A Reminiscence of General James M. Gavin

By Carlo D’Este

My first association with Lt. Gen. Jim Gavin occurred in 1979 when, as a fledgling researcher in the early stages of a PhD dissertation (which instead became my book Decision in Normandy four years later), I wrote to him to request an interview, mentioning that I was doing graduate work at King’s College, London, on World War II in Europe.

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After his retirement from the Army in 1958, Gavin was recruited by the consulting firm Arthur D. Little, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he rapidly rose to become president and chairman of the board. Even though he had retired from his full-time role at Arthur D. Little, and was now a consultant, my letter was hardly a reason for him to take time out to be interviewed by an unknown like myself. Hence, I was more than a little astonished when he promptly replied to my letter and agreed that I should come and see him at his office.

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