Historian Alexander Rose aim’s to give a grunt’s perspective on some of the bloodiest battles in American history in “Men of War: The American Soldier in Combat at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima.” Rose takes material from memoirs and interviews with the men who survived those battles and puts those experiences into the broader contexts of their respective battles and wars to create a portrait that’s decidedly different from most war histories.
Rose is perhaps best known as the author of “Washington’s Spies,” the book that inspired the AMC drama series “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” but he also wrote the excellent “America’s Rifle,” a book that uses the history of firearms to tell the story of the United States.
Rose says Men of War was inspired by John Keegan’s 1976 classic “The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme,” which tells the story of British soldiers by examining three of the most critical battles in English military history. Rose has the advantage of being an engaging writer. This is properly distilled military history for readers who don’t have the patience to wade through original sources and long-winded academic treatises on American history.
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