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To Conquer Hell by Edward G. Lengel

To Conquer Hell (2008)

by Edward G. Lengel

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Kriemhilde Stellung ( )
  librarianbryan | Apr 20, 2012 |
Edward Lengel offers an excellent portrayal of the conditions of battle facing the Doughboys during the Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918. I was surprised to learn how much poison gas was used by both sides as a routine weapon. He makes clear how the "attack at all costs" approach of Pershing and other inexperienced American general officers led to many thousands of unnecessary American casualties. I also liked his final chapter dealing with veterans and their return to an America that was ready to forget about the war. I would have rated this book much higher except for the frustration of trying to follow the action across only a few maps scattered throughout the book. ( )
  jrtanworth | Feb 25, 2010 |
While Lengel claims that he's not trying to produce a "full-scale operational history" of the battle in question, he has produced what seems like a fine synthesis of the best secondary material to give a coherent account of an unusually chaotic event. As for Lengel's personal touch, I certainly appreciate his lack of patience for personalities suffering from a surfeit of ego and theatrical posturing. Lengel also does a good job of capturing the regional flavor of the units that made up the AEF. If I have one particular gripe it's that formal orders of battle for the U.S. 1st Army and the German Army Group von Gallwitz would have been helpful, though perhaps not essential in a popular history. ( )
1 vote Shrike58 | May 27, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805079319, Hardcover)

The authoritative, dramatic, and previously untold story of the bloodiest battle in American history: the epic fight for the Meuse-Argonne in World War I
On September 26, 1918, more than one million American soldiers prepared to assault the German-held Meuse-Argonne region of France. Their commander, General John J. Pershing, believed in the superiority of American "guts" over barbed wire, machine guns, massed artillery, and poison gas. In thirty-six hours, he said, the Doughboys would crack the German defenses and open the road to Berlin. Six weeks later, after savage fighting across swamps, forests, towns, and rugged hills, the battle finally ended with the signing of the armistice that concluded the First World War. The Meuse-Argonne had fallen, at the cost of more than 120,000 American casualties, including 26,000 dead. In the bloodiest battle the country had ever seen, an entire generation of young Americans had been transformed forever. To Conquer Hell is gripping in its accounts of combat, studded with portraits of remarkable soldiers like Pershing, Harry Truman, George Patton, and Alvin York, and authoritative in presenting the big picture. It is military history of the first rank and, incredibly, the first in-depth account of this fascinating and important battle.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:25 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An authoritative chronicle of the 1918 battle of the Meuse-Argonne region of France details the bloodiest battle in American history and offers an in-depth account of the campaign and its long-term legacy for the Great War and the American military.

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