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A Cause Greater than Self: The Journey of Captain Michael J. Daly, World War II Medal of Honor Recipient

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A privileged, hell-raising youth who had greatly embarrassed his family—and especially his war-hero father—by being dismissed from West Point, Michael J. Daly would go on to display selfless courage and heroic leadership on the battlefields of Europe during World War II. Starting as an enlisted man and rising through the ranks to become a captain and company commander, Daly’s devotion to his men and his determination to live up to the ideals taught to him by his father led him to extraordinary acts of bravery on ...

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Texas A&M University Press, 09/01/2012, Hardcover, Signed Copy Collectible - Very Good. Like New dust jacket. Signed/Inscribed by author on title page.

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A Cause Greater than Self: The Journey of Captain Michael J. Daly, World War II Medal of Honor Recipient

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Overview

A privileged, hell-raising youth who had greatly embarrassed his family—and especially his war-hero father—by being dismissed from West Point, Michael J. Daly would go on to display selfless courage and heroic leadership on the battlefields of Europe during World War II. Starting as an enlisted man and rising through the ranks to become a captain and company commander, Daly’s devotion to his men and his determination to live up to the ideals taught to him by his father led him to extraordinary acts of bravery on behalf of others, resulting in three Silver Stars, a Bronze Star with “V” attachment for valor, two Purple Hearts, and finally, the Medal of Honor.
Historian Stephen J. Ochs mined archives and special collections and conducted numerous personal interviews with Daly, his family and friends, and the men whom he commanded and with whom he served. The result is a carefully constructed, in-depth portrait of a warrior-hero who found his life’s deepest purpose, both during and after the war, in selfless service to others. After a period of post-war drift, Daly finally escaped the “hero’s cage” and found renewed purpose through family and service. He became a board member at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he again assumed the role of defender and guardian by championing the cause of the indigent poor and the terminally ill, earning the sobriquet, “conscience of the hospital.”
A Cause Greater than Self: The Journey of Captain Michael J. Daly, World War II Medal of Honor Recipient is at once a unique, father-son wartime saga, a coming-of-age narrative, and the tale of a heroic man’s struggle to forge a new and meaningful postwar life. Daly’s story also highlights the crucial role played by platoon and company infantry officers in winning both major battles like those on D-Day and in lesser-known campaigns such as those of the Colmar Pocket and in south-central Germany, further reinforcing the debt that Americans owe to them—especially those whose selfless courage merited the Medal of Honor.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Bing West
Stephen J. Ochs…has interwoven Daly's career with the rise of his Irish Catholic family and the Army's implacable drive across France and Germany. Throughout the narrative, Daly's tactical brilliance in leading a squad, a platoon and a company shine through.
Professor of History, Colorado College - Dennis E. Showalter

"This work is well up to the level of its counterparts in quality, and is useful as well for its emphasis on the war's final months, often overlooked in general accounts that treat events after the Battle of Bulge as an extended footnote. . . . I found this a very high-level piece of work . . . . the narrative has enough front-line material to attract even History Channel fans! "--Dennis E. Showalter, professor of history, Colorado College
Author of 'A Dark and Bloody Ground' - Edward G. Miller

"I'm not aware of recent works that so well document events in small units, particularly those of the campaign in Southern France and Germany. The author's superb source materials from the Daly family and veterans is what set this story apart."--Edward G. Miller, author, A Dark and Bloody Ground
Robert Asahina

"Stephen Ochs's biography of Michael Daly is a remarkable portrait not only of a hero but of a flesh-and-blood mortal with fears and failings, as well as strengths and successes, in both war and peace. Blending biography with military history, interviews with documentary research, and analysis of culture and religion, A Cause Greater than Self offers insights into small unit tactics and leadership in battle, as well as Irish-American politics and Catholicism—and, most of all, the qualities of mind and character of a soldier whose sacrifice of self was truly above and beyond the call of duty. Ochs writes as vividly about fighting in the hedgerows of France as he does about cocktail parties in suburban Connecticut, and his book is a welcome addition to our understanding not just of the battles of World War II but the American culture that produced the citizen soldiers who survived and triumphed in combat."--Robert Asahina, author, Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad
 
Gerald F. Seib

"Stephen Ochs's students all know he is a passionate and compelling story-teller, and he brings those singular skills to the riveting story of Michael Daly. Ochs describes the breathtaking exploits of this one American soldier--not just on the one occasion that brought him the nation's highest military honor, but repeatedly, over a course of weeks and months, as well as the encompassing drama of those latter days of World War II. This is the story of the Greatest Generation distilled into the saga of a single, unexpected hero, a young man who comes back to life today through the vivid verbal pictures painted by Stephen Ochs."--Gerald F. Seib, Washington bureau chief, Wall Street Journal and author, Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles In Backroom Power
Bill Bennett

"A Cause Greater than Self is a profoundly moving story, told in exquisite and loving detail by Ochs, a historian and scholar of the first order. You will never read and learn so much of the texture, the color, the feel of war. This narrative is a deeply affecting story of yet another quiet American hero: Michael J. Daly. Virgil writes of 'tears for passing things, of things mortal that touch the mind, and of the honorable finding its due.' Here is a grand story of all three very well told."--William J. Bennett, former US Secretary of Education and author of numerous books, including the multi-volume America: The Last Best Hope.
The Washington Post - Bing West

"Stephen J. Ochs, who teaches history at Georgetown Prep, has interwoven Daly's career with the rise of his Irish Catholic family and the Army's implacable drive across France and Germany. Throughout the narrative, Daly's tactical brilliance in leading a squad, a platoon, and a company shine through."--Washington Post
World War II History Magazine
"...a truly inspirational story of one man's fight not to be locked in a 'hero's cage.'"--World War II History
H-Net

"This book is highly recommended. The reader, as this reviewer did, will undoubtedly feel a connection to and admiration for Daly, a real hero." -H-Net
From the Publisher

"This work is well up to the level of its counterparts in quality, and is useful as well for its emphais on the war's final months, often overlooked in general accounts that treat events after the Battle of Bulge as an extended footnote."--Dennis E. Showalter, professor of history, Colorado College

"I'm not aware of recent works that so well document events in small units, particularly those of the campaign in Southern France and Germany. The author's superb source materials from the Daly family and veterans is what sets this story apart."--Edward G. Miller, author, A Dark and Bloody Ground

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Product Details

Meet the Author

STEPHEN J. OCHS is an instructor in the history department at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland, where he holds the Lawler Chair of History and has taught since 1977. He is the author of two previous books.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xiii

Abbreviations xv

Introduction xvii

Note on Sources xix

Prologue 1

1 Hero-Father 5

2 Born with a Silver Spoon-"Slightly Bent" 12

3 A Disappointment to His Family 27

4 Initiation: D-Day, June 6, 1944 43

5 Proving Ground: The Battle of Normandy 59

6 Becoming an Officer 82

7 The Colmar Pocket: Winter Heroism 91

8 The Dragon's Teeth: Assuming Command 118

9 "Discipline of Kindness" 131

10 Götterdämerung: The Final Battle for Germany 143

11 Nuremberg-Medal of Honor 156

12 Escaping the "Hero's Cage" 170

Epilogue: Causes Greater Than Self 183

Appendix 202

Acknowledgments 205

Notes 209

Glossary: Military Units-United States Army, World War II 243

Selected Bibliography 245

Index 259

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