Americans at War

( 1 )

Overview

Ambrose's theme, the American way of war, is significant, for war indeed has delineated each era in America's turbulent history and has focused the nation's democratic perspective. Throughout, these essays encompass two large subjects. First, Ambrose is drawn to the experiences of those who have gone to war, both the leaders and the led. Second, he is intrigued by men who make big decisions -- or fail to make them. He concludes that generals alone don't win wars. Infantrymen, he believes, as well as the generals ...

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Overview

Ambrose's theme, the American way of war, is significant, for war indeed has delineated each era in America's turbulent history and has focused the nation's democratic perspective. Throughout, these essays encompass two large subjects. First, Ambrose is drawn to the experiences of those who have gone to war, both the leaders and the led. Second, he is intrigued by men who make big decisions -- or fail to make them. He concludes that generals alone don't win wars. Infantrymen, he believes, as well as the generals and the intelligence officers, were responsible for the Allied victory in World War II. And although the stalwart common soldier is credited with winning America's wars, Ambrose also gives fair and empathetic examination to soldiers who break under strain.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
This collection of essays from America's premier historian looks back at the American era spanning from Grant to Nixon.
From the Publisher
"Fascinating...compelling."—The Indianapolis Star

"Ambrose has the great gift of making history come alive."—Anniston Star

Newsweek
'If I was ever in a desperate situation,' [Ambrose'] declares, 'I would want Meriwether Lewis for my leader.' When it comes to assaying American history, one could say the same for Stephen Ambrose.
Houston Chronicle
A fascinating, insightful collection....Ambrose convinces you that you are a participant in history.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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With its 15 essays eight previously unpublished, the remaining published in various journals over the course of 30 years, this is a precis of a brilliant career.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.'
Booknews
A collection of essays about the leaders and the led in America's wars. Ambrose history, University of New Orleans looks at the accomplishments of leaders such as Custer, Eisenhower, Patton, and MacArthur. He also examines events such as the massacre at My Lai, the Christmas bombing of Hanoi in 1972, the first uses of the atomic bomb, and D-Day in their historical perspectives. Several of the essays have been published previously in various academic journals.
Newsweek
'If I was ever in a desperate situation,' [Ambrose'] declares, 'I would want Meriwether Lewis for my leader.' When it comes to assaying American history, one could say the same for Stephen Ambrose.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425165102
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 638,704
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose

Stephen E. Ambrose is Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center, retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, and president of the National D-Day Museum. He is the author of over twenty books including the bestsellers Undaunted Courage, Citizen Soldiers, and D-Day, multiple biographies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, and his compilation of 1,400 oral histories from American veterans.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Stephen Ambrose
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 10, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Whitewater, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Death:
      October 13, 2002
    2. Place of Death:
      Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

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

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2001

    An exceptional masterpiece

    In his usual style, Ambrose has written an account of major battles in which American soldiers were involved. From Grant's astouding victory in Vicksburg, Ms to the horrible Me Lei incident , Ambrose recounts the events that happened and attempts to explain why they happened. This book is easy to read and would be appreciated by all age levels. Pay particular attention to his critique of General Custer as he attempts to differentiate the myth from the reality.

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