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Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaigns of France and Germany, 1944-45 Paperback – June 22, 1981

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Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaigns of France and Germany, 1944-45 + Closing With the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-1945 (Modern War Studies)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 832 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Reprint edition (June 22, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253206081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253206084
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The publication of Eisenhower's Lieutenants is an event of significance in American military writing... admirable ... clearly the product of exhaustive, painstaking research." --The New York Times Book Review " ... the best account we have of the World War II campaigns from Normandy to the Elbe." --American Historical Review " ... precisely informative and broadly rewarding." --Kirkus Reviews " ... an outstanding and highly recommended work." --Journal of American History " ... by the dean of American military historians ... " - Washington Post Bookworld

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
This is one of the best books on the Allied European campaign.
This is the most complete, single source tactical summary I've been able to find.
Dave Schranck
It's the best book with an overall perspective that I've read.
John A. Lefcourte

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave Schranck on September 3, 2009
Verified Purchase
Mr Weigley, a noted academic and author of several other books on WWII, has written an impressive summary of the closing months of the war in the west. This book is suitable for both interested new students and experienced readers for it contains a wealth of information and insight on a critical campaign. You will not only learn about the key events of the day but you will see how well key people did in prosecuting the war.

The author begins by explaining US war doctrine which was greatly influenced by General McNair. The doctrine was based primarily on our experiences in the Civil War and WWI and it ignores the realities of the strength and habits the Germans had shown since the start of the war and what the Soviets were showing since 1943. I found our war doctrine to be confused and outdated. After further discussion of the US and German armies, the author begins his operational coverage with the D-Day landings and diligently works his way to the German surrender in May 1945. The coverage is predominately American but from time to time the 21st Army Group is discussed. There is also much discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton and Montgomery but also of 20 other key commanders. The discussion involves their performance on the battlefield as well as how they got along with their fellow officers. There is also coverage on the usefulness of artillery and air power in support of the ground troops as well as an entity unto themselves.

This is the most complete, single source tactical summary I've been able to find. It shows the hardship of the landing and the first week moving off the beach, fighting through the hedgerows, St Lo, Operation Cobra, the drive through Brittany, Mortain, Falaise, the crossing of the Seine etc, etc.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deane A. Nelson on March 17, 2006
Excellent book on the overall ground campaign in Europe during WWII and the generals involved. This book could have been a doctoral dissertation because of the numerous footnotes. It was meticulously researched. If nothing else it should be used a source for reference to other sources.

When Dwight Eisenhower rated his Lieutenant Generals in the beginning of 1945, he gave them the following rank; 1,2 Omar Bradley, Carl Spaatz, 3. Bedell Smith, 4. George Patton, 5. Mark Clark, 6. Lucien Truscott, 7. Jimmy Doolittle, 8. Walter Gerow, 9. Lawton Collins, 10. Alexander Patch, 11. Courtney Hodges, 12. William Simpson. There have been many books written some of the generals and particularly on Bradley and Patton, but there have been a dearth of popular books on the other generals that contributed to the victory in WWII. The author brings he rest of the generals into perspective.

This book is basically a excellent massive tome on the European Theatre in WWII within an overall backdrop of the generals involved in the ground campaign theatre; particularly on Bradley, Patton and Montgomery. (Because of the focus on the ground campaign there is scant reference to Spaatz and Doolittle.) He then delves into the corps commanders and how they implemented the tactics. If the book was just about the generals' attitudes, approach, and interaction it would have been one third as long.

The vast majority of the book is an objective account of the campaign but the author adds his subjective analysis that is some times critical and sometimes laudatory of the generals' actions. He recognizes the contribution of artillery arm of the army and the spotty success of airborne programs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cpt matt VINE VOICE on August 9, 2010
This book was published in 1981, but stands the test of time very well. Professor Russell Weigley (RIP) from Temple University wrote a very detailed analysis of the Allied Leadership on the western front from 1944-45. Relying on the words of the principles from diaries and other official sources of the time, Weigley argues that the Allies won by weight of mass and material as opposed to a well executed strategy. He is clearly more impressed with the firepower, tactics and resistance of the German Wermacht than the US or British forces.

Whether or not you agree with Weigley, he certainly backs up his positions with facts, figures and dates. In addition to providing an overview of the Armies, he traces the battles of Normandy, liberation of France and conquest of Germany. I rated the book four stars - at times, it can bog down with this unit then did that or that unit attacked this unit, the maps could have been better.

Although Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton, Bradley and others tried to paint a picture of harmony and cooperation during the war, of course, the facts are different. Huge egos, national interests and honest mistakes led to the war taking longer than perhaps it should have. Logistical problems after the landings of Normandy, exploiting the breakthrough better, the single thrust to conquer Germany vs. the broad front strategy, the capture of Berlin or not are key controversies covered.

Serious reading, must reading for all of those interested in the defeat of Germany, the coalition war of WW2. This book provides great insight into what happened and why. I highly recommend Eisenhower's Lieutenants.
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