Maurice Isserman, formerly William R. Kenan, and the James L. Ferguson chairs, is a long-time Professor of History at Hamilton College and important contributor to the "new history of American communism" that reinterpreted the role of the Communist Party USA during the Popular Front period of the 1930s and 1940s.
In the winter of 1940, a group of civilian skiers was sitting by a fire in a ski lodge in Vermont shooting the breeze about how the US Army needed an alpine division like the militaries in Europe had. That conversation transformed into a concerted effort to turn their idea into a reality, and the creation of the Army's 10th Mountain Division -- a unit which would play a vital role fighting in the mountains of Italy during World War II. My guest today has written a book on these skiing, snow-born soldiers. His name is Maurice Isserman, and he's a professor of history and the author of The Winter Army: The World War II Odyssey of the 10th Mountain Division, America's Elite Alpine Warriors. We begin our conversation discussing why the US Army didn't have an alpine division before WWII and how a group of civilian skiers led by a man named Minnie Dole spearheaded the movement to create one. Maurice then shares why the 10th Mountain Division heavily recruited from top tier colleges, and how the unusual make-up of the division influenced its unique culture. We then discuss how the military figured out what new equipment this new mountain division needed and the vigorous training its members undertook high in the mountains of Colorado. Maurice then digs into the 10th's involvement in the war and whether they actually got to use the skills they trained for years to hone. We end our conversation discussing the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division, including their role in America's post-war boom in recreational skiing. Get the show notes at aom.is/mountaindivision.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Maurice Isserman author of the book The Winter Army: The World War II Odyssey Of The 10th Mountain Division, America’s Elite Alpine Warriors. publish earlier this month by Houghton (Howton) Mifflin. Dr. Isserman is a prolific author, penning about two scholarly works a year since the early eighties. They all concern fascinating aspects of American History with regard to some of the nooks and crannies of our past about which we many have never otherwise known His work regularly appears in the NYT, The Nation and other renowned periodicals. The Winter Army is a fascinating tale of pioneering, convincing and fighting, all related to how the US and the work of just a few men, primarily one led to the story of the 10th. The first and only American Ski Regiment. This led to a military force that scaled peaks, literally and figuratively, which before then no fighting force has every done In addition to helping in the culmination of our victory over the Axis powers, the Regiment went on to fight for us in the 80s and 90s! Parenthetically, it also helped to create the organization of one of America’s favorite past-times. Welcome Maurice and thanks so much for joining us today.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Maurice Isserman author of the book The Winter Army: The World War II Odyssey Of The 10th Mountain Division, America’s Elite Alpine Warriors. publish earlier this month by Houghton (Howton) Mifflin. Dr. Isserman is a prolific author, penning about two scholarly works a year since the early eighties. They all concern fascinating aspects of American History with regard to some of the nooks and crannies of our past about which we many have never otherwise known His work regularly appears in the NYT, The Nation and other renowned periodicals. The Winter Army is a fascinating tale of pioneering, convincing and fighting, all related to how the US and the work of just a few men, primarily one led to the story of the 10th. The first and only American Ski Regiment. This led to a military force that scaled peaks, literally and figuratively, which before then no fighting force has every done In addition to helping in the culmination of our victory over the Axis powers, the Regiment went on to fight for us in the 80s and 90s! Parenthetically, it also helped to create the organization of one of America’s favorite past-times. Welcome Maurice and thanks so much for joining us today.
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Creator Details

Birthdate
Mar 12th, 1951
Episode Count
3
Podcast Count
2
Total Airtime
1 hour, 15 minutes