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The Letters of Robert D. Carter
In the midst of the Philippine-American War, twenty-two-year-old Robert Dexter Carter served in Manila as a civilian quartermaster clerk. Through his letters to his family, he provided a vivid picture of army life in Manila—the sights, the smells, and his responses to the native culture. In addition to his letters, his diary and several related articles present a firsthand account of the historic voyage of the United States Army Transport Grant through the Suez Canal to Manila in early 1899. Carter’s writings not only tell of his sometimes harrowing experiences, but also reveal the aspirations and fears of a young man not quite sure of his next steps on life’s journey.
Carter’s father, Robert Goldthwaite Carter, was a war hero and a longtime friend of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton. Carter obtained his position through Lawton’s influence, and his respect for Lawton is clear throughout his writings. A frequent guest in the Lawton home, the young clerk was introduced to many notable figures both military and civilian. Carter’s letters, particularly to his father, are full of news and gossip related to his commander. In other letters, he reveals the kindness and generosity of Mrs. Lawton, who took time to look out for Carter while he was in the hospital and often loaned him books.
This well-researched and expertly edited work casts light on the role of support troops in war, a subject too often minimized or ignored. Shay begins each chapter with an introduction that establishes the setting, the context of events, and the disposition of Carter and his compatriots and provides notes and commentary to place the letters in context. By choosing not to edit the offensive expletives of a sometimes arrogant and racist young man, Shay presents a fully nuanced portrait of a young American exploring the larger world in a time of turmoil.
Enhanced by photographs from collections at the Library of Congress and the Military History Institute, as well as many of Carter’s own whimsical drawings, the book will appeal to armchair historians and scholars alike.
In October 1943, twenty-seven-year-old combat infantry chaplain Israel Yost arrived in Italy with the 100th Battalion, a little-known National Guard unit of mostly Japanese Americans from Hawai‘i. Yost was apprehensive when he learned of his assignment to this unusual unit composed of soldiers with whom he felt he had little in common and who were mostly Buddhists. But this would soon change. For the next nineteen months at the front—from Salerno to Monte Cassino to Anzio to Bruyeres—Yost assisted medics, retrieved bodies from the battlefield, buried enemy soldiers, struggled to bolster morale as the number of casualties rose higher and higher, and wrote countless letters of condolence, all in addition to fulfilling his ministerial duties, which included preaching in the foxholes. Although his sermons won few converts, Yost’s tireless energy and concern for others earned him admiration from his fellow soldiers, who often turned to him as a trusted friend and spiritual advisor. Forty years after the war had ended, with the help of his field diaries and the letters he had written almost daily to his wife, Yost wrote of his wartime experiences in the hopes that they might one day be published as a record of the remarkable character and accomplishments of the 100th. Combat Chaplain presents this heartfelt memoir intact. with the addition of photographs and subsequent letters and speeches by Yost and other veterans.
A Thirty-Year Vietnam Battle
In 1967 Chaplain James D. Johnson chose to accompany his men, unarmed, on their daily combat operations, a decision made against the recommendations of his superiors. During what would be the final days for some, he offered his ministry not from a pulpit but on the battlefields—in hot landing zones and rice paddies, in hospitals, aboard ship, and knee-deep in mud. He even found time for baptisms in the muddy Mekong River. In Combat Chaplain, we live with Johnson as he serves in the field with a small unit numbering 350 men in the Mobile Riverine Force. "This is a very powerful true story, unique in its personal close-up of infantry and Riverine warfare, and the terrible human price paid by one battalion during eight months of the controversial Vietnam War. He shows that even men of God can come to despise the enemy for the evil that they do, while acknowledging that they, too, are God's creations. Chaplain Johnson's book should be required reading by national leaders before they consider whether to commit our troops to combat."—James P. Maloney, Major General, USA, Retired
Don Whitehead's World War II Diary and Memoirs
No one bore witness better than Don Whitehead . . . this volume, deftly combining his diary and a previously unpublished memoir, brings Whitehead and his reporting back to life, and 21st-century readers are the richer for it.-from the Foreword, by Rick AtkinsonWinner of two Pulitzer Prizes, Don Whitehead is one of the legendary reporters of World War II. For the Associated Press he covered almost every important Allied invasion and campaign in Europe-from North Africa to landings in Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, and Normandy, and to the drive into Germany. His dispatches, published in the recent Beachhead Don, are treasures of wartime journalism.From the fall of September 1942, as a freshly minted A.P. journalist in New York, to the spring of 1943 as Allied tanks closed in on the Germans in Tunisia, Whitehead kept a diary of his experiences as a rookie combat reporter. The diary stops in 1943, and it has remained unpublished until now. Back home later, Whitehead started, but never finished, a memoir of his extraordinary life in combat.John Romeiser has woven both the North African diary and Whitehead's memoir of the subsequent landings in Sicily into a vivid, unvarnished, and completely riveting story of eight months during some of the most brutal combat of the war. Here, Whitehead captures the fierce fighting in the African desert and Sicilian mountains, as well as rare insights into the daily grind of reporting from a war zone, where tedium alternated with terror. In the tradition of cartoonist Bill Mauldin's memoir Up Front, Don Whitehead's powerful self-portrait is destined to become an American classic.
The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam, 1862-1901
During his thirty-eight-year career as a military officer, Henry Clay Merriam received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Civil War, rose to prominence in the Western army, and exerted significant influence on the American West by establishing military posts, protecting rail lines, and maintaining an uneasy peace between settlers and Indians. Historian Jack Stokes Ballard’s new study of Merriam’s life and career sheds light on the experience of the western fort builders, whose impact on the US westward expansion, though less dramatic, was just as lasting as that of Indian fighters such as Custer and Sheridan. Further, Merriam’s lengthy period in command of black troops offers a study in leadership and important understandings about the conditions under which African Americans served on the Western frontier. During the course of his service, Merriam crisscrossed the country, from Brownsville, Texas, to the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver Barracks, serving in eastern Washington, California, and Denver. Drawing extensively on the many letters and records associated with Merriam’s long army career, Ballard presents his service in a wide range of settings, many of which have become the stuff of Western history: from conflict with Mexican revolutionaries on the Rio Grande to the miners’ riots in Coeur d’Alene. Ballard’s careful research provides a vivid picture of the military’s role in the westward expansion.
Privateer, Patriot, Pioneer
Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) commanded insurgents who destroyed HMS Gaspee in Narragansett Bay and helped direct the successful invasion of the Bahamas. This little-known, yet intrepid and frequently successful Continental Navy officer contributed significantly to the War for Independence. An esteemed officer of the fleet, he spent his last years in frontier Ohio where he was respected and appealed to younger generations as a "representative of the Revolution."
Sheldon Cohen's biography of Whipple presents a look inside the life of a Continental officer. He illustrates at a personal level the complexities of naval warfare, including Whipple's reliance on personal finances and family connections to outfit his ships and pay his crew. Cohen also reveals the commander’s treatment as a British prisoner of war, and his eventual migration west, shedding light on experiences shared by many Revolutionary War veterans.
The Hill of Angels
A memoir/history of a much-beleaguered Marine outpost of the DMZ.
Throughout much of 1967, a remote United States Marine firebase only two miles from the demilitarized zone (DMZ) captured the attention of the world’s media. That artillery-scarred outpost was the linchpin of the so-called McNamara Line intended to deter incursions into South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese Army. As such, the fighting along this territory was particularly intense and bloody, and the body count rose daily.
Con Thien combines James P. Coan’s personal experiences with information taken from archives, interviews with battle participants, and official documents to construct a powerful story of the daily life and combat on the red clay bulls-eye known as "The Hill of Angels." As a tank platoon leader in Alpha Company, 3d Tank Battalion, 3d Marine Division, Coan was stationed at Con Thien for eight months during his 1967-68 service in Vietnam and witnessed much of the carnage.
Con Thien was heavily bombarded by enemy artillery with impunity because it was located in politically sensitive territory and the U.S. government would not permit direct armed response from Marine tanks. Coan, like many other soldiers, began to feel as though the government was as much the enemy as the NVA, yet he continued to fight for his country with all that he had. In his
riveting memoir, Coan depicts the hardships of life in the DMZ and the ineffectiveness of much of the U.S. military effort in Vietnam.
The Remarkable Life of Brigadier General Alfred Jefferson Vaughan, Jr.
Memoirs of a Counterintelligence Office in World War II and the Cold War
During World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, Richard W. Cutler was an officer with the elite X-2 counterintelligence branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and with its successor, the Strategic Services Unit (SSU). Counterspy offers a rare firsthand account of the secret war against Hitler and the postwar competition with the Soviets for German intelligence assets. While with X-2, Cutler analyzed the super-secret Ultra intercepts and vetted agents about to be sent into Nazi Germany. Cutler provides an insightful overview of OSS operations during the war and their contribution to the AlliesÆ victory. This is also one of the few books to describe the role of the OSS and the SSU in the postwar occupation of Germany. CutlerÆs first job after the German surrender was to vet all of Allen DullesÆs wartime sources inside Germany, who were aptly nicknamed the Crown Jewels. Just as the OSS was reorganized into the SSU, Cutler moved to Berlin, where his first task was to collect intelligence from former Nazis. Soon he became chief of counterespionage in Berlin. Soviet intelligence had already begun recruiting former German intelligence officers to spy on Americans, so CutlerÆs top priority was to uncover Soviet objectives and either neutralize or double their agents. Cutler reveals previously unpublished case histories of double agents against Soviet intelligence and details agentsÆ recruitment, missions, methods of operation, successes and failures, and fates. All of these events are recounted against the fascinating background of postwar Germany. He provides a vivid picture of the mood of the German people, how they rationalized war guilt, and how they coped with the devastation throughout the country. With photographs and a foreword by bestselling author Joseph E. Persico (RooseveltÆs Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage), Counterspy is a unique account of espionage during the momentous years of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.
These are tales of what it was like for young men to go from the bucolic hills of New Hampshire to a land wracked by war and violence. The result is a collection of more than fifty accounts, showing the variety of experiences and reactions to this dramatic period in American history. Some soldiers were drafted, some volunteered; some supported the war, but many turned against it. Common to all the stories is the way in which war changes men, for good and ill, and the way in which the Vietnam experience colored so much of the rest of these writers' lives.