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THERE'S A WAR TO BE WON, TO BE WON by Geoffrey Perret


The United States Army in World War II

by Geoffrey Perret

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-57831-7
Publisher: Random House

 A wide-ranging overview of the conscript army that compiled a genuinely impressive record of victory and collateral accomplishment during WW II. Focusing on the major campaigns undertaken by American ground troops in Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific, Perret (America in the Twenties, 1982, etc.) pays particular attention to the military planners of the 1930's, whose prescience contributed greatly to the next decade's triumphs. He also provides detailed briefings on the organizational skills that permitted the US Army to mobilize, procure weapons, ensure generally reliable supply lines, and otherwise do what was necessary to wage war in nine far-flung theaters. Indeed, the author makes clear that management and logistical savvy was as important as firepower in defeating the Axis powers. Similarly, he shows how gifted commanders were able to mold inexperienced draftees into a well-nigh irresistible force. All told, Perret points out, American soldiers lost only one of the hundreds of battles they fought in WW II (against the Germans at Sidi Bou Zid in Tunisia). In addition to combat duty, he notes, the US Army built the atomic bomb, ran the Lend-Lease program, operated ports on the home front as well as overseas, rode herd on stateside industry, trained millions of foreign troops, and fed the hungry in liberated nations. In his essentially chronological narrative, the author devotes several chapters to special-interest topics, e.g., the treatment of casualties and POWs. Covered as well are the creation of black units, decorations, morale, and the USO. Perret has a breezy, often witty style that affords comic relief without trivializing the subject matter. On the minus side, he makes excessive use of acronyms and initialisms--ASTP, COM Z, FUSAG, and RCT could baffle readers who lack a military glossary. This cavil apart, a rousing, opinionated tribute to one of history's greatest armies. (Thirty-two pages of photos, plus six maps--not seen.)