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On the Edge of a New Understanding
Lake Shipwrecks of the War of 1812
American POWs in Korea
Prisoners suffer in every conflict, but American servicemen captured during the Korean War faced a unique ordeal. Like prisoners in other wars, these men endured harsh conditions and brutal mistreatment at the hands of their captors.
In Korea, however, they faced something new: a deliberate enemy program of indoctrination and coercion designed to manipulate them for propaganda purposes. Most Americans rejected their captors’ promise of a Marxist paradise, yet after the cease fire in 1953, American prisoners came home to face a second wave of attacks. Exploiting popular American fears of communist infiltration, critics portrayed the returning prisoners as weak-willed pawns who had been “brainwashed” into betraying their country.
The truth was far more complicated. Following the North Korean assault on the Republic of Korea in June of 1950, the invaders captured more than a thousand American soldiers and brutally executed hundreds more. American prisoners who survived their initial moments of captivity faced months of neglect, starvation, and brutal treatment as their captors marched them north toward prison camps in the Yalu River Valley.
Counterattacks by United Nations forces soon drove the North Koreans back across the 38th Parallel, but the unexpected intervention of Communist Chinese forces in November of 1950 led to the capture of several thousand more American prisoners. Neither the North Koreans nor their Chinese allies were prepared to house or feed the thousands of prisoners in their custody, and half of the Americans captured that winter perished for lack of food, shelter, and medicine. Subsequent communist efforts to indoctrinate and coerce propaganda statements from their prisoners sowed suspicion and doubt among those who survived.
Relying on memoirs, trial transcripts, debriefings, declassified government reports, published analysis, and media coverage, plus conversations, interviews, and correspondence with several dozen former prisoners, William Clark Latham Jr. seeks to correct misperceptions that still linger, six decades after the prisoners came home. Through careful research and solid historical narrative, Cold Days in Hell provides a detailed account of their captivity and offers valuable insights into an ongoing issue: the conduct of prisoners in the hands of enemy captors and the rules that should govern their treatment.
International Travel and Exchange across the Soviet Bloc, 1940s-1960s
From Show to Sport
Guts and glory, bulls and barrel racing, spurs and scars are all part of rodeo, a sport of epic legends. Cowboys and cowgirls use brain and brawn to contend for prizes and placement, but more often than not, it is the prestige of honorable competition that spurs them on. College Rodeo covers the history of the sport on college campuses from the first organized contest in 1920 to the national championship of 2003. In the early years of the twentieth century, a growing number of kids from farms and ranches attended college, many choosing the land grant institutions that allowed them to prepare for agricultural careers back home. They brought with them a love for the skills, challenges, and competition they had known—a taste for rodeo. The first-ever college rodeo was held at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. It offered bronco busting, goat roping, saddle racing, polo, a greased pig contest, and country ballads from a quartet. The rodeo was a fund-raising effort that grew enormously popular; by its third year, the rodeo at Texas A&M drew some fifteen hundred people. The idea spread to other campuses, and nineteen years later, the first intercollegiate rodeo with eleven colleges and universities competing was held in 1939 at the ranch arena of an entrepreneur near Victorville, California. Seldom does a college sport exist for eighty years without having a book written about it, but college rodeo has. Sylvia Gann Mahoney has written the first history of the sport, tracing its growth parallel to the development of professional rodeo and the growth of the organizational structure that governs college rodeo. Mahoney draws on personal interviews as well as the archives of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and newspaper accounts from participating schools and their hometowns. Mahoney chronicles the events, profiles winners, and analyzes the organizational efforts that have contributed to the colorful history of college rodeo. She traces the changing role of women, noting their victories that were ignored by much of the contemporary press in the early days of the sport. College Rodeo highlights outstanding individuals through extensive interviews, giving credit to the pioneers of college rodeo. This book includes rare photographs of rodeo teams, champions, and rodeo queens, blended with the true life details of sweat and tears that make intercollegiate rodeo such a popular sport.
A Creole Community on the Louisiana-Texas Frontier
Strategically located at the western edge of the Atlantic World, the French post of Natchitoches thrived during the eighteenth century as a trade hub between the well-supplied settlers and the isolated Spaniards and Indians of Texas. Its critical economic and diplomatic role made it the most important community on the Louisiana-Texas frontier during the colonial era. Despite the community’s critical role under French and then Spanish rule, Colonial Natchitoches is the first thorough study of its society and economy. Founded in 1714, four years before New Orleans, Natchitoches developed a creole (American-born of French descent) society that dominated the Louisiana-Texas frontier. H. Sophie Burton and F. Todd Smith carefully demonstrate not only the persistence of this creole dominance but also how it was maintained. They examine, as well, the other ethnic cultures present in the town and relations with Indians in the surrounding area. Through statistical analyses of birth and baptismal records, census figures, and appropriate French and Spanish archives, Burton and Smith reach surprising conclusions about the nature of society and commerce in colonial Natchitoches.
Through one man’s career, Colt Terry, Green Beret portrays the birth and development of America’s most elite fighting unit. The 10th Special Forces Group was the first of the Green Beret units. Its five hundred men, all Airborne and mostly Rangers, received extensive training in everything from specialized weapons to uncommon languages. Their primary mission was to train and lead indigenous guerillas operating in enemy territory. Second Lieutenant Colt Terry, who had joined the 82nd Airborne in 1947, had already done this in Korea. As a volunteer in the 10th SFG, he carried on his service, working with the Montagnards in Vietnam and The Khmer in Cambodia. He fought at Pleiku, Duc Co, and Plei Me, and he ferried supplies and weapons on elephants into Cambodia. From his enlistment as a buck private in 1945 to his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1970, Terry served five tours in combat, trained guerrillas, and earned two combat infantry badges, a Purple Heart, and two Bronze Stars. His experiences contributed to Special Forces’ expertise in ambushes and killing techniques. Even as an officer, Terry never shied away from going deep into the jungle in search of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. He personally organized a successful effort to save hundreds of men in one of Special Forces’ most critical A-team camps. As one of the original Green Berets, Terry helped set the standards by which these units have become known. Anyone who has ever wondered what the Green Berets were like during their first two decades will appreciate the riveting action and close-up detail of Terry’s true-life story . This is the story of Curtis “Colt” Terry, one of the original Green Berets. The information for this story came primarily from Colt’s personal recollections documented in taped interviews. Many facts were confirmed with fellow paratroopers, military historians, and Special Forces NCOs and officers who served with him. Colt gave the interviews to leave a record of his experiences. After hearing Colt’s story, the author felt that other people should know this man.
Before the Reservation
Once called the Lords of the Plains, the Comanches were long portrayed as loose bands of marauding raiders who capitalized on the Spanish introduction of horses to raise their people out of primitive poverty through bison hunting and fierce warfare. More recent studies of the Comanches have focused on adaptation and persistence in Comanche lifestyles and on Comanche political organization and language-based alliances. In Comanche Society: Before the Reservation, Gerald Betty develops an exciting and sophisticated perspective on the driving force of Comanche life: kinship. Betty details the kinship patterns that underlay all social organization and social behavior among the Comanches and uses the insights gained to explain the way Comanches lived and the way they interacted with the Europeans who recorded their encounters. Rather than a narrative history of the Comanches, this account presents analyses of the formation of clans and the way they functioned across wide areas to produce cooperation and alliances; of hierarchy based in family and generational relationships; and of ancestor worship and related religious ceremonies as the basis for social solidarity. The author then considers a number of aspects of Comanche life—pastoralism, migration and nomadism, economics and trade, warfare and violence—and how these developed along kinship lines. In considering how and why Comanches adopted the Spanish horse pastoralism, Betty demonstrates clearly that pastoralism was an expression of indigenous culture, not the cause of it. He describes in detail the Comanche horse culture as it was observed by the Spaniards and the Indian adaptation of Iberian practices. In this context, he looks at the kinship basis of inheritance practices, which, he argues, undergirded private ownership of livestock. Drawing on obscure details buried in Spanish accounts of their time in the lands that became known as Comanchería, Betty provides an interpretive gaze into the culture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Comanches that offers new organizing principles for the information that had been gathered previously. This is cutting-edge history, drawing not only on original research in extensive primary documents but also on theoretical perspectives from other disciplines.
Across the Pacific on the USS Tate
The first authoritative history of any of the more than 350 attack transports or attack cargo ships of World War II, Combat Loaded: Across the Pacific on the USS Tate contains gripping combat narratives alongside the sometimes heartwarming, sometimes tragic details of daily life on board the ships of Transport Squadron 17 during the waning days of World War II. Author Thomas E. Crew interviewed over fifty veterans of the Tate, including all her surviving officers. Crew weaves a rich tapestry of voices, combining it with extensive analysis of the Tate’s daily action reports and ship’s logs, accented by lively letters of the period from private collections—including previously unpublished accounts of the last days of famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle. Crew also presents a rare unit-level perspective of joint operations involving the infantry fighting ashore and the navy transports that sustained them with their vital combat cargo. The resulting richly illustrated work presents perhaps the most comprehensive account to date of the experiences and courageous contributions of those who served on amphibious transports during World War II.
The Eighth U.S. Army on the Eve of the Korean War
In the decades since the “forgotten war” in Korea, conventional wisdom has held that the Eighth Army consisted largely of poorly trained, undisciplined troops who fled in terror from the onslaught of the Communist forces. Now, military historian Thomas E. Hanson argues that the generalizations historians and fellow soldiers have used regarding these troops do little justice to the tens of thousands of soldiers who worked to make themselves and their army ready for war. In Hanson's careful study of combat preparedness in the Eighth Army from 1949 to the outbreak of hostilities in 1950, he concedes that the U.S. soldiers sent to Korea suffered gaps in their professional preparation, from missing and broken equipment to unevenly trained leaders at every level of command. But after a year of progressive, focused, and developmental collective training—based largely on the lessons of combat in World War II—these soldiers expected to defeat the Communist enemy. By recognizing the constraints under which the Eighth Army operated, Hanson asserts that scholars and soldiers will be able to discard what Douglas Macarthur called the "pernicious myth" of the Eighth Army's professional, physical, and moral ineffectiveness.