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Grunts: Inside the American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II Through Iraq Paperback – August 2, 2011
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The author of the fine history of the 7th Infantry Regiment returns with another demonstration of his skill at narrating infantry combat. He offers a historical retrospective, contrasting different types of battle in which American “grunts” have been engaged. We have the easy victory on Guam in 1944, against poorly-organized Japanese, and the bloody slugging match against dug-in Japanese on Peleliu. The battle for the German city of Aachen in 1944 features the free and decisive use of superior American firepower, while more recently in Falujah, Iraq political constraints added to our casualties. Similarly, the Marine Combined Action Platoons are contrasted with larger and often less-effective operations. The book is clearly intended as an argument for a strong presence of well-trained infantry operating “up close and personal” with heavier firepower available as support but not substitute. Both readable and persuasive. --Roland Green --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“A superb book—an American equivalent to John Keegan’s The Face of Battle. I sincerely believe that Grunts is destined to be a classic.”—Dave Grossman, Author of On Killing and On Combat
“Few authors capture the essence of the human dimension of war as well as John C. McManus. Combining an engaging, highly descriptive writing style with exhaustive research, McManus provides readers with a true ‘foxhole’ perspective.”—Military Review
“Another demonstration of [McManus’s] skill at narrating infantry combat…. an argument for a strong presence of well-trained infantry operating ‘up close and personal’ with heavier firepower available as support but not substitute. Both readable and persuasive.”—Booklist
“Grunts is hypnotic history writing: honest, savage, heartbreaking and, ultimately, inspiring.”—Ralph Peters, Fox News Strategic Analyst and author of The War After Armageddon
“John C. McManus’s Grunts contains some of the most vivid accounts of close combat ever recorded in literature. The reader has the sense of being actually present in the battles. His descriptions show precise details of combat at the closest personal levels and with absolute authenticity.”—Bevin Alexander, Author of Inside the Nazi War Machine
“McManus captures—with gritty, ‘muddy boot’ authenticity—the horrors of the real war fought by America’s front-line soldiers and Marines. Reading Grunts is the closest you will get to experiencing actual infantry combat without getting shot at.”—Colonel Jerry D. Morelock, Editor in Chief of Armchair General
“A literary and historical achievement of the highest order, Grunts illuminates the experience of the American GI better than any book I have read in years. Using battles such as Peleliu and Fallujah, John McManus brilliantly proves, using the participants’ own words, that the American warrior, not technology, wins wars.”—Patrick K. O’Donnell, Author of Washington’s Immortals
“Too frequently historians take humanity out of war. McManus skillfully puts man back into the history of America’s recent wars, reminding us that man is still the determining factor.”—Adrian R. Lewis, Professor, University of Kansas
From the Hardcover edition.
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This is a great read. Taking you from the hell of the Pacific Theater to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, John McManus weaves history and personal narratives elegantly and insightfully to tell powerful stories. Drawing on official histories, interviews, and news accounts, he tells the story of what is truly the queen of Battle - the infantry. No superbomb, no drone, no next gen weapon wins battles...it is the infantryman - the man with the guts and the drive to fight with any and all weapons to win....and then fight with rocks, teeth, and elbows when the weapons have all failed or ran out of ammo.
His treatment on the clash of strategies in Vietnam with the stories that highlight the differences...and the results...are an illuminating look at why we should consider more decision making at the ground level. McManus' emphasis on the importance of the quality of the fighting men and those who lead them should be lesson for the policy makers who truly do not understand how land operations work.
If you are looking for a solid treatment at a world that so few know, pick up this book. If the stories of everyday heroes, men who have suffered greatly and given much are inspiring to you, read this book.
John McManus is one of my favorite authors on US military history. Without a doubt one of the best authors currently in his field.