December 2018 TMB Book Club Selection: Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose

Discussion in 'TMB Book Club' started by CBH, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. CBH

    CBH Well-Known Member
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    Through the first few chapters it has been really interesting to me and very easy to read really. The first sentence of the prologue was awesome for me because I've visited St. Mere-eglise as well. Interested to hear others impressions of the book and the hedgerow fighting
     
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  2. The Blackfish

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    I’m going to be late to this one but I’m looking forward to it
     
  3. RegimentML

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    I should finish my current book this week. I will start this next. I'm listening on audio so that'll be interesting
     
  4. billdozer

    billdozer Well-Known Member
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    Read this a long time ago when I was in a WWII swing. Enjoyed it.
     
  5. RegimentML

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    I started this two days ago (audiobook). Not very far into it, but interested to learn more about WWII. I enjoy history and non-fiction, but my interest is usually in ancient history so this isn't something I would normally pick up to read.
     
  6. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
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    Through Part 2

    Have enjoyed it so far. As CBH pointed out, it's an easy read and not as dense as some of these WWII books (Atkinson for example).

    Think my favorite parts of the hedgerow sections were the ones describing how we engineered solutions for approaching them. Cool to see American ingenuity at work.

    I like how Ambrose didn't shy away from criticizing the wisdom of attacking through Hurtgen Forest.

    Looking forward to section 3 which seems more based on overall experiences and not a chronological narrative.
     
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  7. The Blackfish

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    I say we keep this book rolling through January. I haven’t been able to start it yet and I think a few others are in the same boat as me.
     
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  8. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Started this tonight. 2 Chapters in.

    Im not some scholar on ww2 but pretty well read on it. I had no idea they were that clueless/unready for the hedge rows and that intelligence just completely missed them. Makes what the troops did even more impressive.

    Also - LOL @ Hunting deer w a B.A.R
     
    #8 Truman, Jan 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  9. Truman

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    Finished.

    I dont really have anything specific to say but in general I really liked this book. What separated it from a lot of war time books was the focus was on the day in the life of the average soldiers, and not as much on the overall campaigns and tactics. Pretty incredible how ill prepared they came into this war, how many situations they were not trained on and how good ole American ingenuity won the day.

    8/10
     
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  10. The Blackfish

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    Finally starting today
     
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  11. RegimentML

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    Finished.

    Not sure I have many specific thoughts. I would’ve liked more discussion on the overall strategy of the war, the politics, etc., but I understand that wasn’t really the purpose of this book. I enjoyed all the anecdotes from both sides of the conflict, the quotes, and the specific discussion of subjects like the Red Cross, Jim Crow, and others. Good recommendation for a nonfiction book, and I’m glad I read it.

    7.5/10 for me.
     
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  12. Tangman

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    Never posted my final thoughts on this but I really enjoyed it. The section on the medical personnel was highly interesting. Also really liked the letters he shared in the afterword.

    8/10. Thanks CBH
     
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  13. The Blackfish

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    I'm enjoying it so far, on the 2nd Battle of the Bulge chapter. I am realizing I have forgotten almost everything I had learned about WWII.
     
  14. The Blackfish

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    The part where the soldier described how on the front lines they weren’t going outside to shit during the day if the city was under observation and they were living in the cellars so they would just shit on the floors in the living rooms. Then as they advanced those same houses would turn into HQs and officers would have to issue orders to the front to stop shitting in the god damn living rooms.

    :roll:
     
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  15. The Blackfish

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    I think my favorite parts of this book are the random acts of kindness/humanity between the two sides that are shown. For example when the allied GI is hit by artillery shrapnel and is screaming for help and a lone German pulls him into a trench and provides first aid, then the other allied troops find them and offer to take the German prisoner or let him return to his comrades.

    Also the Americans who were stranded behind the enemy lines in the barn when they were captured and were allowed to eat Christmas Dinner with the Germans and the Belgian family. Although that particular warm fuzzy was short lived as they were then shipped of to a POW camp afterwards in one of those train carts that they crammed 100 people into a 40 person space and left them there for 4 days. That is my nightmare.

    Reading about soldiers wounded, about to die, crying for their mothers and then imagining my 2 year old son growing up to be sent off to war to die alone in a foreign country crying for his mother just about brought me to tears as I was reading last night. Had to shove that line of thinking wayyyy down.
     
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  16. The Blackfish

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    Best discription of coldness?

    “If a man didn’t do his business in a hurry he risked a frostbitten penis”
     
  17. CBH

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    So finally finished this yesterday and really enjoyed it, very different writing of World War II history than what I've read for the most part. A lot of good parts have been mentioned already but really enjoyed the chapters on the airmen and medics. My biggest issue with it was the maps were always in the middle of the pages and you couldn't see the important parts of them.
     
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