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Citizen Soldiers: U.S.Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge, to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944 to May 7, 1945 Hardcover – 5 May 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; First Printing edition (5 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684815257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684815251
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.5 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,135,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage.He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

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Review

Ken Burns What a wonderful book, an emotionally powerful argument for our wonderful, flawed system and its homegrown heroics. I imagine Ambrose's writing room as supreme HQ where he is standing over a huge map of Europe, barking orders, dispatching terrified subordinates, surveying and understanding a vast, tragic human canvas at a glance. Ambrose's arsenal is imposing and effective; his pen is a machine gun: detached, hot, and devastating.

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.

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First Sentence
SHORTLY AFTER DAWN on June 7, Lt. Horace Henderson of the Sixth Engineer Special Brigade landed on Omaha Beach. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David Austin on 12 Jun 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book Ambrose has put out there. 'Band Of Brothers' is about one very small part of the allied effort and the Ambrose style of hero-worship soon becomes very sickly, 'D-Day' is totally mis-titled, riddled with errors and insulting to the non-US allies, but 'Citizen Soldiers' sets out to be a sweeping look at the men who fought in the US army in NW Europe and the result is very well worth while. Don't let the books mentioned above put you off reading this one.
There is nothing in this book about the Pacific or Mediterranean Theatre of operations except the odd passing reference, usually to compare statistics.
What Ambrose does is take quotes from written first hand accounts, quotes from oral histories at the Eisenhower Centre and then quotes from his own research and conversation with veterans. This book puts them all together in a largely chronological order to give the reader a very good idea of conditions and attitudes of GIs from D-Day to victory in Europe. The finished product is very readable and skips along at a good pace despite the almost 500 page length.
My main criticisms of the book are these:
* The maps are disappointing in both ease of reading and level of detail. Several pages are set aside for good quality glossy prints of photographs which would have been better used for quality map reproduction in my opinion.
* Although Ambrose keeps his own opinions to himself more than in his other books, they are still present from time to time and it is fair to say that his selection of quotes often seems to have been made to back-up his own beliefs.
* Ambrose's knowledge of the air war in Europe is certainly lacking and the book is weak in this area.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Jun 2003
Format: Paperback
This is simply a great book. As usual, Ambrose writes from the personal testimony of the men who were there. It's difficult therefore to criticise or argue with any of the subject matter - it is how they felt during events so we have to respect that fact. We can only imagine what it was like to be on the Western Front in WW2, reading this is as close as we'll get to understanding how it really felt.
I have to admit my ignorance about the campaign, I was well read on the air war in the West but not the conflict on the ground. The impression I had was that there were a few intense battles (Ardennes and D-Day for example) but in general the war on the ground was a simple affair. I was shocked however to see the attrition rates of units, 200% over the 12 months fighting in some cases. This simply beggars belief and the personal insights of the combatants did on occasion bring a lump to my throat.
I take the point of others, Ambrose writes from a very 'America'-centric viewpoint. This is inevitable as the interviews he used are with American veterans. In addition however I'm British, and there are no doubt many who would read my views and be offended (for which I apologise), but we have to accept that the war was won by the Americans and Russians. They were no better soldiers than us, but we could not match their numbers or industrial output. The Brits should be (and are) justly proud that they stopped the Germans expanding any further West than France, but we would never have pushed them back without help. On occasion Ambrose (and his witnesses) reflect these facts but I don't think that warrants critisism and I certainly don't take offence.
Another very interesting point is the acknowledgement by Ambrose of the completely different culture and ethos in the US and British Army.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stucumber VINE VOICE on 3 Jun 2004
Format: Paperback
It has been a little while since I have read this book so I will keep it short.

The author's remit here is the European war from D-Day as experienced by the US forces. As such there is little material on the other allies, which is not a flaw (as some reviewers see it) because the book does not set out to cover the entire period or theatre. If it had covered the entire allied efforts in as much detail, it would be a hugely long work and as mentioned, not in it's remit. Ambrose was after all an American and few would criticise a similar book from a British, Canadian or even German point of view on the same grounds. To those accusing the author of a singular American outlook, I suggest his excellent 'Pegasus Bridge' an account of the British Airborne's skillful and brave opening raid on 'Fortress Europe', which he handles fairly and with suitable respect.

Ambrose gives the reader a good grounding in the main events of the period, detailing chronologicaly the American drive toward Germany from June 1945 to the end of the war in Europe. This wouldn't be the first book I would recommend to someone who wants to find out about what happened between 1939 and 1945, as it's scope is somewhat narrow, there are other books which cover the whole war more generally but Citizen Soldiers does fit in when the reader is more aware of a wider picture.

On a negative note, Ambrose does levy in a hefty dollop of opinion, which does detract from it as being a work of detached, unbiased and objective history. Sometimes the opinions are those of the participants, which is fine and is after all a part of history. However sometimes the author introduces his own opinion, which is not. If you can get over Ambrose's less than objective style, you'll find a worthy history, just make sure you are not expecting a full account, from all sides, of the last great efforts of WWII.
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