These photos in this publication are unique. They're not from LIFE magazine. They are not a part of a government funded project of documenting the Army of the United States. They are not an attempt to affirm democratic ideals or cultural values. They were not created to challenge political or social policies or to question the nation's values. Nor are they the product of War Correspondents or Signal Corps professionals. They are not the product of any official arrangements to manage, or restrict the distribution of all their content. They weren't intended to raise civilian morale, well, morale beyond that of "Mom and Pop, brother and sis, and maybe Aunt Bea."
Enough about what they weren't. What they are, are historic personal documents and as such, they present a far different dynamic to the books of WWII photographs of paratroopers we have become accustomed to.
These images are snapshots taken by two or three of the paratroopers of the Second Battalion of the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team who managed to carry cameras with them through their time in the SWPA. They weren't assigned to tell photographic stories, and their photos were not intended to do anything other than to provide them with images of what they had seen and done, lest there be no other means to record their actions, or for their families to know. They had another job to do, which was to follow orders and to fight a war. Thus many of the images are an afterthought, or are of what happened in their off hours. Some images have them holding a bottle of beer. Let me assure you, the thieves in the distribution chain ensured that such an instance was so rare, it practically required photographic evidence.
The publication follows the war of Sherman L. "Bull" Durham.