From Publishers Weekly
This is the first of a two-volume chronicle telling the modern-day story of the 7th Infantry, a regiment which has seen more active service than any other over its 200-year history. Historian McManus (Alamo in the Ardennes
) begins with the Korean War. The 7th came ashore in late 1950, just in time to meet the onslaught of Chinese forces. After bitter fighting, it returned to the front in South Korea to participate in bloody offensives both large and small. Only one battalion of the 7th fought in Vietnam, and the author recounts its four years of conflict before moving on to the 1990s, when reforms had converted the army into an all-volunteer force of professionals, superbly equipped and ready to fight in Iraq. There, the 7th inflicted great damage on the foe but rarely suffered a casualty. McManus's overview of recent wars from the 7th's point of view draws on exhaustive research and interviews with veterans. The result is a book devoted largely to battlefield human interest stories, miniautobiographies of soldiers and exciting but disconnected accounts of individual unit actions that may engage military buffs more than the general reader. (May)
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The first in a two-volume history of the oldest U.S. Army regiment in continuous existence covers the Seventh Infantry in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the opening of the Iraq War. Using primary sources assiduously and skillfully, McManus gives us the infantryman’s-eye view of war, whether the particular soldier be a lieutenant colonel or a private, a Medal of Honor winner or a man merely doing his duty. He thereby affords a brilliant, in-the-round portrait of three generations of American infantrymen—their backgrounds, weapons, tactics, enemies, and postwar experiences. He also produces some of the best infantry-combat narratives around, whether they arise from marching out from Chosin (and having the marines hog all the credit), repelling a last-ditch NVA offensive against Saigon, fighting Gulf War battles after the cease-fire, or running out of supplies and into car bombs during the march on Baghdad. If McManus does even half as well with the second volume, on the Seventh from the War of 1812 to World War II, this will be a military-history keystone. --Roland Green