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G.I. Nightingales Cover

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G.I. Nightingales

The Army Nurse Corps in World War II

Barbara Tomblin

"Weaving together information from official sources and personal interviews, Barbara Tomblin gives the first full-length account of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in the Second World War. She describes how over 60,000 army nurses, all volunteers, cared for sick and wounded American soldiers in every theater of the war, serving in the jungles of the Southwest Pacific, the frozen reaches of Alaska and Iceland, the mud of Italy and northern Europe, or the heat and dust of the Middle East. Many of the women in the Army Nurse Corps served in dangerous hospitals near the front lines—201 nurses were killed by accident or enemy action, and another 1,600 won decorations for meritorious service. These nurses address the extreme difficulties of dealing with combat and its effects in World War II, and their stories are all the more valuable to women’s and military historians because they tell of the war from a very different viewpoint than that of male officers. Although they were unable to achieve full equality for American women in the military during World War II, army nurses did secure equal pay allowances and full military rank, and they proved beyond a doubt their ability and willingness to serve and maintain excellent standards of nursing care under difficult and often dangerous conditions.

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The General and His Daughter

The War Time Letters of General James M. Gavin to his Daughter Barbara

Barbara Fauntleroy

James Maurice Gavin left for war in April 1943 as a colonel commanding the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division-America's first airborne division and the first to fight in World War II. In 1944, Slim JimGavin, as he was known to his troops, at the age of thirty-seven became the 82nd's commanding general-the youngest Army officer to become a major general since the Civil War. At war's end, this soldier's soldier had become one of our greatest generals-and the 82nd's most decorated officer.Now James Gavin's letters home to his nine-year-old daughter Barbara provide a revealing portrait of the American experience in World War II through the eyes of one of its most dynamic officers. Written from ship decks, foxholes, and field tents-often just before or after a dangerous jump-they capture the day-to-day realities of combat and Gavin's personal reactions to the war he helped to win. And provide an invaluable self-portrait of a great general, and a great American, in war and peace.The book's more than 200 letters begin at Fort Bragg in 1943 and continue to December 1945, as Gavin came home to lead the 82nd at the head of the Victory parade in New York. This correspondence constitutes the majority of Gavin's private wartime letters, but except for rare appearances in regimental newsletters, it has never before been published. In her Introduction, Epilogue, and Notes, Barbara Gavin Fauntleroy gives a privileged glimpse of the private man. Edited by Gayle Wurst, the book features historical overviews by Starlyn Jorgensen, a preface by noted Gavin biographer Gerard M. Devlin, and a foreword by Rufus Broadaway, Gavin's aide-de-camp.

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General Jacob Devers

World War II's Forgotten Four Star

John A. Adams

Of the leaders of the American Army in World War II, Jacob Devers is undoubtedly the "forgotten four star." Plucked from relative obscurity in the Canal Zone, Devers was one of four generals selected by General of the Army George Marshall in 1941 to assist him in preparing the Army for war. He quickly became known in Army circles for his "can do" attitude and remarkable ability to cut through red tape. Among other duties, he was instrumental in transforming Ft. Bragg, then a small Army post, into a major training facility. As head of the armored force, Devers contributed to the development of a faster, more heavily armored tank, equipped with a higher velocity gun that could stand up to the more powerful German tanks, and helped to turn American armor into an effective fighting force. In spring 1943, Devers replaced Dwight Eisenhower as commander of the European Theater of Operations, then was given command of the 6th Army Group that invaded the south of France and fought its way through France and Germany to the Austrian border. In the European campaign to defeat Hitler, Eisenhower had three subordinate army group commanders—British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, Omar S. Bradley, and Jacob Devers. The first two are well-known—here the third receives the attention he properly deserves.

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General Lesley J. McNair

Unsung Architect of the U.S. Army

An exceptionally well researched and argued reappraisal of the career of Lesley J. McNair and his role in fashioning American ground forces before and during World War II. Calhoun argues convincingly that far from the ineffectual general of common lore, McNair was a crucial architect of Allied victory. A must-read for students of modern U.S. and World War II military history

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General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II

Nicholas A. Krehbiel

During World War II, the United States drafted 10.1 million men to serve in the military. Of that number, 52,000 were conscientious objectors, and 12,000 objected to noncombatant military service. Those 12,000 men served the country in Civilian Public Service, the program initiated by General Lewis Blaine Hershey, the director of Selective Service from 1941 to1970. Despite his success with this program, much of Hershey’s work on behalf of conscientious objectors has been overlooked due to his later role in the draft during the Vietnam War.


Seeking to correct these omissions in history, Nicholas A. Krehbiel provides the most comprehensive and well-rounded examination to date of General Hershey’s work as the developer and protector of alternative service programs for conscientious objectors. Hershey, whose Selective Service career spanned three major wars and six presidential administrations, came from a background with a tolerance for pacifism. He served in the National Guard and later served in both World War I and the interwar army. A lifelong military professional, he believed in the concept of the citizen soldier—the civilian who responded to the duty of service when called upon. Yet embedded in that idea was his intrinsic belief in the American right to religious freedom and his notion that religious minorities must be protected.


What to do with conscientious objectors has puzzled the United States throughout its history, and prior to World War II, there was no unified system for conscientious objectors. The Selective Service Act of 1917 only allowed conscientious objection from specific peace sects, and it had no provisions for public service. In action, this translated to poor treatment of conscientious objectors in military prisons and camps during World War I. In response to demands by the Historic Peace Churches (the Brethren, Mennonites, and the Society of Friends) and other pacifist groups, the government altered language in the Selective Service Act of 1940, stating that conscientious objectors should be assigned to noncombatant service in the military but, if opposed to that, would be assigned to “work of national importance under civilian direction.” Under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and with the cooperation of the Historic Peace Churches, Hershey helped to develop Civilian Public Service in 1941, a program that placed conscientious objectors in soil conservation and forestry work camps, with the option of moving into detached services as farm laborers, scientific test subjects, and caregivers, janitors, and cooks at mental hospitals. Although the Civilian Public Service program only lasted until 1947, alternative service was required for all conscientious objectors until the end of the draft in 1973.


Krehbiel delves into the issues of minority rights versus mandatory military service and presents General Hershey’s pivotal role in the history of conscientious objection and conscription in American history. Archival research from both Historic Peace Churches and the Selective Service makes General Lewis B. Hershey and Conscientious Objection during World War II the definitive book on this subject.

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Gernika, 1937

The Market Day Massacre

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Glider Infantryman

Behind Enemy Lines in World War II

Donald J. Rich and Kevin Brooks

A member of the famed Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division, Donald J. Rich went ashore on D-Day at Utah Beach, was wounded in the bloody conflict at Carentan, landed in a flimsy plywood-and-canvas glider on the battlefields of Holland, and survived the grim siege with the “Battling Bastards of Bastogne” during the Battle of the Bulge. Ordinary Eagle is his eyewitness account of how he, along with thousands of other young men from farms, small towns, and cities across the United States, came together to answer the call of their nation. It is also a heartfelt tribute to the many thousands who gave their lives in the struggle. Coauthored by Kevin Brooks, the son of Rich’s best friend and World War II comrade, Ordinary Eagle covers a span of nearly three years: from February 1943, when Rich left his family in Wayland, Iowa, until his return home, five months after the war's end, as a toughened bazooka gunner and veteran of five campaigns. Rich’s first-person narrative includes vivid coverage of the action, featuring an especially rare account of arriving on a combat landing zone by glider. Detailed, day-to-day depiction of some of the heaviest fighting in Holland follows, including the action at Opheusden, the center of the infamous “Island.” Later highlights include the Battle of the Bulge, where Rich recounts his experiences in some of the hottest defensive fighting of the European Theater, including the epic tank battles at Marvie, Champs, and Foy.

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The Great Plains during World War II

R. Douglas Hurt

After World War II, the pivotal event in twentieth-century American history, life both at home and abroad seemed more complex and more dangerous than ever before. The political, economic, and social changes wrought by the war, such as the centralization and regulation of economic affairs by the federal government, new roles for women and minorities in American life, and the world leadership of the United States, remained in place after the soldiers and sailors returned home.
Although the impact of World War II was not as transformative for the Great Plains as it was for other areas of the United States, it was still significant and tumultuous. Emphasizing the region’s social and economic history, The Great Plains during World War II is the first book to examine the effects of the war on the region and the responses of its residents. Beginning with the isolationist debate that preceded the war, R. Douglas Hurt traces the residents’ changing view of the European conflict and its direct impact on the plains. Hurt argues that the people of the Great Plains based their patriotic response to the war effort on the concept of comparative sacrifice. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, this compelling and frank history brings to life the voices and experiences of the residents of the Great Plains in recounting the story of the daily concerns of ordinary people that have become part of the nation’s history of this seminal event.

Guard Wars Cover

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Guard Wars

The 28th Infantry Division in World War II

Michael E. Weaver

An inventive study of relations between the National Guard and the Regular Army during World War II, Guard Wars follows the Pennsylvania National Guard's 28th Infantry Division from its peacetime status through training and into combat in Western Europe. The broader story, spanning the years 1939--1945, sheds light on the National Guard, the U.S. Army, and American identities and priorities during the war years. Michael E. Weaver carefully tracks the division's difficult transformation into a combat-ready unit and highlights General Omar Bradley's extraordinary capacity for leadership -- which turned the Pennsylvanians from the least capable to one of the more capable units, a claim dearly tested in the Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. This absorbing and informative analysis chronicles the nation's response to the extreme demands of a world war, and the flexibility its leaders and soldiers displayed in the chaos of combat.

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Hawai`i Chronicles III

World War Two in Hawai`i, from the pages of Paradise of the Pacific

Bob Dye

Pearl Harbor. December 7, 1941--in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, "a date which will live in infamy." More than 350 Japanese bombers, fighters, and torpedo planes struck Hawai'i in two waves, sinking or disabling eighteen ships and destroying more than two hundred aircraft. Close to 2,500 American military and civilians died that morning, another 1,178 were wounded. The Hawaiian Islands had been pulled into the Pacific War and the lives of its citizens were irrevocably changed. Hawai'i Chronicles III: World War Two in Hawai'i looks at the human and social impact of the war on the people of Hawai'i from 1938, when speculation of a Pacific War first surfaced, to the era of postwar prosperity that followed. Editor Bob Dye has selected articles that originally appeared in the popular monthly magazine Paradise of the Pacific (now known as Honolulu magazine). An introduction describes the history of the magazine and the colorful characters who published and edited it. Dye then poses the question: How did Hawai'i's citizenry cope with the war? Blackouts, media censorship, gas and food rationing were imposed. Schools were commandeered, jobs were changed or modified to support the war effort (lei makers were set to making camouflage netting). And soldiers were everywhere: stringing barbed wire (along Waikiki Beach!), guarding public buildings and searching anyone who entered, worrying parents when they dated their daughters. Paradise of the Pacific provided its readers with an informative, perceptive, and often entertaining look at these and other everyday experiences of life in wartime Hawai'i.

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