Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany June 7, 1944, to May 7, 1945

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From Stephen E. Ambrose, bestselling author of Band of Brothers and D-Day, the inspiring story of the ordinary men of the U.S. army in northwest Europe from the day after D-Day until the end of the bitterest days of World War II.

In this riveting account, historian Stephen E. Ambrose continues where he left off in his #1 bestseller D-Day. Citizen Soldiers opens at 0001 hours, June 7, 1944, on the Normandy beaches, and ends at 0245 hours, May 7, 1945, with the allied victory. It is biography of the US Army in the European Theater of Operations, and Ambrose again follows the individual characters of this noble, brutal, and tragic war. From the high command down to the ordinary soldier, Ambrose draws on hundreds of interviews to re-create the war experience with startling clarity and immediacy. From the hedgerows of Normandy to the overrunning of Germany, Ambrose tells the real story of World War II from the perspective of the men and women who fought it.
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Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.

They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.

They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
Stephen E. Ambrose, acclaimed author of Band of Brothers and Undaunted Courage, carries us along in the crowded and dangerous B-24s as their crews fought to destroy the German war machine during World War II.

The young men who flew the B-24s over Germany in World War II fought against horrific odds, and, in The Wild Blue, Ambrose recounts their extraordinary heroism, skill, daring, and comradeship with vivid detail and affection.

Ambrose describes how the Army Air Forces recruited, trained, and selected the elite few who would undertake the most demanding and dangerous jobs in the war. These are the boys—turned pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and gunners of the B-24s—who suffered over fifty percent casualties.

With his remarkable gift for bringing alive the action and tension of combat, Ambrose carries us along in the crowded, uncomfortable, and dangerous B-24s as their crews fought to the death through thick black smoke and deadly flak to reach their targets and destroy the German war machine. Twenty-two-year-old George McGovern, who was to become a United States senator and a presidential candidate, flew thirty-five combat missions (all the Army would allow) and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. We meet him and his mates, his co-pilot killed in action, and crews of other planes. Many went down in flames.

As Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers portrayed the bravery and ultimate victory of the American soldiers from Normandy on to Germany, The Wild Blue illustrates the enormous contribution that these young men of the Army Air Forces made to the Allied victory.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Apr 23, 2013
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Pages
528
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ISBN
9781476740256
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
History / Military / World War II
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A NATIONAL BESTSELLER

The New York Times bestselling author of The Liberator and Avenue of Spies returns with an utterly immersive, adrenaline-driven account of D-Day combat.
 
“Meet the assaulters: pathfinders plunging from the black, coxswains plowing the whitecaps, bareknuckle Rangers scaling sheer rock . . . Fast-paced and up close, this is history’s greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can.”—Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of Spearhead and A Higher Call

Beginning in the predawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows the remarkable men who carried out D-Day’s most perilous missions. The charismatic, unforgettable cast includes the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the glider pilot who braved antiaircraft fire to crash-land mere yards from the vital Pegasus Bridge; the brothers who led their troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; as well as a French commando, returning to his native land, who fought to destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach and beyond. Readers will experience the sheer grit of the Rangers who scaled Pointe du Hoc and the astonishing courage of the airborne soldiers who captured the Merville Gun Battery in the face of devastating enemy counterattacks. The first to fight when the stakes were highest and the odds longest, these men would determine the fate of the invasion of Hitler’s fortress Europe—and the very history of the twentieth century.
 
The result is an epic of close combat and extraordinary heroism. It is the capstone Alex Kershaw’s remarkable career, built on his close friendships with D-Day survivors and his intimate understanding of the Normandy battlefield. For the seventy-fifth anniversary, here is a fresh take on World War II's longest day.

“This memoir illuminates key aspects of the war experience: the enthusiasm for fighting, tensions with officers, tedium with regard to noncombatant work, the variety of trench experiences, the sharp learning curve that the army underwent on the ground, and the confusing nature of combat for ground troops. As the centennial of the war approaches this well-annotated memoir that connects Patterson’s individual experiences to the larger U.S. experience of the war will appeal to general readers and specialists alike.” —Jennifer D. Keene, author of World War I: The American Soldier Experience

A journalist once called Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson “the toughest man in Washington” for his fervid efforts in managing U.S. mobilization in World War II. The World War I Memoirs of Robert P. Patterson: A Captain in the Great War recounts Patterson’s own formative military experiences in the First World War.
Written in the years following the conflict, this is a remarkable rendering of what it was like to be an infantry line officer during the so-called Great War. Patterson started his military career as a twenty-seven-year-old, barely-trained captain in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.). He was part of the 306th Infantry Regiment of New York’s famous 77th “Statue of Liberty” Division from July to November 1918. In this detailed account, Patterson describes in understated yet vivid prose just how raw and unprepared American soldiers were for the titanic battles on the Western Front. Patterson downplays his near-death experience in a fierce firefight that earned him and several of his men from Company F the Distinguished Service Cross. His depiction of the brutal Meuse-Argonne battle is haunting—the drenching cold rains, the omnipresent barbed wire, deep fog-filled ravines, the sweet stench of mustard gas, chattering German machine-guns, crashing artillery shells, and even a rare hot meal to be savored.


Dealing with more than just combat, Patterson writes of the friendships and camaraderie among the officers and soldiers of different ethnic and class backgrounds who made up the “melting pot division” of the 77th. He betrays little of the postwar disillusionment that afflicted some members of the “Lost Generation.”Editor J. Garry Clifford’s introduction places Patterson and his actions in historical context and illuminates how Patterson applied lessons learned from the GreatWar to his later service as assistant secretary, under secretary, and secretary of war from 1940 to 1947.


J. Garry Clifford, a professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, is the coauthor of America Ascendant: American Foreign Relations since 1939 and The First Peacetime Draft, as well as the coeditor of Presidents, Diplomats, and Other Mortals.




Gene Garrison spent a terrifying nineteenth birthday crammed into a muddy foxhole near the German border in the Saar. He listened helplessly to cries of wounded comrades as exploding artillery shells sent deadly shrapnel raining down on them. The date was December 16, 1944, he was a member of a .30-caliber machine-gun crew with the 87th Infantry Division and this was his first day in combat.

Less than a year earlier, he had taken the first steps in charting his future, entering college as a fresh-faced kid from the farmlands of Ohio. Now, as the night closed around Garrison, slices of light pierced the darkness with frightening brilliance. Battle-hardened German SS troopers using flashlights infiltrated the line of the young, untested American soldiers. Someone screamed "Counterattack!" In the maelstrom of gun fire that followed the teenaged Garrison struggled to comprehend the horrors of the present, his entire future reduced to a prayer that he would be alive at daybreak.

From those first frightening, confusing days in combat until the end of the war five months later, Gene Garrison saw many of his buddies killed or wounded, each loss reducing his own odds of survival. Convinced before one attack that his luck had deserted him, he wrote a final letter to his family, telling them goodbye. Garrison gave the letter to a buddy with instructions to mail it if he died.

From the bitter fighting west of Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge to the end of the war on the Czechoslovakian border, Garrison describes the degradation of war with pathos and humor.

Gene Garrison's story is told through the eyes of the common soldier, a man who might not know the name of the town or the location of the next hill that he and his comrades must grimly wrestle from the enemy but who is willing to die in order to carry the war forward to the hated enemy. He writes of the simple pleasure derived from finding a water-filled puddle deep enough to fill his canteen; a momentary respite in a half-destroyed barn that shields him from the bitter cold and penetrating wind of an Ardennes winter; the solace of friendship with a core of veterans whose lives hang upon his actions and whose actions might help him survive the bitter, impersonal death they all face.

The rich dialogue and a hard-hitting narrative style bring the reader to battlefield manhood alongside Garrison, to each moment of terror and triumph faced by a young soldier far from home in the company of strangers.
Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.

They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.

They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
Previous books have promised to describe the combat experience of the World War II GI, but there has never been a book like Patrick O'Donnell's Beyond Valor. Here is the first combat history of the war in Europe in the words of the men themselves, and perhaps the most honest and brutal account of combat possible on the printed page. For more than fifty years the individual stories that make up this narrative -- shockingly frank reflections of sacrifice and courage -- have been bottled up, buried, or circulated privately. Now, nearing the ends of their lives, our WWII soldiers have at last unburdened themselves.
Beyond Valor recaptures their hidden history. A pioneering oral historian, Patrick O'Donnell used his award-winning website, The Drop Zone, to solicit oral- and "e-histories" from individual soldiers. Gradually, working from within the community, O'Donnell convinced some of the war's most battle-hardened soldiers to tell their stories. The result is WWII seen through the eyes of the men who saw the most intense of its action. O'Donnell focuses on the elite units of the war -- the Rangers, Airborne, and 1st Special Service Force -- troops that spearheaded the most dangerous operations and often made the difference between victory and defeat.
From more than 650 interviews O'Donnell has chosen oral- and e-histories that form a seamless story line, a pointillistic history of the war in Europe from the first parachute drops in North Africa through the final battles in Germany and the long trip home. It is the story of the war not discussed in polite company. O'Donnell presents the wreckage of entire battalions nearly annihilated, invisible personal scars, and haunting revelations of wartime atrocities. But more important are the men who recount lives risked without hesitation for comrades and cause, and those who did not return: the friends who died in their arms. Their stories remind all of us that victory came only at the highest price.
Remembering the infamous cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc, bloody Omaha Beach, the bitter fighting at the Battle of the Bulge, and Hill 400 in the Hürtgen Forest, the soldiers reveal war as seen, heard, and smelled by the GIs on the front line. Also included is the unique story of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and the trailblazing African-American "Experimental" Test Platoon that had to fight its own battle behind the lines.
Beyond Valor captures the truths that exist among soldiers. It is one of the most inspiring accounts of the war ever produced.
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