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The Supreme Commander: The War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhower

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In North Africa, on the beaches at Normandy, and in the Battle of the Bulge, Dwight David Eisenhower proved himself as one of the world's greatest military leaders. Faced with conciliating or disagreeing with such stormy figures as Churchill, Roosevelt, and DeGaulle, and generals like Montgomery and Patton, General Eisenhower showed himself to be as skillful a diplomat as he was a strategist.

Stephen E. Ambrose, associate editor of the General's official papers, analyzes his ...

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The Supreme Commander

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In North Africa, on the beaches at Normandy, and in the Battle of the Bulge, Dwight David Eisenhower proved himself as one of the world's greatest military leaders. Faced with conciliating or disagreeing with such stormy figures as Churchill, Roosevelt, and DeGaulle, and generals like Montgomery and Patton, General Eisenhower showed himself to be as skillful a diplomat as he was a strategist.

Stephen E. Ambrose, associate editor of the General's official papers, analyzes his subject's decisions in The Supreme Commander, which Doubleday first published in 1970. Throughout the book Ambrose traces the steady development of Eisenhower's generalcy--from its dramatic beginnings through his time at the top post of Allied command.

The New York Times Book Review said of The Supreme Commander, "It is Mr. Ambrose's special triumph that he has been able to fight through the memoranda, the directives, plans, reports, and official self-serving pieties of the World War II establishment to uncover the idiosyncratic people at its center. ... General Dwight Eisenhower comes remarkably alive. ...[Ambrose's] angle of sight is so fresh and lively that one reads as if one did not know what was coming next. It is better than that: One does know what's coming next--not only the winning of a war but the making of a general--but the interest is in seeing how."

This study of Eisenhower's role in the world's biggest war is absorbing as reading and invaluable as a reference.

Stephen E. Ambrose was Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center, Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans, and president of the National D- Day Museum. He was the author of many books, most recently The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: From the Louisana Purchase to Today. His compilation of 1,400 oral histories from American veterans and authorship of over 20 books established him as one of the foremost historians of the Second World War in Europe. He died October 13, 2002, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578062065
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 732
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose
An historian whose books prompted America to regard its war veterans with newfound reverence, Stephen E. Ambrose was as prolific as he was passionate about his country. His bestsellers chronicled our nation’s critical battles and achievements, from his seminal war works D-Day and Band of Brothers to his fitting last love letter To America.


"I was ten years old when [World War II] ended," Stephen Ambrose once said. "I thought the returning veterans were giants who had saved the world from barbarism. I still think so." Years after he first watched combat footage in the newsreels, the popular historian brought fresh attention to America's aging WWII veterans through such bestselling books as Band of Brothers, about a company of U.S. paratroopers, and The Wild Blue, about the B-24 bomber pilots who flew over Germany. Though best known for his books on World War II, Ambrose also produced multi-volume biographies of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, a history of the building of the transcontinental railroad, and a fascinating account of the Lewis and Clark expedition across the American West.

As a young professor of history, Ambrose was one of many left-wing academics who spoke out against American involvement in the Vietnam War. Yet he revered the veterans of World War II, and he interviewed and wrote about them at a time when many of his colleagues considered military history old-fashioned. "The men I admire most are soldiers, sailors, professional military," Ambrose would later tell The Washington Post. "Way more than politicians."

He labored without much popular acclaim or academic renown until 1994, when his book D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II burst onto the bestseller lists. War heroism was suddenly a hot topic, and Ambrose's approach, which focused on the experiences of soldiers rather than the decisions of high command, was perfectly suited to a popular audience. More bestsellers followed, including Citizen Soldiers, The Victors and Undaunted Courage. Ambrose's vivid narrative accounts were devoured by readers and praised by critics. "The descriptions of individual ordeals on the bloody beach of Omaha make this book outstanding," wrote Raleigh Trevelyan in a New York Times review of D-Day.

Ambrose retired as a professor of history at the University of New Orleans in 1995, but he continued to write one or more books per year. He also founded the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, worked with his family-owned business organizing historical tours, and served as the historical consultant for the 1998 Steven Spielberg film Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg later turned Ambrose's Band of Brothers into an HBO miniseries.

This rise to fame was accompanied by criticism from some of Ambrose's fellow historians, who charged that he could be careless in his research and editing. In early 2002, he faced accusations of plagiarism when reporters noted that a number of phrases and sentences in his books were lifted from other works. Ambrose responded that he had forgotten to place quotation marks around some quotes, but said he had footnoted all his sources. "I always thought plagiarism meant using another person's words and ideas, pretending they were your own and profiting from it. I do not do that, never have done that and never will," he wrote in a statement on his Web site.

When he was diagnosed with lung cancer a few months later, he began work on a memoir, To America. "I want to tell all the things that are right about America," he said in an interview with the Associated Press. Ambrose died in October 2002, at the age of 66.

Good To Know

Ambrose was a star football player at the University of Wisconsin and played in the Rose Bowl, according to his friend and co-author Douglas Brinkley.

As a college sophomore, Ambrose abandoned his pre-med major for history after he attended a class on "Representative Americans" taught by professor William Hesseltine.

For more than 20 years, Ambrose and his family spent their vacations traveling portions of the Lewis and Clark Trail. They canoed the Missouri and Columbia rivers, endured soaking rains and summer snowstorms, and read from the explorers' journals at night by the light of their campfires.

Ambrose named his house in Mississippi "Merry Weather," after Meriwether Lewis. His Labrador was called Pomp, after the nickname of Sacagawea's son.

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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

Book 1 The First Two Years
Part I Washington to London [December 1941--June 1942] 3
Chapter 1 Debacle in the Pacific 7
Chapter 2 Establishing the Organization and the Strategy 20
Chapter 3 "Bolero": the Build-Up in England 36
Part II London to Gibraltar [June 1942--December 1942] 3
Chapter 4 The Theater Commander 54
Chapter 5 The Blackest Day in History 64
Chapter 6 The Transatlantic Essay Contest 78
Chapter 7 Preparing the "Torch" 97
Chapter 8 The Invasion of North Africa 111
Chapter 9 The Darlan Deal 125
Chapter 10 The First Campaign 137
Part III Opening the Mediterranean [January 1943--July 1943] 149
Chapter 11 Conference at Casablanca 150
Chapter 12 Kasserine Pass 166
Chapter 13 Climax in Tunisia 177
Chapter 14 The Local Political Mess 191
Chapter 15 Preparing "Husky": March--July 1943 205
Chapter 16 Sicily 218
Part IV The Italian Campaign [July 1943--December 1943] 235
Chapter 17 The Beginning 236
Chapter 18 The Italian Surrender Negotiations 251
Chapter 19 Salerno 267
Chapter 20 Stalemate in Italy 283
Chapter 21 The Big Appointment 295
Chapter 22 Preparing for "Overlord" 310
Chapter 23 Epilogue: Eisenhower on the Eve of "Overlord" 319
Book 2 Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force
Part I The Preparation [January 1944--June 1944] 329
Chapter 1 "We Cannot Afford to Fail" 331
Chapter 2 The "Anvil" Debate 349
Chapter 3 The Transportation Plan 363
Chapter 4 Le Grand Charles and Other Political Problems 377
Chapter 5 Worries of a Commander 392
Part II The Invasion [June 1944--September 1944] 411
Chapter 6 The Sixth of June 412
Chapter 7 Stalemate 425
Chapter 8 "Crossbow" and "Anvil" Again 442
Chapter 9 Breakout 459
Chapter 10 The Liberation of Parts 479
Chapter 11 Crossing the Seine and a New Command Structure 492
Part III The German Recovery [September 1944--December 1944] 503
Chapter 12 Arnhem and Antwerp 504
Chapter 13 Single Thrust Vs. Broad Front in Retrospect 527
Chapter 14 A Dreary Autumn 536
Chapter 15 The Bulge 553
Chapter 16 Showdown With Montgomery, De Gaulle, and Brooke 571
Chapter 17 Duties and Responsibilities 590
Part IV The Last Campaign [January 1945--May 1945] 605
Chapter 18 The Rhineland Battles 606
Chapter 19 Crossing the Rhine and a Change in Plan 618
Chapter 20 Controversy with the British 632
Chapter 21 Victory 649
Glossary 669
Note 672
Index 714
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    All Pokemon 7

    121. Spinarak- the string spit Pokemon. Using strong, thin silk to capture its prey, Spinarak will wait motionlessly for ours on end for its prey to arrive. 122. Spinda- the spot panda Pokemon. Spinda teeters back and forth when it walks, making it a difficult target to hit. Every one has a unique pattern of spots. 123. Stantler- the big horn Pokemon. You can easily become entranced by the patterns on the majestic antlers of this Pokemon. 124. Staraptor- the predator Pokemon. Since it has strong legs and wings, Staraptor thinks nothing of challenging foes bigger than itself. It flies around in flocks searching for prey. 125. Starly- the starling Pokemon. Though small, Starly can flap their wings with great power. They stay in a flock until they are Staraptors because they are vulnerable on their own. 126. Staryu- the starfish Pokemon. If it is torn or damaged in battle, the rest of Staryu can grow back as long as its red core stays intact. 127. Swellow- the swallow Pokemon. After circling the sky for hours, Swellow will dive directly at prey. They look fr the warmest climate and will bravely take on the toughest foes. 128. Tauros- the wild bull Pokemon. Very violent by nature, Tauros will attack any foe by charging head on. They are rallied for a competions to see who can stay on them the longest. 129. Tentacruel- the jellyfish Pokemon. Made mostly of water, it uses beams from its eyes. After weakening its prey with poison, Tentacruel uses its tentacles to hold its victims. 130. Torchic- the chick Pokemon. Torchic is very warm to the touch thanks to the fire burning inside of it. It is raised for meat on farms. 131. Torkoal- the ember turtle Pokemon. When in danger, Torkoal will blow out black soot generated fromthe coal it stores inside its shell. 132. Treecko- the wood gecko Pokemon. Treecko can walj on walls and ceilings by using the tiny spikes on its feet. It is a smart Pokemon. 133. Ursaring- the hibernator Pokemon. Ursaring is very territorial. It will often mark trees that have tasty berries or fruit. 134. Venomoth- the poisonmoth Pokemon. Toxic dust-like scales can fall from Venomoth's wings. Be wary before you pet this pokemon. 135. Venonat- the gnat Pokemon. Venonat's big eyes are made up of tiny little eyes. At nighttime it is drawn to light. 136. Vespiquen- the beehive Pokemon. There is only one Vespiquen in a colony and its stomach acts like a honeycomb for grubs. The grubs will strike at any foe that appears. 137. Vigoroth- the wild Pokemon. Vigoroth's heartbeat is so elevated, it can't sit still for one minute. It scratches deep gouges into prey with its two sharp claws. 138. Volbeat- the firefly Pokemon. Volbeat loves the sweet aroma that Illumise generates. It communicates with other by lighting up its rear end at night. 139. Vulpix- the young fox Pokemon. It's tail can split to make more tails and can control balls of fire. 140. Wailord- the float whale Pokemon. The massive Wailord, the biggest of them all, can dive to depths of up to ten thousand feet. It spouts water from its nose.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Highly Recommended to Read for Stephen Ambrose Fans and Fans of World War II

    Stephen Ambrose continues to not disappoint. This book gives the reader the feel of the frustrations of being the Supreme Commander of a multinational force in a theater of war. The need to way every decision on what is not military sound and necessary but the political ramifications as well; not only for his only country, but for the British as well. A must read for anyone who loves World War II and the study of General Eisenhower.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2003


    This book was hard to get into. It gave alot of information, which is why it was too boring. I would recomend if you are looking for facts about Eisenhower, but not if you are looking for an action packed acount.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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