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The Allied troops huddled and died in mist and mud, trapped in pockets by driving rain and snow. No one had expected Hitler to amass forces secretly and break through the lines of the Ardennes forest, or the fierce fighting that was to be called the Battle of the Bulge, and the Allied troops desperately lacked food, supplies, arms and ammunition. The only way to get supplies was by air. The only way to win was to conduct air strikes. If only the weather would clear. Then George S. Patton strode into a Luxembourg chapel and began a private prayer with "Sir, whose side are you on?" The weather cleared. Weintraub (arts and humanities emeritus, Pennsylvania State U. ) takes readers through some of the most harrowing days in history, giving insights from commanders, soldiers, and even prisoners of war like Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
In the closing days of World War II, America looked up to three five-star generals as its greatest heroes. George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur personified victory, from the Pentagon to Normandy to the Far East. Counterparts and on occasion competitors, they had leapfrogged each other, sometimes stonewalled each other, even supported and protected each other throughout their celebrated careers. In the public mind they stood for glamour, integrity, and competence. But for dramatic twists of circumstance, all three -- rather than only one -- might have occupied the White House. The story of their interconnected lives opens a fascinating window onto some of the twentieth century's most crucial events, revealing the personalities behind the public images and showing how much of a difference three men can make. Marshall and MacArthur were contemporaries and competitors. Eisenhower was MacArthur's underling, then Marshall's deputy, before becoming MacArthur's counterpart as a supreme commander, Ike in Western Europe, MacArthur in the Pacific. Each of the three five-star generals would go on to extraordinary postwar careers: MacArthur as a virtual viceroy of Japan, overseeing its transition to a new constitutional democracy, and then leading the UN forces in the Korean War; Marshall as secretary of state, author of the Marshall Plan, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Eisenhower as president. Fifteen Stars presents the intertwined lives of these three great men against the sweeping background of six unforgettable decades, from two world wars to the Cold War. It is history at its most dramatic yet most personal -- a triumph for Stanley Weintraub, our preeminent military historian.
A weak English King at a critical time.
When the wartime 1944 presidential election campaign geared up late that spring, Franklin D. Roosevelt had already occupied the White House years longer than any other president. Sensing likely weakness, the Republicans mounted an energetic and expensive campaign, hitting hard at FDR's liberal domestic policies and the war's ongoing cost. Despite gravely deteriorating health, FDR and his feisty running mate, the unexpected Harry Truman, campaigned vigorously against young governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York and old-line Ohio governor John Bricker. Roosevelt's charm and wit, as well as the military successes in Europe and the Pacific, contributed to his sweeping electoral victory. But the hard-fought campaign would soon take its toll on America's only four-term president. Preeminent historian and biographer Stanley Weintraub recaptures FDR's striking "last campaign" and the year's momentous events, from the rainy city streets where Roosevelt, his legs paralyzed by polio since 1922, rode in an open car, to the battlefronts where the commander-in-chief's forces were closing in on Hitler and Hirohito. The tale is unforgettable.
From the author of the bestselling Silent Night comes a close look at the embattled holiday season of 1864, when Major General W. T. Sherman gave President Lincoln the city of Savannah and paved the way for the end of the Civil War. General Sherman's Christmas opens on Thanksgiving Day 1864. Sherman was relentlessly pushing his troops nearly three hundred miles across Georgia in his "March to the Sea," to reach Savannah just days before Christmas. His methodical encroachment of the city from all sides eventually convinced Confederate general W. J. Hardee, who had refused a demand for surrender of his troops, to slip away in darkness across an improvised causeway and escape to South Carolina. In freezing rain and through terrifying fog, equipment-burdened soldiers crossed a hastily built pontoon bridge spanning the mile-wide Savannah River. Three days before Christmas, the mayor, Richard Arnold, surrendered the city, now populated mostly by women, children, and the slaves who had not fled. General Sherman then telegraphed to Abraham Lincoln, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25.000 bales of cotton." The fight for Savannah took place as its inhabitants were anxiously preparing for Christmas. Weintraub explores how Christmas was traditionally fÊted in the South and what remained of the holiday to celebrate during the waning last full year of the war. Illustrated with striking period prints, General Sherman's Christmas captures the voices of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict, as they neared the end of a long war.
A careful analysis of the events which led up to General MacArthur's removal from command.
Weintraub, a historian, author, and retired professor of arts and humanities at Penn State U. , recounts the events following the attack on Pearl Harbor from December 22, 1941, to January 1, 1942. Even though President Franklin Roosevelt wanted time to prepare the nation, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill came to the White House to discuss strategy on December 22. Weintraub traces each day of discussions between the two leaders, as well as events occurring at the time in Japan and Europe and the meetings of the leaders with foreign envoys, including one that led to the declaration initiating the United Nations. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Shaw's opinions of, or actual relationships with notable Victorians including the Queen. Includes extensive quotes from a man whose life spanned later Victorian Britain and the first fifty years of the twentieth century.
It was one of history's most powerful -- yet forgotten -- Christmas stories. It took place in the improbable setting of the mud, cold rain and senseless killing of the trenches of World War I. It happened in spite of orders to the contrary by superiors; it happened in spite of language barriers. And it still stands as the only time in history that peace spontaneously arose from the lower ranks in a major conflict, bubbling up to the officers and temporarily turning sworn enemies into friends. Silent Night, by renowned military historian Stanley Weintraub, magically restores the 1914 Christmas Truce to history. It had been lost in the tide of horror that filled the battlefields of Europe for months and years afterward. Yet in December 1914 the Great War was still young, and the men who suddenly threw down their arms and came together across the front lines -- to sing carols, exchange gifts and letters, eat and drink and even play friendly games of soccer -- naively hoped that the war would be short-lived, and that they were fraternizing with future friends. It began when German soldiers lit candles on small Christmas trees, and British, French, Belgian and German troops serenaded each other on Christmas Eve. Soon they were gathering and burying the dead, in an age-old custom of truces. But as the power of Christmas grew among them, they broke bread, exchanged addresses and letters and expressed deep admiration for one another. When angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many men aimed harmlessly high overhead. Sometimes the greatest beauty emerges from deep tragedy. Surely the forgotten Christmas Truce was one of history's most beautiful moments, made all the more beautiful in light of the carnage that followed it. Stanley Weintraub's moving re-creation demonstrates that peace can be more fragile than war, but also that ordinary men can bond with one another despite all efforts of politicians and generals to the contrary.
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