1,271 Days a Soldier Book Launch Information

1,271 Days a Soldier: The Diaries and Letters of Colonel H. E. Gardiner as an Armor Officer in World War II releases on one week. Here’s everything you need to know about this AUSA Book Program title.

Front cover of "1,271 Days a Soldier" UNG Press, January 2020). A black-and-white photograph of Henry E. Gardiner. Cover design by Corey Parson.
Cover design by Corey Parson

1,271 Days a Soldier: The Diaries and Letters of Colonel H. E. Gardiner as an Armor Officer in World War II

Edited by Dominic J. Caraccilo
Forward by LTG (Ret.) H. R. McMaster


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1,271 Days a Soldier: The Diaries and Letters of Colonel H.E. Gardiner as an Armored Officer in World War II is one soldier’s record of the Second World War. Henry E. Gardiner’s collection recalls the first-hand experiences of an operational level ranking officer from the prelude of war to fighting in the African and European theaters, from the shock of the initial volley of violence during the December 7, 1941, Day of Infamy radio broadcast to the final days of the war while operating on the soft underbelly of Hitler’s Europe. 1,271 Days a Soldier is written with all the emotion of someone who endured nearly four years of high-intensity conflict coupled with long periods of boredom and interjected with periods of frivolity.

Detailed footnotes, photographs, and maps throughout the diary provide context for each journal entry so readers and historians gain a better appreciation of the full spectrum of war that was unfolding at any given time in the work.

Author Dominic J. Caraccilo
Dominic J. Caraccilo

Colonel (Retired) Dominic J. Caraccilo served nearly six years in combat in command roles culminating a 27-year career as the Deputy Commander of the 101st Airborne Division. His 65 months of combat during multiple deployments including Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Kosovo, and a series of deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq spanning from 2001 to 2010. During that time, Caraccilo produced many other books including Achieving Victory in Iraq: Countering an Insurgency (Stackpole Books, 2008), Beyond Guns and Steel: A War Termination Strategy (PSI, 2011), and Forging a Special Operations Force: The US Army Rangers (Helion & Company, 2015). Like 1,271 Days a Soldier, the latter two were sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army as part of the AUSA Book Program. In retirement, Caraccilo has had extensive C-Level, Director, and Management experience for companies including various consulting firms, Amazon, Facebook, and Parsons Corporation.

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Book Reviews

“A dramatic, compelling, and poignant chronicle of the European theater of WWII by Colonel H. E. Gardiner, one of the few officers to experience America’s role in the fighting from its beginning in north Africa to its end in northern Italy. Colonel (Ret.) Dominic J. Caraccilo’s compilation and editing of Colonel H. E. Gardiner’s diaries comprise an invaluable addition to the first-person accounts of the war—and reflect the insights and knowledge Caraccilo accumulated during his nearly 6 years in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as his extensive research into Gardiner’s experiences in order to provide the reader a clear explanation of the operational context at the time. 1,271 Days a Soldier is a riveting and thoroughly engrossing read!”

—General (Retired) David Petraeus, U.S. Army, former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, U.S. Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, and former Director of the CIA

Dominic J. Caraccilo has captured Gardiner’s disparate diary entries and personnel letters into a cohesive work. The Gardiner chronicles have been a staple for researchers and authors for the past 75 years for studies on the stateside preparation for deployment, Northern Ireland posturing, and the eventual formidable battles of Kasserine Pass, Rome, Cassino, Anzio, and the various fights across Northern Italy. Because of Caraccilo’s expert editing and cross-referencing, they are now available to researchers, historians, and lay-readers as a must own and a must read.

—Lieutenant General (Retired) Robert Caslen, U.S. Army

Dominic J. Caraccilo’s work skillfully illustrates the remarkable transformation experienced by Henry Gardiner: from horse cavalryman to armor battalion command; from the Louisiana Maneuvers to VE Day on the Italian Front; from untested civilian-soldier to decorated combat veteran. This narrative personalizes one soldier’s story and illuminates why Gardiner and comrades are regarded as The Greatest Generation.

—Lieutenant General (Retired) Michael D. Barbero, U.S. Army

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About Jillian Murphy

Jillian Murphy served as the Assistant Managing Editor of the UNG Press from 2017 to 2021. She is a writer and editor who specializes in kid lit, copyediting, and lame puns. Murphy is a UNG alumna, class of 2016.

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