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Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the…

Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to… (1997)

by Stephen E. Ambrose

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its was okay...kind of dense. ( )
  Greg_Hunt | Dec 30, 2016 |
Really a sequel to "D Day", this books starts on June 7 1944 and covers the history of the European theater of WW II until the German surrender. It's told, though, from the perspective of the soldiers themselves more than from the command level. Ambrose's thesis is pretty clear from early on: the heroism and initiative of regular GIs was a huge factor in the victory over Germany. And wow, he really does leave the reader feeling what it's like buried in a foxhole in the winter of 1944-45, which sounds all different kinds of awful.

Ambrose covers the commanders too, and we get a little feel for Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, and Montgomery and some of their petty (and not so petty) differences. But the real focus is on the guys on the front lines.

As with D Day, my biggest problem is that the maps are inadequate and it's really hard to follow the overall strategic situation unless you have an extensive knowledge in your head of European geography, which I don't. Then again, the point is that these strategic details are less important than the stories told by the junior officers and enlisted men on the lines. Fair enough.

Truly the "Greatest Generation". ( )
2 vote DanTarlin | Dec 12, 2015 |
The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany. The US Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the surrender of Germany - June 7, 1944 - May 7, 1945.

From the bestselling author of Undaunted Courage and D-Day, the definitive book on the most important day of World War II, comes the inspiring story of the ordinary men of the U.S. Army in northwest Europe from the day after D-Day until the end of the bitterrest days of the war.
Citizen Soldiers opens at 0001 hours, June


From the high command (including Eisenhower, Bradley. and Patton) on down to the enlisted men, Stephen E. Ambrose draws on hundreds of interviews and oral histories from men on both sides who were there. Ambrose once again recreates the experiences of the individuals who fought the battles. The women who served as nurses, secretaries, clerks, code-breakers, and flyers are part of the narrative, as are the Germans who fought against us. Within the chronological story, there are chapters on medics, nurses, and doctors; on the quartermasters; on replacements; on what it was like to spend a night on the front lines; on sad sacks, cowards, and criminals; on Christmas 1944; on weapons of all kinds.

Ambrose reveals the learning process of a great army -- how to cross rivers, how to fight in snow or hedgerows, how to fight in cities, how to coordinate air and ground campaigns, how to fight in winter and on the defensive, how citizens become soldiers in the best army in the world. Ambrose evokes the suffering of warfare, fighting in the cold and wet, gruesome wounds, combat exhaustion, looting, shooting prisoners, random destruction and more. Throughout, the perspective is that of the enlisted men and junior officers. Even when writing about Ike, Monty, Patton, and Bradley, Ambrose does so from the point of view of the men in the front lines and focuses on how the decisions of the brass affected them.

Citizen Soldiers is a biography of the U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations, June 7, 1944, to May 7, 1945. Allied citizen soldiers overcame their fear and inexperience, the mistakes of the high command, and the enemy to win the war. Once again, Stephen E. Ambrose shows that free men fight better than slaves, that the sons of democracy proved to be better soldiers than the sons of Nazi Germany. ( )
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  Tutter | Feb 21, 2015 |
This book covers some very well covered territory - the US Army in Europe from D-Day to the end of the war in Europe. It appears to be very well researched and quite thorough. However, having recently read David Atkinson, Jeff Shaara and Cornelius Ryan books that cover the same period, I felt it suffered by comparison. The Atkinson book is more thorough, better written and just as well researched. The Shaara book is much better getting across the personalities of both the leaders and the individual troops. For what its worth, while I thought this was good, you'd better off reading one of the others if you are already somewhat familiar with the material. At times I felt Ambrose veers off into personal opinion in areas where it wasn't warranted. Still, as a history of the US Army in 1944-1945, this is a worthy history. It brings up some subjects that aren't covered as well by the others, particularly some supply issues and equipment issues. This may be an unfair comparison as the Rick Atkinson book just came out in 2014, but I preferred Atkinson. ( )
1 vote Karlstar | May 25, 2014 |
This book gave me a real education of the GI's experiences during WWII in the European Theater of Operations. The only thing I found lacking was the descriptions of those in tanks. We read of all other specalties but this. My Dad was one man in the tanks (and shot out of 3), but sadly, now that I'm interested, he is no longer living. He never talked of the war, except for his joyful time hosted by hospitable Belgians.

I wish this book could be read by every high school or college student so the real history of the heroes of our nation might be learned, and maybe appreciated. One cannot read this without admiring the moral high ground most of these heroes took to uphold our countrymen's virtues. ( )
1 vote Patbilly | Apr 29, 2014 |
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First light came to Ste. Mere Eglise around 0510.  Twenty four hours earlier, it had been just another Norman village, with more than a millennium behind it.  By nightfall of June 6, it was a name known around the world, the village where the invasion began and now headquarters for the 82nd Airborne Division.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684848015, Paperback)

Stephen E. Ambrose combines history and journalism to describe how American GIs battled their way to the Rhineland. He focuses on the combat experiences of ordinary soldiers, as opposed to the generals who led them, and offers a series of compelling vignettes that read like an enterprising reporter's dispatches from the front lines. The book presents just enough contextual material to help readers understand the big picture, and includes memorable accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and other events as seen through the weary eyes of the men who fought in the foxholes. Highly recommended for fans of Ambrose, as well as all readers interested in understanding the life of a 1940s army grunt. A sort of sequel to Ambrose's bestselling 1994 book D-Day, Citizen Soldiers is more than capable of standing on its own.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:08 -0400)

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Compact discs.Ambrose tells the story of what faced the U.S. Army after the Normandy invasion of World War II. Told largely through personal accounts, Citizen Soldiers captures the stunning reality of the citizens who summoned the courage to become soldiers and save the world.

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