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Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich

Supreme Commander of the Russian Army

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Revolutionary General


Born into a Quaker family, Nathanael Greene had nothing in his background that pointed to a military career. His total military training before mid-1775, when he abandoned pacifism, consisted of serving as a private in the Rhode Island militia for a few hours each week. Yet, no doubt because of his leadership ability, the Rhode Island Assembly in May 1775 appointed Greene commander of the Rhode Island Army of Observation at the siege of Boston. In June, at age thirty-two, Greene became the youngest general in the Continental Army and the only general who had never held a military commission. When the Revolutionary War ended eight years later, he was the only one of George Washington's generals who had served continuously from its start.

Resourceful and courageous, Greene combined common sense, a keen intellect, fine organizational skills, and a remarkable aptitude for using topographical and geographical information. Indeed, he became Washington's most trusted adviser and eventually ranked second in the command structure of the Continental Army. After distinguishing himself in the northern campaign and providing invaluable service as quartermaster general, Greene became commander of the Southern Department with orders to rebuild its forces following devastating losses in South Carolina in 1780. With Georgia and South Carolina under British control and North Carolina and Virginia threatened by invasion, the situation seemed hopeless. Greene, however, combined regulars, militia, and guerrillas into a force that used rapid movement and continuous pressure against the British, outmaneuvering and outguessing them. By 1782, British forces were restricted to just two Southern seaports. With his understanding of unconventional warfare, Greene thus played a significant role in undoing Great Britain's power in North America during the War for Independence.

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Ground Pounder

A Marine’s Journey through South Vietnam, 1968-1969

Gregory V. Short

In early February of 1968, at the beginning of the Tet Offensive, Private First Class Gregory V. Short arrived in Vietnam as an eighteen-year-old U.S. Marine. Amid all of the confusion and destruction, he began his tour of duty as an 81mm mortarman with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, which was stationed at Con Thien near the DMZ. While living in horrendous conditions reminiscent of the trenches in World War I, his unit was cut off and constantly being bombarded by the North Vietnamese heavy artillery, rockets, and mortars. Soon thereafter Short left his mortar crew and became an 81mm’s Forward Observer for Hotel Company. Working with the U.S. Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Division and other units, he helped relieve the siege at Khe Sanh by reopening Route 9. Short participated in several different operations close to the Laotian border, where contact with the enemy was often heavy and always chaotic. On May 19, Ho Chi Minh’s birthday, the NVA attempted to overrun the combat base in the early morning hours. Tragically, during a two-month period, one of the companies (Foxtrot Company) within his battalion would sustain more than 70 percent casualties. By September Short was transferred to the 1st Battalion 9th Marines (the Walking Dead). Assigned as an infantryman (grunt) with Bravo Company and operating along the DMZ and near the A Shau Valley, he would spend the next five months patrolling the mountainous terrain and enduring the harsh elements. At the end of his first tour, he re-upped for a second and was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing in Da Nang, where he had an opportunity to become familiar with the Vietnamese culture. Direct, honest, and brutal in his observations, Short holds nothing back in describing the hardships of modern warfare and our leaders’ illusions of success.

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Guadalcanal Marine

Kerry L. Lane

In Guadalcanal Marine, Kerry L. Lane recounts the dark reality of combat experienced by the men of the 1st Marine Division fighting on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester. With eighty gripping photographs and his text, he brings to life the struggles of his companions as they achieve these two astonishing victories.

Lane, a sixteen-year-old farm boy from North Carolina, battled the Japanese and rose to heroism powering a bulldozer to bridge "Suicide Creek" in the swamps on Cape Gloucester. There he led his Marine comrades to victory.

Lane describes the trials of the common Marine serving in the first grueling island campaign. In vivid prose he tells of joining the service before the war and of training. Soon after the shocking news of Pearl Harbor, he and his trusted comrades fight the Japanese in one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific.

In the tropics, Lane and his companions suffer malaria and dysentery, endure jungle rot and oppressive heat, and grapple with an enemy who fights to the death. Throughout the book, Lane bares the experience of the average Marine and his historic World War II journey, revealing how one teenager became a Corps hero and ultimately finished his military career as a lieutenant colonel.

Kerry L. Lane retired from the Marines and is now the owner and operator of Post Oak Farm in Spotsylvania, Virginia.

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Panzer Pioneer or Myth Maker?


Biographers and historians have lionized Heinz Guderian as the legendary father of the German armored force and brilliant practitioner of blitzkrieg maneuver warfare. As Russell A. Hart argues, Guderian created this legend with his own highly influential yet self-serving and distorted memoir, which remains one of the most widely read accounts of the Second World War. Unfortunately, too many of Guderian’s biographers have accepted his view of his accomplishments at face value, without sufficient critical scrutiny, resulting in an undeserved hagiography. While undoubtedly a great military figure of appreciable ego and ambition and with a volatile, impetuous, and difficult personality, Guderian was determined to achieve his vision of a war-winning armored force irrespective of the consequences. He proved to be a man who was politically naive enough to fall under the sway of Hitler and National Socialism and yet arrogant enough to believe he could save Germany from inevitable defeat late in the war, despite Hitler’s interference. At the same time, Guderian was unwilling either to participate in attempts to remove Hitler or to denounce as traitors the conspirators who did. In the end, he distorted the truth to establish his place in history. In the process, he denigrated the myriad important contributions of his fellow officers as he took personal credit for what were, in reality, collective accomplishments. Thus, he succeeded in creating a legend that has endured long after his death. This brief biography puts the record straight by placing Guderian’s career and accomplishments into sharper and more accurate relief. It exposes the real Heinz Guderian, not the man of legend.

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Guerrilla Daughter

The experiences of an American family in the Philippines during World War II

Just nine days before her seventh birthday, Virginia Hansen Holmes heard about the attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor and wondered if this was going to change her life. She lived on the Philippine Island of Mindanao with her two teenage brothers, eleven-year-old sister, mother, and father, an official with the East Mindanao Mining Company.

Guerrilla Daughter is a memoir of this family’s extraordinary struggle to survive the Japanese occupation of Mindanao from the spring of 1942 until the end of the war in September 1945. The men in the family fought as guerrilla soldiers in the island’s resistance movement, while Holmes, her mother, and her older sister were left to their own resources to evade the Japanese, who had been given orders to execute Americans. The Hansen women, faced with immediate death if found and suffering from hunger, disease, and barely tolerable living conditions, hid out in the Philippine jungle and remote villages to remain just ahead of the growing Japanese presence and avoid capture.

Using original documents and papers belonging to her father, as well as her own vivid recollections and the reminiscences of her siblings, Virginia Hansen Holmes presents this gripping and compelling account of extraordinary survival.

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The Gulf Between Us

Love and Survival in Desert Storm

Acree, Cynthia B.

A Marine squadron commander prepares his men for combat and on the second day of the Gulf War, is shot down by a Surface to Air Missile and captured by the Iraqis. As a pilot, senior Marine and squadron Commanding Officer, Acree is a goldmine of the tactical information that the iraqis so desperately needed. Though he is brutally beaten and tortured during his 48 days of captivity, Colonel Acree refuses to comply with Iraqi demands.

Woven with the account is the story of his new wife, finally married to her high school sweetheart and, as the wife of a commanding officer, finds herself responsible for supporting hundreds of Marine family members as her husband prepares his men for war. When her husband is captured, she finds herself in the eye of an international media storm and experiences her own form of captivity. She launches a massive letter writing campaign to pressure the Iraqi government and founds an international organization for Gulf War POWs and MIAs.

Finally, after seven months apart, husband and wife are reunited and attempt the difficult road back to normal life.

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The Evolution of a Commander

Wiest, Andrew

For years, Douglas Haig has been considered perhaps the most controversial military leader in British history. Today his career is at the center of a swirling historiographical debate concerning the nature of the First World War. The traditional school contends that Haig, like the majority of generals from both sides, were overmatched, hidebound relics of a bygone military age who could not come to grips with modern war. They allegedly sent their soldiers “over the top” in waves, with a criminal disregard for the mounting cost in lives. A new revisionist school contends that many Great War leaders, including Haig, were central to a phenomenal period of military innovation that laid the foundations for modern war. This so-called learning curve led from the killing fields of the Somme to the protoblitzkrieg tactics of the 100 Days Battles.Having achieved a measure of fame in Britain’s colonial wars, Haig began the First World War as a corps commander and succeeded to command the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in 1915. Under his leadership, the BEF fought its two signature battles of the Great War—at the Somme and Passchendaele. Haig’s role in the direction of these battles earned him a reputation as a “butcher and bungler,” the slaughter of the Somme and the muddy hell of Passchendaele forever tarnishing his reputation. However, as Andrew Wiest points out, in 1918 Haig was instrumental in winning one of the greatest victories in British military history. While the 100 Days Battles often go unnoticed or unappreciated in the history of World War I, obscured by the failures of earlier campaigns, it was here that modern war came of age. Haig’s role in that transformation makes him the central figure of the war on the Western Front.

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Heavy Metal

A Tank Company's Battle to Baghdad


During the Iraq War, coauthor Capt. Jason Conroy commanded Charlie Company, which was part of Task Force 1-64, 2d Brigade Combat Team, part of the U.S. Army’s 3d Infantry Division. A tank unit equipped with mammoth M1A1 Abrams tanks, Conroy’s company was literally at the tip of the U.S. Army’s spear and one of the first elements into Baghdad. Veteran journalist Ron Martz was embedded in Charlie Company. Together, from the unique perspective of an armor unit that was in nearly continuous combat for four straight weeks, Conroy and Martz tell the unvarnished story of what went right and what went deadly wrong in Iraq. Conroy and his soldiers were able to overcome supply shortages, intelligence failures, and miserable weather to battle their way into downtown Baghdad, a place where they were told they would never have to fight. Heavy Metal evaluates the Army’s performance, including its use of tactics that were developed during the war but for which the soldiers had never trained. Through the exciting personal stories of the young troopers of Charlie Company - who experienced a very different war from what was seen back home on TV - Heavy Metal tells us much about the qualities of today’s American soldier, about twenty-first-century desert and urban warfare, and about how the Army should prepare to fight future wars.

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The Highway War

A Marine Company Commander in Iraq


The Highway War is the compelling Iraq War memoir of then-Capt. Seth Folsom, commanding officer of Delta Company, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps. Mounted in eight-wheeled LAVs (light armored vehicles), this unit of 130 Marines and sailors was one of the first into Iraq in March 2003. It fought on the front lines for the war’s entire offensive phase, from the Kuwaiti border through Baghdad to Tikrit. Folsom’s thoughtful account focuses on his maturation as a combat leader—and as a human being enduring the austere conditions of combat and coming to terms with loss of life on both sides. Moreover, The Highway War is the story of a junior officer’s relationships with his company’s young Marines, for whose lives he was responsible, and with his superior officers. Folsom covers numerous unusual military actions and conveys truthfully the pace, stress, excitement, mistakes, and confusion of modern ground warfare. The Highway War is destined to be a Marine Corps classic.

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