With Their Bare Hands: General Pershing, the 79th Division, and the Battle for Montfaucon
Published by Osprey Publishing (UK) on February 21, 2017
Genres: Battles & Campaigns
Gene Fax earned well-deserved praise for this very detailed presentation of the U.S. 79th Division’s famous assault on the heavily fortified German position on Montfaucon at the start of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne offensive.
Although concentrating on this one engagement, Fax uses half the book to explain the background of this seemingly impregnable location, America’s entry into the war, the recruitment and raising of the 79th, a chapter on what was wrong with Army doctrine, another on what was wrong with training (that also notes the first cases of influenza initially not regarded as a serious threat), American troops’ introduction to combat by helping to stop the German 1918 spring offensive, plus a description of the Meuse-Argonne terrain and the German Army. The actual struggle for Montfaucon is told over three action-packed chapters.
Nicely written, filled with anecdotes, this terrific book was a finalist for a Distinguished Writing Award by the Army Historical Foundation. Gene is an Official Partner of the U.S. World War I Commemorative Commission.
Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI
Dennis Showalter: “A masterful study.”