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History > Military History > Biographies and Memoirs

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Revered Commander, Maligned General Cover

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Revered Commander, Maligned General

The Life of Clarence Ransom Edwards, 1859-1931

Michael E. Shay

 

Major General Clarence Ransom Edwards is a vital figure in American military history, yet his contribution to the U.S. efforts in World War I has often been ignored or presented in unflattering terms. Most accounts focus on the disagreements he had with General John J. Pershing, who dismissed Edwards from the command of the 26th (“Yankee”) Division just weeks before the war's end. The notoriety of the Pershing incident has caused some to view Edwards as simply a “political general” with a controversial career. But Clarence Edwards, though often a divisive figure, was a greater man than that. A revered and admired officer whose men called him “Daddy,” Edwards attained an impressive forty-year career, one matched by few wartime leaders.

 

            Michael E. Shay presents a complete portrait of this notable American and his many merits in Revered Commander, Maligned General. This long-overdue first full-length biography of General Clarence Edwards opens with his early years in Cleveland, Ohio and his turbulent times at West Point. The book details the crucial roles Edwards filled in staff and field commands for the Army before the outbreak of World War I in 1917: Adjutant-General with General Henry Ware Lawton in the Philippine-American War, first chief of the Bureau of Insular Affairs, and commander of U.S. forces in the Panama Canal Zone. Revered Commander, Maligned General follows Edwards as he forms the famous Yankee Division and leads his men into France. The conflict between Edwards and Pershing is placed in context, illuminating the disputes that led to Edwards being relieved of command.

 

            This well-researched biography quotes a wealth of primary sources in recounting the life of an important American, a man of loyalty and service who is largely misunderstood. Photographs of Edwards, his troops, and his kin—many from Edwards’ own collection—complement the narrative.  In addition, several maps aid readers in following General Edwards as his career moves from the U.S. to Central America to Europe and back stateside. Shay’s portrayalof General Edwards finally provides a balanced account of this unique U.S. military leader.

 

Rudder Cover

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Rudder

From Leader to Legend

By Thomas M. Hatfield

Sherman Cover

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Sherman

A Soldier's Passion for Order

John F. Marszalek

Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order is the premier biography of William Tecumseh Sherman, the Civil War commander known for his “destructive war” policy against Confederates and as a consummate soldier. This updated edition of John F. Marszalek’s award-winning book presents the general as a complicated man who, fearing anarchy, searched for the order that he hoped would make his life a success.

Sherman was profoundly influenced by the death of his father and his subsequent relationship with the powerful Whig politician Thomas Ewing and his family. Although the Ewings treated Sherman as one of their own, the young Sherman was determined to make it on his own. He graduated from West Point and moved on to service at military posts throughout the South. This volume traces Sherman’s involvement in the Mexican War in the late 1840s, his years battling prospectors and deserting soldiers in gold-rush California, and his 1850 marriage to his foster sister, Ellen. Later he moved to Louisiana, and, after the state seceded, Sherman returned to the North to fight for the Union.

Sherman covers the general’s early Civil War assignments in Kentucky and Missouri and his battles against former Southern friends there, the battle at Shiloh, and his rise to become second only to Grant among the Union leadership. Sherman’s famed use of destructive war, controversial then and now, is examined in detail. The destruction of property, he believed, would convince the Confederates that surrender was their best option, and Sherman’s successful strategy became the stuff of legend.

This definitive biography, which includes forty-six illustrations, effectively refutes misconceptions surrounding the controversial Union general and presents Sherman the man, not the myth. 

Slinging the Bull in Korea Cover

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Slinging the Bull in Korea

An Adventure in Psychological Warfare

John Martin Campbell With an introduction by Katherine Kallestad

Campbell's time in Korea became an extended adventure in applied psychology. Among the many useful features of this rare Korean War memoir are Campbell's insights into the philosophies of Communist and democratic countries that would shape each other throughout the Cold War as the superpowers struggled for the hearts and minds of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The psy-ops struggles to manipulate America's adversaries set the stage for forty years of subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to sway the enemy by nonlethal means.

Soldier of Change Cover

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Soldier of Change

From the Closet to the Forefront of the Gay Rights Movement

Stephen Snyder-Hill

When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the official U.S. policy on gays serving in the military, was repealed in September 2011, soldier Stephen Snyder-Hill (then Captain Hill) was serving in Iraq. Having endured years of this policy, which passively encouraged a culture of fear and secrecy for gay soldiers, Snyder-Hill submitted a video to a Republican primary debate held two days after the repeal. In the video he asked for the Republicans’ thoughts regarding the repeal and their plans, if any, to extend spousal benefits to legally married gay and lesbian soldiers. His video was booed by the audience on national television. Soldier of Change captures not only the media frenzy that followed that moment, placing Snyder-Hill at the forefront of this modern civil rights movement, but also his twenty-year journey as a gay man in the army: from self-loathing to self-acceptance to the most important battle of his life—protecting the disenfranchised. Since that time, Snyder-Hill has traveled the country with his husband, giving interviews on major news networks and speaking at universities, community centers, and pride parades, a champion of LGBT equality.

Soldier's Son Cover

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Soldier's Son

Ben W. McClelland

<!--<p class="category">Memoir ¨ World War II-->

In December 1944 First Lieutenant Ewing R. "Pete" McClelland was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. Soon afterwards in an Allied air attack on the German POW camp where he was held, he was killed.

Back home in Pennsylvania, his young widow and three small children survived him. Too young to have lasting recollections, Ben W. McClelland, the soldier's son who was just beyond infancy, became one of the war's fatherless innocents for whom the memories of others would form the paternal image.

As the boy evolved into manhood, he reflected on how strange it was to grow up without this parent. In this narrative, a work of analysis as well as an odyssey into family heritage, the son undertakes a compelling search to find this man he could not remember. Through sentiment and nostalgia he depicts the innocence of childhood and recalls the many people who furnished impressions of his father.

Old photographs, intimate letters, and interviews with the memory keepers and the storytellers in his extended family were resources from which the author recreated a time and a place and a person. This reconstruction resurrects a father vital in life and passion, a man chronicled in humorous family tales, realized among vivid small-town characters, and seen against the contrast of social changes of the1960s.

The search for his father consumed most of a lifetime. As Ben W. McClelland was approaching the age of sixty, he had recovered this lost, never-before-realized identity. But to complete the circle of his quest, he undertook one thing more, the emotional pilgrimage to his father's grave in Europe.

Although many other memoirs detail the experience of the soldier on the fronts of battle, this one brings an understanding of his sacrifice in wartime, of the resounding meaning of his death for his country and for his family, and of a son's profound yearning for answers that fulfill.

Ben W. McClelland is a professor of English and holder of the Schillig Chair of English Composition at the University of Mississippi.

<a href="http://home.olemiss.edu/~wgbwm/">Check the author's website.

Stephen Decatur Cover

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Stephen Decatur

American Naval Hero, 1779-1820

Robert J. Allison

Born to a prominent Philadelphia family in 1779, Stephen Decatur at age twenty-five became the youngest man ever to serve as a captain in the U.S. Navy. His intrepid heroism, leadership, and devotion to duty made him a perfect symbol of the aspirations of the growing nation. Leading men to victory in Tripoli, the War of 1812, and the Algerian war of 1815, and coining the phrase "Our country, right or wrong," Decatur created an enduring legend of bravery, celebrated in poetry, song, paintings, and the naming of dozens of towns—from Georgia to Alabama to Illinois. After the War of 1812, Decatur moved to Washington to help direct naval policy. His close friendships with James Madison, John Quincy Adams, and other political leaders soon made him a rising star in national politics. He and his wife Susan made their elegant home on Lafayette Square near the White House a center of Washington society. The capital and the entire nation were shocked in 1820 when Decatur died at the age of forty-one in a duel with a rival navy captain. In this carefully researched and well-written biography, historian Robert Allison tells the story of Decatur's eventful life at a time when the young republic was developing its own identity—when the American people were deciding what kind of nation they would become. Although he died prematurely, Decatur played a significant role in the shaping of that national identity.

Sylvia Rafael Cover

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Sylvia Rafael

The Life and Death of a Mossad Spy

Ram Oren and Moti Kfir. foreword by Major General Shlomo Gazit, IDF (Ret.)

"There is a lack of quiet in Sylvia that craves for action.... She knows that she is special and that she possesses unusual and varied abilities." -- From the Mossad's psychological evaluation of Sylvia Rafael

When Moti Kfir, head of the Academy for Special Operations of the Mossad, first interviewed Sylvia Rafael in a coffee shop, he knew she would make a great combatant for Israel's intelligence agency. She was outgoing, resourceful, brilliant, and had a talent for bonding with others. When Kfir warned her that the mysterious job they'd met to discuss could be dangerous, she simply sat back comfortably in her chair and smiled.

Sylvia Rafael is the page-turning account of a young, dedicated agent as told by the man who trained her. Drawing on extensive research and interviews, authors Ram Oren and Moti Kfir tell the story of Rafael's rise to prominence within the Mossad and her intelligence work trying to locate Ali Hassan Salameh -- the leader of Palestine's Black September organization and the mastermind behind the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Her team's misidentification of their mark would eventually lead to her arrest and imprisonment for murder and espionage.

Now available in English for the first time, Sylvia Rafael offers new insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its history, and its human cost. It is a gripping, authentic spy story about a fearless defender of the Jewish people.

Team 19 in Vietnam Cover

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Team 19 in Vietnam

An Australian Soldier at War

David Millie. foreword by General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.)

Historical accounts and memoirs of the Vietnam War often ignore the participation of nations other than Vietnam and the United States. As a result, few Americans realize that several members of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), including Australia, allied with South Vietnam during the conflict. By the late 1960s, more than eight thousand Australians were deployed in the region or providing support to the forces there.

In Team 19 in Vietnam, David Millie offers an insightful account of his twelve-month tour with the renowned Australian Army Training Team Vietnam in Quang Tri Province -- a crucial tactical site along the demilitarized zone that was North Vietnam's gateway to the south. Drawing from published and unpublished military documents, his personal diary, and the letters he wrote while deployed, Millie introduces readers to the daily routines, actions, and disappointments of a field staff officer. He discusses his interactions with province senior advisor Colonel Harley F. Mooney and Major John Shalikashvili, who would later become chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. This firsthand narrative vividly demonstrates the importance of the region and the substantial number of forces engaged there.

Few Australian accounts of the Vietnam War exist, and Millie offers a rare glimpse into the year after the Tet offensive, when Presidents Johnson and Nixon both made it clear that the U.S. would withdraw its troops. This important memoir reveals that responsibility for the catastrophe inflicted on Vietnamese civilians is shared by an international community that failed to act effectively in the face of a crisis., reviewing a previous edition or volume

Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood Cover

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Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood

Partners in Command

John S. D. Eisenhower

Theodore Roosevelt was a man of wide interests, strong opinions, and intense ambition for both himself and his country. When he met Leonard Wood in 1897, he recognized a kindred spirit. Moreover, the two men shared a zeal for making the United States an imperial power that would challenge Great Britain as world leader. For the remainder of their lives, their careers would intertwine in ways that shaped the American nation.

When the Spanish American War came, both men seized the opportunity to promote the goals of American empire. Roosevelt resigned as assistant secretary of the navy in William McKinley’s administration to serve as a lieutenant colonel of the Rough Riders, a newly organized volunteer cavalry. Wood, then a captain in the medical corps and physician to McKinley, was promoted to colonel and given charge of the unit.

Roosevelt later took over command of the Rough Riders. In the Battle of San Juan Hill, he led it in a charge up Kettle Hill that would end in victory for the American troops and make their daring commander a household name, a war hero, and, eventually, president of the United States.

At the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. The next year, Wood became military governor of Cuba. He remained in the post until 1902. By that time Roosevelt was president. One of the major accomplishments of his administration was reorganization of the War Department, which the war with Spain had proved disastrously outdated. In 1909, when William Howard Taft needed a strong army chief of staff to enforce the new rules, he appointed Leonard Wood.

Both Wood and Roosevelt were strong proponents of preparedness, and when war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Wood, retired as chief of staff and backed by Roosevelt, established the “Plattsburg camps,” a system of basic training camps. When America entered the Great War, the two men’s foresight was justified, but their earlier push for mobilization had angered Woodrow Wilson, and both were denied the command positions they sought in Europe.

Roosevelt died in 1919 while preparing for another presidential campaign. Wood made a run in his place but was never taken seriously as a candidate. He retired from the army and spent the last seven years of his life as civilian governor of the Philippines.

It was a quiet end for two men who had been giants of their time. While their modernization of the army is widely admired, they were not without their critics. Roosevelt and Wood saw themselves as bold leaders but were regarded by some as ruthless strivers. And while their shared ambitions for the United States were tempered by a strong sense of duty, they could, in their certainty and determination, trample those who stood in their path. Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood: Partners in Command is a revealing and long overdue look at the dynamic partnership of this fascinating pair and will be welcomed by scholars and military history enthusiasts alike.

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