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History > Military History > Biographies and Memoirs

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Commodore Abraham Whipple of the Continental Navy Cover

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Commodore Abraham Whipple of the Continental Navy

Privateer, Patriot, Pioneer

Sheldon S. Cohen

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.

Con Thien Cover

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Con Thien

The Hill of Angels

Written by James P. Coan

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.

Dartmouth Veterans Cover

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Dartmouth Veterans

Vietnam Perspectives

Phillip C. Schaefer

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.

Devil's Game Cover

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Devil's Game

The Civil War Intrigues of Charles A. Dunham

Carman Cumming

The first book-length study of one of the Civil War's most outlandish and mysterious characters, Devil's Game traces the amazing career of Charles A. Dunham, double agent. _x000B__x000B_Dunham was a spy, forger, journalist, and master of dirty tricks. Writing for a variety of papers (including New York's Tribune, Herald, and World) under alternate names, he routinely faked stories, even writing contradictory accounts for different papers. Dunham also used his journalism to create new identities and then boldly cast himself to play the roles. With the help of his wife, Ophelia, he passed in and out of at least a half-dozen personae. _x000B__x000B_His characters included the vicious "Colonel" Charles Dunham, under the command of General Early; Colonel James Watson Wallace, a wounded Virginian convalescing in Montreal; and Colonel George Margrave, "one of the most cool and reckless villains in the Confederacy." In the South, he was known as Isaac Haynes, with still more aliases for his Canadian travels. Dunham would reinforce his house of cards by going so far as to have the invented characters in his ersatz stories accuse each other of heinous crimes. _x000B__x000B_Dunham achieved his greatest infamy at the war's end. Called to testify in Washington, he was the most notorious of the witnesses to swear that Lincoln's assassination had been plotted by conspirators in Montreal and Toronto, on orders from Richmond. These intrigues continued even from behind bars, as he worked tirelessly to build a network of evidence implicating President Andrew Johnson in the assassination. _x000B__x000B_Although this testimony was later discredited, until now many parts of Dunham's wartime (and postwar) career have remained shadowy. Carman Cumming sheds new light on numerous escapades, including Dunham's effort to sell Lincoln on plans for a raid to capture Jefferson Davis and a complex effort in Canada to plan--and then betray--cross-border raids. _x000B__x000B_Exhaustively researched and unprecedented in its depth, Devil's Game is a shocking portrait of a consummate chameleon. Drawing together all previous Dunham scholarship, Cumming offers the first detailed tour of Dunham's convoluted, high-stakes, international deceits. A carefully crafted assessment of Dunham's motives, personality, and the complex effects of his schemes make Devil's Game an important and original work that will change some basic assumptions about the secret operations of the Civil War.

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 1 Cover

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The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 1

November 20, 1872--July 28, 1876

Edited and Annotated by Charles M. Robinson III

John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries beginning as a young cavalry lieutenant in Arizona in 1872, and ending the evening before his death in 1896. As aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook, he had an insider's view of the early Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux War, the Cheyenne Outbreak, and the Geronimo War. Bourke's writings reveal much about military life on the western frontier, but he also was a noted ethnologist, writing extensive descriptions of American Indian civilization and illustrating his diaries with sketches and photographs. Previously, researchers could consult only a small part of Bourke’s diary material in various publications, or else take a research trip to the archive and microfilm housed at West Point. Now, for the first time, the 124 manuscript volumes of the Bourke diaries are being compiled, edited, and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III, in a planned set of six books easily accessible to the modern researcher. Volume 1 begins with Bourke’s years as aide-de-camp to General Crook during the Apache campaigns and in dealings with Cochise. Bourke’s ethnographic notes on the Apaches continued with further observations on the Hopis in 1874. The next year he turned his pen on the Sioux and Cheyenne during the 1875 Black Hills Expedition, writing some of his most jingoistic comments in favor of Manifest Destiny. This volume culminates with the momentous events of the Great Sioux War and vivid descriptions of the Powder River fight and the Battle of the Rosebud. Extensively annotated and with a biographical appendix on Indians, civilians, and military personnel named in the diaries, this book will appeal to western and military historians, students of American Indian life and culture, and to anyone interested in the development of the American West.

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 2 Cover

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The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 2

July 29, 1876--April 7, 1878

Edited and Annotated by Charles M. Robinson III

John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries beginning as a young cavalry lieutenant in Arizona in 1872, and ending the evening before his death in 1896. As aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook, he had an insider's view of the early Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux War, the Cheyenne Outbreak, and the Geronimo War. Bourke's writings reveal much about military life on the western frontier, but he also was a noted ethnologist, writing extensive descriptions of American Indian civilization and illustrating his diaries with sketches and photographs. Previously, researchers could consult only a small part of Bourkes diary material in various publications, or else take a research trip to the archive and microfilm housed at West Point. Now, for the first time, the 124 manuscript volumes of the Bourke diaries are being compiled, edited, and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III, in a planned set of six books easily accessible to the modern researcher. This volume opens as Crook prepares for the expedition that would lead to his infamous and devastating Horse Meat March. Although Bourke retains his loyalty to Crook throughout the detailed account, his patience is sorely tried at times. Bourke's description of the march is balanced by an appendix containing letters and reports by other officers, including an overview of the entire expedition by Lt. Walter Schuyler, and a report by Surgeon Bennett Clements describing the effects on the men. The diary continues with the story of the Powder River Expedition, culminating in Bourke’s eyewitness description of Col. Ranald Mackenzie's destruction of the main Cheyenne camp in what became known at the Dull Knife Fight. With the main hostile chiefs either surrendering or forced into exile in Canada, field operations come to a close, and Bourke finishes this volume with a retrospective of his service in Tucson, Arizona. Extensively annotated and with a biographical appendix on Indians, civilians, and military personnel named in the diaries, this book will appeal to western and military historians, students of American Indian life and culture, and to anyone interested in the development of the American West.

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 3 Cover

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The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 3

June 1, 1878--June 22, 1880

Edited and Annotated by Charles M. Robinson III

John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries beginning as a young cavalry lieutenant in Arizona in 1872, and ending the evening before his death in 1896. As aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook, he had an insider's view of the early Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux War, the Cheyenne Outbreak, and the Geronimo War. Bourke's writings reveal much about military life on the western frontier, but he also was a noted ethnologist, writing extensive descriptions of American Indian civilization and illustrating his diaries with sketches and photographs. Previously, researchers could consult only a small part of Bourke's diary material in various publications, or else take a research trip to the archive and microfilm housed at West Point. Now, for the first time, the 124 manuscript volumes of the Bourke diaries are being compiled, edited, and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III, in a planned set of eight books easily accessible to the modern researcher. Volume 3 begins in 1878 with a discussion of the Bannock Uprising and a retrospective on Crazy Horse, whose death Bourke called "an event of such importance, and with its attendant circumstances pregnant with so much of good or evil for the settlement between the Union Pacific Rail Road and the Yellowstone River." Three other key events during this period were the Cheyenne Outbreak of 1878-79, the Ponca Affair, and the White River Ute Uprising, the latter two in 1879. The mistreatment of the Poncas infuriated Bourke: when recording the initial meeting between Crook and the Poncas, he wrote: "This conference is inserted verbatim merely to show the cruel and senseless ways in which the Government of the United States deals with the Indian tribes who confide in its justice or trust themselves to its mercy." Bourke's diary covers his time not only on the Plains and Midwest, but also digresses to his time as a young junior officer, fresh out of West Point, and experiencing his first introduction to the Southwest. He comments on issues in the military during his day, such as the quirks and foibles of the Irish soldiers who made up a large part of the frontier army, and also on the problems of Johnson Whittaker, who became West Point's only black cadet following the graduation of Henry Flipper in 1878. Extensively annotated and with a biographical appendix on Indians, civilians, and military personnel named in the diaries, this book will appeal to western and military historians, students of American Indian life and culture, and to anyone interested in the development of the American West.

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 4 Cover

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The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 4

July 3, 1880--May 22, 1881

Edited and Annotated by Charles M. Robinson III

John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries beginning as a young cavalry lieutenant in Arizona in 1872, and ending the evening before his death in 1896. As aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook, he had an insider's view of the early Apache campaigns, the Great Sioux War, the Cheyenne Outbreak, and the Geronimo War. Bourke's writings reveal much about military life on the western frontier, but he also was a noted ethnologist, writing extensive descriptions of American Indian civilization and illustrating his diaries with sketches and photographs. Previously, researchers could consult only a small part of Bourke’s diary material in various publications, or else take a research trip to the archive and microfilm housed at West Point. Now, for the first time, the 124 manuscript volumes of the Bourke diaries are being compiled, edited, and annotated by Charles M. Robinson III, in a planned set of eight books easily accessible to the modern researcher. Volume 4 chronicles the political and managerial affairs in Crook’s Department of the Platte. A large portion centers on the continuing controversy concerning the forced relocation of the Ponca Indians from their ancient homeland along the Dakota-Nebraska line to a new reservation in the Indian Territory. An equally large portion concerns Bourke’s ethnological work under official sanction from the army and the Bureau of Ethnology, work which would make a profound change in his life and his place in history. Aside from a summary of the entire Ponca affair in approximately two pages, virtually none of this material appears in Bourke’s classic On the Border with Crook. Bourke’s staff duties bring him into contact with many prominent individuals. He is particularly unimpressed with the commander of the army, General W.T. Sherman, who, he wrote, “is largely made up of the demagogue and will not survive in history.” He also is harsh on President Rutherford B. Hayes, now finishing out his term. This volume contains detailed descriptions of several tours, including those to Yellowstone National Park and the Santa Fe regions. Bourke reveals the profound changes that have overtaken the Indians in only a few years of settlement on reservations. At the new Spotted Tail, or Rosebud, Agency, he found a conference in progress, where the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad was attempting to buy right of way across the reservation. The leaders Spotted Tail and Red Cloud had wasted little time in determining what was valuable to the whites—they astutely bargained for a high price. Extensively annotated and with a biographical appendix on Indians, civilians, and military personnel named in the diaries, this book will appeal to western and military historians, students of American Indian life and culture, and to anyone interested in the development of the American West.

The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 5 Cover

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The Diaries of John Gregory Bourke Volume 5

May 23, 1881--August 26, 1881

Edited and Annotated by Charles M. Robinson III

John Gregory Bourke kept a monumental set of diaries as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General George Crook. This fifth volume opens at Fort Wingate as Bourke prepares to visit the Navajos. Next, at the Pine River Agency, he is witness to the Sun Dance, where despite his discomfort at what he saw, he noted that during the Sun Dance piles of food and clothing were contributed by the Indians themselves, to relieve the poor among their people. Bourke continued his travels among the Zunis, the Rio Grande pueblos, and finally, with the Hopis to attend the Hopi Snake dance. The volume concludes at Fort Apache, Arizona, which is stirring with excitement over the activities of the Apache medicine man, Nakai’-dokli’ni, which Bourke spelled Na Kay do Klinni. This would erupt into bloodshed less than a week later. Volume Five is particularly important because it deals almost exclusively with Bourke’s ethnological research. Bourke’s account of the Sun Dance is particularly significant because it was the last one held by the Oglalas. The volume is extensively annotated and contains a biographical appendix on Indians, civilians, and military personnel named.

The Diary of Prisoner 17326 Cover

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The Diary of Prisoner 17326

A Boy's Life in a Japanese Labor Camp

John Stutterheim

In this moving memoir a young man comes of age in an age of violence, brutality, and war. Recounting his experiences during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, this account brings to life the shocking day-to-day conditions in a Japanese labor camp and provides an intimate look at the collapse of Dutch colonial rule.As a boy growing up on the island of Java, John Stutterheim spent hours exploring his exotic surroundings, taking walks with his younger brother and dachshund along winding jungle roads. His father, a government accountant, would grumble at the pro-German newspaper and from time to time entertain the family with his singing. It was a fairly typical life for a colonial family in the Dutch East Indies, and a peaceful and happy childhood for young John. But at the age of 14 it would all be irrevocably shattered by the Japanese invasion.With the surrender of Java in 1942, John's father was taken prisoner. For over three years the family would not know if he was alive or dead. Soon thereafter, John, his younger brother, and his mother were imprisoned. A year later he and his brother were moved to a forced labor camp for boys, where they toiled under the fierce sun while disease and starvation slowly took their toll, all the while suspecting they would soon be killed.Throughout all of these travails, John kept a secret diary hidden in his handmade mattress, and his memories now offer a unique perspective on an often overlooked episode of World War II. What emerges is a compelling story of a young man caught up in the machinations of a global war-struggling to survive in the face of horrible brutality, struggling to care for his disease-wracked brother, and struggling to put his family back together. It is a story that must not be forgotten.

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