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Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany Paperback – September 24, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0684848013 ISBN-10: 0684848015

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Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany + D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches + Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 24, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684848015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684848013
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (414 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Military historian and author Ambrose offers a sequel to his best seller, D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II (LJ 5/1/94). A skillful blending of eyewitness accounts (gathered mostly from the oral history collection at the Univ. of New Orleans's Eisenhower Center and from personal interviews) gives the reader an intimate feel of what war was like for infantrymen in the European theater of operations?from the beaches of France to victory at the Elbe River. Additional chapters on the air war, medics, and prisoners of war offer firsthand accounts on topics rarely described in traditional histories. The book complements Paul Fussell's Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic (LJ 8/96) and Michael Daubler's Closing with the Enemy: How G.I.'s Fought the War in Europe, 1944-45 (Univ. of Kansas, 1994). This well-written oral history would also make an excellent general text. Highly recommended for all library collections.?Richard S. Nowicki, Emerson Vocational H.S., Buffalo, N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage.He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

Customer Reviews

Really makes one appreciate the incredible sacrifices the greatest generation gave to us.
Terry Campbell
I know there is no way to even fathom the feelings felt by the soldiers, but this book does a good job in making you feel like you are watching from the side.
Mark Cole
Overall this is a very good book, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in World War II.
Veydog

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
No one has been more prolific or entertaining in his efforts to bring the gritty, unit-level personal experiences of the Allied drive from Normandy into Germany to the public's attention than Stephen Ambrose. In his series of books including "D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War Two", "Band Of Brothers", "The Victors", and "Citizen Soldiers", he has masterfully employed a little-known treasure trove of personal interviews with thousands of Allied soldiers to marshal an absolutely absorbing, captivating, and insightful treatise on the nature of combat as experienced by the men and women in the forefront of action as it transpired all along the front.
In this volume he concentrates on the drive from Normandy all the way into the heart of Germany, and covering as much ground as the Allies conquered in that fateful year is a considerable accomplishment. This makes for fascinating and entertaining reading. A great deal of ground is covered, from the consolidation of the beachheads in Normandy to the relatively quick liberation of Paris, from the ill-fated Operation Market-Garden assault into Holland in September to the disastrous bloodbath in Omar Bradley's catastrophic excursion into the Hurtigen Forest, from the desperate clashes around Bastogne in the wintry Battle of the Bulge to the long, costly drive that unusually cold and snowy winter into Germany itself. As a result, we don't find the level of detail or strict chronology he employed in "D-Day", for example, or the kind of comprehensive coverage of specific events like the Battle of the Bulge that one finds in books like John Toland's "Battle".
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ambrose is a master of well-documented historical non-fiction. His portrait of foot soldiers in WWII Europe is loaded with details about combat that only those who have been there can know. These details describing the terror, misery, and unexpected aspects of war gleaned from hundreds of interviews of ordinary soldiers give the book a depth and breadth not found in any other WWII account I've ever read. Ambrose artfully entwines these many short firsthand stories around the larger historical narrative of the allied liberation of Western Europe from D-Day to VE-Day.
I'm sure this book, because of its faithful portrayal of reality, will appeal to those who were there as well as those who were not. For me it brought to life the adventure as well as the overwhelming fear and hardships that my own father must have lived through as a soldier in Patton's army in North Africa and post D-Day Europe. I imagine the stories he never told would have been much like the hundreds of stories in this outstanding book. I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially when comparing it to Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation." Brokaw's book is interesting and enjoyable but shallow compared to Ambrose's far more thorough account. Both books are good reading, but if I could only choose one of them, "Citizen Soldiers" wins hands down. It will give you an deep and abiding appreciation of what the WWII generation did for our nation and the world at great cost to themselves.
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75 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Whether you loved the film "Saving Private Ryan" or hated it, there is no doubt that it had a major cultural impact in reviving public interest in WWII. As a huge military history buff, I have not seen such a wonderful cornucopia of new and re-released books on a single subject, WWII, since the big Civil War craze that followed the success of Ken Burns' documentary.
Like that Civil War craze, the current popular interest in WWII has seen the release of some truly great books, some mediocre ones, and just plain wasted pulp. "Citizen Soldiers" fits somewhere in between great and mediocre. It is well-written, has some terrific stories, and provides a nice introduction to people who are new to the field of military history.
The problem with the book is Ambrose. Ambrose has become the unofficial "WWII expert" in American popular culture. His name will be seen on the forwards of new WWII books. His face and pleasant voice used for documentaries or interviews. He has, in fact, become the WWII equivilent to the Civil War craze's Shelby Foote. Ambrose is a good writer; but an average historian. "Citizen Soldiers" is nothing more than a collection of secondary source material and the recollections of old veterans. Interesting reading to be sure; but lazily researched history. Also Ambrose's jingoism and hero worship(especially of Eisenhower which is seen in virtually all of his WWII books) can get a little tiresome, especially knowing that he is a professional historian and not a novelist turned amateur historian like Foote. If a reader really wants to know what it was like to be a combat soldier in the ETO check out "Company Commander" by Charles MacDonald or "The Clay Pigeons of St. Lo" by Glover Johns.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. Benz on March 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Incredibly readable, gripping story.
This book made an indelible impression on me because of the way the author described the physical environment in which these men, Americans and Germans alike, fought for their lives and their comrades.
The author provides a fairly succinct explanation of what transpired on the tactical and operational levels in Western Europe after D-Day. For example, the book cleared up my sketchy understanding of what actually took place during the Battle of the Bulge.
More importantly, through hundreds of interviews including, among others, Pvt Kurt Vonnegut, Mr. Ambrose shows us what we could never really imagine what it must have been like fighting our way across France, Belgium, and Germany. Never before have I experienced such a vivid, lucid (if one could be) description of the bitter cold, the mud, the confusion, and the fear.
Finally, while providing a candid, relatively unbiased view of the war from certain German soldiers' perspectives, he also shows us the pure, unmasked evil of the SS, the Hitler Youth, and the Nazi propaganda machine that brainwashed a generation.
This book de-glorifies war while glorifying the valor of the soldiers who fight. Also recommended: "With the Old Breed" by E.B. Sledge, and "Goodbye Darkness" by William Manchester. These books provide an equally gripping account of WWII in the Pacific from the Marines' perspective.
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