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  • Citizen Soldiers

  • The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany
  • By: Stephen E. Ambrose
  • Narrated by: George Wilson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Summary

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

Critic reviews

" 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)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book. Awful narrator.

A great book detailing the ongoing battle through the ETO mostly through American eyes. Nonetheless, the personal accounts, interspersed with factual detail is good, and easy to listen to. However, the narrator has an extremely limited knowledge of foreign placenames. His incorrect pronunciation actually angered me!!

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An eye opener

I've gone through a few books lately about war, I love it when someone knows what they're talkin' about, I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in war and warrior's narratives.