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  • Written by Gerald Astor
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Combat General of World War II - The Life of an American Soldier

Written by Gerald AstorAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Gerald Astor



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On Sale: December 24, 2008
Pages: 400 | ISBN: 978-0-307-54795-8
Published by : Presidio Press Ballantine Group

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Read by Reathel Bean
On Sale: March 30, 2004
ISBN: 978-0-7393-1034-2
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Terry de la Mesa Allen was one of the most remarkable soldiers in American military history. He failed out of West Point twice, yet ended up as a fearless battalion commander during World War I— personally leading patrols into no-man’s-land.

During World War II, following hard and successful combat in North Africa and Sicily, Major General Allen was “fired” by Gen. Omar Bradley from command of the army’s 1st Infantry Division for lax personal and unit discipline. Within a year, he was back in combat in command of the crack 104th Division Timberwolves, the first unit to reach the Elbe River and link up with the Soviet Union’s Red Army—an event that marked the practical end of the war in the Europe. Loved by his soldiers and barely tolerated by the high command, Allen compiled one of the most successful combat records of any American general in any war.

Excerpt

Terrible Terry Allen: Combat General of World War II — The Life of an American Soldier
By Gerald Astor

Chapter 2: Terry Allen’s West Point

Sam Allen settled into the role of a garrison officer without the credentials conferred upon those who actually went to war or commanded troops in the field. After his tour at Fort Monroe during the Spanish-American War, he served at a number of field, and then coast, artillery posts, which became a separate bunch in 1907. He oversaw coast artillery unites in the harbors of Boston, New York, and Pensacola; slowly he rose up in rank. In 1901, the Allens had their third child, Mary Conchita de la Mesa Allen.
Terry Allen’s acquaintance with West Point began with his father’s tour as a teacher. Between the ages of three and seven, he feasted on the panorama of smartly uniformed young men amid a citadel that crowned the scenic splendor of massive fortress-type buildings ensconced on the shores of a magnificent river. There was pomp and circumstance aplenty to seduce the imagination of a boy, and over the years Samuel Allen undoubtedly transmitted to Terry his nostalgic affection for his life as a cadet.
When the family then moved to a series of army posts, the child indulged himself in a passion for riding. As an artillery officer, Samuel Allen frequently pursued his duties while in the saddle, and it was natural for his offspring to emulate his style. In her fading years, his mother, Concepcion Allen, recalled her small boy in the saddle, proudly riding off to accompany his father on maneuvers. By age ten, Terry felt totally comfortable in the saddle.
Sam Allen — the somewhat free-spirited, joking, dancing, gregarious cadet and young officer captured in the memories of Fish and in his own letters — had become a more reserved man with considerable respect for the dignity and discipline of the army. Terry Allen recalled that while his father was a captain he refused to have a telephone installed in his home. “I don’t want to telephone my seniors and I won’t have my junior officers calling me.” But, for all of the parent’s concern for decorum and the code of “an officer and a gentleman,” the enlisted personnel of the day were cut from a different cloth, and their children likewise.
The rough-and-tumble log of youngsters Terry’s age, many of them the spawn of enlisted personnel, were his natural playmates. Even at an early age he showed signs of leadership, coupled with a reputation that was less than salubrious. Allen reported that he once came across a contemporary in tears, and the boy explained that his mother had just spanked him. When Allen inquired why, his companion explained “Because I was playing with you.” According to Liebling, Allen said, ‘My opinion of myself went up like a rocket.” Aside from his adventures with other army brats, Allen spent considerable time with the lesser ranks stationed at the camps, giving him a lifelong empathy toward enlistd men, not to mention a taste for some of their habits. He informed Liebling that along with horsemanship, he had learned at a tender age how to smoke, chew, cuss, and fight. He also surely became aware of how much the soldiers favored drinking.
Terry never doubted the kind of career he would follow. Having lived at West Point for four years and enjoyed his life at army bases, he expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. While he took for granted that as the son of a graduate and a colonel on active duty he would receive an appointment, he apparently had not foreseen that the U.S.M.A. demanded a disciplined behavior and a certain academic proficiency.


From the Hardcover edition.
Gerald Astor

About Gerald Astor

Gerald Astor - Terrible Terry Allen
Gerald Astor is a World War II veteran and award-winning journalist and historian whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, and Esquire. He is also the author of A Blood-Dimmed Tide: The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It and Operation Iceberg: The Invasion and Conquest of Okinawa in World War II. He makes his home in Scarsdale, New York.
Praise

Praise

“Fans of Band of Brothers ought to snap this up.”
Kirkus Reviews

“RECOMMENDED . . . Today, as we lose the veterans of World War II at an alarming rate, we must not lose sight of their sacrifices or of the leaders who took them into battle. Astor, an acclaimed military historian, provides an in-depth look at one of the war’s most successful division combat commanders . . . This well-written portrait makes for enjoyable reading.”
—Library Journal

Future biographers of Allen and military readers will find this chronicle of considerable value.
--WWII History

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