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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
America's preeminent military historian, Stephen E. Ambrose brings us two gripping books on World War II combat — told from the perspective of the noble men and women who fought the battles. Citizen Soldiers, a New York Times bestseller, follows the individual characters of this brutal war from the high command down to the ordinary soldier. The Victors traces the war from D-Day to the end, 11 months later, and includes stories of bloody battles, raids, and acts of courage and suffering.
In Citizen Soldiers, Ambrose — who was a consultant for Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" — takes us to the World War II battlefields of western Europe to track a year in the life of U.S. GIs as they fought their way off the beaches of Normandy and across the Rhine into Germany. The author's uncanny ability to tell a compelling story without compromising the facts or his critical eye comes through as strongly as ever.
Citizen Soldiers weaves several stories together: There is the large, strategic plan to defeat Germany, the story of the leaders who planned the advancement and battles, the tales of the units who spent months in the coldest winter in 40 years, and the personal tales of individual soldiers whose commitment and bravery, according to Ambrose, were the deciding factor in the war. Although the canvas is broad, the focus is on the GIs in the trenches and the stunning hardships they endured. To make his narrative more personal, Ambrose draws on extensive interviews with veterans from both sides of thebattleswho saw the Allied troops push the Germans back to Germany and ultimately force them to surrender. As always, Ambrose's history is not bland hagiography but a critical and thoughtful narrative.
The Victors, a one-volume history of World War II from D-Day to Berlin, draws from Ambrose's bestselling accounts Eisenhower, Pegasus Bridge (the first engagement of D-Day), Band of Brothers (about E Company, from Normandy to Germany), D-Day, and Citizen Soldiers. As always, Ambrose's attention is on the ordinary men who fought, endured, and won.
The Victors begins with the preparation and training of the Allied armies and moves on to describe Eisenhower's decision to cross the English Channel to capture the Normandy beaches on D-Day and the men who pulled it off. It covers the bitter winter of 1944 and the horrible battles on the drive to conquer Germany. At the center of this epic drama are the citizen soldiers, the boys who became men as they fought and proved eventually unbeatable. The Victors displays Ambrose's scholarship and authority, his readability, and his powerful love and admiration for these young men, all of the qualities that make his books so popular.