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Citizen Soldiers
: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945

Author: Stephen Ambrose
528 pages Reprint edition (September 1998) Touchstone Books;
ISBN: 0684848015
Dimensions (in inches): 1.50 x 9.25 x 6.07

528 pages (November 1997) Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 0684815257
Dimensions (in inches): 1.59 x 9.58 x 6.50

Notes: Book pictures are in black and white. Military Book Club edition reviewed here.


From Publisher's Weekly - Publishers Weekly
The story of the front-line American combatants who took WWII to the Germans from Normandy to the Elbe River makes, in Ambrose's expert hands, for an outstanding sequel to his D-Day. These men are frequently dismissed as winning victories by firepower rather than acknowledged for their individual fighting power. Using interviews and other personal accounts by both German and American participants, Ambrose tells instead the story of enlisted men and junior officers who not only mastered the battlefield but developed emotional resources that endured and transcended the shocks of modern combat. Ambrose's accounts of the fighting in Normandy, the breakout and the bitter autumn struggles for Aachen and the battles in the Huertgen Forest and around Metz depict an army depending not on generalship but on the courage, skill and adaptability of small-unit commanders and their men. The 1945 offensive into Germany was a triumph of a citizen army, but the price was high. One infantry company landed in Normandy on August 8 with 187 men and six officers. By V-E Day, 625 men had served in its ranks. Fifty-one had been killed, 183 wounded and 167 suffered frostbite or trench foot. Nor do statistics tell the whole story. Ambrose's reconstruction of "a night on the line" is a brilliant evocation of physical hardship and emotional isolation that left no foxhole veteran unscarred. It is good to be reminded of brave men's brave deeds with the eloquence and insight that the author brings to this splendid, generously illustrated and moving history.

Table of Contents:

  • Table of Contents
  • Maps
    Introduction and Acknowledgments
    The Battle for France
    Expanding the Beachhead, June 7-30, 1944
    Hedgerow Fighting, July 1-24, 1944
    Breakout and Encirclement, July 25-August 25, 1944
    To the Siegfried Line, August 26-September 30, 1944
    The Siegfried Line, October 1944
    At the German Border
    Metz and the Hurtgen Forest, November 1-December 15, 1944
    The Ardennes, December 16-19, 1944
    The Ardennes, December 20-23, 1944
    The Holiday Season, December 24-31, 1944
    Life in ETO
    Night on the Line
    Replacements and Reinforcements, Fall 1944
    The Air War
    Medics, Nurses, and Doctors
    Jerks, Sad Sacks, Profiteers, and Jim Crow
    Prisoners of War
    Overrunning Germany Winter War, January 1945
    Closing to the Rhine, February 1-March 6, 1945
    Crossing the Rhine, March 7-31, 1945
    Victory, April 1-May 7, 1945
    Epilogue: The GIs and Modern America

  • Total pages : Hardcover = 528 pages
  • Paperback = 528 pages

Ed's Analysis:
Stephen E. Ambrose combines history and journalism to describe how American GIs battled their way to the Rhineland. He focuses on the combat experiences of ordinary soldiers, as opposed to the generals who led them, and offers a series of compelling vignettes that read like an enterprising reporter's dispatches from the front lines. The book presents just enough contextual material to help readers understand the big picture, and includes memorable accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and other events as seen through the weary eyes of the men who fought in the foxholes. Highly recommended for fans of Ambrose, as well as all readers interested in understanding the life of a 1940s army grunt. A sort of sequel to Ambrose's bestselling 1994 book D-Day, Citizen Soldiers is more than capable of standing on its own.

From Kirkus
A worthy sequel to Ambrose's 1994 D-Day. Bestselling historian Ambrose (Undaunted Courage) uses firsthand recollections of combat veterans on both sides to flesh out his well-researched narrative. He picks up the epic drama by following, almost step by step, various individuals and outfits among the tens of thousands of young Allied soldiers who broke away from the deadly beaches of Normandy and swept across France to the Ardennes, fought the Battle of the Bulge, captured the famed bridge at Remagen, and crossed the wide Rhine to final victory in Europe. Ambrose observes that the US broke the Nazi war machine with massive aerial bombing, artillery, and the great mobility of attacking tanks and infantry. But, he argues, it was not technology but the valor and character of the young GIs and their European counterparts that ultimately proved too much for the vaunted German forces. While generally approving of Allied military leadership, Ambrose faults Eisenhower and Bradley as too conservative and believes the great human and materiel cost of victory could have been reduced by adopting Patton's more innovative and bolder knockout movements. He deplores the sending of inadequately trained 18-year-olds as replacements on the front lines, where they suffered much higher casualty rates than the foxhole-wise GI veterans. The troops fought under the worst possible conditions in the Ardennes, during the worst winter in 40 years; Ambrose describes the long, freezing snowy nights; the wounds, frostbite, and trench foot; and the fatigue and the tensions of facing sudden death or maiming. The troops rallied to drive the enemy back to the Rhine and into Germany, but took some 80,000 casualties. With remarkable immediacy and clarity, as though he had trained a telescopic lens on the battlefields, Ambrose offers a stirring portrayal of the terror and courage experienced by men at war.

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Last updated : Sunday, April 30, 2000 1:31 AMMonday, May 01, 2000