MEN OF WAR: THE AMERICAN SOLDIER IN COMBAT AT BUNKER HILL, GETTYSBURG, AND IWO JIMA


"A brilliant, riveting, unique book . . . Alexander Rose takes us into the ranks and helps us understand the experiences of those fighting on the ground. He captures vividly the emotions and conditions of combat—the terror and the boredom, the barbarity and the magnanimity—helping readers understand the realities known to those who have earned membership in that most treasured of fraternities, the brotherhood of the close fight. Men of War will be a classic."—General David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army (Retired)


A highly recommended addition to the literature of military history . . . Rose builds up a detailed picture of each of these battles, sparing few gritty details and romanticizing almost nothing. He writes vividly and memorably, with a good eye for the telling detail or anecdote as well as big-picture perspectives.
— Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
The overwhelming experience of combat for front-line soldiers who lived to write about it, and through their eyes those who did not, comes through with stark realism. If you want to know the meaning of war at the sharp end, this is the book to read.
— James McPherson, author of “Battle Cry of Freedom”
Men of War is extraordinary for its research, vivid scenes and penetrating insights. Required reading for all who face battle or are interested in what actually occurs in face-to-face fighting.
— Bing West, author of “One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War”

This is not a book about how great generals won their battles, nor is it a study in grand strategy. Men of War is instead a riveting, visceral, and astonishingly original look at ordinary soldiers under fire.
 
Drawing on an immense range of firsthand sources from the battlefield, Rose begins by re-creating the lost and alien world of eighteenth-century warfare at Bunker Hill, the bloodiest clash of the War of Independence — and reveals why the American militiamen were so lethally effective against the oncoming waves of British troops. Then, focusing on Gettysburg, Rose describes a typical Civil War infantry action, vividly explaining what Union and Confederate soldiers experienced before, during, and after combat. Finally, he shows how in 1945 the Marine Corps hurled itself with the greatest possible violence at the island of Iwo Jima, where nearly a third of all Marines killed in World War II would die. As Rose demonstrates, the most important factor in any battle is the human one: At Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima, the American soldier, as much as any general, proved decisive.
 
To an unprecedented degree, Men of War brings home the reality of combat and, just as important, its aftermath in the form of the psychological and medical effects on veterans. As such, the book makes a critical contribution to military history by narrowing the colossal gulf between the popular understanding of wars and the experiences of the soldiers who fight them.

Alexander Rose tells us about war from the perspective of those who fought it, capturing myriad combat details to weave a gripping tapestry of three of the most iconic battles in U.S. history—Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima.
— Robert O’Connell, author of “Fierce Patriot”
Honor, fear, cowardice, leadership, anxiety, compulsion, elation, doubt, misinformation, cruelty, violence, self-sacrifice and compassion: this book covers everything in a brilliant analysis of the phenomenon of men in battle. Rose has written the best book on the subject since John Keegan’s “The Face of Battle” four decades ago.
— Andrew Roberts, author of “Napoleon”