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The Victors: The Men of WWII


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About the Author

Stephen E. Ambrose, leading World War II historian, was the author of numerous books on history including the Number 1 bestselling BAND OF BROTHERS, D-DAY (on which SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was based) PEGASUS BRIDGE and WILD BLUE. He is founder of the Eisenhower Center and the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. He died in 2002.


Ambrose has established himself as both a major biographer of Dwight Eisenhower and the definitive chronicler of America's combat soldiers in the D-Day campaign of 1944-45. But after Citizen Soldiers, he'd sworn off war and given away his WWII books. Then his editor convinced him to do "a book on Ike and the GIs, drawing on my previous writings"Äsuch as Citizen Soldiers, D-Day and The Supreme Commander. "Alice Mayhew made me do it," Ambrose writes here. Readers familiar with Ambrose's work will find familiar set pieces, familiar anecdotes, even familiar phrases, but this is more than a clip job. It stands on its own as the story of the GIs who fought their way from Normandy's beaches and hedgerows across Europe. Few were prepared for combat against a Wehrmacht that was dangerous even in decline, and both enlisted men and officers learned through hard-earned experience. While admiring Eisenhower's character and generally affirming his performance as supreme Allied commander, Ambrose is sharply critical of such costly slugging matches as the one in the Huertgen Forest, which continued during the fall and winter of 1944 on orders from senior officers unaware of conditions in the front lines and unable to develop an alternative to frontal assault. But by the final thrust into Germany in the spring of 1945, the U.S. Army's fighting power was second to none. Once more, Ambrose does what few others do as wellÄvividly portray the sacrifices and achievements of democracy's army. (Nov.)

YA-A reworking of material from several of Ambrose's earlier books that not only stands on its own, but in some ways also surpasses its predecessors. What might have been a mere sampler is actually a cohesive chronicle of American combat soldiers in the European theater of World War II, and of their Supreme Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The author has conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed countless original documents, and with a talent equal to his industry, he has put together a fascinating story, complete with unmistakable heroes, a clear moral theme, and a judicious use of captivating anecdotes. He depicts wartime Eisenhower as a figure of legend: the embodiment of leadership at a time of unimaginable crisis. With the fate of democracy and the lives of thousands on his shoulders, Eisenhower connected with his "boys" as few great leaders have. It is this connection, as well as the sense of duty on the part of individual soldiers in the field, that captures Ambrose's attention, and elevates the book from good history to great moral tale. The author is a master of letting his subjects tell the story, of standing back and allowing the large lessons to unfold. The result is history with lasting impact. For teens, The Victors has additional advantages: brevity, quickness, and a cast of characters not much older than themselves. For those who have not yet discovered Ambrose, or how engaging good history writing can be, this book offers an excellent introduction.-Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Harry Crumpacker

"St. Petersburg Times"No historian writing today understands and empathizes with the World Ware II generation of Americans better than Stephen Ambrose...Reading this book will leave only a profound understanding of an undeniable truth.
John Gregory Dunne

"The New Yorker"[Ambrose's] skill at weaving his interviews into a good read is impressive.
Calvin L. Christman

"The Dallas Morning News"A brief, readable, and necessary remembrance of a generation that met and overcome this century's greatest test.
John Gregory Dunne

"The New Yorker"YAmbrose's skill at weaving his interviews into a good read is impressive.
Nathaniel Tripp

"The New York Times Book Review"Ambrose is a superb historian.
Theo Lippman, Jr.

"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"Fresh and riveting.
William R. Wineke

"Wisconsin State Journal""The Victors" is an absolutely wonderful book...a compelling narrative of a time when the average American youth exhibited heroism and grace to save the world.

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