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The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys: The Men of World War II Hardcover – November 2, 1998

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (November 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068485628X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684856285
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The Victors is like a compilation of Stephen E. Ambrose's greatest hits, drawing heavily from his biography of General Dwight D. Eisenhower and several military histories that recount the events of the Allied push across the European continent in 1944 and 1945 from the frontline trooper's perspective. The narrative is vintage Ambrose, full of engaging yet workmanlike prose that conveys the epic scope of its subject while paying careful attention to the details of the often inglorious lives of the GIs. Eisenhower looms large over this book, but it's the ordinary soldiers and their experiences who give the story real life. Readers who have already dipped into the Ambrose library may find sections of The Victors redundant, but for those who want an adept overview of what Ike and his men accomplished, this is a great place to start. --John J. Miller

From Publishers Weekly

Ambrose has established himself as both a major biographer of Dwight Eisenhower and the definitive chronicler of America's combat soldiers in the D-Day campaign of 1944-45. But after Citizen Soldiers, he'd sworn off war and given away his WWII books. Then his editor convinced him to do "a book on Ike and the GIs, drawing on my previous writings"Asuch as Citizen Soldiers, D-Day and The Supreme Commander. "Alice Mayhew made me do it," Ambrose writes here. Readers familiar with Ambrose's work will find familiar set pieces, familiar anecdotes, even familiar phrases, but this is more than a clip job. It stands on its own as the story of the GIs who fought their way from Normandy's beaches and hedgerows across Europe. Few were prepared for combat against a Wehrmacht that was dangerous even in decline, and both enlisted men and officers learned through hard-earned experience. While admiring Eisenhower's character and generally affirming his performance as supreme Allied commander, Ambrose is sharply critical of such costly slugging matches as the one in the Huertgen Forest, which continued during the fall and winter of 1944 on orders from senior officers unaware of conditions in the front lines and unable to develop an alternative to frontal assault. But by the final thrust into Germany in the spring of 1945, the U.S. Army's fighting power was second to none. Once more, Ambrose does what few others do as wellAvividly portray the sacrifices and achievements of democracy's army.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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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.

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#53 in Books > History
#53 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

Filled with stories of individuals and their sacrifices.
Phil Wieczynski
I would recommend his book to anyone interested in history and especially WWII history.
As all Ambrose books, it was well written, well researched, and easy to read.
richard cassar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Terry Campbell on September 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another great book from Steven Ambrose which documents the allied victory over Germany. One could probably say some parts of this work are a summary of his previous accounts of WWII (Supreme Commander, Band of Brothers); however that shouldn't discourage one from reading this account. As with all Ambrose books, it is very well written, very informative, and hard to put down because there are no sections where the reader's interest lags. One should also read David Howarth's "Dawn of D-Day" to supplement this and other books concerning fighting in Europe.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James T. King on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Stephen Ambrose's "The Victors" is mainly a showcase for the reminiscences of those involved in D-Day and the campaigns which followed, ending finally with the taking of Berlin. As a historian, Ambrose's voice and expertise are most apparent in detailing the early stages of the assault's planning, as he provides insights into the personalities (and distinct styles) of Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery, et al. The telling is most poignant when it reveals -- in tired, frightened messages composed in the fields of battle -- the plain truths of war for the loved ones back home. My single complaint about this book is its lack of maps; only two are provided, with the second one being an impossible hodge-podge of all the Allied movements between D-Day and VE Day.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Hector on January 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the first book that I've read from Stephen Ambrose and I thought it was remarkable. Ambrose takes us from the battles in North Africa all the way to the German surrender on May 7th 1945. One thing that I truly enjoyed about this book is; Ambrose gives a complete picture of the war, from the orders made by Eisenhower and his staff, to the captains, sergeants and privates who had to carry out those orders. I'll end this review with a passage from the book, which most touched me.
"At the core, the American citizen soldiers knew the difference between right and wrong, and they didn't want to live in a world in which wrong prevailed. So they fought, and won, and we all of us, living and yet to be born, must be forever profoundly grateful."
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Mullin on July 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being familiar with Ambrose's body of work, it is easy to understand why this book is taking up space on bargain racks from sea to shining sea, as well as space on Amazon's bargain shelves. There is simply little new here to recommend for anyone who has read Ambrose's biography of Ike, or his "Citizen Soldiers" book about the soldiers who fought and won the war. And if you haven't read those books, go read them -they're better than this work, which is mostly a rehash of earlier material.
Ambrose doesn't hide his enthusuiasm for the marines who tumbled out of those landing craft on Omaha Beach and endured murderous fire from the well-entrenched German defenses. This was like Fredericksburg and Pickett's Charge rolled into one, except the suicidal attacking army attained their objectives in 1944.
Ambrose also is unabashed in his admiration for Eisenhower, and at times one has to wonder why. Clearly Ike had a take charge personality and valiantly offered to take all of the blame if bad weather, low tides, or any other factor defeated his grand mission at Normandy. But was Eisenhower a brilliant tactition? Even Ambrose admits his first combat experience as a general, in North Africa, was a disaster. I think more than anything, Ambrose senses and admires Ike's dislike of war, his strength of character, and his genuine regard for the infantry that he was ordering to slaughter on those Normandy beaches.
I must say that while accounts of battles often fascinate me, the painstaking detail of much of this book left me a little overwhelmed with minutae. I know that every one of these soldiers represent actual men who risked (and in many cases gave)their lives for their country, but I question the wisdom of telling us names, companies, nicknames, etc.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The recent interest in remembering the brave people who endured WWII is worthwhile and honorable. Stephen Ambrose makes a very valuable contribution to that effort with his work. I have read other books by Ambrose on this subject, and others. If the reader has not read other books by this author, then it should be read with a great deal of attention and interest. If, on the other hand, the reader has read other books, such as "Band of Brothers," then don't bother with this one. It is the same, verbatim, through large sections. Frankly, I am surprised the publishing company would allow the same book to be repackaged and sold under a different title. However, my disappointment in this book will not discourage me from trying other Ambrose works. I am looking forward to reading "Pegasus Bridge," and others.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Bainbridge on August 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My 4 star rating of Victors is highly provisional, as this is one of those books for which a numerical rating system is inadequate. If you have not read any of Stephen Ambrose's World War II books, this volume will be an excellent read and will deserve 4 stars for reasons set out below. If you have read any one of Ambrose's other World War II books, you will recognize a lot of the material. If you have read two or more of Ambrose's World War II books, you will feel quite ripped off.
As a historian of World war II, Stephen Ambrose has two great accomplishments. First, there was his superb biography of Eisenhower, based in large part on extensive interviews with Ike. Second, there is the vast number of interviews he has conducted with ordinary GIs. Those interviews were the basis of Citizen Soldiers, D Day, and Band of Brothers.
Victors consists almost entirely of material recycled from Ambrose's earlier works. Having read all of those books (I am a big fan), nothing in Victors stuck out as new. Instead, this is at least the fourth time I've heard the story of Easy Company. Having bought the book in an airport bookstore (sorry Mr. Bezos), I spent the plane ride getting madder and madder as I realized how redundant this book is. The publisher really needs a less misleading cover. So if you've read two or more of Ambrose's World War II books, don't waste your time or money.
If you only want to read one Ambrose book, I would recommend Victors. Unlike his Eisenhower biography, Victors gives you a real sense of what life was like for GIs. Unlike Citizen Soldiers, you get a better sense of what Eisenhower was like. Best of both worlds.
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