For Memorial Day, I’ve been reading this wonderful book by Stephen Ambrose about the American soldiers in WWII. It offers a wonderful and descriptive account of the battles in Europe and of the character of the men who fought in them. What I love, especially, about the book is the suggestions (which they tend to be more than conclusions) about how the nature and character of the American fighting man lent itself more toward victory than did that of the Axis men--or even the other allies. The descriptions of the initiative taken by men in the field are truly inspiring and breathtaking.
As a companion to this volume--if you’re more in a Civil War mode--examine this volume by James M. McPherson. This book is wonderful for all kinds of reasons but--especially if, like me, you’re inclined toward a more Yankee view of the conflict. It is good to be reminded of what was good and noble--and American--on both sides. If read before you read the Ambrose volume, you can see a continuum and parallels between the soldiers (on both sides) of that time and those of WWII. Such a book should be written about the soldiers of our current war . . . or perhaps one has already been written and I just don’t know about it. If so, do let me know.