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Yanks: The Epic Story of the American Army in World War I Paperback – June 4, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (June 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743223853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743223850
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starting from near zero, the U.S. and Gen. John Pershing created a war-winning army in less than 18 months; veteran historian Eisenhower (Agent of Destiny, etc.) tells how they did it in this fast-paced narrative. A retired brigadier general in the army reserves, Eisenhower (writing here with spouse Joanne) presents the U.S. involvement in the war from the perspective of statesmen and generals. Even for combat color, he focuses primarily on senior officers: Douglas MacArthur and George Patton, with his insouciant courage under fire; George C. Marshall; and lesser-known figures like Charles Summerall, who threw a whole army's rear echelons into compound confusion in order to give the 1st Infantry Division a chance to capture Sedan in the war's final days. That kind of drive and energy was necessary given America's almost complete military unpreparedness. It took almost a year for the U.S. Army to put a single division of the American Expeditionary Force into battle. Without denying the administrative problems and the casualties caused by inexperience and improvisation, Eisenhower stresses the Americans' high learning curves at all levels. He argues as well that Pershing was an effective commander even in the Argonne campaign, the one most often cited as bringing the AEF nearly to gridlock, making a remarkably clear presentation of that confusing combat. Eisenhower sympathizes with Pershing's belief that the armistice was a mistake, that even a few days more might have convinced the Germans they had, in fact, been defeated in the field. It remains an arguable position, but the AEF emerges from these pages as the decisive instrument of an incomplete victory. (June 4)Forecast: The Eisenhower name, both presidential and military historical (John S.D. is the son of Dwight David), will draw readers to this title, which is suitable for generalists and buffs alike. The latter, however, will be more likely to take this blow-by-blow account all the way to the register.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This history focuses entirely on the challenges, victories, sacrifices (320,500 casualties), and long-term consequences of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe during World War I. According to Eisenhower (brigadier general, ret.; Agent of Destiny: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott), the AEF was originally meant to be amalgamated with the Allied armies in Europe, but through the stubborn insistence of the Wilson administration and Gen. "Black" Jack Pershing, the Americans fought under their own colors. This well-written work demonstrates how a small, ill-equipped force grew into an awesome fighting machine and was led to victory after victory (Marne, Ch teau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne) by a gifted, opportunistic corps of officers eager to prove themselves and their units. Battlefield accounts are enlivened with evocative recollections from the diaries and memoirs of officers and doughboys alike. Eisenhower contends that the AEF's contributions in France ranged from cowering the Central Powers into submission in 1918 to serving as an indispensable military model for World War II. This soundly researched effort, which would have benefited only from the inclusion of AEF engagement maps, includes Eisenhower's explanatory endnotes as an extra bonus. Recommended for all general and academic libraries. John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The book also offers numerous photographs drawn from official sources and individuals.
Rolfe L. Hillman III
The author might have mentioned that US troops held 83 miles of the Western Front at the armistice - less than the French but more than the Commonwealth armies.
R. A Forczyk
There have been detailed tomes written about the First World War, and as a history teacher and student, I have read some of them.
Captain Hornblower

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on May 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Yanks is an interesting, well-written account of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in France during the First World War. Eisenhower, a retired brigadier general and son of the president, provides a broad-brush summary of American participation in the war that will certainly satisfy the general reader. However, given the number of other books on this same subject, Yanks offers nothing of unique value. The author adds nothing to his "epic story" that distinguishes it from other books on this subject. The narrative is far too generalized for readers with greater background in the First World War, and omits too much to classify as a comprehensive history of even its own subject, the AEF.
Yanks consists of three major sections that cover the creation of the AEF, the AEF's initial battles in France and the AEF's independent operations. The narrative itself consists of 23 short chapters, which are well supported by 16 maps. A brief appendix on US mobilization, notes and bibliography conclude the volume. The author has invested considerable research in this work and there are no significant historical errors. Much of the author's focus is on General Pershing, commander of the AEF, and in fact this book might have been called, "General Pershings' War." Most of the narrative focuses on high-level leaders and operations, although the author takes the time to point out the contributions of fighting men like Alvin C. York and Sam Woodfill. Eisenhower's descriptions of the St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne operations are succinct but accurate.
The biggest problem with Yanks - and one that greatly reduces its value - is that it really only covers the American divisions that fought directly under General Pershing's command.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rolfe L. Hillman III on June 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
GEN John D. Eisenhower (USMA'44)'s latest contribution to military history, YANKS, is a worthy addition to the libraries of anyone interested in World War I. As with his previous fine efforts (Bitter Woods, So Far From God, and Agent of Destiny), General Eisenhower's literary skills make for an "easy" read. The book is editorially well-written. More importantly for military historians, the book is exhaustively researched; drawing on numerous official sources and private papers. The book is extensively footnoted and has an impressive bibliography including several recent efforts on World War I. The book contains the all-important maps critical for understanding and "seeing" the numerous battles which are vividly portrayed. The book also offers numerous photographs drawn from official sources and individuals.
The book offers a good balance of official history combined with narration of the individuals' contributions to the US involvement in "The War to End All Wars." General Eisenhower offers his insights into the U.S. Army, the combat commanders, the conduct of the war and the personalities involved in the political struggle among the Allies concerning the U.S. effort.
In sum, a fine effort.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By C. Ryan on July 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As the dust jacket states, "The achievements of the United States (Army) during (World War I), often underrated by military historians, were in fact remarkable, and they turned the tide of the conflict". This book describes how the US Army's famed American Expeditionary Force (AEF) under General Pershing came to play a decisive role in concluding the war on the Western Front on terms favorable to the Allies.
It was fascinating to learn that the general staff organization created by Pershing in WWI, derived from observations he made as an attaché to the Japanese army in Manchuria in 1905 (!), is still used by the US Army today. Furthermore, as Eisenhower points out in his epilogue, the hugely successful US Army of World War II would not have been possible without the organization and skills developed by the AEF in 1917-18, when future WWII Army Chief of Staff George Marshall was a Lt. Colonel responsible for operations planning in the AEF.
However, I do not agree [that]...this is a well written book. While I enjoyed learning about the accomplishments of the AEF and its effect on the United States' subsequent victories in WWII, in my opinion the story is told in a tedious manner. Much of the text is devoted to describing the attributes of relatively obscure colonels and generals and dozens of leadership shuffles among them at the regimental, brigade and division level. Military actions are described in difficult-to-follow chronologies that provide no "feel" for the action. Little detail and specific data are provided to illustrate how the remarkable feats of mobilization, training, transportation and communications were actually accomplished.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Stapleton VINE VOICE on July 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While history can often make for dry reading material, John D. Eisenhower, does an admirable job of making the story of the United States Army in World War I readable. The author provides numerous details that flesh out the bare skeleton provided by other authors. He covers the buildup of forces, including a generous section on the logistics of moving to Europe and supplying it once it arrived. Eisenhower, also, offers valuable information and insights on the American Expeditionary Force, from senior figures like Pershing and Harbord to early views of Patton and MacArthur. Eisenhower's coverage of the battles and conflicts involving the US Army are not comprehensive, and you have to wonder if they were really meant to be, or meant as examples from which the reader can infer the details of other battles not covered. The coverage of the political/command battles provides another facet of the US involvement missed by many other books.
As any serious reader of history knows, you cannot get the whole story from any one book or author. In order to get a balanced and comprehensive view of history, the reader must look to multiple sources. This book makes an excellent companion to John Keegan's The First World War, providing a missing piece. It provides a source of balance and detail that Keegan neglects. However, it is not the be all and end all of the story; there are still plenty of missing pieces.
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