History buffs, head to the Colorado Snowsports Museum: a 10th Mountain Division historian is presenting his new book | VailDaily.com

History buffs, head to the Colorado Snowsports Museum: a 10th Mountain Division historian is presenting his new book

Daily staff report
Maurice Isserman is an award-winning author who will discuss his latest book about the 10th Mountain Division at the Colorado Snowsports Museum.
Special to the Daily

If you go ...

What: Tales of the 10th with Maurice Isserman

When: Friday, Nov. 15, 3 p.m.

Where: The Colorado Snowsports Museum

Cost: $5-10 donation suggested

More information: Visit http://www.snowsportsmuseum.org or call 970-476-1876.

On Vail’s Opening Day and in honor of Sandy Treat, the Colorado Snowsports Museum is continuing Tales of the 10th with award-winning author and historian Maurice Isserman. The discussion will take place Friday at 3 p.m. in the museum, and Isserman will present his new book, “The Winter Army: The World War II Odyssey of the 10th Mountain Division, America’s Elite Alpine Warriors.”

The book tells the story of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, whose elite soldiers broke the last line of German defenses in Italy’s mountains in 1945, spearheading the Allied advance to the Alps and final victory. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished material, including troves of diaries and letters written in the heat of battle, Isserman brings the voices of these soldiers to life like never before, adding unique texture to this riveting tale.

At the start of World War II, the US Army had two cavalry divisions — and no mountain troops. The German Wehrmacht, in contrast, had many well-trained and battle-hardened mountain divisions, some of whom by 1943 had blocked the Allied advance in the Italian campaign.

Starting from scratch, the US Army developed a unique military fighting force, the 10th Mountain Division, drawn from the ranks of civilian skiers, mountaineers, and others with outdoor experience.

The resulting mix of Ivy League students, park rangers, Olympic skiers, and European refugees formed the first specialized alpine fighting force in US history. By the time it deployed to Italy at the beginning of 1945, this ragtag group had coalesced into a tight-knit unit. In the months that followed, at a terrible cost, they spearheaded the Allied drive in Italy to final victory.

Ranging from the ski slopes of Colorado to the towering cliffs of the Italian Alps, “The Winter Army” chronicles the brotherhood whose legacy lives on in US mountain fighters to this day.

Tales of the 10th continue through the winter at 4 p.m. on Fridays, in December, January and March. A $5-10 donation is suggested.

The Colorado Snowsports Museum is located on the 3rd level of the Vail Village Parking Structure. Detailed information is available on the Museum’s website snowsportsmuseum.org or by calling 970-476-1876.

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