully laid out enough to provide the proper context for some casual reading the book. Particularly the lack of descripti...more
Stewart
I really love this book; historical, tragic, dramatic, adventurous and inspiring. I may be biased though, being that I served with the 10th ;-)
Kristin
Jenkins does a great job of explaining the birth of the 10th Mountain Division. I liked this book because it really captured the personalities of some of the first Mountain soldiers. Jenkins didn't try to exaggerate their accomplishments or make heroes out of the soldiers unnecessarily, either. It just tells what happens. This reads more like a novel than it does a military history book. And I HIGHLY recommend it for my brother-in-law if he hasn't already read it!!
Joe
This is a book that describes the history of the 10th Mountain Division in WWII. It is a much better story than most military historical texts and is very enjoyable to read.
This book is what convinced me to go skiing for the first time. For those who know me, it will provide you with some background on the unit that I spent the last eight years of my life, while at the same time telling an interesting story about part of our history.
Dave Robbins
The story of the development of the 10th Mountain Division their conquests in WWII. I love skiing and mountaineering and this story is pretty amazing - recreational skiers as the backbone of a new army division and then returning home to help found more recreational ski areas.
Joe Wojtowicz
Great historical account of the 10th Mountain Division, although the ending seemed to be a little abrupt.
Michele
This COULD be an epic story if written by a historian. If you can make it through the first half of the book full of confusing back stories interwoven together, you will be introduced to some fascinating WWII history rarely discussed.
Emily
This book started out interesting but then it got into military jargen that I did not understand and I was getting fustraided so I quite.
Katie
Dec 30, 2012 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Matt
Recommended to Katie by: Jeremy
Shelves: 2012books, colorado
A historical novel sprinkled with soldiers' personal notes of their time spent in the 10th Mountain Division.
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