James M. Fenelon
AUTHOR

James M. Fenelon

James Fenelon is the paratrooper-turned-historian of Four Hours of Fury, the untold story of Operation Varsity, the American 17th Airborne Division’s combat jump over the Rhine River in March 1945. Fenelon’s motivation to write about this massive airdrop originated with his love of history and his time in the military. He served for over a decade and is a graduate of the US Army’s Airborne, Jumpmaster and Pathfinder schools. As an author Fenelon leverages the perspective he gained during his service to provide readers with absorbing accounts of average GIs swept up by events beyond their control. His desire to give readers a “boots on the ground” view of events is reflected in his narrative-driven writing style. Fenelon’s avid interest and dedication to the study of WWII combat has taken him to numerous battlefields and historically-related sites, including those in Southern France, Italy, Britain, Holland, Belgium, Egypt, Germany and Crete. Additionally he has made multiple trips to Normandy, including parachuting out of a C-47 near Ranville as part of D-Day’s 60th anniversary commemoration ceremony. Fenelon is a regular contributor to World War II magazine and has been previously published in FlyPast, Britain’s largest selling aviation magazine. Leveraging his expertise in military history, he has consulted as a technical advisor for video games, screenplays and documentaries. An alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, he and his wife live in the Texas Hill Country. Four Hours of Fury is his first book. FOUR HOURS OF FURY Q&A What inspired you to write the book? 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 needed to tell the story of Operation Varsity 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 with their lives. It’s their story that needs to be told so that through the lens of their sacrifice we are reminded of the true cost of freedom. Please visit www.jamesfenelon.com for more information. Author photo: © Andrew Geonetta
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