In this special All American Week episode of the podcast, Chloe Gavin joins Joe to discuss the recently published Gavin at War: The WWII diary of Lieutenant General James M. Gavin. Chloe shares why she chose to publish her father’s deeply personal journal and why leaders today can benefit from reading it. They also talk about the legacy of the 82nd Airborne Division, leadership lessons from Gavin’s diary, and why leaders need to be okay with making mistakes.
Click here to listen to the episode
About Gavin at War
Lieutenant General James Gavin, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division during WWII, is one of the best-known figures of the war. Beginning as the commander of the 505th Parachute Combat Team that spearheaded the American assault on Sicily in July 1943, Gavin advanced to division command and finally command of US forces in Berlin. He kept a wartime diary that starts in April 1943, as the unit was preparing to go to northern Africa and continues through to his final entry on September 1, 1945, during the occupation of Berlin.
During the war years, Gavin came into close contact with virtually all the leading airborne commanders and many others who would advance to the top levels of Army leadership. His diary includes observations on fellow military and political leaders, army operations, and the general’s personal life. Gavin was an officer who led by example: on four combat jumps, he was the first man out the door.
For decades, Gavin kept the existence of the journal a secret; the general’s family discovered it among his belongings after his death. Editor Lewis “Bob” Sorley has worked closely with the Gavin family and the Army Heritage Center to prepare the diary for publication. His edited and annotated version includes a prologue and epilogue to frame the entries within the wider scope of the general’s life.