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There's a War to Be Won: The United States Army in World War II Paperback – June 23, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Startlingly, in World War II the U.S. Army lost not a single campaign--and only one major battle (Sidi Bou Zid in Tunisia)--out of more than 100 fought around the globe. Perret here describes how Gen. George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff, created a magnificent field force in double-quick time with no precedent to guide him, developed a systematic approach to training, logistics and fighting, and oversaw victory in several theaters. The narrative is crowded with vivid portraits of the generals who fought in Marshall's army (Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Patton et al.) and contains a wealth of interesting facts. Perret gives a good account of the development of the Army's "table of organization & equipment" as well as tactical doctrine during the campaigns between 1942 and 1945. Included also is a stirring story of Marshall's role in bringing black and nisei GIs into combat formations. By the author of Days of Sadness, Years of Triumph , this is a vastly engrossing chronicle of the creation and deployment of the wartime U.S. Army. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This is a brassy, forceful case study expanding the thesis of A Country Made by War ( LJ 6/1/89): the U.S., far from being a babe in the military woods, has been extraordinarily successful in developing and employing armed forces. Perret argues that in World War II the U.S. Army did so many things so well that its achievements have largely gone unnoticed. Trained and commanded by some of the world's best professional soldiers, American draftees lost only one battle: Kasserine Pass in 1943. Thereafter, neither Germans nor Japanese were able to do more than temporarily check an army that, from the forward foxholes to the desks of GHQ, demonstrated unusual ability to adapt to challenges and circumstances. Perret's colloquial style and clear narrative enhance his presentation of a wartime creation that by 1945 was years ahead of any of its counterparts. Recommended for all collections on World War II. Previewed in "The Day of Infamy in Print," LJ 9/1/91.--Ed.
- Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034541909X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345419095
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sebastian on June 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In "There's A War To Be Won", the author gives a broad overview of the development and growth of the US Army during the 1930's and 40's, as well as its remarkable combat performance during the war. It is an amazing story, considering that in the late 1930's the army consisted of 100,000 poorly equipped soldiers led by superannuated generals and junior officers who had little hope of promotion past the rank of captain during a normal army career.
Mr Perret's focus is not to give the reader a blow-by-blow history of the US Army in WWII, a mission already splendidly accomplished by the army's own historians in their multivolume postwar colossus. Instead, he provides a broad overview of the planners and leaders, like George C. Marshall and FDR, whose devotion to duty and to the army they served during 1930's and 40's prepared the army and the nation for the trial and ultimate victory that lay ahead. Mr Perret effectively debunks the popular myth that the US Army's victory was due simply to overwhelming material abundance, and correctly ascribes it to the courage and tenacity of the American soldier.
In addition to the broader panorama, Mr Perret turns his attention to specific vignettes that provide insight about army strategy, tactics and organization, as mentioned in the editorial review accompanying the book description above. I found the chapters on logistics and on the fate of the killed and wounded especially interesting and illustrative.
All in all, one of the best general-interest books about the US Army in WWII that I have read, and one that will whet the reader's appetite to know more. (Along this vein I highly recommend Cray's one-volume bio of George Marshall as well as Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb"). I am very sad to have discovered recently (during a reorganization of my bookshelves) that I have misplaced my copy; and that the book is now out of print.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robert S. Last on January 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book reveals in wonderful detail the unique nature of the U.S. Army in WWII. The army that won the WWII was the creation George C. Marshall. Marshall never once forgot that the American solider was first and formost a citizen solider. The mindset of the"greatest generation" was lets do the job & go home, hence the title.
What is unique about this book is that portrays the creation and combat effectiveness of the U.S. Army in WWII. Perret has done a masterful job of explaining the creation, the training, the organization and combat skill of the US Army. Esienhower, Patton, Bradley, Arnold & McArthur took Marshall's brilliant creation and utilized to not only win the war, but change the world. If you liked "The Greatest Generation" & like Stephen Ambrose's work, you'll love Perret's book. It really is the single best history of the WWII U.S.Army ever written.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Magee on December 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the best one volume history of WWII written. Geoffrey Perret writes the book from the perspective of the US Army. He really dives into the story like few other authors. Some of his conclusions are different than most, but he explains his reasoning very well.

So many authors try to explain military battles like they were sports games. Battles are far more complex than a simple football game. Mr. Perret does a great job of walking the reader through some of the complexities of battle. He covers things that few authors takes time to cover. He talks about how what was talked about in the classrooms of CGSC at Ft. Leavenworth shaped the commanders that fought the war. Mr. Perret takes time to explain how Marshall set up a system to crank out divisions off of the training line much like Ford created cars.

Almost every battle the Army fought is covered by the author, some in great detail, some battles were covered in passing. He naturally covers the big battles like D-Day but also gives good coverage of the campaign in Italy, Sicily, North Africa, and with McArthur's troops in the Pacific. He even talks about the forgotten men McArthur left in 42 who were seemingly forgotten by history after that. Mr Perrret does a good job to explain the tactics, and strategy of the war. He doesn't forget the ever important logistics of the war from the war production board in Washington down to the supply Sgt. on the battlefield.

The author also gives the reader a little color with the story. He does mention the unique personalities at various levels that helped bring about the victory.

This book is a great book to make a novice into a history expert in short time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Patton on August 14, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An overstatement? Possibly. I won't debate whether the U.S. or Soviet Union won the War. What I will do is give Mr. Perret allocades for the best single volume treatment of how the US Army prepared and won a two front war on the ground and in the air.
While others might quibble that he does not take to task the organizations and personalities sufficiently for their failures, I do not. I see this book as cutting though all the "fog" and presenting the non-historian with an entertaining and well organized presentation of the years leading up to and during the war. I have read the book several times....
The reader will come away with a greater appreciation of just how lucky the U.S. was to have done as well as we did. In large measure the Army's success was a result of retaining the best and the brightest leaders and strategists at a time they were needed.
Shrewd choices in weapons development, and program management also paved the way to victory by allowing the US Army to become the only truly mechanized army in the world (despite what the popular history books would tell you about the Wehrmacht), possess the largest air force ever in existence, develop the nuclear bomb, and supply and maintain 93 divisions (larger and better equiped than the brigade sized divisions fielded by both the Soviets and Germans) on two fronts on separate sides of the globe.
This book is a great introduction to the history of the US Army in WWII. I recomend this book and two others by Mr. Perret: A Country Build by War and Winged Victory: The US Army Air Corp in WWII
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