Since World War IIthe American public has become fully aware of the exploits of the 101st Airborne Divisionthe paratroopers who led the Allied invasions into Nazi-held Europe. But within the ranks of the 101sta sub-unit attained legendary status at the timeits reputation persisting among veterans over the decades. Primarily products of the Dustbowl and the Depressionthe Filthy13 grew notoriouseven within the ranks of the elite 101st. Never ones to salute an officeror take a baththis squad became singular within the Screaming Eagles for its hard drinkingand savage fighting skill – and that was only in training. Just prior to the invasion of Normandya "Stars and Stripes" photographer caught U.S. paratroopers with heads shaved into Mohawksapplying war paint to their faces. Unknown to the American public at the timethese men were the Filthy 13.After parachuting behind enemy lines in the dark hours before D-Daythe Germans got a taste of the reckless courage of this unit - except now the men were fighting with Tommy guns and explosivesnot just bare knuckles. In its spearhead rolethe 13 suffered heavy casualtiessome men wounded and others blown to bits. By the end of the war 30 men had passed through the squad. Throughout the warhoweverthe heart and soul of the Filthy 13 remained a survivor named Jake McNiecea half-breed Indian from Oklahoma - the toughest man in the squad and the one who formed its character. McNiece made four combat jumpswas in the forefront of every fight in northern Europeyet somehow never made the rank of PFC. The survivors of the Filthy 13 stayed intact as a unit until the Allies finally conquered Nazi Germany. The book does not draw a new portrait of earnest citizen soldiers. Instead it describes a group of hardscrabble guys whom any respectable person would be loath to meet in a bar or dark alley. But they were an integral part of the U.S. war against Nazi Germany. A brawling bunch of no-goodniks whose only saving grace was that they inflicted more damage on the Germans than on MPsthe English countryside and their own officersthe Filthy 13 remain a legend within the ranks of the 101st Airborne.