Citizen Soldiers opens on June 7, 1944, on the Normandy beaches, and ends on May 7, 1945. From the high command on down to the enlisted men, Stephen E. Ambrose draws on hundreds of interviews and oral histories from men on both sides who were there. He recreates the experiences of the individuals who fought the battles, the women who served, and the Germans who fought against us.
Ambrose reveals the learning process of a great army: how to cross rivers, how to fight in snow or hedgerows, how to fight in cities, how to coordinate air and ground campaigns, how to fight in winter and on the defensive, how citizens become soldiers in the best army in the world.
A masterful biography of the U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations, Citizen Soldiers provides a compelling account of the extraordinary stories of ordinary men in their fight for democracy.
©1997 Stephen E. Ambrose (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"Citizen Soldiers [is] a high point in Ambrose's long fascination with the nature of leaders and followers. (John Lehman, The Wall Street Journal)
"History boldly told and elegantly written.... Gripping." (Kyle Smith, People)
"Ambrose proves once again he is a masterful historian.... Spellbinding.... The book captures the bizarre contradictions, random kindness and unexpectedly comic moments of the push to Berlin as memorably as a great war novel." (John Omicinski, Detroit Free Press)
Husband, Father, attorney, veteran, libertarian.
This book conveys the tragedy of war for all. As a combat vet of Iraq I feel that my tour was a walk in the park compared to WWII. All citizens should read this book to help them understand the price that was paid to defeat the nazis.
The narrator also does an excellent job, his various accents help the flow of the book and his delivery, tempo, and tone were perfect.
Yes, especially if they had an interest in WW II.
His voice varied enough to make the soldiers being discussed or 'talking/telling their story' stand apart.
Well worth the listen. Although I suspect each listener will come away with specific remembered parts, overall the gritty nature of war and the struggles faced by soldiers on both sides is well portrayed.
This is a great telling of WWII from the soldiers perspective. I read it some years ago and hearing it again I learned some new things I had forgotten. Stephen Ambrose has a way of telling a story that bring the words of history to life.
His story telling keeps the listener listening. It's like watching a movie in your head.
I wish I could listen to this in one sitting.
Listening to this makes me proud to be an American. Proud of our history and thankful of our past. Some may say our current generation couldn't do the same. Many have said the same of previous generations before. Gertrude Stein called the WWII generation, "The lost generation".
I'm sure history will repeat itself if the current generation is ever called on to defend freedom on a massive scale. It will succeed and we will prevail.
What a great book.
Ambrose is an excellent writer, and this book is no exception. Thoroughly researched from both sides of the war in Europe, but unique in that the primary focus is from the perspective of the front-line troops. I found the interviews with the former German soldiers to be very insightful. It isn't often we hear reflections on WWII from those who were our enemies.
Some funny stories, some heartbreaking ones (how could we ever understand the hell that was the frontline in the winter of 1944?) and overall a very good listen.
Ambrose, as usual, takes us into the foxholes with the GI. His treatment of the Generals, prima donnas all, makes us wonder how we won.
He made you feel like you were there
any of the actual GI's
both but mostly cry, The horrors our soldiers endured
Yes.. Griping and believable
You can imagine you are on the Normandy beaches.. the noise and carnage and fear of failure
I like his light and shade.. makes for a more interesting listen
the book in general moved me
I enjoy books about history and adventure.
Among the top five.I usually listen to books at set times of the day, on my way to work, home, travelling that sort of thing. I wanted to listen to this all the time.
The story from both sides. Not a biased, or opinionated book. Well researched. Great stories and little pieces of history.
It's too difficult to pick a favourite scene, the whole book is riveting.
Definitely and It was one of those books that I didn't want to end.
I read an article recently about some infamous singer who said, 'men are animals who enjoy killing each other'. Obviously he hasn't read this book. There are stories of some brutality to be sure, but what shines through is the ability of people (citizen soldiers) to address the situations with some compassion and a healthy dose of reality. Men and some women are thrust into war like it or not, It's how they handle the situation that matters.This book addresses those issues and some. The hardships, the suffering and the humanity of it all. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in WW2, or just how folk behave given an exceptional set of circumstances.
Stephen Ambrose has perfected giving an overview while keeping the story personal. As a combat that of the Iraqi war, it's refreshing to see how the attitude of the American soldier has not really changed. The narrator did an outstanding job of capturing the soldiers personalities.
Stephen E Ambrose is a figure of some envy within the community of WW2 historians. He somehow cracked the market open and his Band of Brothers became that golden HBO TV hit. I've heard some try to undermine him by discrediting his academic prowess. I have to say that doesn't disconcert me at all. He is a fine writer, his work is accessible and his perspective on human experience in combat is insightful and empathetic.
I like how Ambrose looks at soldiers as people first and foremost. The solidiers and individuals, with characteristics and as much as he can he will tease out the humanity within the uniform.
This is a great book. It gives you enough to understand the nasty side of war, without detracting one iota from the heroism. The futility is there too - this account doesn't embellish armed conflict, but it doesn't saturate the reader with morality tales either.
There is a genuine critical perspective - and Ambrose is not partisan - he respects both the axis and the allies as soldiers quite equally and pulls no punches in pointing out the strengths and weakeness on both sides.
His criticism of both Montgomery and Patton is welcome and refreshing. He is in neither tent and can see that even in WW2, the media image outstripped the abilities of both men.
Some of the tales will make you shake your head. From the small intimate stories that happened between one of two soldiers in a skirmish or a patrol, to the stories of entire battles that have since been apparently forgotten or sanitised for the sake of post-war recollection.
And by the way Ambrose doesn't mind digging out the controversy and giving you some insight in those situations either.
A genuinely excellent insight.
I also rate the narration very highly - which is incredibly important for me.
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