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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

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  139 Ratings  ·  22 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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Community Reviews

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Aug 01, 2009 Jacob rated it it was ok
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
Mar 27, 2011 Christian rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 16, 2008 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
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
Jay Resnick
May 31, 2015 Jay Resnick rated it it was amazing
As my Dad,Elton Resnick, trained at Camp Hale, and was a doctor in the 10th Mountain Division, I had heard from him about combat in the Aleutians and Italy. When I asked my Dad about the worst memory in WWII, he told me about the invasion of Kiska on the fog, and how wrenching it was to treat wounds inflicted by "friendly fire." McKay's book puts my Dad's experience. -- both in Kiska and in Italy -- in historical perspective. Jenkins weaves many stories together. --- piecing together diaries, le ...more
Lori Clark-Erickson
Lexile: 1020
Historical Event/ time Period: WWII
Liked: I liked learning about an important section of the U.S. Army during WWII and what they did to help the U.S. in the war.
Disliked: What I disliked most about my book is that it was very slow moving and went into detail on unimportant subjects; like unimportant characters.
Summary: The Last Ridge is about the U.S. army 19s 10th mountain division and their assault on Hitler 19s Europe. It begins with the story of the rigorous training that they ha
Dave Robbins
Jan 27, 2008 Dave Robbins rated it really liked it
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.
Kenneth Barber
Feb 02, 2016 Kenneth Barber rated it really liked it
This book details the genesis and development of the idea of a division for mountain fighting during WWII. Skiing was a sport in its infancy at the beginning of the war, but it still had many followers. With the advent of the war the need for mountain fighting was exemplified by the Finnish struggle against the Russians. The book follows the formation of the 10th Mountain Division and its training, eventually at Camp Hale in Colorado. The division trained for almost four years before it saw acti ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Stewart rated it it was amazing
I really love this book; historical, tragic, dramatic, adventurous and inspiring. I may be biased though, being that I served with the 10th ;-)
Aug 08, 2013 Wendy rated it liked it
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
Aug 31, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Outstanding account of the 10th Mt. Divisions's inception and campaign in Italy. My father was a decorated first sergeant in the 10th and I have read a lot on the subject -- mostly his recollections and those of his buddies. This book filled in all of the blanks, so no matter how much you know about this subject, I strongly urge anyone interested to read this book.
Eugene Miya
Mostly a positive picture book, lacking a little realism (like friendly fire incidents and assignment trouble). Does not mention Morley Nelson and quite a few other people. Corresponds to PBS program on the 10th. Attempting to locate people.
Dave Summers
May 29, 2016 Dave Summers rated it really liked it
Not quite "Band of Brothers", but purposeful, sometimes personal account of the formation of the famed 10th Mountain Division. The early glamor cascading into the horror of war. Worth the price for the Riva Ridge/Mt. Belvedere chapters alone. Recommended. We honor our fallen.
Feb 01, 2010 Jfk rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, wwii
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
Andy Anderson
Sep 03, 2015 Andy Anderson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A lot of training before the actual fight but once they get to Italy things start to happen quickly. Great book and Italy is a fascinating WW2 story especially as the 10th division goes to war.
Sep 26, 2008 Kristin rated it liked it
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!!
Jan 15, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it
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.
Andrew DesMarais
Nov 10, 2015 Andrew DesMarais rated it really liked it
This book was given to me as a present, and I wasn't sure if it was worth the read. This book is definitely worth it. The Last Ridge is about the 10th Mountain Division of the US during WW2. The book travels through their days training in Colorado to them fighting in the Italian Alps. McKay Jenkins did a great job telling the story and giving great details throughout the book. Overall I really liked the book.
Izzy Ismert
Aug 10, 2016 Izzy Ismert rated it it was amazing
two favorite things about this book, reading about WWII specialized troops that trained in the mountains close to where I lived for 10 years and also learning more about the Italian campaign.
Joe Wojtowicz
Dec 31, 2013 Joe Wojtowicz rated it liked it
Great historical account of the 10th Mountain Division, although the ending seemed to be a little abrupt.
Jul 25, 2012 Michele rated it it was ok
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.
Feb 10, 2013 Emily rated it it was ok
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.
Dec 30, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Matt
Recommended to Katie by: Jeremy
Shelves: colorado, 2012books
A historical novel sprinkled with soldiers' personal notes of their time spent in the 10th Mountain Division.
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