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History > Military History > Biographies and Memoirs

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Results 81-90 of 132

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The Longest Rescue Cover

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The Longest Rescue

The Life and Legacy of Vietnam POW William A. Robinson

Glenn Robins. foreword by Colonel Bud Day

While serving as a crew chief aboard a U.S. Air Force Rescue helicopter, Airman First Class William A. Robinson was shot down and captured in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam, on September 20, 1965. After a brief stint at the "Hanoi Hilton," Robinson endured 2,703 days in multiple North Vietnamese prison camps, including the notorious Briarpatch and various compounds at Cu Loc, known by the inmates as the Zoo. No enlisted man in American military history has been held as a prisoner of war longer than Robinson. For seven and a half years, he faced daily privations and endured the full range of North Vietnam's torture program.

In The Longest Rescue: The Life and Legacy of Vietnam POW William A. Robinson, Glenn Robins tells Robinson's story using an array of sources, including declassified U.S. military documents, translated Vietnamese documents, and interviews from the National Prisoner of War Museum. Unlike many other POW accounts, this comprehensive biography explores Robinson's life before and after his capture, particularly his estranged relationship with his father, enabling a better understanding of the difficult transition POWs face upon returning home and the toll exacted on their families. Robins's powerful narrative not only demonstrates how Robinson and his fellow prisoners embodied the dedication and sacrifice of America's enlisted men but also explores their place in history and memory.

Lost Eagles Cover

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Lost Eagles

One Man's Mission to Find Missing Airmen in Two World Wars

Blaine Pardoe

Praise for Lost Eagles "The pilot and observer stories selected have not previously seen much exposure. Not only are they interesting, but I found myself relishing getting to the next chapter to find out what Frederick Zinn was doing during the next stage of his life." ---Alan Roesler, founding member, League of World War I Aviation Historians, and former Managing Editor, Over the Front Praise for Blaine Pardoe's previous military histories (which average 4.5-star customer reviews on Amazon.com): Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I "This painstaking biography of World War I ace Frank Luke will earn Pardoe kudos . . . Pardoe has flown a very straight course in researching and recounting Luke's myth-ridden life. . . . Thorough annotation makes the book that much more valuable to WWI aviation scholars as well as for more casual air-combat buffs." ---Booklist The Cruise of the Sea Eagle: The Amazing True Story of Imperial Germany's Gentleman Pirate "This is a gem of a story, well told, and nicely laid out with photos, maps, and charts that cleverly illuminate the lost era of ‘gentlemen pirates' at sea . . . [German commerce raider Felix von Luckner's] legend lives on in this lively and readable biography." ---Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy, Naval History Few people have ever heard of Frederick Zinn, yet even today airmen's families are touched by this man and the work he performed in both world wars. Zinn created the techniques still in use to determine the final fate of airmen missing in action. The last line of the Air Force Creed reads, "We will leave no airman behind." Zinn made that promise possible. Blaine Pardoe weaves together the complex story of a man who brought peace and closure to countless families who lost airmen during both world wars. His lasting contribution to warfare was a combination of his methodology for locating the remains of missing pilots (known as the Zinn system) and his innovation of imprinting all aircraft parts with the same serial number so that if a wreck was located, the crewman could be identified. The tradition he established for seeking and recovering airmen is carried on to this day. Blaine Pardoe is an accomplished author who has published dozens of military fiction novels and other books, including the widely acclaimed Cubicle Warfare: Self-Defense Tactics for Today's Hypercompetitive Workplace; Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I; and The Cruise of the Sea Eagle: The Amazing True Story of Imperial Germany's Gentleman Pirate. Jacket photo: Frederick Zinn's Sopwith aircraft, which crashed during World War I. National Museum of the United States Air Force Archives.

Louis Johnson and the Arming of America Cover

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Louis Johnson and the Arming of America

The Roosevelt and Truman Years

Keith D. McFarland and David L. Roll

"Without question this is an important new addition to World War II and Cold War historiography.... Highly recommended." -- Douglas Brinkley, author of Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years and The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey beyond the White House

"A remarkably objective, yet sympathetic, study of Louis Johnson's life and career. Now only half-remembered,... Johnson was a major national figure. Colorful, aggressive, independent-minded, egotistical, his strong views and conflicts with Dean Acheson proved to be his undoing. All in all, a fascinating tale." -- James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense

"McFarland and Roll have performed a real service in rescuing from obscurity this Democratic mover and shaker. Their account of the rise and fall of Louis Johnson provides us with the fullest depiction yet of an important Washington figure employed for better or worse as a blunt instrument of policy change by both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman." -- Alonzo L. Hamby, author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman and For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s

"[Johnson's] career is a cautionary tale of how even the most ruthlessly effective men can become pawns in the Washington power game. McFarland and Roll bring Johnson to life in this thorough and well-told history." -- Evan Thomas, Newsweek, author of Robert Kennedy: His Life and The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA

Louis Johnson was FDR's Assistant Secretary of War and the architect of the industrial mobilization plans that put the nation on a war footing prior to its entry into World War II. Later, as Truman's Secretary of Defense, Johnson was given the difficult job of unifying the armed forces and carrying out Truman's orders to dramatically reduce defense expenditures. In both administrations, he was asked to confront and carry out extremely unpopular initiatives -- massive undertakings that each president believed were vital to the nation's security and economic welfare. Johnson's conflicts with Henry Morganthau, Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring, Winston Churchill, Harry Hopkins, Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, and Paul Nitze find contemporary parallels in the recent disagreements between the national defense establishment and the State Department.

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MacArthur in Asia

The General and His Staff in the Philippines, Japan, and Korea

by Hiroshi Masuda; translated by Reiko Yamamoto

General Douglas MacArthur's storied career is inextricably linked to Asia. His father, Arthur, served as Military Governor of the Philippines while Douglas was a student at West Point, and the younger MacArthur would serve several tours of duty in that country over the next four decades, becoming friends with several influential Filipinos, including the country's future president, Emanuel L. Quezon. In 1935, he became Quezon's military advisor, a post he held after retiring from the U.S. Army and at the time of Japan's invasion of 1941. As Supreme Commander for the Southwest Pacific, MacArthur led American forces throughout the Pacific War. He officially accepted Japan's surrender in 1945 and would later oversee the Allied occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951. He then led the UN Command in the Korean War from 1950 to 1951, until he was dismissed from his post by President Truman.

In MacArthur in Asia, the distinguished Japanese historian Hiroshi Masuda offers a new perspective on the American icon, focusing on his experiences in the Philippines, Japan, and Korea and highlighting the importance of the general's staff-the famous "Bataan Boys" who served alongside MacArthur throughout the Asian arc of his career-to both MacArthur's and the region's history. First published to wide acclaim in Japanese in 2009 and translated into English for the first time, this book uses a wide range of sources-American and Japanese, official records and oral histories-to present a complex view of MacArthur, one that illuminates his military decisions during the Pacific campaign and his administration of the Japanese Occupation.

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The Man Who Saved Kabuki

Faubion Bowers and Theatre Censorship in Occupied Japan

Okamoto Shiro

As part of its program to promote democracy in Japan after World War II, the American Occupation, headed by General Douglas MacArthur, undertook to enforce rigid censorship policies aimed at eliminating all traces of feudal thought in media and entertainment, including kabuki. Faubion Bowers (1917-1999), who served as personal aide and interpreter to MacArthur during the Occupation, was appalled by the censorship policies and anticipated the extinction of a great theatrical art. He used his position in the Occupation administration and his knowledge of Japanese theatre in his tireless campaign to save kabuki. Largely through Bowers's efforts, censorship of kabuki had for the most part been eliminated by the time he left Japan in 1948. Although Bowers is at the center of the story, this lively and skillfully adapted translation from the original Japanese treats a critical period in the long history of kabuki as it was affected by a single individual who had a commanding influence over it. It offers fascinating and little-known details about Occupation censorship politics and kabuki performance while providing yet another perspective on the history of an enduring Japanese art form.

MASH Cover

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MASH

An Army Surgeon in Korea

Otto Apel

" When North Korean forces invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, Otto Apel was a surgical resident living in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and three young children. A year later he was chief surgeon of the 8076th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital constantly near the front lines in Korea. Immediately upon arriving in camp, Apel performed 80 hours of surgery. His feet swelled so badly that he had to cut his boots off, and he saw more surgical cases in those three and a half days than he would have in a year back in Cleveland. There were also the lighter moments. When a Korean came to stay at the 8076th, word of her beauty spread so rapidly that they needed MPs just to direct traffic. Apel also recalls a North Korean aviator, nicknamed ""Bedcheck Charlie,"" who would drop a phony grenade from an open-cockpit biplane, a story later filmed for the television series. He also tells of the day the tent surrounding the women's shower was ""accidentally"" blown off by a passing helicopter. In addition to his own story, Apel details the operating conditions, workload, and patient care at the MASH units while revealing the remarkable advances made in emergency medical care. MASH units were the first hospitals designed for operations close to the front lines, and from this particularly difficult vantage, their medical staffs were responsible for innovations in the use of antibiotics and blood plasma and in arterial repair. On film and television, MASH doctors and nurses have been portrayed as irreverent and having little patience with standard military procedures. In this powerful memoir, Apel reveals just how realistic these portrayals were.

Maverick Marine Cover

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Maverick Marine

General Smedley D. Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History

Hans Schmidt

Smedley Butler's life and career epitomize the contradictory nature of American military policy through the first part of this century. Butler won renown as a Marine battlefield hero, campaigning in most of America's foreign military expeditions from 1898 to the late 1920s. He became the leading national advocate for paramilitary police reform. Upon his retirement, however, he renounced war and imperialism and devoted his energy and prestige to various dissident and leftist political causes.

McClellan's War Cover

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McClellan's War

The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union

Ethan S. Rafuse

Bold, brash, and full of ambition, George Brinton McClellan seemed destined for greatness when he assumed command of all the Union armies before he was 35. It was not to be. Ultimately deemed a failure on the battlefield by Abraham Lincoln, he was finally dismissed from command following the bloody battle of Antietam. To better understand this fascinating, however flawed, character, Ethan S. Rafuse considers the broad and complicated political climate of the earlier 19th century. Rather than blaming McClellan for the Union's military losses, Rafuse attempts to understand his political thinking as it affected his wartime strategy. As a result, Rafuse sheds light not only on McClellan's conduct on the battlefields of 1861-62 but also on United States politics and culture in the years leading up to the Civil War.

Meade Cover

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Meade

Victor of Gettysburg

Sauers, Richard A.

Most students of the American Civil War know the name George Gordon Meade, but few can tell you about the man. With this addition to PotomacÆs Military Profiles series, historian Richard Sauers examines the life of one of the Union ArmyÆs most notable generals. Rising from the Union officer corps to lead the previously ill-fated Army of the Potomac, Meade took command only hours before his forces stumbled upon Robert E. LeeÆs Confederates at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863. He led his men to victory in one of the most famous battles in history, but Meade was soon embroiled in political battles with fellow generals and Washington politicians. Despite detractorsÆ efforts to question MeadeÆs judgment and smear his reputationùefforts often exacerbated by the generalÆs own volatile temper and undiplomatic behaviorùhe continued to put duty to his country and his men first. When Ulysses S. Grant was named lieutenant general in charge of all Union forces, Grant made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac and soon overshadowed Meade. Sauers chronicles the tense relationship that developed between the two men and the effect it had on the crucial last days of the war. SauersÆs concise but authoritative biography sheds new light on one of the Civil WarÆs most significant leaders. His book, the only new biography of Meade to appear in over thirty years, should spark renewed study of this brave but overlooked general.

The Mighty Eighth in WWII Cover

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The Mighty Eighth in WWII

A Memoir

J. Kemp McLaughlin USAFR (Ret.)

On an early morning in the fall of 1942, Kemp McLaughlin's group set out for a raid on a French target. Immediately after dropping its bombs, McLaughlin's plane was hit. A huge fire burned a four-foot hole in his wing, his waist gunner bailed out, his radio operator was wounded, the plane lost all oxygen, and his pilot put on a parachute and sat on the escape hatch, waiting for the plane to explode. And this was only McLaughlin's first sortie. McLaughlin went on to pilot the mission command plane on the second raid against Schweinfurt, the largest air raid in history, which resulted in the destruction of 70 percent of German ball bearing production capability. McLaughlin also participated in the bombing of heavy water installations in Norway. The Mighty Eighth in WWII also includes the stories of downed pilots in France and Holland who traveled under the cover of night through the countryside, evading the Nazis who had seen their planes go down. As a group leader, McLaughlin was responsible for the planning and execution of air raids, forced to follow the directives of senior (and sometimes less informed) officers. His position as one of the managers of the massive sky trains allows him to provide unique insight into the work of maintenance and armament crews, preflight briefings, and off-duty activities of the airmen. No other memoir of World War II reveals so much about both the actual bombing runs against Nazi Germany and the management of personnel and material that made those airborne armadas possible.

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