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World War II
Infantry Soldier: Holding the Line at the Battle of the Bulge
by George W. Neill
Hardcover - 384 pages (May 2000)
Univiversity of Oklahoma Press
The author, George W. Neill , May 14, 2000, reveals deadly plight of combat infantrymen.
My book describes in harrowing detail the life of the men assigned to infantry rifle platoons during World War II. Few people realize the enormously disproportionate burden they carried. Although they made up only six percent of the U.S. Army in Europe, they suffered most of the casualties. I served as a Browning Automatic Rifle gunner with a rifle platoon in the 99th Infantry Division. In the book, I take the reader into the foxholes to reveal how we infantrymen lived and survived, what we thought, and how we fought. I begin with training in Texas and Oklahoma nd then move to the front lines in Belgium and Germany. There I focus on the role of my 99th Division in the Battle of the Bulge. Supported by the 2nd Infantry Division, we held the northern line of the Bulge, preventing a German breakthrough and undermining their strategy. I based the book on my wartime letters, my research in the United States and Europe, and hundreds of interviews. I chronicle my experiences and those of my friends, including acts of horror and heroism on the front line. After retiring as a newspaper editor, I spent eight years writing this book. How have the reviewers reacted? Russell F. Weigley, a well respected military historian, author, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Temple University, calls my book "an exceptionally gripping memoir. We really meet the freezing, hungry, dirty combat infantry soldier here, more vividly than anywhere else I know." Another reviewer, Martin Blumenson, also a well known military historian and author, says: "Although many have written of their experiences in the military during World War II, George Neill's account is a contribution to the literature of the war because of its authenticity, directness (bluntness), intelligence, honesty, and inherent drama. It is a grim and sobering story, but not a depressing one. Infantry Soldier is extremely important as a human record at the lowest echelon of the war." A third reviewer, Lt. Col.(Ret.) McClernand Butler, commander of my battalion, said the book "is amazingly accurate, and the amount of information is astonishing."
The Greatest Generation
by Tom Brokaw
Hardcover. Published by Random House. December 1998
Veteran reporter and NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went to France to make a documentary marking the 40th anniversary of D-day in 1984. Although he was thoroughly briefed on the historical background of the invasion, he was totally unprepared for how it would affect him emotionally. Flooded with childhood memories of World War II, Brokaw began asking veterans at the ceremony to revisit their past and talk about what happened, triggering a chain reaction of war-torn confessions and Brokaw's compulsion to capture their experiences in what he terms "the permanence a book would represent." After almost 15 years and hundreds of letters and interviews, Brokaw wrote The Greatest Generation, a representative cross-section of the stories he came across. However, this collection is more than a mere chronicle of a tumultuous time, it's history made personal by a cast of everyday people transformed by extraordinary circumstances: the first women to break the homemaker mold, minorities suffering countless indignities to boldly fight for their country, infantrymen who went on to become some of the most distinguished leaders in the world, small-town kids who became corporate magnates. From the reminiscences of George Bush and Julia Child to the astonishing heroism and moving love stories of average citizens, The Greatest Generation salutes those whose sacrifices changed the course of American history. --Rebekah Warren
War Comes to the Middle Kingdom, 1939-1942
by Liz Krieger, Dan Krieger, Stan Harth
Paperback. Published by EZ Nature Books. 1998
A good and thourough history of early World War II and San Luis Obispo County by two of the best local historians in the county.
The Pacific War: 1941-1945
by John Costello
Paperback. Published by William Morrow & Co. 1983
A one volume history of the Second World War in the Pacific.
D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climatic Battle of World War II
by Stephen E. Ambrose
Paperback. Published by Simon & Schuster.1995 Review: Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, Stephen E. Ambrose's D-Day: June 6, 1944 relies on over 1,400 interviews with veterans, as well as prodigious research in military archives on both sides of the Atlantic. He provides a comprehensive history of the invasion which also eloquently testifies as to how common soldiers performed extraordinary feats. A major theme of the book, upon which Ambrose would later expand in Citizen Soldiers, is how the soldiers from the democratic Allied nations rose to the occasion and outperformed German troops thought to be invincible. The many small stories that Ambrose collected from paratroopers, sailors, infantrymen, and civilians make the excitement, confusion, and sheer terror of D-day come alive on the page. --Robert McNamara
Citizen-Soldier: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945
by Stephen E. Ambrose
Hardcover. Published by Simon & Schuster. 1997
Military History Editor's Recommended Book: Stephen E. Ambrose combines history and journalism to describe how American GIs battled their way to the Rhineland. He focuses on the combat experiences of ordinary soldiers, as opposed to the generals who led them, and offers a series of compelling vignettes that read like an enterprising reporter's dispatches from the front lines. The book presents just enough contextual material to help readers understand the big picture, and includes memorable accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and other events as seen through the weary eyes of the men who fought in the foxholes. Highly recommended for fans of Ambrose, as well as all readers interested in understanding the life of a 1940s army grunt. A sort of sequel to Ambrose's bestselling 1994 book D-Day, Citizen Soldiers is more than capable of standing on its own.
The Fighting Fortieth in War and Peace
by Major General James Delk
Published by Etc Publications 1998
History of California's 40th Infantry Division by a former Division Commander.


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Updated 8 February 2016