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Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II Through Iraq Kindle Edition

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Length: 531 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The author of the fine history of the 7th Infantry Regiment returns with another demonstration of his skill at narrating infantry combat. He offers a historical retrospective, contrasting different types of battle in which American “grunts” have been engaged. We have the easy victory on Guam in 1944, against poorly-organized Japanese, and the bloody slugging match against dug-in Japanese on Peleliu. The battle for the German city of Aachen in 1944 features the free and decisive use of superior American firepower, while more recently in Falujah, Iraq political constraints added to our casualties. Similarly, the Marine Combined Action Platoons are contrasted with larger and often less-effective operations. The book is clearly intended as an argument for a strong presence of well-trained infantry operating “up close and personal” with heavier firepower available as support but not substitute. Both readable and persuasive. --Roland Green


"Urging better recognition of the critical role and central importance of the combat soldier, without whom he says no nation can be safe or strong... full of valuable insights."

"...another demonstration of [John C. McManus's] skill at narrating infantry combat... Both readable and persuasive."

"A superb book-an American equivalent to John Keegan's The Face of Battle. I sincerely believe that Grunts is destined to be a classic...It's a powerful look into the hearts and minds of the American 'grunt,' the infantryman, the marine, the frontline warrior who exists at the crux of war, and is the true heart and soul of warfare."
-Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (ret.), author of On Killing and On Combat

"A superbly written, highly fitting tribute to the courage and sacrifice of the unsung heroes who have shouldered the main burden of horrific combat-and suffered the lion's share of casualties-while fighting America's wars. McManus captures-with gritty, 'muddy boot' authenticity-the horrors of the real war fought by America's frontline soldiers and Marines. Reading Grunts is the closest you will get to experiencing actual infantry combat without getting shot at."
-Jerry D. Morelock, Ph.D., Col. U.S. Army, (Ret.), and Editor in Chief of Armchair General

"From Banzai charges on Pacific Islands to bombs in the streets of Baghdad, Grunts plunges us into the hellish, heroic world of the American Infantryman. This powerful book drives home the unfiltered ferocity of combat- and both the comradeship and loneliness of the soldier or Marine who pays the butcher's bill for plans concocted by men he'll never meet. When all of the new technologies have been exhausted, the infantryman's timeless lot is still to face death at close quarters. Author John C. McManus makes it shatteringly real, and Grunts is hypnotic history writing: honest, savage, heartbreaking and, ultimately, inspiring."
-Ralph Peters, Fox News Strategic Analyst and author of The War After Armageddon

"A literary and historical achievement of the highest order, Grunts illuminates the experience of the American GI better than any book I have read in years. Using battles such as Peleliu and Fallujah, John McManus brilliantly proves, using the participants' own words, that the American warrior, not technology, wins wars."
-Patrick K. O'Donnell, author of Give Me Tomorrow

"Too frequently historians take humanity out of war. McManus skillfully puts man back into the history of America's recent wars, reminding us that man is still the determining factor."
-Adrian R. Lewis, Professor, University of Kansas

"John C. McManus's Grunts contains some of the most vivid accounts of close combat ever recorded in literature. The reader has the sense of being actually present in the battles. His descriptions show precise details of combat at the closest personal levels and with absolute authenticity."
-Bevin Alexander, combat historian in the Korean War and author of Inside the Nazi War Machine

Product Details

  • File Size: 4623 KB
  • Print Length: 531 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; Reprint edition (July 22, 2010)
  • Publication Date: August 3, 2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,681 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My father was a sergeant in the army and flew 63 missions in WWII. To the end of his long career when anyone raised their eyebrows in awe at his decorations and wanted to hear tales of glory; he said we just helped the ground pounders win the war - always has been them - always will.
John McManus illustrates and reiterates this philosophy throughout Grunts; he gives, many times the examples of how the infantry moves, occupies, touches and influences the population. Yet with any improved weaponry, even as far back as chariots and the longbows of England the thought has been that the new technology would sweep the need for foot soldiers off of the battlefield. Time and time again, even in the battles of today it has been shown that victory comes from the ground pounders not machines.

`Grunts' describes 10 battles: Guam, Peleliu, Aachen, the Bulge, Operation Masher- Vietnam, Marine Combined Action Patrols, Dak To, Infantry in the Gulf War, Fallujah, counterinsurgency in Iraq. It is a selected history; these are specific battles and units that sometime miss the big picture, but does give good examples once you have read through them. The mistakes, of higher command, which are many and sometimes infuriating are told. There are many truths that are usually overlooked in historical accounts, such as the fact that naval bombardments do not really kill the enemy waiting for the invasion force.

Much of what has been told to and investigated by McManus should be fascinating to readers interested in warfare and military history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Loher on September 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. John C. McManus does a great job in his newest book of putting you right beside the soldier. He also helps us get inside the minds of those fighting for our freedom and protection, yet giving us a glimpse at how the soldier battles to stay grounded with the home and families they've left behind. Another fine book from this outstanding author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Speers on February 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is another in the line of histories that seek, as John Keegan's Face of Battle did some years ago, to explicate for the reader what infantry combat is like. When McManus describes the different kinds of battles American infantry has fought (Guam: combat against a poorly-prepared Japanese enemy; Peleliu: combat against a well-prepared enemy, and Vietnam, the First Gulf War and Iraq), his writing is very good. When McManus places his accounts of units in combat in a larger historical context, his writing at times falls a bit short. But I was absolutely astonished by his statement that after Vietnam the U.S. Army destroyed all of its research on counterinsurgency fighting; that is mind-boggling. Our armed forces have always been first-rate at studying battle and preparing for the next war (it's not the armed forces' fault that the studying always winds up being preparation for the last war, that's just human nature and the inability to predict the future very well). The decision to just throw the tactical and strategic lessons out, as if insurgency wasn't what we were going to be facing in the future, is inexcusable and surely must have been political. For that tidbit of knowledge alone, and for his interesting insights on the strategy of the Vietnam War, the book was worth reading.

McManus's treatment of the First Gulf War almost upsets his main thesis, that the infantry is, and must be, the proper focus and the nucleus of the battlefield when he describes the technological aspects of that war. His account highlights the value of high-tech weaponry despite his noting that much of the fancy weaponry was much lower-tech than we in the general public back home were led to believe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Hope VINE VOICE on August 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I often find a broad-based book like this one hard to get absorbed in. Having said that though, I thought the author did a good job of getting his point across, "front-line infantry grunts still do the most important and essential job in modern warfare." The author presents various small unit actions from the Second World War to Iraq, all of them illustrating the limitations of "techno-warfare". I found the Vietnam chapters to be the most engaging section of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Miller on May 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This was a fabulous book that logically told the story of the Infantry. I found it interesting that the author had not served in the Infantry, but had such an excellent grasp of what the Infantry soldier was expected to endure. Technology changes, but the Infantry soldier still carries the burden of responsibility for getting the job done. Definitely the story of the chosen few. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the personal stories of soldiers who have the toughest, most under appreciated job in the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward H. schoeffler on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Insight into the behavior of the American military and government and the changes that have occurred in the last 60 years from the perspective of the grunt. The average ground pounding pogue has changed little. They still show the same skill and dedication but the military leadership and even more so, the political leadership has been deteriorating over the years
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