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Stephen Ambrose

Stephen Ambrose

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Encyclopedia
Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 and Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

. He was a long time professor of history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 at the University of New Orleans
University of New Orleans
The University of New Orleans, often referred to locally as UNO, is a medium-sized public urban university located on the New Orleans Lakefront within New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It is a member of the LSU System and the Urban 13 association. Currently UNO is without a proper chancellor...

 and the author of many best selling volumes of American popular history
Popular history
Popular history is a broad and somewhat ill-defined genre of historiography that takes a popular approach, aims at a wide readership, and usually emphasizes narrative, personality and vivid detail over scholarly analysis...

. Beginning late in his life and continuing after his death, however, evidence and reports have continued to surface documenting long time patterns of plagiarism, falsification, and inaccuracies in many of his published writings and other work. In response to one of the early reports, Ambrose said he was not "out there stealing other people's writings."

Early life


Ambrose was born in Lovington, Illinois
Lovington, Illinois
Lovington is a village in Moultrie County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,222 at the 2000 census, and 1,167 at a 2009 estimate.-Geography:Lovington is located at ....

 to Rosepha Trippe Ambrose and Stephen Hedges Ambrose. His father was a physician who served in the U.S. Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Ambrose was raised in Whitewater, Wisconsin
Whitewater, Wisconsin
Whitewater is a city in Jefferson and Walworth Counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Located near the southern portion of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Whitewater is the home of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.-Geography:...

, where he graduated from Whitewater High School. His family also owned a farm in Lovington, Illinois
Lovington, Illinois
Lovington is a village in Moultrie County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,222 at the 2000 census, and 1,167 at a 2009 estimate.-Geography:Lovington is located at ....

 and vacation property in Marinette County, Wisconsin
Marinette County, Wisconsin
Marinette County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of 2000, the population was 43,384. Its county seat is Marinette.Marinette County is part of the Marinette, WI–MI Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:According to the U.S...

. He attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was a member of Chi Psi
Chi Psi
Chi Psi Fraternity is a fraternity and secret society consisting of 29 active chapters at American colleges and universities. It was founded on Thursday May 20, 1841, by 10 students at Union College with the idea of emphasizing the fraternal and social principles of a brotherhood...

 Fraternity and played on the University of Wisconsin football team for three years.

Ambrose originally wanted to major in pre-medicine, but changed his major to history after hearing the first lecture in a U.S. history class entitled "Representative Americans" in his sophomore year. The course was taught by William B. Hesseltine, whom Ambrose credits with fundamentally shaping his writing and igniting his interest in history. While at Wisconsin, Ambrose was a member of the Navy and Army ROTC
Reserve Officers' Training Corps
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a college-based, officer commissioning program, predominantly in the United States. It is designed as a college elective that focuses on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics.The U.S...

. He graduated with a B.A. in 1957. He also married his first wife, Judith Dorlester, in 1957, and they had two children, Stephenie and Barry. According to Ambrose, Judith died at age 27, when he was 29. A year or two later he married his second wife, Moira Buckley, and adopted her three children, Hugh, Grace, and Andrew. Ambrose received a master's degree in history from Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, most often referred to as Louisiana State University, or LSU, is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The University was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name...

 in 1958, studying under T. Harry Williams
T. Harry Williams
Thomas Harry Williams was an award-winning historian at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge whose career began in 1941 and extended for thirty-eight years until his death at the age of seventy...

. Ambrose then went on to obtain a Ph.D.
Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1963, under William B. Hesseltine.

Academic positions


Ambrose was a history professor from 1960 until his retirement in 1995, having spent the bulk of his time at the University of New Orleans, where he was Boyd Professor of History. During the academic year 1969-70, he was Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History
Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History
In May 1948, the President of the Naval War College Admiral Raymond Spruance recommended a plan to establish a civilian professorship of maritime history at the Naval War College. Approved by Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan on 29 December 1948, the post was not filled “for lack of funds”...

 at the Naval War College
Naval War College
The Naval War College is an education and research institution of the United States Navy that specializes in developing ideas for naval warfare and passing them along to officers of the Navy. The college is located on the grounds of Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island...

. In 1970, while teaching at Kansas State University
Kansas State University
Kansas State University, commonly shortened to K-State, is an institution of higher learning located in Manhattan, Kansas, in the United States...

, Ambrose participated in heckling of Richard Nixon during a speech the president gave on the KSU campus. Given pressure from the KSU administration and having job offers elsewhere, upon finishing out the year Ambrose offered to leave and the offer was accepted. Ambrose also taught at Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, most often referred to as Louisiana State University, or LSU, is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The University was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name...

, Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

, Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

, U.C. Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

, and a number of European schools.

He was the founder of the Eisenhower Center at the University of New Orleans and President of the National World War II Museum
National World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum, formerly known as the National D-Day Museum, is a museum located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, at the corner of Andrew Higgins Boulevard and Magazine Street. It focuses on the contribution made by the United States to victory by the...

 in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. The National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society , headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical...

 provided Ambrose with an Explorer-in-Residence position.

Writings


Ambrose's earliest works concerned the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. He wrote biographies of the generals, Emory Upton
Emory Upton
Emory Upton was a United States Army General and military strategist, prominent for his role in leading infantry to attack entrenched positions successfully at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House during the American Civil War, but he also excelled at artillery and cavalry assignments...

 and Henry Halleck, the first of which was based on his dissertation.

Early in his career, Ambrose was mentored by World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 historian Forrest Pogue
Forrest Pogue
Forrest Carlisle Pogue Jr. . Forrest C. Pogue was an official United States Army historian during World War II, and attained the rank of Master Sergeant. He may well have been one of the best-educated sergeants in the U.S. Army in World War II...

. In 1964, Ambrose took a position at Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins was a wealthy American entrepreneur, philanthropist and abolitionist of 19th-century Baltimore, Maryland, now most noted for his philanthropic creation of the institutions that bear his name, namely the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the Johns Hopkins University and its associated...

 as the Associate Editor of the Eisenhower Papers, a project aimed at organizing, cataloging and publishing Eisenhower's principal papers. From this work and discussions with Eisenhower emerged an article critical of Cornelius Ryan
Cornelius Ryan
Cornelius Ryan, was an Irish journalist and author mainly known for his writings on popular military history, especially his World War II books: The Longest Day: June 6, 1944 D-Day , The Last Battle , and A Bridge Too Far .-Early life:Ryan was born in Dublin and educated at Synge Street CBS,...

’s The Last Battle, which had depicted Eisenhower as politically naîve, when at the end of World War II he allowed Soviet forces to take Berlin, thus shaping the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 that followed. Ambrose expanded this into a book, Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe.

In 1964, after Eisenhower had read Ambrose's biographies of Halleck and Upton and his history of West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

, Ambrose was commissioned to write the official biography of former president and five-star general. This resulted in a two-volume work, published in 1970 and 1984, that is considered "the standard" on the subject. Ambrose also wrote a three-volume biography of Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

. Although Ambrose was a strong critic of Nixon, the biography is considered fair and just regarding Nixon's presidency.

His books, Band of Brothers (1992
1992 in literature
The year 1992 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-New books:*Ben Aaronovitch - Transit*Julia Álvarez - How the García Girls Lost Their Accents*Paul Auster - Leviathan*Iain Banks - The Crow Road...

) and D-Day (1994
1994 in literature
The year 1994 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-New books:*Kevin J. Anderson - Champions of the Force, Dark Apprentice and Jedi Search*Reed Arvin - The Wind in the Wheat*Greg Bear - Songs of Earth and Power...

), presented from the view points of individual soldiers in World War II, brought his works into mainstream American culture. His Citizen Soldiers, and The Victors became bestsellers. He also wrote the popular book, The Wild Blue
The Wild Blue
The Wild Blue, by historian Stephen Ambrose, was published in 2001. The book details the lives and World War II experiences of pilots, bombardier, navigators, radio operators and gunners flying B-24s of the U.S. Army Air Forces against Germany...

, that looked at World War II aviation. His other major works include Undaunted Courage
Undaunted Courage
Undaunted Courage , written by Stephen Ambrose, is a 1996 biography of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The book is based on journals written by Lewis and Clark, along with other members of the expedition, and also offers additional insight into the travelers and...

about the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Lewis and Clark Expedition, or ″Corps of Discovery Expedition" was the first transcontinental expedition to the Pacific Coast by the United States. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson and led by two Virginia-born veterans of Indian wars in the Ohio Valley, Meriwether Lewis and William...

 and Nothing Like It in the World
Nothing Like It in the World
"Nothing Like It In the World" is a narrative history of the planning and construction of the Pacific Railroad during the 1860s which connected the San Francisco Bay and Council Bluffs, Iowa by rail...

about the construction of the Pacific Railroad
First Transcontinental Railroad
The First Transcontinental Railroad was a railroad line built in the United States of America between 1863 and 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad that connected its statutory Eastern terminus at Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska The First...

. His final book, This Vast Land
This Vast Land
This Vast Land is a historical novel written by American author Stephen Ambrose. Published in 2003 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, it a fictionalized account in the form of a diary written by George Shannon, the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition...

, an historical novel about the Lewis & Clark expedition written for young readers, was published posthumously in 2003.

Television, film, and other activities


The HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers (2001), for which he was an executive producer, helped sustain the fresh interest in World War II that had been stimulated by the 50th anniversary of D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

 in 1994 and the 60th anniversary in 2004. Ambrose also appeared as a historian in the ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 television series, The World at War, which detailed the history of World War II. He was the military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 adviser for the movie Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American war film set during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. It was directed by Steven Spielberg, with a screenplay by Robert Rodat. The film is notable for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which depicts the Omaha Beach assault of June 6, 1944....

. In addition, Ambrose served as a commentator for Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery is a 1997 documentary film directed by Ken Burns. Its subject is the Lewis and Clark Expedition.-Actors and historians:...

, a documentary by Ken Burns
Ken Burns
Kenneth Lauren "Ken" Burns is an American director and producer of documentary films, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs...

.

In addition to his academic work and publishing, Ambrose operated a historical tour business, acting as a tour guide to European locales of World War II. He was a founder of the National World War II Museum
National World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum, formerly known as the National D-Day Museum, is a museum located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, at the corner of Andrew Higgins Boulevard and Magazine Street. It focuses on the contribution made by the United States to victory by the...

 in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

.

Awards


In 1998, he received the National Humanities Medal
National Humanities Medal
The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.The award, given by the...

. In 2000, Ambrose received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service
Department of the Army Civilian Awards
The United States Department of the Army offers a variety of awards, decorations and incentive programs to honor and recognize the contribution and efforts of its civilian workforce.There are three categories of recognition: monetary, honorary, and time-off....

, the highest honorary award the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 offers to civilians. In 2001, he was awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Medal for Distinguished Service from the Theodore Roosevelt Association
Theodore Roosevelt Association
The Theodore Roosevelt Association is a historical and cultural organization dedicated to honoring the life and work of Theodore Roosevelt , the 26th president of the United States....

. Ambrose won an Emmy
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

 as one of the producers for the mini-series Band of Brothers. Ambrose also received the George Marshall Award, the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award, the Bob Hope Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the Will Rogers Memorial Award.

Final years


After retiring, he maintained homes in Helena, Montana
Helena, Montana
Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

 and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Bay Saint Louis is a city located in Hancock County, Mississippi. It is part of the Gulfport–Biloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 8,209. It is the county seat of Hancock County...

. A longtime smoker, he was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2002. His condition deteriorated rapidly and seven months after the diagnosis he died, at the age of 66. He was survived by his wife Moira and children Andy, Barry, Hugh, Grace, and Stephenie.

Plagiarism controversy


In 2002, Ambrose was accused of plagiarizing several passages in his book, The Wild Blue, by Sally Richardson and others. Fred Barnes
Fred Barnes (journalist)
Frederic W. Barnes is an American political commentator. He is the executive editor of the news publication The Weekly Standard and regularly appears on the Fox News Channel program Special Report with Bret Baier...

 reported in The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard is an American neoconservative opinion magazine published 48 times per year. Its founding publisher, News Corporation, debuted the title September 18, 1995. Currently edited by founder William Kristol and Fred Barnes, the Standard has been described as a "redoubt of...

that Ambrose had taken passages from Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II, by Thomas Childers, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

. Ambrose had footnoted sources, but had not enclosed in quotation marks, numerous passages from Childers' book. Ambrose and his publisher, Simon and Schuster, released an apology as a result.

Ambrose asserted that only a few sentences in all his numerous books were the work of other authors. He offered this defense:
A Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

investigation of his work found cases of plagiarism involving passages in at least six books, with a similar pattern going all the way back to his doctoral thesis. The History News Network
History News Network
History News Network is a project of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Although the HNN resides on GMU's server, it operates independently of the university as a non-profit corporation registered in Washington State...

 lists seven of Ambrose's works--The Wild Blue, Undaunted Courage, Nothing Like It In the World, Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, Citizen Soldiers, The Supreme Commander, and Crazy Horse and Custer--that copied twelve authors.

WWII


In the 1973 ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 television series, The World at War, episode 35, From War to Peace, Ambrose made basic factual errors. He said:

The population of the United States during the war was 131 million, of which nearly 16.6 million served in the armed forces during World War II, including 241,093 in the Coast Guard, and 243,000 in the Merchant Marine. Military deaths were 416,800, the most of any Allied country except the Soviet Union. According to U.S. census data, 73 percent of military personnel served abroad during World War II. The United States did not create the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 as a separate branch until passage of the National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 was signed by United States President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1947, and realigned and reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces, foreign policy, and Intelligence Community apparatus in the aftermath of World War II...

 (Pub. L.
Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by government with a legislature named "Congress," such as the United States Congress or the Congress of the Philippines....

 No. 235, 80
80th United States Congress
The Eightieth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1947 to January 3, 1949, during the third and fourth...

 Cong., 61 Stat. 496)
, two years after the end of World War II.

Veterans of troop carrier units
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

, who transported paratrooper
Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

s in the American airborne landings in Normandy
American airborne landings in Normandy
The American airborne landings in Normandy were the first United States combat operations during Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy by the Western Allies on June 6, 1944. Around 13,100 paratroopers of the U.S. 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne Divisions made night parachute drops early on...

, have severely criticized Ambrose for portraying them as unqualified and cowardly in several of his works, including Band of Brothers and D-Day. Among the numerous errors he asserts in an open letter posted on the War Chronicle website, Randy Hils notes that Ambrose did not interview a single troop carrier pilot. This becomes highly relevant in light of Ambrose's assertion that the pilots sped up while the paratroopers were trying to jump. Hils hypothesizes that if Ambrose's only sources were inexpert witnesses whose only indication of airspeed were the sound of the engines, the maneuver of using the propellers as an airbrake would have sounded like power being applied.

In the HBO series, Band of Brothers, as well as Ambrose's book, a certain Private Albert Blithe
Albert Blithe
-External links:****...

 is said to have been shot in the neck while scouting a farmhouse. Ambrose states that Blithe never recovered from his wound and died in 1948, when in actuality, Blithe recovered from a wound to his right shoulder and rejoined Easy Company for Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

. Blithe appears to have left Europe shortly after that due to his wound but later continued a career in the Army until his death in 1967.

Two Ambrose accounts in D-Day, of alleged cowardice by British coxswains, have also been challenged as inaccurate. One, in which Sgt. Willard Northfleet is portrayed as drawing his gun on a coxswain when he tried to offload the men 400 yards from shore, is corroborated by Sgt. John Slaughter (who was on the boat) in a C-SPAN
C-SPAN
C-SPAN , an acronym for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is an American cable television network that offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming via its three television channels , one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming...

 video recording veterans' D-Day experiences. It was disputed by Kevan Elsby, however, on the basis of a contemporary debriefing which stated: "Four hundred yards from shore the British coxswain insisted that he could take the craft no farther so the men must swim for it. He started to lower the ramp but Platoon Sgt. Willard R. Norfleet blocked the mechanism and insisted that the boat was going farther." The other, in which Capt. Ettore Zappacosta was portrayed as drawing his gun on a coxswain to make him go in when he protested he could not see the landmarks, was challenged by Pvt. Bob Sales as untrue. Both Ambrose and Sales assert that Sales was the only survivor from that landing craft.

Ambrose asserts, in several works, that the German Panther tank
Panther tank
Panther is the common name of a medium tank fielded by Nazi Germany in World War II that served from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. It was intended as a counter to the T-34, and to replace the Panzer III and Panzer IV; while never replacing the latter, it served alongside it as...

 used an 88mm gun. It instead used a 75mm gun. The German Tiger I
Tiger I
Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of...

 and King Tiger
Tiger II
Tiger II is the common name of a German heavy tank of the Second World War. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B,Panzerkampfwagen – abbr: Pz. or Pz.Kfw. Ausführung – abbr: Ausf. .The full titles Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf...

 tanks used the 88mm gun as did the Jagdpanther
Jagdpanther
The Jagdpanther was a tank destroyer built by Nazi Germany during World War II based on the chassis of the Panther tank. It entered service late in the war and saw service on the Eastern and Western fronts...

 ("Hunting Panther"), a turretless tank destroyer version of the Panther.

Pacific Railroad


A front page article published in The Sacramento (CA) Bee
The Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento Bee is a daily newspaper published in Sacramento, California, in the United States. Since its creation in 1857, the Bee has become Sacramento's largest newspaper, the fifth largest newspaper in California, and the 25th largest paper in the U.S...

on January 1, 2001, entitled Area Historians Rail Against Inaccuracies in Book, listed more than sixty instances identified as "significant errors, misstatements, and made-up quotes" in Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869
Nothing Like It in the World
"Nothing Like It In the World" is a narrative history of the planning and construction of the Pacific Railroad during the 1860s which connected the San Francisco Bay and Council Bluffs, Iowa by rail...

, Ambrose's non-academic popular history published in August, 2000, about the construction of the Pacific Railroad between Council Bluffs, Iowa
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Council Bluffs, known until 1852 as Kanesville, Iowathe historic starting point of the Mormon Trail and eventual northernmost anchor town of the other emigrant trailsis a city in and the county seat of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, United States and is on the east bank of the Missouri River across...

/Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

 via Sacramento, California
Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

 and the San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

 at Alameda
Alameda, California
Alameda is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island, and is adjacent to Oakland in the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Farm Island portion of the city is adjacent to the Oakland International Airport. At the 2010 census, the city had a...

/Oakland
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

 which were documented in a detailed December, 2000, fact checking paper compiled by three long time Western US railroad historians, researchers, consultants, and collectors who specialize in the Pacific Railroad and related topics.

On January 11, 2001, Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

columnist Lloyd Grove
Lloyd Grove
Lloyd Grove is editor at large for The Daily Beast, the Web site run by Tina Brown and backed by Barry Diller. He is also a frequent contributor to New York Magazine...

 reported in his column, The Reliable Source, that a co-worker had found a "serious historical error" in the same book that "a chastened Ambrose" promised to correct in future editions. A number of journal reviews also sharply criticized the research and fact checking in the book. Reviewer Walter Nugent observed that it contained "annoying slips" such as mislabeled maps, inaccurate dates, geographical errors, and misidentified word origins
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

, while Don L. Hofsommer agreed that the book "confuses facts" and that "The research might best be characterized as 'once over lightly'."

The Eisenhower controversy


Two of Ambrose's statements regarding his interaction with President Eisenhower have been proven false: that Eisenhower initiated the biography project and that he spent "hundreds of hours" with the former president in preparation of the manuscript.

Ambrose often claimed that he was solicited by Eisenhower after the former president had read and admired Ambrose's life of General Henry Halleck. But Tim Rives, Deputy Director of the Eisenhower Presidential Center
Eisenhower Presidential Center
The Eisenhower Presidential Center, officially known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum or Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, includes the Eisenhower presidential library, President Dwight David Eisenhower's boyhood home, Museum, and gravesite...

, says it was Ambrose who contacted Eisenhower and suggested the project, as shown by a letter from Ambrose found in the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.

After Eisenhower's death in 1969, Ambrose made repeated claims to have had a unique and extraordinarily close relationship with him over the final five years of the former President's life. In an extensive 1998 interview, for instance, Ambrose stated that he spent "a lot of time with Ike, really a lot, hundreds and hundreds of hours" interviewing Eisenhower on a wide range of subjects, and that he had been with him "on a daily basis for a couple years" before his death "doing interviews and talking about his life." Rives has stated, however, that a number of the interview dates Ambrose cites in his 1970 book, The Supreme Commander, cannot be reconciled with Eisenhower's personal schedule. The former president's diary and telephone show that the pair met only three times, for a total of less than five hours. Later, Ambrose was less specific when citing dates of interviews with Eisenhower.

Sole author

  • Halleck: Lincoln's Chief of Staff, Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press
    Louisiana State University Press
    The Louisiana State University Press is a nonprofit book publisher and an academic unit of Louisiana State University. Founded in 1935, the press publishes scholarly, general interest, and regional books as part of the university’s mission to disseminate knowledge and culture...

     (1962)
  • Upton and the Army, Louisiana State University Press (1964)
  • Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press (1966)
  • Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe, New York: W.W. Norton (1967)
  • The Supreme Commander: the War Years of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, New York: Doubleday (1970)
  • Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors, New York: Doubleday (1975) ISBN 0-385-09666-6
  • Ike's Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment, New York: Doubleday (1981) ISBN 0-385-14493-8
  • Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944, New York: Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

     (1985) ISBN 0-671-52374-0
  • Nixon: The Education of a Politician, 1913-1962, New York: Simon & Schuster (1987) ISBN 0-671-52836-X
  • Eisenhower: Soldier and President, New York: Simon & Schuster (1990) ISBN 0-671-70107-X
  • Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972, New York: Simon & Schuster (1990) ISBN 0-671-52837-8
  • Nixon: Ruin and recovery, 1973-1990, New York: Simon & Schuster (1991) ISBN 0-671-69188-0
  • Band of Brothers, E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne: From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest, New York: Simon & Schuster (1992) ISBN 0-671-76922-7
  • D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, New York, Simon & Schuster (1994) ISBN 0-671-88403-4
  • Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
    Undaunted Courage
    Undaunted Courage , written by Stephen Ambrose, is a 1996 biography of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The book is based on journals written by Lewis and Clark, along with other members of the expedition, and also offers additional insight into the travelers and...

    , New York: Simon & Schuster (1996) ISBN 0-684-81107-3
  • Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944 - May 7, 1945, New York: Simon & Schuster (1997) ISBN 0-684-81525-7
  • Americans at War, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi (1997) ISBN 1-57806-026-5
  • The Victors: Eisenhower and his Boys - The Men of World War II, New York: Simon & Schuster (1998) ISBN 0-684-85628-X
  • Comrades: Brothers, Fathers, Heroes, Sons, Pals, New York: Simon & Schuster (1999) ISBN 0-684-86718-4
  • Nothing Like it in the World: The Men who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869
    Nothing Like It in the World
    "Nothing Like It In the World" is a narrative history of the planning and construction of the Pacific Railroad during the 1860s which connected the San Francisco Bay and Council Bluffs, Iowa by rail...

    , New York: Simon & Schuster (2000) ISBN 0-684-84609-8
  • The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys who Flew the B-24s over Germany
    The Wild Blue
    The Wild Blue, by historian Stephen Ambrose, was published in 2001. The book details the lives and World War II experiences of pilots, bombardier, navigators, radio operators and gunners flying B-24s of the U.S. Army Air Forces against Germany...

    , New York: Simon & Schuster (2001) ISBN 0-7432-0339-9
  • To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian, New York: Simon & Schuster (2002) ISBN 0-7432-0275-9
  • This Vast Land
    This Vast Land
    This Vast Land is a historical novel written by American author Stephen Ambrose. Published in 2003 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, it a fictionalized account in the form of a diary written by George Shannon, the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition...

    , New York: Simon & Schuster, (2003) ISBN 0-689-86448-5

With others

  • with Douglas Brinkley
    Douglas Brinkley
    Douglas Brinkley is an American author, professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. Brinkley is the history commentator for CBS News and a contributing editor to the magazine Vanity Fair...

    . Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy since 1938, New York: Penguin Books (1997) ISBN 0-14-026831-6
  • with Sam Abell
    Sam Abell
    Sam Abell is an American photographer known for his frequent publication of photographs in National Geographic. He first worked for National Geographic in 1967, and is one of the more overtly artistic photographers among his magazine peers...

    , Lewis and Clark: Voyage of Discovery, Washington DC: National Geographic Society, (1998, 2002) ISBN 0-7922-7084-3

External links