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by Paul Johnson

Acclaimed historian Paul Johnson's lively, succinct biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower explores how his legacy endures today In the rousing style he's famous for, celebrated biographer Paul Johnson offers a fascinating portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower, focusing particularly on his years as a five-star general and his time as the thirty-fourth President of the United States. Johnson chronicles President Eisenhower's modest childhood in Kansas, his college years at West Point, and his rapid ascent through the military ranks, culminating in his appointment as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. Beginning when Eisenhower assumed the presidency from Harry Truman in 1952, Johnson paints a rich portrait of his two consecutive terms, exploring his volatile relationship with then-Vice President Richard Nixon, his abhorrence of isolationism, and his position on the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the Civil Rights Movement. Johnson notes that when Eisenhower left the White House at age 70, reluctantly passing the torch to President-elect John F. Kennedy, he feared for the country's future and prophetically warned of the looming military-industrial complex. Many elements of Eisenhower's presidency speak to American politics today, including his ability to balance the budget and skill in managing an oppositional Congress. This brief yet comprehensive study will appeal to biography lovers as well as to enthusiasts of presidential history and military history alike.


by Geoffrey Perret

Drawing on newly available material, including Eisenhower's papers and diaries, author and military historian Geoffrey Perret offers a comprehensive portrait of the life, military exploits, political life, and presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969). He covers several controversies including an alleged dalliance, Eisenhower's break with MacArthur in 1939, his opinion of Nixon, and his role in McCarthy's activities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


by Steven Zaloga Steve Noon

Dwight Eisenhower represented a fundamentally new type of military commander in the 20th century: commander as manager rather than the traditional warrior commander. Armies had become so large and military coalitions so dependent on politics that this new type of commander emerged. Eisenhower never fought in a single battle, but he commanded the most modern and powerfully armed force to fight in Europe. As Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, Eisenhower had at his disposal not only the British, US, and French armies, but the RAF, USAAF, Royal Navy and US Navy-Atlantic. This book explores every aspect of his military career.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Eisenhower and Churchill: The Partnership that Saved the World

by James C. Humes

Although born and raised more than an ocean apart, Dwight Eisenhower and Winston Churchill--the two titans of the greatest generation--led remarkably parallel lives whose paths would intersect during history's most harrowing days. Through their youth, education, and military training, both men experienced similar triumphs and failures that shaped their lives, though they met only for the first time upon the eve of war in 1941. Eisenhower and Churchilltells the magnificent story of these two great leaders and their exemplary partnership in war and peace. Through enlivened pages and fascinating anecdotes, author James C. Humes illuminates the human side of each man, who had more in common with each other than a world war. You'll discover the extraordinary stories of how both were born to domineering mothers and failed fathers, both did not qualify for the military academy on the first try, both were traumatized by experiences in World War I, both were talented writers, and both lost a child in the very same year (1921). Remarkably, each man did not warm to the other at first; but as they worked together, their respect for one another grew to become a powerful friendship that lived long after the echoes of war had receded into the past. As allies, they shared a hatred for tyranny and led the world through the greatest war of the twentieth century. As friends, they shared a sense of trust and cooperation that should be raised as a standard. Containing new research and memorable insights,Eisenhower and Churchillbrings to life the two lions of the twentieth centruy. "Who would not welcome an intimate book about Churchill and Eisenhower, and who is better situated to write it than Professor Humes, who knew them both, and studiously--and ardently--records their careers and their friendship?" --William F. Buckley Jr. "James C. Humes'sEisenhower and Churchillis a wonderful dual biography laced with lively anecdotes, engaging prose, and shrewd analysis. A truly welcome addition to our growing literature on the Second World War. " --Douglas Brinkley,professor of history and director of the Eisenhower Center, University of New Orleans From the Hardcover edition.

Eisenhower in War and Peace

by Jean Edward Smith

In his magisterial bestseller FDR, Jean Edward Smith gave us a fresh, modern look at one of the most indelible figures in American history. Now this peerless biographer returns with a new life of Dwight D. Eisenhower that is as full, rich, and revealing as anything ever written about America's thirty-fourth president. As America searches for new heroes to lead it out of its present-day predicaments, Jean Edward Smith's achievement lies in reintroducing us to a hero from the past whose virtues have become clouded in the mists of history. Here is Eisenhower the young dreamer, charting a course from Abilene, Kansas, to West Point, to Paris under Pershing, and beyond. Drawing on a wealth of untapped primary sources, Smith provides new insight into Ike's maddening apprenticeship under Douglas MacArthur in Washington and the Philippines. Then the whole panorama of World War II unfolds, with Eisenhower's superlative generalship forging the Allied path to victory through multiple reversals of fortune in North Africa and Italy, culminating in the triumphant invasion of Normandy. Smith also gives us an intriguing examination of Ike's finances, details his wartime affair with Kay Summersby, and reveals the inside story of the 1952 Republican convention that catapulted him to the White House.Smith's chronicle of Eisenhower's presidential years is as compelling as it is comprehensive. Derided by his detractors as a somnambulant caretaker, Eisenhower emerges in Smith's perceptive retelling as both a canny politician and a skillful, decisive leader. Smith convincingly portrays an Eisenhower who engineered an end to America's three-year no-win war in Korea, resisted calls for preventative wars against the Soviet Union and China, and boldly deployed the Seventh Fleet to protect Formosa from invasion. This Eisenhower, Smith shows us, stared down Khrushchev over Berlin and forced the withdrawal of British, French, and Israeli forces from the Suez Canal. He managed not only to keep the peace--after Ike made peace in Korea, not one American soldier was killed in action during his tenure--but also to enhance America's prestige in the Middle East and throughout the world.Domestically, Eisenhower reduced defense spending, balanced the budget, constructed the interstate highway system, and provided social security coverage for millions who were self-employed. Ike believed that traditional American values encompassed change and progress.Unmatched in insight, Eisenhower in War and Peace at last gives us an Eisenhower for our time--and for the ages.From the Hardcover edition.

Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life

by Carlo D'Este

From the bestselling author of Patton: A Genius for War comes a compelling new account of the transformation of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, from apprehensive soldier to one of our greatest heros. In the weeks leading up to D-Day, Dwight D. Eisenhower seethed with nervous energy. He had not expected his military career to bring him to this moment. The son of pacifists, Ike graduated from high school more likely to teach history than to make it. Casting new light on this profound evolution, Eisenhower chronicles the unlikely, dramatic rise of the supreme Allied commander. Beginning with the lasting effect of Eisenhower's impoverished youth, bestselling biographer Carlo D'Este follows his subject through West Point and a sometimes troubled marriage; toil under MacArthur in the Philippines during the 1930s; the inner sanctums of the War Department; the general's painful North African apprenticeship; and, finally, the dramatic events leading to the Allied victory in May 1945. Exposing for the first time numerous myths that have surrounded the war hero and his family (such as his romance with his wartime driver, Kay Summersby), D'Este also probes Eisenhower's famous clashes with his American peers and the British chiefs of staff, as well as his relations with legendary figures, including Winston Churchill and George S. Patton. Unlike other biographies of the general, Eisenhower captures Ike's true character, from his youth to the pinnacle of his career and afterward.

Eisenhower Volume I: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890-1952

by Stephen E. Ambrose

Dwight Eisenhower was not exactly born into poverty, but the family's circumstances were at least austere. He was one of seven children; his father, a railway worker. But the family was strong and unified, the youngsters energetic and ambitious.<P> Ike made it to West Point, where he excelled in sports. He was a natural leader. But it was at Leavenworth years later, as a student at the war college, that his intellectual talent showed itself. He graduated first in his class.<P> The author draws in a wealth of previously unpublished information to give us this beautiful portrait. As a result Eisenhower emerges as complex, one who as the author states, ". . .was a good and great man."

El Alamein

by Bryn Hammond

The battle of El Alamein in 1942 was one of the most crucial events in the entire Second World War. Before it, the British had never won a major battle on land against the Germans; nor indeed had anyone else, even the Russians. At Alamein the British Eighth Army first thwarted the Axis attempts in North Africa to seize Cairo and the Suez Canal and then smashed through the German-Italian defences, eventually driving the Axis forces out of North Africa. This victory, by a 'British' army actually composed of a variety of nationalities including men and women from the Indian sub-continent, southern Africa, Australians, New Zealanders, French and Greeks, as well as British troops, had psychological and morale-raising significance that exceeded even its strategic importance. Nothing had the sweet smell of success prior to this battle than El Alamein and for the battered British Empire battling against the might of the Third Reich this victory was crucial to its ability to continue its war efforts. El Alamein's significance went beyond the events of the war. The opposing army commanders were perhaps the first 'celebrity' generals, attracting the attention of press and newsreel reporters alike. This led to a host of myths and tales of idiosyncratic behaviour that were shamelessly exploited by the individuals themselves and, especially in Britain, eagerly devoured by a public enamoured of the romance of warfare in this remarkable and hostile environment where men were at war with each other as well as with the elements. Drawing on a remarkable array of first-hand accounts, this book reveals the personal experiences of those on the frontline, giving the individual's point of view of the battle, from all sides, and provide a fascinating account of the minutiae detail of how war was actually fought alongside the analysis of the strategic decisions made by the generals. El Alamein 1942 is the story of exactly how a seemingly beaten and demoralized army turned near-defeat into victory in a little over four months of protracted and bloody fighting in the harsh North African desert and of the repercussions of the battle for the participants, for historians and in popular culture.

Eldorado Network

by Derek Robinson

1941. Hitler is rampant. Spain is neutral. Madrid, like Casablanca, the launching pad for spies from all sides. The most daring and audacious of all is codenamed "Eldorado".Young, inexperienced, hotheaded, he had no right to survive, let alone succeed. Now his network is the most valuable in Europe, and the fates of armies lie in his hands.But who does he work for? Or is he only in it for himself? One thing's for sure. War may be a dirty business, but it certainly brings home the bacon.Based on a true story, The Eldorado Network is the first novel in Derek Robinson's acclaimed Luis Cabrillo Quartet. A tense and gripping espionage thriller from a master of action and suspense.

Eldorado Network

by Derek Robinson

1941. Hitler is rampant. Spain is neutral. Madrid, like Casablanca, the launching pad for spies from all sides. The most daring and audacious of all is codenamed "Eldorado."Young, inexperienced, hotheaded, he had no right to survive, let alone succeed. Now his network is the most valuable in Europe, and the fates of armies lie in his hands.But who does he work for? Or is he only in it for himself? One thing's for sure. War may be a dirty business, but it certainly brings home the bacon.Based on a true story, The Eldorado Network is the first novel in Derek Robinson's acclaimed Luis Cabrillo Quartet. A tense and gripping espionage thriller from a master of action and suspense.

Eleanor's Story: An American Girl In Hitler's Germany

by Eleanor Ramrath Garner

A COMPELLING AND EVOCATIVE story that immerses readers in the daily struggles of surviving World War II. Eleanor's Story is the dramatic autobiography of Eleanor Ramrath Garner's youth, growing up as an American caught in World War II Berlin. It's a story of trying to maintain stability, hope, and identity in a world of terror and contrasts. During the Great Depression, when she is nine, Eleanor's family moves from her beloved America to Germany, where her father has been offered a good job. But war breaks out as her family is crossing the Atlantic, and they cannot return to the United States. Eleanor tries to maintain her American identity as she feels herself pulled into the turbulent life roiling around her. She fervently hopes for an Allied victory, yet for years she must try to survive the Allied bombs shattering her neighborhood. Her family faces separations, bombings, hunger, the final fierce battle for Berlin, the Russian invasion, and the terrors of Soviet occupancy. This compelling story immerses us in the daily struggles of surviving World War II as a civilian. It puts a very human face on the horrors of war and helps us understand that each casualty of war is a person, not a number.

Elegy for Kosovo: Stories

by Peter Constantine Ismail Kadare

June 28, 1389: Six hundred years before Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic called for the repression of the Albanian majority in Kosovo, there took place, on the Field of the Blackbirds, a battle shrouded in legend. A coalition of Serbs, Albanian Catholics, Bosnians, and Rumanians confronted and fell to the invading Ottoman army of Sultan Murad. The battle established the Muslim foothold in Europe and became a centerpiece of Serbian nationalist ideology, justifying the campaign of ethnic cleansing of Albanian Kosovars that the world witnessed with horror at the end of the last century. In this eloquent and timely reflection on war, memory, and the destiny of two peoples, Ismail Kadare explores in fiction the legend and the consequences of that defeat. Elegy for Kosovo is a heartfelt yet clear-eyed lament for a land riven by hatreds as old as the Homeric epics and as young as the latest news broadcast.

Elegy on Kinderklavier

by Arna Bontemps Hemenway

"The stories in Elegy on Kinderklavier travel around the world and to the moon, and along the way they tell you everything they know. Arna Hemenway writes a fiction whose satisfactions are not merely narrative but musical, and it is a pleasure to listen to his stories as they rise into song."-Kevin BrockmeierThe stories in Elegy on Kinderklavier explore the profound loss and intricate effects of war on lives that have been suddenly misaligned. A diplomat navigates a hostile political climate and an arranged marriage in an Israeli settlement on a newly discovered planet; a small town in Kansas shuns the army recruiter who signed up its boys as troops are deployed to Iraq, falling in helicopters and on grenades; a family dissolves around mental illness and a child's body overtaken by cancer. The moment a soldier steps on an explosive device is painfully reproduced, nanosecond by nanosecond. Arna Bontemps Hemenway's stories feel pulled out of time and place, and the suffering of his characters seem at once otherworldly and stunningly familiar. Elegy on Kinderklavier is a disquieting exploration of what it is to lose and be lost.Arna Bontemps Hemenway's fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review, A Public Space, the Seattle Review, and Ecotone. Originally from Kentucky, he holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers' Conference and Truman Capote Literary Trust.

The Element of Surprise

by Darryl Young

It used to be said that the night belonged to Charlie. But that wasn't true where SEALs patrolled. For six months in 1970, fourteen men in Juliett Platoon of the Navy's SEAL Team One--incuding the author--carried out over a hundred missions in the Mekong Delta without a single platoon fatality. Their primary mission: kidnap enemy soldiers--alive--for interrogation.From the Paperback edition.

The Element of Surprise: Navy SEALS in Vietnam

by Darryl Young

It used to be said that the night belonged to Charlie. But that wasn't true where SEALs patrolled. For six months in 1970, fourteen men in Juliett Platoon of the Navy's SEAL Team One--including the author--carried out over a hundred missions in the Mekong Delta without a single platoon fatality. Their primary mission: kidnap enemy soldiers--alive--for interrogation.

The Elementals

by Saundra Mitchell

Kate Witherspoon has lived a bohemian life with her artist parents. In 1917, the new art form of the motion picture is changing entertainment--and Kate is determined to become a director. Meanwhile, midwestern farm boy Julian Birch has inherited the wanderlust that fueled his parents' adventures. A childhood bout with polio has left him crippled, but he refuses to let his disability define him. Strangers driven by a shared vision, Kate and Julian set out separately for Los Angeles, the city of dreams. There, they each struggle to find their independence. When they finally meet, the teenage runaways realize their true magical legacy: the ability to triumph over death, and over time. But as their powerful parents before them learned, all magic comes with a price.on to The Vespertine and The Springsweet, the teenage children of the heroes of the previous novels confront a decades-old tragedy still unfolding. At the crucial moment, will Kate and Julian have the courage to embrace their gifts?

Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II

by Vicki Constantine Croke

The remarkable story of James Howard "Billy" Williams, whose uncanny rapport with the world's largest land animals transformed him from a carefree young man into the charismatic war hero known as Elephant Bill<P> Billy Williams came to colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in World War I, to a job as a "forest man" for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character, and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted "elephant wallah." Increasingly skilled at treating their illnesses and injuries, he also championed more humane treatment for them, even establishing an elephant "school" and "hospital." In return, he said, the elephants made him a better man. The friendship of one magnificent tusker in particular, Bandoola, would be revelatory. In Elephant Company, Vicki Constantine Croke chronicles Williams's growing love for elephants as the animals provide him lessons in courage, trust, and gratitude.<P> But Elephant Company is also a tale of war and daring. When Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite Force 136, the British dirty tricks department, operating behind enemy lines. His war elephants would carry supplies, build bridges, and transport the sick and elderly over treacherous mountain terrain. Now well versed in the ways of the jungle, an older, wiser Williams even added to his stable by smuggling more elephants out of Japanese-held territory. As the occupying authorities put a price on his head, Williams and his elephants faced his most perilous test. In a Hollywood-worthy climax, Elephant Company, cornered by the enemy, attempted a desperate escape: a risky trek over the mountainous border to India, with a bedraggled group of refugees in tow. Elephant Bill's exploits would earn him top military honors and the praise of famed Field Marshal Sir William Slim.<P> Part biography, part war epic, and part wildlife adventure, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known chapter in the annals of wartime heroism.

An Elephant in the Garden

by Michael Morpurgo

Lizzie and Karl's mother is a zoo keeper; the family has become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who will be destroyed as a precautionary measure so she and the other animals don't run wild should the zoo be hit by bombs. The family persuades the zoo director to let Marlene stay in their garden instead. When the city is bombed, the family flees with thousands of others, but how can they walk the same route when they have an elephant in tow, and keep themselves safe? Along the way, they meet Peter, a Canadian navigator who risks his own capture to save the family. As Michael Morpurgo writes in an author's note, An Elephant in the Garden is inspired by historical truths, and by his admiration for elephants, "the noblest and wisest and most sensitive of all creatures." Here is a story that brings together an unlikely group of survivors whose faith in kindness and love proves the best weapon of all.

Elephant Run

by Roland Smith

In 1941, bombs drop from the night skies of London, demolishing the apartment Nick Freestone lives in with his mother. Deciding the situation in England is too unstable, Nick's mother sends him to live with his father in Burma, hoping he will be safer living on the family's teak plantation. But as soon as Nick arrives, trouble erupts in the remote Burmese elephant village. Japanese soldiers invade, and Nick's father is taken prisoner. Nick is left stranded on the plantation, forced to work as a servant to the new rulers. As life in the village grows more dangerous for Nick and his young friend, Mya, they plan their daring escape. Setting off on elephant back, they will risk their lives to save Nick's father and Mya's brother from a Japanese POW camp.

Eleven Days in August: The Liberation of Paris in 1944

by Matthew Cobb

'I had thought that for me there could never again be any elation in war. But I had reckoned without the liberation of Paris - I had reckoned without remembering that I might be a part of that richly historic day. We were in Paris on the first day - one of the great days of all time.' (Ernie Pyle, US war correspondent)The liberation of Paris was a momentous point in twentieth-century history, yet it is now largely forgotten outside France. Eleven Days in August is a pulsating hour-by-hour reconstruction of these tumultuous events that shaped the final phase of the war and the future of France, told with the pace of a thriller. While examining the conflicting national and international interests that played out in the bloody street fighting, it tells of how, in eleven dramatic days, people lived, fought and died in the most beautiful city in the world. Based largely on unpublished archive material, including secret conversations, coded messages, diaries and eyewitness accounts, Eleven Days in August shows how these August days were experienced in very different ways by ordinary Parisians, Resistance fighters, French collaborators, rank-and-file German soldiers, Allied and French spies, the Allied and German High Commands.Above all, it shows that while the liberation of Paris may be attributed to the audacity of the Resistance, the weakness of the Germans and the strength of the Allies, the key to it all was the Parisians who by turn built street barricades and sunbathed on the banks of the Seine, who fought the Germans and simply tried to survive until the Germans finally surrendered, in a billiard room at the Prefecture of Police. One of the most iconic moments in the history of the twentieth century had come to a close, and the face of Paris would never be the same again.

Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: The War to End All Wars and Its Violent End

by Joseph E. Persico

The story of the day on which World War I, the war to end all wars, ended. Using military archives and public records, along with journals and diaries, the book will weave together the eleventh hour experiences of the famous, such as Lloyd George, President Woodrow Wilson, Field Marshall Haig and General Pershing. But more dominantly, it will deal with the ordinary men in the trenches, unsung and unremembered, the British Tommies, French Poilus, American Doughboys and German Feldgrau. Where, for example, was the Austrian corporal, Adolf Hitler, on that day? Four days before the War's end, with peace talks already underway, the beaten Germans propose an interim ceasefire to spare lives. However, the French Allied Commander, General Ferdinand Foch, refuses. Hostilities will not cease, Foch insists, before the appointed hour of the Armistice. Thus, even on the last day, the Allies are still launching full scale offenses and both sides bombard each other until the final minute of the agreed ceasefire, 11am, November 11, 1918. The last hours pulsate with tension as men in the trenches, airmen in the sky and sailors at sea hope to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in the War.

The Elimination: A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Confronts His Past and the Commandant of the Killing Fields

by John Cullen Christophe Bataille Rithy Panh

From the internationally acclaimed director of S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, a survivor's autobiography that confronts the evils of the Khmer Rouge dictatorship.Rithy Panh was only thirteen years old when the Khmer Rouge expelled his family from Phnom Penh in 1975. In the months and years that followed, his entire family was executed, starved, or worked to death. Thirty years later, after having become a respected filmmaker, Rithy Panh decides to question one of the men principally responsible for the genocide, Comrade Duch, who's neither an ordinary person nor a demon--he's an educated organizer, a slaughterer who talks, forgets, lies, explains, and works on his legacy. This confrontation unfolds into an exceptional narrative of human history and an examination of the nature of evil. The Elimination stands among the essential works that document the immense tragedies of the twentieth century, with Primo Levi's If This Is a Man and Elie Wiesel's Night.

Elite Forces of India and Pakistan

by Kenneth Conboy Paul Hannon

Influenced by the German use of paratroopers early in World War II (1939-1945), General Sir Robert Cassels, the Commander-in-Chief India, ordered the formation of an airborne cadre in October 1940. Thus marked the origins of India's first élite units. Pakistan can trace the origins of its own army airborne to the common parentage of British-raised forces. Following the partition from India in August 1947, it raised its own Special Service Group, with individually specialised companies including desert, mountain, ranger and underwater warfare units. This remarkable volume by Kenneth Conboy details the history, organisation, uniforms and insignia of the élite forces of India and Pakistan. Also covered are the elite forces of Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue

by Quiara Alegría Hudes

"Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue is that rare and rewarding thing: a theatre work that succeeds on every level while creating something new. The playwright combines a lyrical ear with a sophisticated sense of structure to trace the legacy of war through three generations of a Puerto Rican family. Without ever invoking politics, Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue manages to be a deeply poetic, touching and often funny indictment of the war in Iraq."-The New York TimesFrom Quiara Alegría Hudes, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Water by the Spoonful, comes this companion play, itself a Pulitzer finalist.In a crumbling urban lot that has been converted into a verdant sanctuary, a young Marine comes to terms with his father's service in Vietnam as he decides whether to leave for a second tour of duty in Iraq.Melding a poetic dreamscape with a stream-of-consciousness narrative, Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue takes us on an unforgettable journey across time and generations, lyrically tracing the legacy of war on a single Puerto Rican family.Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, is the first installment in a trilogy of plays that follow Elliot's return from Iraq. The second play, Water by the Spoonful, received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and will be published by Theatre Communications Group concurrently with Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue. The trilogy's final play, The Happiest Song Plays Last, premiered in April 2012 at Chicago's renowned The Goodman Theatre.

Elsie and Mairi Go to War: Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front

by Diane Atkinson

The incredible story of two courageous and spirited women who were the only female participants to serve on the western front during World War I. When they met at a motorcycle club in 1912, Elsie Knocker was a thirty year-old motorcycling divorcee dressed in bottle-green Dunhill leathers, and Mairi Chisholm was a brilliant eighteen-year old mechanic, living at home borrowing tools from her brother. Little did they know, theirs was to become one of the most extraordinary stories of World War I. In 1914, they roared off to London 'to do their bit,' and within a month they were in the thick of things in Belgium driving ambulances to distant military hospitals. Frustrated by the number of men dying of shock in the back of their vehicles, they set up their own first-aid post on the front line in the village of Pervyse, near Ypres, risking their lives working under sniper fire and heavy bombardment for months at a time. As news of their courage and expertise spread, the 'Angels of Pervyse' became celebrities, visited by journalists and photographers as well as royals and VIPs. Glamorous and influential, they were having the time of their lives, and for four years Elsie and Mairi and stayed in Pervyse until they were nearly killed by arsenic gas in the spring of 1918. But returning home and adjusting to peacetime life--and the role of women in British society--was to prove more challenging than even the war itself.

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