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At Belleau Wood Paperback – November 1, 1996
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On June 15, 1918, the 2nd U.S. Division--consisting of army soldiers and combat-ready troops recruited from the Marine Corps by General Pershing to supplement limited American forces--met with their German opponents at Belleau Wood. At the time, Allied spirits were extremely low; the question was not if the Germans would march into Paris, but when. But the 2nd fought hard and pulled out a victory, and created the psychological turning point that allowed the Allies to end the war by year's end. Military historian Robert Asprey tells this rousing tale with much first-hand testimony (in interviews, memoirs, and letters home) from the troops that made it happen.
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Major Ralph Stoney Bates Sr., USMC (Ret)
Robert Asprey has emerged as the consummate military historian. His recent works, which include War in the Shadows, The German High Command, and the two volumes on Napoleon, have brought him critical praise for their detail and keen insights into the minds of military professionals. To understand how Aprey arrived at where he now stands in the world of military historians, one must read this book, one of his earliers forays into writing. The budding historians would be well served by reading this book because it neatly folds details-analytical and precise-with sparse dramatization while giving the reader keen insights in the demeanor of the military mind at war. At Belleau Wood remains a masterful narrative and more importantly, the book has lost none of its relevance. Why? If the reader substitutes the situation in which the American Expeditionary Force found itself at Belleau Wood with the situation in which it now finds itself in Afghanistan, the relevance becomes all too clear: extended presence in an unfamiliar nation, stagnant combined-arms training, aviation limited by horrible weather conditions, and erstwhile allied support. The University of North Texas Press has done the military a great service by reprinting this book because the lessons learned can't come quickly enough as they gear up for a very, very, long war.