Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II Through Iraq

Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II Through Iraq

by John C. McManus


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Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II Through Iraq by John C. McManus

“A superb book—an American equivalent to John Keegan’s The Face of Battle. I sincerely believe that Grunts is destined to be a classic.”—Dave Grossman, Author of On Killing and On Combat

From the acclaimed author of The Dead and Those About to Die comes a sweeping narrative of six decades of combat, and an eye-opening account of the evolution of the American infantry.
From the beaches of Normandy and the South Pacific Islands to the deserts of the Middle East, the American soldier has been the most indispensable—and most overlooked—factor in wartime victory. In Grunts, renowned historian John C. McManus examines ten critical battles—from Hitler’s massive assault on U.S. soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge to counterinsurgency combat in Iraq—where the skills and courage of American troops proved the crucial difference between victory and defeat.
Based on years of research and interviews with veterans, this powerful history reveals the ugly face of war in a way few books have, and demonstrates the fundamental, and too often forgotten, importance of the human element in serving and protecting the nation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451233417
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/02/2011
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 546,929
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die, Alamo in the Ardennes, and September Hope: The American Side of A Bridge Too Far, earned a PhD in American and Military History from the University of Tennessee, where he served as Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society and was a Normandy Scholar. As a leading authority on the Normandy invasion, he holds a Cantigny First Division Museum Fellowship. He is currently a full professor of U.S. Military History at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he teaches a variety of courses, including one on World War II and another on the Modern American Combat Experience. He also serves as the official historian for the United States Army’s Seventh Infantry Regiment.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Facing Our Fears 1

Chapter 1 Guam, July 1944: Amphibious Combat Against a Self-Destructive Enemy 15

Chapter 2 Peleliu, September 1944: Amphibious Combat Against a Clever, Defensive-Minded Enemy 52

Chapter 3 Aachen, 1944: Knocking 'Em All Down on a Politically Unrestrained Urban Battlefield 103

Chapter 4 Scenes from the Northern Shoulder of the Bulge: Men Against Tanks and Everything Else 129

Chapter 5 Operation Masher/White Wing: Air Mobility, Attrition, and the Big-Unit Grunts of Vietnam 174

Chapter 6 Counterinsurgency from the Barrel of a Gun: The Marine Combined Action Platoons 207

Chapter 7 Attrition and the Tears of Autumn: Dak To, November 1967 242

Chapter 8 Eleven Mikes and Eleven Bravos: Infantry Moments in the Ultimate Techno-War 307

Chapter 9 Grunts in the City: Urban Combat and Politics-Fallujah, 2004 335

Chapter 10 "Watch Out for IEDs!": Twenty-First-Century Counterinsurgent Warfare Through the Eyes of One Infantry Regiment in Iraq 406

Epilogue: A Plea for Change 440

Acknowledgments 445

Bibliography 449

Endnotes 459

Index 508

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Urging better recognition of the critical role and central importance of the combat soldier, without whom he says no nation can be safe or strong... full of valuable insights."

"...another demonstration of [John C. McManus's] skill at narrating infantry combat... Both readable and persuasive."

"A superb book-an American equivalent to John Keegan's The Face of Battle. I sincerely believe that Grunts is destined to be a classic...It's a powerful look into the hearts and minds of the American 'grunt,' the infantryman, the marine, the frontline warrior who exists at the crux of war, and is the true heart and soul of warfare."
-Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (ret.), author of On Killing and On Combat

"A superbly written, highly fitting tribute to the courage and sacrifice of the unsung heroes who have shouldered the main burden of horrific combat-and suffered the lion's share of casualties-while fighting America's wars. McManus captures-with gritty, 'muddy boot' authenticity-the horrors of the real war fought by America's frontline soldiers and Marines. Reading Grunts is the closest you will get to experiencing actual infantry combat without getting shot at."
-Jerry D. Morelock, Ph.D., Col. U.S. Army, (Ret.), and Editor in Chief of Armchair General

"From Banzai charges on Pacific Islands to bombs in the streets of Baghdad, Grunts plunges us into the hellish, heroic world of the American Infantryman. This powerful book drives home the unfiltered ferocity of combat- and both the comradeship and loneliness of the soldier or Marine who pays the butcher's bill for plans concocted by men he'll never meet. When all of the new technologies have been exhausted, the infantryman's timeless lot is still to face death at close quarters. Author John C. McManus makes it shatteringly real, and Grunts is hypnotic history writing: honest, savage, heartbreaking and, ultimately, inspiring."
-Ralph Peters, Fox News Strategic Analyst and author of The War After Armageddon

"A literary and historical achievement of the highest order, Grunts illuminates the experience of the American GI better than any book I have read in years. Using battles such as Peleliu and Fallujah, John McManus brilliantly proves, using the participants' own words, that the American warrior, not technology, wins wars."
-Patrick K. O'Donnell, author of Give Me Tomorrow

"Too frequently historians take humanity out of war. McManus skillfully puts man back into the history of America's recent wars, reminding us that man is still the determining factor."
-Adrian R. Lewis, Professor, University of Kansas

"John C. McManus's Grunts contains some of the most vivid accounts of close combat ever recorded in literature. The reader has the sense of being actually present in the battles. His descriptions show precise details of combat at the closest personal levels and with absolute authenticity."
-Bevin Alexander, combat historian in the Korean War and author of Inside the Nazi War Machine

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