About the Book
In September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland and initiated World War II, a strong strain of isolationism existed in Congress and across the country. The U.S. Army stood at fewer than 200,000 men—unprepared to defend the country, much less carry the fight to Europe and the Far East. And yet, less than a year after Pearl Harbor, the American army led the Allied invasion of North Africa, beginning the campaign that would defeat Germany, and the Navy and Marines were fully engaged with Japan in the Pacific.
The story of America’s astounding industrial mobilization during World War II has been told. But what has never been chronicled before Paul Dickson’s The Rise of the G. I. Army, 1940-1941 is the extraordinary transformation of America’s military from a disparate collection of camps with dilapidated equipment into a well-trained and spirited army ten times its prior size in little more than eighteen months. From Franklin Roosevelt’s selection of George C. Marshall to be Army Chief of Staff to the remarkable peace-time draft of 1940 and the massive and unprecedented mock battles in Tennessee, Louisiana, and the Carolinas by which the skill and spirit of the Army were forged and out of which iconic leaders like Eisenhower, Bradley, and Clark emerged; Dickson narrates America’s urgent mobilization against a backdrop of political and cultural isolationist resistance and racial tension at home, and the increasingly perceived threat of attack from both Germany and Japan.
An important addition to American history, The Rise of the G. I. Army, 1940-1941 is essential to our understanding of America’s involvement in World War II.
Praise for Paul Dickson
“A prodigious research project . . . A revealing and bleakly fascinating account.”—Janet Maslin, New York Times, on The Bonus Army
“Recalls the subliminal force of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men with gaunt stories of character at the limits of dignity.”—Taylor Branch, New York Review of Books, on The Bonus Army
“A haunting, compellingly written and marvelously researched book, an important contribution to American history.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review, on The Bonus Army
“[Debunks] many of the old myths and shine new light on this astonishing episode . . . Gripping.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune, on The Bonus Army
“Sputnik is a fascinating slice of useful social history . . . A serious book that is breezily written, Sputnik reviews the scientific history, the Cold War mentality and a media-driven crisis over what headline writers called ‘the Red Moon.’”—USA Today, on Sputnik
“Paul Dickson skillfully puts the story of Sputnik and its aftermath into this new perspective in his informative and readable book.”—Christian Science Monitor, on Sputnik
“Sputnik should climb far up the lists, and have a long ride.”—Baltimore Sun, on Sputnik
“A sharply focused snapshot of a nation caught with its jaw dropped, partly in fear and party in wonder.”—Philadelphia Inquirer, on Sputnik
“Stunning . . . Captures the excitement and angst of the dawning of the Space Age.”—Dallas Morning News, on Sputnik