Men of War -- The American Soldier in Combat at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima by Alexander Rose, Random House '15, $30, 480 pages, ASIN #0553805185. Index, bibliography, notes, b&w images (including maps) sprinkled through text.
"A simple question lies at the heart of this book," writes Alexander Rose at the outset of his riveting new work. 'What's it like being in a battle?'
"It's one I've been asking myself since I was an undergraduate, when I discovered, in the university bookstore, a copy of John Keegan's The Face of Battle, a book published just a few years after I was born. I still have it, nearly a quarter of a century later. Cheaply bound and badly printed, the old paperback sits on a shelf in my study, but such are the times that I now also own a digital version that is duplicated on a variety of electronic devices as well as a Folio Society limited edition. I can legitimately say that, as priests and Puritans once did with their Bibles, I carry my Keegan with me everywhere.
"To those unfamiliar with The Face of Battle, let me explalin. Keegan, who died in 2012, investigated the experience of the common British soldier -- what he felt, heard, and saw -- in three epic battles: Agincourt in 1415, Waterloo in 1815, and the Somme in 1916. Keegan also discussed the mechanics of fighting -- for instance, the means by which King Henry V's longbowmen demolished the French cavalry -- as well as the historiography of warfare (how we write about battles over time). His book can justly lay claim to being one of the finest works of history, military or otherwise, of the 20th century."
Author Alexander Rose wrote Washington's Spies: The Story of America's First Spy Ring, which inspired the AMC original series. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other publications.
Too Bad to Die by Francine Mathews, Riverhead Books '15, stated First Printing. $27.95, 348 pages, ASIN #1594631794.
From the dust cover:
November 1943. Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy, intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are much more exciting than his own life....until the critical Tehran Conference, where Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin meet to finalize plans for the D-day invasion.
With the Big Three in one place, Fleming is tipped off that Adolf Hitler's top assassin has infiltrated the meeting. Seizing his chance to play a part on a real-life action story, Fleming goes undercover to stop the killer. Between martinis with beautiful women, he survives brutal attacks and meets a seductive Soviet spy who may know more than he realizes. As Fleming works to reveal the truth and expose the assassin, he is forced to accept that betrayal sometimes comes from the most unexpected quarters -- and that one's literary creations may prove eerily close to one's own life.
Author Francine Mathews is the author of Jack 1939 and more than 20 oither novels of mystery, history, and suspense. She is a graduate of Princeton and Stanford and lives and works in Colorado.
Co. "Aytch" -- The First Tennessee Regiment or a Side Show to the Big Show by Sam Watkins, the Complete Illustrated Edition. Zenith Press '15, in oversized format on glossy stock, stated First Printing. $35, 256 pages, ASIN #0760347751. Index, image credits, contributors, bibliography, color glossy images (some full-page) scattered throughout text.
While this Civil Rights memoir is full of text, it is generously interspersed with scores of color photos, which add dimension to the tale Sam Watkins tells. From the back cover:
"Simply written yet beautifully told, Co. 'Aytch' reveals both the terrors of war and the humor and adventure in a soldier's life. Through Sam Watkins' stories, a unique history of the American Civil War comes to life, as do his valor, kindness, and wit. This new full-color edition is like no other Civil War memoir ever published.
"The history of the war is presented in vivid detail with more than 100 photographs, paintings, letters, maps, artifacts, and more than complement Watkins' words. In addition, commentary from the great leaders of the time -- Abraham Lincoln, William T. Sherman, James Longstreet -- and famous historians past and present -- James M. McPherson, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bruce Catton, Allan Nevins -- provides an experience of the war like never before in this beautiful, comprehensive volume."
Samuel Rush Watkins (June 26, 1839 -- July 20, 1901) was an American writer and humorist. The memoir Co. "Aytch" is the work for which he is best known. Originally published as a serial newspaper column from 1881 to 1882 in the Columbia, TN, Herald, his stories were collected and printed in book form in 1882.