Today's sailors have too little appreciation of their heritage. To counter this problem, Thomas J. Cutler has compiled a history of our naval heritage in the form of A Sailor's History of the U.S. Navy. The work is unique in two important ways. First, it is written thematically rather than chronologically. This allows recent history to be blended with more distant (but important) events in ways that will reinforce the timelessness as well as the timeliness of the U.S. Navy, thereby having a greater appeal to today's sailor. There are a number of themes being used--the most obvious are manifested in chapters with the themes of honor, courage, and commitment, but others serve as useful vehicles as well; for example, there is a chapter called What's in a Name? that briefly discusses how ships have been/are named and then uses the many ships that have carried the name Enterprise as the theme for presenting significant portions of the Navy's history.
The other unique characteristic of this history is that it focuses wherever possible on the roles of ALL sailors rather than just the officers. That is not to say that Jones and Decatur are not there, but that the emphasis is along the lines of the crew of the Bon Homme Richard fought on into the night... rather than Jones fought... Also, there are plenty of individual sailor heroes who can stand alongside the Perrys and the Farraguts (Boatswain's Mate First Class Williams who won the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, Dorie Miller of Pearl Harbor fame, Gunner's Mate Third Class Paul Henry Carr at the battle off Samar, etc.). Some emphasis upon what it was like to be a sailor (working and living conditions) at different times is included as well.
These questions and many more are answered in Patrick O'Brian's elegant narrative, which includes wonderful anecdotal material on the battles and commanders that established Britain's naval supremacy. Line drawings and charts help us to understand the construction and rigging of the great ships, the types and disposition of the guns, and how they were operated in battle. A number of contemporary drawings and cartoons illustrate aspects of naval life from the press gang to the scullery. Finally, a generous selection of full-color paintings render the majesty and the excitement of fleet actions in the age of fighting sail.
Son, we're going to Hell. The navigator of the USS Houston confided these prophetic words to a young officer as he and his captain charted a course into U.S. naval legend. Renowned as FDR's favorite warship, the cruiser USS Houston was a prize target trapped in the far Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Without hope of reinforcement, her crew faced a superior Japanese force ruthlessly committed to total conquest. It wasn't a fair fight, but the men of the Houston would wage it to the death. Hornfischer brings to life the awesome terror of nighttime naval battles that turned decks into strobe-lit slaughterhouses, the deadly rain of fire from Japanese bombers, and the almost superhuman effort of the crew as they miraculously escaped disaster again and again-until their luck ran out during a daring action in Sunda Strait. There, hopelessly outnumbered, the Houston was finally sunk and its survivors taken prisoner. For more than three years their fate would be a mystery to families waiting at home. In the brutal privation of jungle POW camps dubiously immortalized in such films as The Bridge on the River Kwai, the war continued for the men of the Houston--a life-and-death struggle to survive forced labor, starvation, disease, and psychological torture. Here is the gritty, unvarnished story of the infamous Burma-Thailand Death Railway glamorized by Hollywood, but which in reality mercilessly reduced men to little more than animals, who fought back against their dehumanization with dignity, ingenuity, sabotage, will-power--and the undying faith that their country would prevail. Using journals and letters, rare historical documents, including testimony from postwar Japanese war crimes tribunals, and the eyewitness accounts of Houston's survivors, James Hornfischer has crafted an account of human valor so riveting and awe-inspiring, it's easy to forget that every single word is true.
Popularly known as the Douglas Dauntless, the U.S. Navy's SBD dive bomber was well named. Though considered obsolete at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Dauntless turned the tide of war in the Pacific with the destruction of four Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway, making its mark in aviation history for sinking more enemy carriers than any other aircraft. Still in service at war's end, the Dauntless was the only U.S. carrier aircraft in operation from Pearl Harbor to V-J Day. The Dauntless was the only American Navy aircraft to fly in al five of the naval engagements fought exclusively by aircraft carriers and was credited with sinking the first Japanese fleet submarine and dropping the first bombs on Japanese-occupied soil during the war. The SBD was also active in the Atlantic, sinking Vichy French shipping at Casablanca and German vessels in Scandinavian waters. In between his authoritative accounts of these missions, Barrett Tillman tells the rousing story of the men who took the "slow but deadly" Dauntless into combat, loving her for her ruggedness and dependability while wishing for more speed and firepower. Among the people he describes is the pilot who nearly single-handedly knocked out a Japanese carrier and died in the process, and SBD squadron that flew unexpectedly into the Pearl Harbor attack. Filled with fascinating photographs, this book was widely acclaimed in 1976 when first published and is now available for the first time in paperback.
Since 1945 there have been more than one hundred biographies of Hitler, and countless other books on him and the Third Reich. What happens when so many people reinterpret the life of a single individual? Dangerously, the cumulative portrait that begins to emerge can suggest the face of a mythic antihero whose crimes and errors blur behind an aura of power and conquest. By reversing the process, by making Hitler's biographers - rather than Hitler himself - the subject of inquiry, Lukacs reveals the contradictions that take us back to the true Hitler of history.
Like an attorney, Lukacs puts the biographies on trial. He gives a masterly account of all the major works and of the personalities, methods, and careers of the biographers (one cannot separate the historian from his history, particularly in this arena); he looks at what is still not known (and probably never will be) about Hitler; he considers various crucial aspects of the real Hitler; and he shows how different biographers have either advanced our understanding or gone off track.
Written in 1939 and unpublished until 2000, Sebastian Haffner's memoir of the rise of Nazism in Germany offers a unique portrait of the lives of ordinary German citizens between the wars. Covering 1907 to 1933, his eyewitness account provides a portrait of a country in constant flux: from the rise of the First Corps, the right-wing voluntary military force set up in 1918 to suppress Communism and precursor to the Nazi storm troopers, to the Hitler Youth movement; from the apocalyptic year of 1923 when inflation crippled the country to Hitler's rise to power. This fascinating personal history elucidates how the average German grappled with a rapidly changing society, while chronicling day-to-day changes in attitudes, beliefs, politics, and prejudices.
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In this riveting insider's chronicle, legendary Marine General Brute Krulak submits an unprecedented examination of U.S. Marines--their fights on the battlefield and off, their extraordinary esprit de corps. Deftly blending history with autobiography, action with analysis, and separating fact from fable, General Krulak touches the very essence of the Corps: what it means to be a Marine and the reason behind its consistently outstanding performance and reputation.
Krulak also addresses the most basic but challenging question of all about the Corps: how does it manage to survive--even to flourish--despite overwhelming political odds and, as the general writes, an extraordinary propensity for shooting itself in the foot? To answer this question Krulak examines the foundation on which the Corps is built, a system of intense loyalty to God, to country, and to other Marines. He also takes a close look at Marines in war, offering challenging accounts of their experiences in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In addition, he describes the Corps's relationship to other services, especially during the unification battles following World War II, and offers new insights into the decision-making process in times of crisis. First published in hardcover in 1984, this book has remained popular ever since with Marines of every rank.
This groundbreaking international bestseller lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen reconstructs the climate of eliminationist anti-Semitism that made Hitler's pursuit of his genocidal goals possible and the radical persecution of the Jews during the 1930s popular. Drawing on a wealth of unused archival materials, principally the testimony of the killers themselves, Goldhagen takes us into the killing fields where Germans voluntarily hunted Jews like animals, tortured them wantonly, and then posed cheerfully for snapshots with their victims. From mobile killing units, to the camps, to the death marches, Goldhagen shows how ordinary Germans, nurtured in a society where Jews were seen as unalterable evil and dangerous, willingly followed their beliefs to their logical conclusion.
Hitler's Willing Executioner's is an original, indeed brilliant contribution to the...literature on the Holocaust.--New York Review of Books The most important book ever published about the Holocaust...Eloquently written, meticulously documented, impassioned...A model of moral and scholarly integrity.--Philadelphia Inquirer