THE BOYS' CRUSADE: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944–1945

Paul Fussell, Author . Modern Library $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-679-64088-2

This short study of the U. S. Army's most burdened branch in the final campaign against Germany does not represent its National Book Award–winning author at his highest level. It focuses on the 17-, 18-, and 19-year-olds who were the backbone of the infantry. They were also frequently thrust into combat after no more than four months' training, led by officers as green as themselves; Fussell himself was one of them. If wounded, they were returned to some other unit through the infamous Replacement Depot system, and altogether not treated much better than the trench fodder of WWI. Thorough research has not prevented some questionable pieces of historiography, such as leaving out the resistance the American army eventually generated in the Battle of the Bulge. Fussell also tends toward space-consuming jabs at rival schools of interpretations and even journalists as distinguished as Ernie Pyle. The focus bounces around, with mini-essays covering such non-infantry affairs as the Allied deception operation for D-Day, at the expense of material on the infantry as other than victim. For a minihistory or minibiography of the same subject, readers should stick with Stephen Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers. (On sale Sept. 9)

Reviewed on: 07/14/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 255 pages - 978-0-7862-6426-1
Open Ebook - 84 pages - 978-1-58836-317-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-8753-7
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-0-8129-7488-1
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