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Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible Hardcover – February 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0471739050 ISBN-10: 0471739057 Edition: 1st

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Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible + The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach + September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471739057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471739050
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 101st Airborne's legendary defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge hinged on small groups of outnumbered American soldiers slowing the German advance, argues McManus in this spirited account of December 16–20, 1944, before the 101st arrived. By that time, Hitler knew that stopping the Russians was hopeless, but gambled that a crushing blow to the Allies might win a negotiated peace. His plan pivoted on the capture of Bastogne in two days, with German forces moving in fast before their advantage of surprise and local superiority in forces evaporated. Hitler believed American forces would crumble at the massive onslaught—and many units did flee or surrender. But McManus (The Americans at D-Day) makes an excellent case that victory came down to a dozen units battling against overwhelming odds until, after four days of brutal attrition, the remnants straggled into Bastogne to join the newly arrived 101st. Like all good niche military history, the book describes small unit actions in detail. Soldiers who ran away left few records, so almost everyone here fights bravely. By focusing on a less familiar period, McManus makes a modest but original contribution to the vast WWII literature. 20 b&w photos. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In World War II's Battle of the Bulge, the storied surrounding of American by German troops at Bastogne was preceded by a delaying action. Military historian McManus recounts this initial phase of the battle with graphic attention to the combat sustained by the American troops unfortunate enough to stand in the path of the main German offensive. Units such as the 110th Regiment (about 3,500 soldiers) were essentially destroyed, and McManus has diligently researched their surviving records to restore their significance in the larger history of the battle. He pulls the information together in relating, at a detail scale of individual soldiers and tanks, the fighting that accumulated into the punishment meted out to the 110th Regiment. Departing its trauma with the capture of its commanding colonel, McManus examines the ensuing course of the retreat--resistance on the perimeter of Bastogne by hastily assembled American forces. McManus' intent focus may finely tune his appeal, yet the Bulge at large is a perennially popular topic with the WWII readership. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Excellent book, well researched and written!!
Richard Milligan
This book is a good account of the men who fought and died trying to slow down the German Army in the Ardennes in the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.
R. Mardis
In general the book follows a chronological format, which works well to tell the story McManus wishes to convey.
Mannie Liscum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mannie Liscum on May 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John McManus is establishing himself as one of the leading scholars in the Second World War genre. With his latest book, "Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible", McManus scores a solid hit, both in terms of enjoyable and readable prose, and relative to filling a void in the historical literature. Many WWII-oriented books of late have subtitles including the words "The Untold Story..." and too few live up to their own hype. By contrast, McManus' book does in fact tell an otherwise untold (at least as a complete narrative limited to the Bastogne corridor) story. This fact alone makes "Alamo in the Ardennes" worthy of a read by anyone interested in the Battle of the Bulge, since all are familiar with the stand of the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne - this gallant action is branded in the American psyche - but few likely have a good picture of how American forces already in Belgium slowed the German drive sufficiently to provide enough time for the praised (deserved) 101st to get from their base in Mourmelon, France to the critical crossroads town of Bastogne in order to defend against the eventual siege. In fact, as McManus argues, the actions of the US Army in the Bastogne corridor likely determined that the eventual siege of Bastogne was in fact a siege instead of a Blitz through the region as might have occurred had the Germans reached Bastogne early in strength.

The central characters in "Alamo in the Ardennes" are the combat soldiers of the 28th ('Bloodybucket') Infantry Division, Combat Command Reserve (CCR) of the 9th Armored Division, and Combat Command B (CCB) of the 10th Armored Division.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jerry S on June 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
While I don't usually like books that are entitled "The Untold Story of..., this one actually produces. I have read a of books on WW2, and in particular, on the battle of the bulge. My interest heightened when I found I had a family member who fought in the battle, but who I was unable to talk to about it before he passed.

Though many books have been written on the battle, none seem to really get it all together. Three have been written recently that don't attempt to cover the whole battle, but focus on the events surrounding smaller units, or even individual soldiers, and what the battle was like for them.
These three recent books are "Eleven Days in December", "The Longest Winter", and now "Alamo In The Ardennes. All just great books fully worthy of your time, but Alamo is a little different in that it attempts to give credit to the 28th Division for saving Bastogne, perhaps even more so than that of the 101st Airborne, the unit usually, and correctly, given most of the credit for the epic stand that broke the German offensive.

Read this excellently written book and you might tend to agree that the 28th deserves at least as much credit as the more famous 101st. You will also get probably as close as you ever will, from the written word, to underestanding what it was like for our 19 and 20 year old citizen soldiers caught in one of the most vicious battles of WW2. Were the young men of these divisions part of our greatest generation? Absolutely, they could have written that book themselves.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Groen VINE VOICE on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like to read what American soldiers experienced during World War II and specifically during the the Battle of the Bulge, this book is for you. This book has so many detailed anecdotes about the experiences of US soldiers that it is impossible to relate even a portion of them here. However, here is just one example. Like his previous books, as you are reading this, you can sense the fear that the soldiers felt as the German tanks approached them. You can feel that you are there with them as they shiver with cold and fear, with only an M1 rifle, a bazooka and their buddies, many of whom are getting shot up, in their foxholes as the Panther tanks approach them, running over their foxholes. You can sense their fear as the tanks stop over the foxholes. If the tank is destroyed here, then they burn with it. Although certainly you aren't there, thank God, this is the closest that I've been brought to the real experiences of the US soldier. Consequently, I highly recommend this book for any reader interested in what US soldiers experienced in the World War II and especially in the Battle of the Bulge
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By RLS on August 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a Pennsylvanian and the son of a member of the 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Division, I've long been familiar with the state's National Guard division history in both World Wars. This book is the best I've found to focus on the unit's major role in the Battle of the Bulge. Great details of their valiant stand against overwhelming German forces. With close-up descriptions of what the soldiers experienced, often in their own words, McManus has authored an important work for anyone interested in the face of battle as seen from the foxhole. Very good look at the tactics officers and men utilized to hold back the German attack "at all costs."
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Smith on July 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My father was a rifleman in G Co, 109th in the 28th during the Huertgen Forest and The Bulge. For years he had told me how thin the lines were, how they kept reporting the German movements, the confusion on the morning of the 16th and how our patrols had passed Germans patrols with neither side firing at each other in the weeks before. For years his story was not the one written in the history books. "To Save Bastogne" was the closest book I had read. Until now. While it doesn't discuss the 109th as much as I would like, it is far better than anything I've found. Before reading this book, you should be familiar with the broad outlines of the war in Europe, the situation in the fall of 1944 and the geography of the Ardennes region. You will not be disappointed.
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