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Americans at War

Author: Stephen Ambrose
252 pages (October 1998) Berkley Pub Group
ISBN: 0425165108
Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 9.00 x 6.00

240 pages (October 1997) Univ Pr of Mississippi (Trd);
ISBN: 1578060265
Dimensions (in inches): 0.92 x 9.28 x 6.24

Notes: Two versions.

Collected here for the first time are fifteen essays that span over 100 years of American history--and the remarkable thirty-year career of America's foremost historian. Ambrose's vivid and compelling essays take you to the heart of America's wars, from Grant's stunning Fourth of July victory at Vicksburg, to Nixon's surprise Christmas bombing of Hanoi. Ambrose brings to life the ambition and charisma that led to Custer's great success in the Civil War and fateful disaster at Little Big Horn. With vivid imagery and precise commentary, he puts you on the beaches of Normandy with the common footsoldier and in the headquarters of America's great commanders, Eisenhower, Patton and MacArthur. He takes you to the trenches of the homefront, ground zero of the Atomic Bomb, and into the arsenals of the twenty-first century.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
    Struggle for Vicksburg: The Battles and Siege That Decided the Civil War
    Custer's Civil War
    "Just Dumb Luck": American Entry into World War II
    SIGINT: Deception and the Liberation of Western Europe
    D-Day Revisited
    Victory in Europe: May 1945
    The Atomic Bomb and Its Consequences
    General MacArthur: A Profile
    A Fateful Friendship: Eisenhower and Patton
    The War on the Home Front
    My Lai: Atrocities in Historical Perspective
    The Christmas Bombing
    Eisenhower and NATO
    The Cold War in Perspective
    War in the Twenty-First Century
  • Total pages : 252 pages

Ed's Analysis:

From Publisher's Weekly - Publishers Weekly
With its 15 essays (eight previously unpublished, the remaining published in various journals over the course of 30 years), this is a precis of a brilliant career. Reflecting such works as Crazy Horse and Custer, D-Day, Undaunted Courage and Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945, these essays show Ambrose as a wide-ranging writer and a historian who does his best to understand the soldiers he studies, whether through thousands of interviews or through a swim in the choppy June waters off Normandy. After the first, longest and most strictly tactical piece on Vicksburg, he moves more or less chronologically to the 21st century and the future of war. He offers three profiles, not of the men he admires most, but of three histrionic egotists -- Custer, MacArthur and Patton -- with complicated personal and martial legacies. Ambrose doesn't shy away from the most controversial subjects, but rather marshals fact and feeling in convincing argument. Take 'The Atomic Bomb and Its Consequences,' in which he contends that the atomic bomb may have saved Japanese lives by allowing the country's military leaders a face-saving way to get out of a war long lost. Without the bomb and the surrender, Japan would have been subjected to extensive conventional bombardment, and, Ambrose reminds us, the March 1945 raid on Tokyo caused more casualties than did the atomic bombs. His discussion of My Lai never gives the specifics of the 1968 massacre. But in a long accounting of Meriwether Lewis' ongoing minor skirmishes with Native Americans, Wounded Knee and other incidents, he puts My Lai into a context of terror, anger and lost control. 'My Lai,' he says, 'was not an exception or an aberration. Atrocity is a part of war that needs to be recognized and discussed.'

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