Softback published January 1, 1994
By Colonel Adna H. Underhill (Ret.)
The author served with the First Special Service Force as a platoon leader and company commander from its formation at Fort Harrison near Helena, Montana in July 1942 until it disbanded in southern France in December 1944. Underhill was so aggressive in combat that his men nicknamed him “Heat.” Colonel Underhill believed that the only way that the true story of the Force and its men could be told effectively was in novel form. “Only a novel could capture the spirit of the Force, our love for it, and for each other. Only a novel could show Forcemen as superb fighting soldiers, and at the same time, as real human beings.” According to the author, “This is a historical novel in the sense that the record of training and combat is essentially correct. These are the things the Force did at the times indicated….The author has attempted to make the characters in the story, both officer and enlisted, true Forcemen who react as Forcemen did.”
John Nadler, author of A Perfect Hell: The True Story of the Black Devils, the Forefathers of the Special Forces (described above) said:
I found Adna Underhill’s The Force a fascinating contribution [to his own book]. Underhill, a 2nd Regiment officer, wrote The Force as a historical novel. Still, in operations, such as the Sussuno raid at Anzio, in which Underhill was a primary, I selectively quoted the book’s general description of certain events, assuming that the author would draw on his memory, diaries, and battle reports when describing the background of these actions.
Underhill’s descriptions of the Force’s actions in combat make the events come alive. Anyone who is interested in the First Special Service Force, as well as compelling descriptions of the Force under fire, will want a copy of The Force for their library.