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Home » Books » History » Military History » General

Citizen Soldiers

From The Normandy Beaches To The Surrender Of Germany

By Stephen E. Ambrose

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Format: Paperback, 528 pages
Other Information: 30-page b-w photo insert, maps
Published In: United States, 01 September 2002
From the author of "D-Day" and "Band of Brothers" comes the story of the ordinary soldiers in Northwest Europe from the day after D-Day until the end of the bittersweet days of the war. It opens at 00:01 hours, June 7, 1944 on the Normandy Beaches and ends at 02:45 hours, May 7, 1945. In between comes the battles in the hedgerows of Normandy; the breakout of Saint-Lo, the Falaise gap; Patton tearing through France; the liberation of Paris; the attempt to leap the Rhine in operation Market-Garden; the near-miraculous German recovery; the battles around Metz and in the Huertgen Forest; the Battle of the Bulge; the capture of the bridge at Remagen; and ends with the overunning of Germany. From the enlisted men and junior officers, Ambrose draws on hundreds of interviews and oral histories from those on both sides of the war. The experience of these citizen soldiers reveals the ordinary sufferings and hardships of war. They overcame their fear and inexperience, the mistakes of their high command and their enemy, to win the war.

About the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose is the author of numerous books on history including the bestselling BAND OF BROTHERS and PEGASUS BRIDGE and definitive biographies on EISENHOWER and NIXON. He is founder of the Eisenhower Center and the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans.


Ambrose (Band of Brothers) offers a shockingly realistic look at the American side of the European Theater of World War II from the day after D-Day to the end of the conflict. These daily battles against a combat-proven and highly skilled enemy are very often overlooked for their intensity and brutality. The battles and subsequent turn of events are extraordinary: the futility of the Hurtgen Forest, the bold gamble of Operation Market Garden, the surprise of the Battle of the Bulge and the fight into Germany-these are all played out in Ambrose's typical interesting and informative manner. The narration of George Wilson is magnificent; he delivers the daily struggle of life and death, the madness and the grief, the stress and pain with an unparalleled clarity and urgency. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Scott R. DiMarco, Herkimer Cty. Community Coll., NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

The story of the front-line American combatants who took WWII to the Germans from Normandy to the Elbe River makes, in Ambrose's expert hands, for an outstanding sequel to his D-Day (1994). These men are frequently dismissed as winning victories by firepower rather than acknowledged for their individual fighting power. Using interviews and other personal accounts by both German and American participants, Ambrose tells instead the story of enlisted men and junior officers who not only mastered the battlefield but developed emotional resources that endured and transcended the shocks of modern combat. Ambrose's accounts of the fighting in Normandy, the breakout and the bitter autumn struggles for Aachen and the battles in the Huertgen Forest and around Metz depict an army depending not on generalship but on the courage, skill and adaptability of small-unit commanders and their men. The 1945 offensive into Germany was a triumph of a citizen army, but the price was high. One infantry company landed in Normandy on August 8 with 187 men and six officers. By V-E Day, 625 men had served in its ranks. Fifty-one had been killed, 183 wounded and 167 suffered frostbite or trench foot. Nor do statistics tell the whole story. Ambrose's reconstruction of "a night on the line" is a brilliant evocation of physical hardship and emotional isolation that left no foxhole veteran unscarred. It is good to be reminded of brave men's brave deeds with the eloquence and insight that the author brings to this splendid, generously illustrated and moving history. Photos. 250,000 first printing; BOMC and History Book Club main selections, QPB alternate; Reader's Digest Condensed Book. (Nov.) FYI: In an outpouring of Ambrosia, the author has two other books scheduled for fall publication. They are reviewed below.

EAN: 9780743450157
ISBN: 0743450159
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 centimetres (0.35 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
All Reviews
Timothy on
After reading Ambrose's 'Pegasus Bridge' and 'D-Day', this book gives the reader what they want after left wondering about the epic landings at Normandy. Written from a fairly heavily US perspective, the book is really about the grassroots infantry and other combatants as opposed to the generals and field marshalls. Great for information about the US involvement in the WWII. You need to read more widely to know what happened with the Brits, Russians and other operations like North Africa.

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