Yanks: The Epic Story of the American Army in World War I

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Simon and Schuster, 2001 M09 14 - 368 pages
Fought far from home, World War I was nonetheless a stirring American adventure. The achievements of the United States during that war, often underrated by military historians, were in fact remarkable, and they turned the tide of the conflict. So says John S. D. Eisenhower, one of today's most acclaimed military historians, in his sweeping history of the Great War and the men who won it: the Yanks of the American Expeditionary Force.
Their men dying in droves on the stalemated Western Front, British and French generals complained that America was giving too little, too late. John Eisenhower shows why they were wrong. The European Allies wished to plug the much-needed U.S. troops into their armies in order to fill the gaps in the line. But General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, the indomitable commander of the AEF, determined that its troops would fight together, as a whole, in a truly American army. Only this force, he argued -- not bolstered French or British units -- could convince Germany that it was hopeless to fight on.
Pershing's often-criticized decision led to the beginning of the end of World War I -- and the beginning of the U.S. Army as it is known today. The United States started the war with 200,000 troops, including the National Guard as well as regulars. They were men principally trained to fight Indians and Mexicans. Just nineteen months later the Army had mobilized, trained, and equipped four million men and shipped two million of them to France. It was the greatest mobilization of military forces the New World had yet seen.
For the men it was a baptism of fire. Throughout Yanks Eisenhower focuses on the small but expert cadre of officers who directed our effort: not only Pershing, but also the men who would win their lasting fame in a later war -- MacArthur, Patton, and Marshall. But the author has mined diaries, memoirs, and after-action reports to resurrect as well the doughboys in the trenches, the unknown soldiers who made every advance possible and suffered most for every defeat. He brings vividly to life those men who achieved prominence as the AEF and its allies drove the Germans back into their homeland -- the irreverent diarist Maury Maverick, Charles W. Whittlesey and his famous "lost battalion," the colorful Colonel Ulysses Grant McAlexander, and Sergeant Alvin C. York, who became an instant celebrity by singlehandedly taking 132 Germans as prisoners.
From outposts in dusty, inglorious American backwaters to the final bloody drive across Europe, Yanks illuminates America's Great War as though for the first time. In the AEF, General John J. Pershing created the Army that would make ours the American age; in Yanks that Army has at last found a storyteller worthy of its deeds.
 

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Yanks: the epic story of the American Army in World War I

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This history focuses entirely on the challenges, victories, sacrifices (320,500 casualties), and long-term consequences of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe during World War I ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
3
A Visit From Papa Joffre
11
A Nation At War
19
The Selection Of General Pershing
26
The Yanks Arrive
35
Organizing The Aef
51
The Supreme War Council
67
Apprenticeship The Opening Battles
77
St MihielDress Rehearsal
179
The Race Against Time
198
MontfauconOminous Victory
210
Argonne
224
Feelers For Peace
240
First Army Comes Of Age
250
The Windup
262
The Railroad Car At Compiegne
273

Baptism Of Fire
79
The Calm Before The Storm
93
Unified Command At Last
100
I Will Not Be Coerced
111
The Big Red One At Cantigny
121
The 2D Division At Belleau Wood
135
The Rock Of The Marne
151
SoissonsThe Turning Point
162
The Aef Fights Independently St Mihieland The Meuseargonne
177
The End Of The Aef
284
Epilogue
290
Mobilization
298
Notes
302
Bibliography
329
Acknowledgments
335
Index
337
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Page 10 - But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts — for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.
Page 7 - I cannot bring myself to believe that they will indeed pay no regard to the ancient friendship between their people and our own or to the solemn obligations which have been exchanged between them and destroy American ships and take the lives of American citizens in the...
Page 9 - It is a fearful thing to lead this great, peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all .wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance...

About the author (2001)

A graduate of West Point and retired Brigadier General in the Army Reserve, John S.D. Eisenhower has served on the US Army General Staff, on the White House Staff, and as US Ambassador to Belgium.

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