After earning a bachelor's degree in anthropology and a master's degree in social sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Donahue went to work for the U.S. Department of Labor's Veteran's Employment and Training Service, and currently serves as assistant director. His first book, No Greater Love, was awarded the Freedom Foundation's George Washington Honor Medal. He lives in Glenwood, New York.
James C. Donahue joined the Marine Corps when he was seventeen years old and subsequently served with the Marines through the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Once discharged from the Corps, he enlisted in the Army and volunteered for Special Forces. As a Green Beret, he served with the 6th and 7th Special Forces Groups (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Vietnam. Donahue fought with Detachment A-343 at Duc-Phong and Mobile Guerrilla Force Detachments A-303, A-304, A-361, B-36 at Bien-Hoa, No-Ngoc-Tao, and Trang-Sup.