Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 The Epic Battle That Ended the First World War” as Want to Read:
To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 The Epic Battle That Ended the First World War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 The Epic Battle That Ended the First World War

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  106 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The authoritative, dramatic, and previously untold story of the bloodiest battle in American history

On September 26, 1918, more than one million American soldiers prepared to assault the German-held Meuse-Argonne region of France. Their commander, General John J. Pershing, said that in thirty-six hours the doughboys would crack the German defenses and open the road to Berl
Paperback, 528 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Holt Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 264)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 21, 2013 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Never fight the Russians in their snow – or the Germans in a forest stronghold. In 9 AD, in the depths of the Teutoberg Forest, a confederacy of Germanic tribes ambushed and annihilated a force of three Roman legions (read about the battle in Schama’s Landscape and Memory and you will have Anselm Kiefer nightmares); in the fall and winter of 1944 a number of US divisions bled out in the Hürtgen Forest, where the Germans had nested machine gun teams in cunningly camouflaged log redoubts and artil ...more
A ok book, but it could have been far better. Endless repetition of the same stock phrases ("the attacked jumped off at 5:00am) make one thrust indistinguishable from another. This is amplified by the paucity of maps--and those included are of such poor quality as to be nearly useless.

In the first attack, General Pershing = tactical and strategic idiot, with no knowlege of modern warfare. He thought failure of will was at fault for his green Divisions' inability to break well-placed German machi
Dec 08, 2012 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Serious military scholars
This book is really important to me. First, it is the definitive account of the battle in the Meuse-Argonne. Second, and more importantly, my dad's oldest brother, Raymonde was killed in this fight. In August, Raymonde's unit the 86th Div moved to New York where its elements shipped out to France between 22 Aug and 9 Sep. There is a reference to the 343rd being at St. Loubes, France. The 86th had hoped to go into action as an integral unit. However, that was not to be and the 86th was essentiall ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Definitely worth wading through the 400 plus pages. Dteailed account of America's main battle on the western front. I thought it lacked some historical context and didn't make much reference to what had been going on for the previous three years before the Americans turned up, but that would easily have added another 100 pages. One bit in particular stands out: some American troops enter a dug out and from deep in the darkness an American soldier asks them if they have come to arrest him? No the ...more
Andrew Weitzel
Jun 22, 2012 Andrew Weitzel rated it it was amazing
An addictive, readable account of US action in World War One. It presents personal accounts of soldiers, from generals to privates, which highlighted the disconnect Army leadership had from the actual conditions on the front. Like another reviewer noted, more maps would have been useful. Otherwise, a great book.
Mar 28, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not know anything about World War I, other than the American Soldiers were called Doughboys and that it started because of an assassination in Sarajevo. This book focuses on the last major battles of the Meuse-Argonne. This is not an easy read, but overall, I gained greater respect for the American Soldiers and the contribution in blood and sacrifice in this war to end all wars.

There are some amazing stories on the valor of individual soldiers (like John Lewis Barkley and Alvin C. York).

Roger Myles
Apr 28, 2010 Roger Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy to read, good historical description. More maps would have aided the readers understanding. Not a lot of literary references to this particular WW1 battle, even in later day history volumes. This is possibly the result of the duration of the battle which is dwarfed by the activities of the previous 4 years and the preponderance of French and English literature covering WW1. This also may explain why it is not specifically remembered by Americans.

The unforgettable fact emerging from this pie
Matthew Dambro
Dec 28, 2015 Matthew Dambro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good analysis of the final offensive of World War I. Needs more maps of smaller scale to follow the tactical situation. He shows the poor training and outdated tactical concepts that cost so many lives. He is a little harsh on Pershing. Pershing was given political and military objectives by Wilson. Some were mutually exclusive. He tried to accomplish both which led to greater casualties. We still have not learned that lesson.
Candy Hudziak
Military histories have never been a favorite genre of mine but I gave this book a chance since I like to read about WWI. The author did a nice job interspersing personal vignettes into the text that made it much more interesting. However, I got lost in the endless military movements taking various hills and villages that made my eyes glaze over. I'm just not one of those people who finds the minutiae of battle formations fascinating.
Burton Yale Yale
Terrific. Excruciatingly researched, well-written and carefully focused. Must reading for an understanding of America's role in WWI -- and how America's contribution was essential to the defeat of Germany.
Dec 17, 2010 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining read but relies much too heavily on personal accounts and overstates casualties.
Maps add little and are from the US Gov't Battlefields and Monuments publication. The author's numbers simply do not add up. Many regiments we encounter are eventually reduced to a weak battalion, indicating at least a 66% casualty rate. Many eyewitness accounts are from men who were never before in combat but their estimates of killed are taken at face value.
I actually agree with much of the author
Sep 04, 2014 Eric rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
If you had any doubts about the unbridled horror of no-holds-barred, all out WAR, Ed Lengel's graphic depiction of the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne will soon set you straight. The graphic accounts of suffering, horribly mutilated soldiers and service animals is sobering. One particular account of an artillery horse with an eye blown out and hanging over its muzzle, still being driven on by the soldiers, leaves me cold. Ed makes no attempt to glorify this war that should have ended all wars. How q ...more
Nov 30, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative book about the final battle in WWI. Was especially meaningful for me as my grandfather fought in this battle as part of the 6th Division of the AEF. I read this in preparation for a trip I took with my parents to these battlefields. We had a truly wonderful guide (Ingrid Ferrand) who took us all over Verdun and Meuse-Argonne. this book was a bit too dense on military detail for a lay person but I certainly came away with a dep understanding and appreciation for what my grandfath ...more
Mar 02, 2009 Mackay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war
One would think the lacunae of World War I would be so tiny as to equate to angels/heads of pins. Amazingly, not so. This story--the story of America's bloodiest foreign battle, in a most important campaign--hasn't been told before. For students of the war, it's gripping, in particular because of the portraits of the participants, from Harry S. Truman to George Patton (which one had a more significant role?? Truman) to George C. Marshall to the novelist James M. Cain ("The Postman Always Rings T ...more
Sep 02, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historians and WWI scholars
Probably the definitive work on the definitive battle of the "war to end all wars", this scholarly work is a victim of too-scholarly writing and drags a bit at times.

For history buffs it's worth the effort.
Sep 26, 2012 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book and organized in chronological order that broke down the Meuse-Argonne battle. This was the last campaign that the Americans fought in during the last months of World War I.
Lou Rera
Dec 14, 2014 Lou Rera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic WWI battle account. Perfect for the research I am doing for my novel.
Feb 14, 2009 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kriemhilde Stellung
Evan marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2016
Benjamin Maher
Benjamin Maher rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2016
Jerry Lenaburg
Jerry Lenaburg marked it as to-read
Jan 21, 2016
Adam marked it as to-read
Jan 20, 2016
Jack marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2016
Julia Marie Sparrow
Julia Marie Sparrow rated it liked it
Jan 13, 2016
Chris marked it as to-read
Jan 05, 2016
Robert marked it as to-read
Jan 01, 2016
Neal fleming
Neal fleming marked it as to-read
Jan 01, 2016
Michael Walker
Michael Walker marked it as to-read
Dec 28, 2015
Nicole rated it did not like it
Dec 25, 2015
David A (Doc/Santa) McKelvie
David A (Doc/Santa) McKelvie rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Eye-Deep In Hell: Trench Warfare In World War I
  • The Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front
  • Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918
  • The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World
  • The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I
  • World War I: The African Front: An Imperial War on the Dark Continent
  • The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War
  • No Man's Land: 1918, the Last Year of the Great War
  • 1914 Days Of Hope
  • Over Here: The First World War and American Society
  • Hundred Days: The Campaign That Ended World War I
  • Unknown Soldiers: The Story of the Missing of the First World War
  • Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy
  • In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign
  • Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918
  • Gallipoli
  • The First World War: A Complete History
  • The Great War in Africa: 1914-1918
Edward G. Lengel received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 1998, and is now Professor and Director of the Washington Papers documentary editing project at the University of Virginia. In addition to editing several volumes of the Papers of George Washington, he has written or edited nine books, with two more on the way, and numerous articles for Military History, Military His ...more
More about Edward G. Lengel...

Share This Book