Men of War: The American Soldier in Combat at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima

MEN OF WAR                                                  ALEXANDER ROSE

This is not a book about how great generals won their battles, nor is it a study in grand strategy. Men of War is instead a riveting, visceral, and astonishingly original look at ordinary soldiers under fire.

Drawing on an immense range of firsthand sources from the battlefield, Alexander Rose begins by re-creating the lost and alien world of eighteenth-century warfare at Bunker Hill, the bloodiest clash of the War of Independence—and reveals why the American militiamen were so lethally effective against the oncoming waves of British troops. Then, focusing on Gettysburg, Rose describes a typical Civil War infantry action, vividly explaining what Union and Confederate soldiers experienced before, during, and after combat. Finally, he shows how in 1945 the Marine Corps hurled itself with the greatest possible violence at the island of Iwo Jima, where nearly a third of all Marines killed in World War II would die. As Rose demonstrates, the most important factor in any battle is the human one: At Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima, the American soldier, as much as any general, proved decisive.

To an unprecedented degree, Men of War brings home the reality of combat and, just as important, its aftermath in the form of the psychological and medical effects on veterans. As such, the book makes a critical contribution to military history by narrowing the colossal gulf between the popular understanding of wars and the experiences of the soldiers who fight them.


An excellent book that looks at the truth in the trench or storm the beach young man that has made America from the beginning Bunker Hill to Gettysburg, and then Iwo Jima. All of them looking at it from the soldiers perspective, not the General. The one that I was really impressed with was Bunker Hill or Breeds Hill. The way the author was able to capture both sides of the action was impressive. He was also able to point out the problems that the American Militiamen had but were also able to inflict some terrible wounds to the British and how and why that was. That battle and his description of the action, fighting amongst the volunteers, lack of ammo, all of which led to their withdraw. But it also showed that with the proper leader they were a force to be reckoned with. The other two battles were just as impressive but I have read many books on both of those accounts. Not taking away from those men sacrifices. Remember Iwo Jima took nearly a month to take and nearly a third of all of the Marine Corps Casualties of WWII came from that one Island so that in itself is amazing. That there were men who were 18, 19 20 years old and had already survived Tarawa, and Peleliu, and even Guadalcanal, but would not come home from Iwo Jima. A great book to honor all of the soldiers. I got this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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