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Table of Contents

1. To Be a Soldier
2. Preparing for War
3. Entering Battle
4. Relief of Bastogne
5. Finishing it off
6. Doctrine and Tactics
7. Occupied Germany
8. In Korea
9. Fort Knox and the Pentagon
10. Germany and Division Command
11. Civil Rights Crises
12. Corps Command
13. Vietnam Buildup
14. Deputy Commander in Vietnam
15. Tet 1968
16. The 206,000 Troop Request
17. Taking Command
18. A Very Human Touch
19. Vietnamization and Pacification
20. Murder and the Green Berets
21. Cambodian Incursion
22. In the Midst of Battles
23. Invasion of Laos
24. Easter Offensive
25. Setting the Course
26. Rebuilding an Army
27. Final Days
Selected Bibliography
Other Sources

Promotional Information

The stirring biography of one of America's best generals

About the Author

Lewis Sorley, a third-generation graduate of West Point, served in Vietnam, in NATO forces, and as a Pentagon staff officer. He has taught at West Point and the U.S. Army War College, and has written widely on military affairs and national security. He lives in Potomac, Maryland.


Abrams (1914-1974) made a name for himself during WW II's Battle of the Bulge when he led his tank battalion in relief of an encircled American division at Bastogne. A quarter century later, having replaced Gen. William Westmoreland as MAC-V (Military Assistance Command-Vietnam) commander in Saigon, he supervised the process of preparing the South Vietnamese government to take over the war while American forces withdrew. Abrams's reputation for competence and uncompromising integrity was intact when he returned to the U.S. in 1972 (``Abe never talks about ethics,'' said a colleague quoted here, ``he just examples it''). Appointed Army chief of staff, Abrams now faced the greatest challenge of his career: reforming the demoralized Army. Sorley, who has taught at West Point and the Army War College, provides a detailed account of how Abrams initiated such a turnaround in the post-Vietnam days. This anecdote-rich biography captures the essence of a great but little-known general who was an important military transitional figure. Photos. (Sept.)

"Sorley's superb insight shows General Abe for what he was--the predominant leader of soldiers and the clearest symbol of integrity in a time when his example was most needed. A book that must be read--and not just by soldiers." General John R. Galvin (U.S. Army, Ret.), former NATO Commander "Lewis Sorley has told the Abrams story with verve, sensitivity, and insight." --Stephen Ambrose, author of Undaunted Courage "A valuable addition to the Vietnam bookshelf." --New York Times

Abrams's career spanned three American wars (World War II, Korea, and Vietnam), and he finished it as the Army Chief of Staff. His efforts in the immediate post-Vietnam years helped to reform the army into the efficient war machine of the Persian Gulf War. Thunderbolt covers Abrams's entire career in detail. Sources used in this book include an impressive list of books, articles, documents, and interviews. The author's military background (Sorley was a West Point graduate and Pentagon staff officer) is omnipresent--the book reads much like an official military history. This is not to say that the work aggrandizes the U.S. military or government; many shortcomings and Abrams's attempt to grapple with them are discussed. Thunderbolt fills a gap on a very influential member of the U.S. Army. The book is of value to the military historian as well as to history and military buffs. Recommended for academic and public libraries. Miltary Book Club main selection.--Jim Cunningham, Northern Illinois Univ. Lib., DeKalb

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