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Citizen Soldiers: The U S Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  16,118 Ratings  ·  337 Reviews
From Stephen E. Ambrose, bestselling author of Band of Brothers and D-Day, the inspiring story of the ordinary men of the U.S. army in northwest Europe from the day after D-Day until the end of the bitterest days of World War II.

In this riveting account, historian Stephen E. Ambrose continues where he left off in his #1 bestseller D-Day. Citizen Soldiers opens at 0001 hour
Paperback, 528 pages
Published September 24th 1998 by Simon & Schuster (first published October 7th 1997)
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Band of Brothers by Stephen E. AmbroseBlack Hawk Down by Mark BowdenHiroshima by John HerseyOn Killing by Dave GrossmanUnbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Best Non-fiction War Books
29th out of 957 books — 1,374 voters
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Community Reviews

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A.L. Sowards
Aug 08, 2011 A.L. Sowards rated it really liked it
I've been thinking a lot about story structure lately. How many wonderful stories (books or movies) have a structure something like this: Hero reluctantly gets involved in a struggle. Hero faces setbacks, makes mistakes, takes a few steps forward and then a few steps back. Hero learns, grows, and changes on way to achieving goal. Hero has to make some sacrifices, but comes out on top.

I love Stephen Ambrose. He makes history read like a good novel. Citizen Soldiers was packed with information. It
Feb 05, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Ambrose, an incredibly prolific and readable historian, focuses in this book on the soldiers who made up the ETO (European Theater of Operations). It’s at first somewhat difficult to categorize. His analysis of the men who made up the army could almost be called cheer-leading of the most nauseating kind. But after he settles in, the reality becomes more apparent. They weren’t all great guys and upstanding citizens. He points out that some thirty percent of supplies coming into ports after the in ...more
Jimmie Kepler
Jun 11, 2011 Jimmie Kepler rated it it was amazing
I read Citizen Soldiers by Stephen E. Ambrose in the late 1990's shortly after reading Band of Brothers and D-Day, both also by Ambrose. I reread this book in 2005. I listened to the audio book version in 2006. The book describes how these "citizen soldiers" came to be soldiers, and what they did once they were. There is some overlap with his other titles about World War II. The book follows the battles right after the allies left the beaches of Normandy, all the way through France into German t ...more
Saya sudah dua kali membaca buku ini. Pertama kali saya begitu menggebu-gebu. Pun yang kedua kali.

Namun kemaren ketika saya akan membacanya untuk ketiga kalinya, saya berniat membuat review yang utuh dari awal hingga akhir buku ini. Namun ternyata buku itu masih belum tamat saya baca untuk ketiga kali dan catatan saya masih belum tuntas.

Buku ini menarik untuk diulas karena cakupan cerita yang tidak hanya menggambarkan suasana kompetisi di antara para Jenderal. Sejak D Day. Komando pasukan sekutu
Dec 20, 2011 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, war
A history of the U.S. Army in World war II, specifically the European Theater, from D-Day to VE-Day. Very readable, with lots of awe-inspiring anecdotal reminisces from both American and German infantry and pilots; it’s also clear and informative on the types and abilities of weaponry both sides utilized.

Ambrose is, of course, a patriot, almost a jingoist. While the book is very critical of the egotistical and apparently unreasonable Montgomery, it could do with a bit more critique of Patton, wh
Matt Hartzell
Nov 16, 2010 Matt Hartzell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: history
This was my second Ambrose read after Band of Brothers, and it was exceptional. In Citizen Soldiers, Ambrose primarily uses the first-hand accounts of a select number of American infantry and non-commissioned officers as a cross-section of the US Army that liberated Nazi Europe. The accounts given by the men Ambrose interviewed are moving, humorous, heart-wrenching and ultimately inspiring. There is no comparable civilian experience to total war, but Ambrose does his best to draw the reader into ...more
David Bird
Aug 24, 2012 David Bird rated it did not like it
When people know you like history, especially military history, you are probably doomed to get Ambrose books. And so I did, and dutifully read it. The fault of Ambrose is not bad prose (he can write a passable sentence), but in his perspective. I forget the exact line, but the effect is definitely that of "There is much that is good, and much that is original. But that which is original is not good, and that which is good is not original." The fault of plagiarism leveled against Ambrose I mind l ...more
Apr 16, 2015 Ola rated it really liked it
As much as I expected that a book about the US Army would be patriotic, at some points I found it so pro-American it was getting pompous. Sure, it's supposed to describe American soldiers fighting in Europe, but the book leaves the impression that they were the only good guys there and it was them who single-handedly defeated the Nazis.
But that's pretty much the only fault I could find in the book, and it can be justified (after all, it is written by an American, about Americans, for Americans).
Jul 24, 2016 Peter rated it it was amazing
This book gives a graphic picture of the major impact the American GIs had on the war in Europe. Without their numerical and arms superiority it would have been unlikely that Hitler would have been defeated. The various campaigns are covered but the difference being it is told through the accounts of the soldiers who were taking part and from both sides. It is remarkable how ordinary guys became hardened to the death and destruction on the battlefield and the ones who were not able to take any m ...more
Jul 05, 2008 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Was a good book and very informative, seemed to drag in a few places, but other than that a good read.
Jul 27, 2011 Brien rated it liked it
This book took me forever to read...almost a month! It's not that it's very long (just under 500 pages), but that it's dense. It probably wasn't the best choice for a 'summer read' - but it was still a pretty good book.

Ambrose (who wrote the awesome book "Band of Brothers") is a military historian for military historians. If you're out of the look (like I am), some of the details in his book can get heavy and difficult to handle. Once I decided to read this book as a collection of thousands of s
Mar 25, 2011 Dwain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book four stars because it is one of the best histories of World War II I have ever read despite occasional episodes of fierce language. There wasn't a lot of bad language but it was intense when it was present.

Ambrose brings richness, life, and new perspectives to a subject that has been written to exhaustion. He relates all of the expected events and gives enough detail to understand the strategic and tactical situation. He helps the reader to understand the causes and effects of
Heather Harris
Feb 02, 2011 Heather Harris rated it it was amazing
WW II has always been interesting to me anyway, and this book was an excellent way to understand (from personal experiences) what happened on the European front of it. I really, really loved Ambrose's way of combining very personal accounts of the soldiers on the front lines up through the ranks to those making the big decisions. I also really enjoyed his writing style; though he goes into great detail, he is still easy to read and understand. It's easy to get the generalities of the war and how ...more
Jul 17, 2009 John rated it really liked it
I'm on a little world war II kick right now and I realized that this book would basically tell me what my grandfather and Kate's grandfather were doing in 1944. Turns out, things were not that fun for them. Although, thank god my grandfather was in the anti-aircraft part of the army, because if he had been in the front line infantry, according to this book, chances are I would not be around. There are lots of great first-person stories of the war here, although it is a little jumpy all around be ...more
Hippo dari Hongkong
Apr 12, 2010 Hippo dari Hongkong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiksi, milter

Patton woke on Christmas morning, looked at the sky and said to himself, "Lovely weather for killing Germans." .. Hohohoho...

Selesai bagian 2 (Battle od the Bulge), masuk Bagian 3

Beres dah bagian satunya, masuk bagian dua

So Patton said to Eisenhower. Stop Monty where he is, give me all the fuel coming to the Continent, and I'll be in Berlin before Thanksgiving. Monty said to Einsenhower. Stop Patton where he is, give me all the fuel coming to the C
Mike Day
Apr 10, 2015 Mike Day rated it it was amazing
Ambrose paints us a picture of what these heroes were - real people put into extraordinary circumstances. Every high school student in America should be required to read this book.
Sep 12, 2011 Jack rated it it was amazing
Ground-level narratives lend an authenticity and immediacy that gets lost in other media: Digging trenches into frozen ground to spend the winter night in the Black Forest? Sick, cold, tired, hungry and scared...and you can hear your enemies scant feet away in the pitch black, doing the same thing? Kind of makes me rethink just how tough my toughest winter Boy Scout trips really were. :)

Cutting through ancient hedgerows, set up with cross-fire machine gun killing fields also gives you pause. Th
John Patrick
Oct 23, 2011 John Patrick rated it it was amazing
Possibly one of the best books I have ever read. The first hand accounts of every day soldiers from both sides of the war gives a unique history of World War II that at times had my heart lifted in pride for what these people accomplished and moved me to tears by thier sacrifice. This book should be required reading for every High School history class if for no other reason that maybe if teenagers today realized that 80 years ago people not much older than them were will to fight and die to stop ...more
Jul 29, 2009 Jake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of now three Stephen Ambrose histories I've done on audio while driving cross country. Honestly, I have a hard time imagining that reading Ambrose in print could be more fulfilling.

This book is a great record of the real soldiers on the ground doing the hard work. If you think you know what World War II was like because you watched Saving Private Ryan, you are mistaken. This book is more thorough and comprehensive than any film could hope to be. But like great film it grabs your interest an
Jun 02, 2010 Jim rated it liked it
I bought this book because it was about the time and place in WW II where my Dad fought and was wounded somewhere in the Rhone River Valley. From D-Day until May 1945 was a horrific time to be in Germany. This book details the hardships, tragedies, heroics, mistakes by both sides and utter destruction of a country. It is no wonder to me now that Dad never wanted to talk about his service there as a 20 year old. I remember asking him one time if he thought he killed anyone, and he said "I hope no ...more
Aaron Johansen
Jun 21, 2009 Aaron Johansen rated it really liked it
This is my first WWII book and so far, so good. Ambrose tells the story of the War in Europe from the eyes of the ordinary, everyday soldier. So, unlike other historical books I've read, this one does not focus on the "major" players. I'm about 100 or so pages in. The time period is around August of 1944. The battle of Normandy is over and the Allies have advanced some. I'm enjoying learning about WWII and will add this subject to my rotation (Revolutionary times, Civil war and now WWII) all to ...more
Apr 06, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
Whatever else Ambrose does, he does his homework. There's enough primary material in this book to make it worthwhile just for that, for telling the story of the men and women who were there. It's hung together with enough filler material to make it interesting and coherent, and enough background to make it accessible to those without a solid grounding in WWII history. It stands out as perhaps his best book about the period, simply because it focuses on the people, not the action, which is enough ...more
Zohar -
May 25, 2010 Zohar - rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book about Europe W.W.II as told by the men on the front lines, not a media hugging officer or a dry historian. Ambrose captures the sense of history from both sides of the fence, sticks to the facts as we know them and keeps his comments to a minimum.
The best part is a large portion of the book is actual quotes and personal stories taken from the men and women who were actually there. The book starts off a bit slow, but picks up momentum as one gets going, and than it's hard to p
Peter Hoff
Nov 12, 2014 Peter Hoff rated it really liked it
Regardless of Ambrose's kerfuffles in the academic community, he has amassed extensive research and tells a good story. Here he takes us from the Normandy beachhead to V-E Day. His method is to report the war as told in letters and interviews by those who fought it, mostly enlisted men, NCOs, and junior officers. This produces, without polemics, a picture of an American Army with discipline, but without the regimentation and top-down discipline of the Teutonic foe. GI's generally obeyed orders, ...more
Douglas Gorney
Oct 23, 2014 Douglas Gorney rated it it was amazing
The best of Steven Ambrose's WWII histories, IMO.

Now Ambrose has fallen a bit out of fashion, what with all the plagiarism accusations that dogged his "history factory" operation. The man may have been a straight-up thief, for all I know, but whoever wrote this and however it was stitched together from whatever sources, this is good, stirring, comprehensive history with a sweeping narrative arc.

It's hard to fault D-Day for a lack of focus—that's just the way that event went down, with so friggi
Stacy Bearse
Oct 07, 2014 Stacy Bearse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I visited Omaha Beach in Normandy, France this summer, which compelled me to read Steven Ambrose's book on D-Day. It was so captivating, that I had to read this sequel about the post-invasion battles across France and Belgium and into Germany. Ambrose is one of those rare professionals who dedicated his life to absolute excellence in reporting and writing. His research was always impeccable. His presentation of historical events is never dry; he brings the past alive with active language and viv ...more
Jul 29, 2014 Dale rated it it was amazing
Beautifully told - in all of its splendor and horror (A Review of the Audiobook)

5 CDs
5 Hours
Also includes a tiny 6 panel map of the war zones.

Cotter Smith masterfully narrates a wonderful re-telling of Ambrose's favorite topic - the Western European theater of World War II. Citizen Soldiers would serve as a fantastic introduction to this topic, but also is told well enough that someone who has read it all before, like me, found it interesting, informative and entertaining.

Ambrose spices up
Jun 10, 2014 Yves rated it liked it
An interesting view on the American Army, it also provides an American view of their military actions on the Western European Front of WW II.

Stephen E. Ambrose combines stories of soldiers and a basic history of the events on the Western Front. The book shows the American view on the war in Europe as an American war, where the British and the French also participated, but never really got to do anything of importance. More than a history of the American Army, it provides readers with an example
Brandon Stickler
Oct 05, 2014 Brandon Stickler rated it it was amazing

Stephen Ambrose’s purpose for writing Citizen Soldiers was to inform the readers of the hardships, out of the box thinking, and extreme amounts of effort that the U.S Army and Allied forces went through and put forth during WWII. The book described specific accounts from Normandy Beach, The Battle of the Bulge, and the fall of Germany. Ambrose takes you down in the trenches with different divisions and strategies throughout these battles, accompanied with black and white pictures.

The theme of Ci
May 26, 2011 Jack rated it it was amazing
A terrific book about war and the fighting men. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of joining the service or has a loved one joining the service. This book will give them a good idea of what war is actually like, especially those in the lower ranks. Generals Sherman and Eisenhower (from vastly different wars) each thought that war was hell and should be avoided if at all possible. This books helps explain why they thought that way.
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Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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