Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Stephen Edward Ambrose  

Pen Name: Stephen E. Ambrose

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: January 10, 1936 in Lovington, Illinois

Died: October 13, 2002 in Bay St. Louis, Mo.

-- Stephen Ambrose on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Ambrose was born in Lovington, Illinois

Biographical and Professional Information

Dr. Stephen Ambrose was a renowned historian and acclaimed author of more than 30 books. Among his New York Times best-sellers are: Nothing Like It in the World, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, D-Day - June 6, 1944, and Undaunted Courage. He was not only a great author, but also a captivating speaker, with the unique ability to provide insight into the future by employing his profound knowledge of the past. His stories demonstrate how leaders use trust, friendship and shared experiences to work together and thrive during conflict and change. His philosophy about keeping an audience engaged is put best in his own words: "As I sit at my computer, or stand at the podium, I think of myself as sitting around the campfire after a day on the trail, telling stories that I hope will have the members of the audience, or the readers, leaning forward just a bit, wanting to know what happens next." Dr. Ambrose was a retired Boyd Professor of History at the University of New Orleans. He was the Director Emeritus of the Eisenhower Center in New Orleans, and the founder of the National D-Day Museum. He was also a contributing editor for the Quarterly Journal of Military History, a member of the board of directors for American Rivers, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Board. His talents have not gone unnoticed by the film industry. Dr. Ambrose was the historical consultant for Steven Spielberg's movie Saving Private Ryan. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks purchased the film rights to his books Citizen Soldiers and Band of Brothers to make the 13-hour HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. He has also participated in numerous national television programs, including ones for the History Channel and National Geographic.

Published Works

  • Halleck: Lincoln's Chief of Staff, Louisiana State University Press, 1962, reprinted 1996
  • Upton and the Army, Louisiana State University Press, 1964, reprinted 1993
  • Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966, reprinted 1999
  • Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe, W.W. Norton, 1967, reprinted 2000
  • The Supreme Commander: the War Years of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Doubleday, 1970, reprinted 1999 & 2012
  • Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors, Doubleday, 1975, reprinted 1996
  • Eisenhower Volume I: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890-1952, Simon & Schuster, 1983
  • Ike's Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment, Doubleday, 1984, reprinted 2012
  • Eisenhower Volume II: Soldier and President, Simon & Schuster, 1984, reprinted 1991
  • Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944, Simon & Schuster, 1985, reprinted 1988 & 2003
  • Nixon, Vol.1: The Education of a Politician, Simon & Schuster, 1987
  • Nixon, Vol.2: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972, Simon & Schuster, 1989
  • Eisenhower: Soldier and President, Simon & Schuster, 1990, reprinted 2007
  • Nixon, Vol.3: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990, Simon & Schuster, 1991
  • Band of Brothers, E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, from Normandy to Hitler`s Eagle`s Nest, Simon & Schuster, 1992
  • D Day, June 6, 1944, The Climactic Battle of World War II, Simon & Schuster, 1994
  • Undaunted Courage, Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, Simon & Schuster, 1996
  • Americans at War, University Press of Mississippi, 1997
  • Citizen Soldiers, The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany--June 7,1944 - May 7,1945, Simon & Schuster, 1997
  • The Victors, Eisenhower and His Boys - The Men of World War II, Simon & Schuster, 1998
  • Lewis & Clark, Voyage of Discovery, National Geographic Society, 1998, bicentennial edition, 2002
  • Comrades, Brothers, Fathers, Heros, Brothers, Sons, Pals, Simon & Schuster, 1999
  • Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869, Simon & Schuster, 2000
  • The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s over Germany 1944-45, Simon & Schuster, 2001
  • To America: Personal Reflections of A Historian, Simon & Schuster, 2002
  • This Vast Land, Simon & Schuster, 2003

Selected Titles At Your Library

Halleck, Lincoln's Chief of Staff /
ISBN: 0807120715. OCLC Number:

Louisiana State University Press,. Baton Rouge :. 1996, ©1990.

Before the Civil War, Halleck was one of America's few important theorists on the higher art of war, and it was in large part due to his efforts that the doctrines of Baron Henri Jomini were widely accepted by Civil War generals.

Upton and the army /
ISBN: 0807118508. OCLC Number:

Louisiana State University Press,. Baton Rouge :. 1993.

On March 15, 1881, Emory Upton shot himself at the age of 41. He had been an outstanding soldier but had never received the recognition he thought was due him. This book is a sensitive and scholarly account of the career and contributions of this man who is now considered a pivotal figure in American military theory. As a commander in all three branches of the army-the infantry, artillery, and the cavalry-Upton had few equals. In the Civil War he was made a brevet major general before his 26th year. He distinguished himself at Spotsylvania, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, in Sheri.

Duty, honor, country :
ISBN: 0801862930. OCLC Number:

Johns Hopkins University Press,. Baltimore :. 1999.

Chronicles the history of the United States Military Academy.

Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945 :
ISBN: 0393320103. OCLC Number:

Norton,. New York :. 2000.

Historian Ambrose studies the political and military aspects of Eisenhower's decision to leave Berlin to the Russian army in the waning days of the European War.

The Supreme Commander :
ISBN: 0307946622. OCLC Number:

Anchor Books,. New York :. [2012]

Genereal Dwight D Eisenhower, the story of Ike in his finest hours as the Allies top strategist in WWII.

Crazy Horse and Custer :
ISBN: 0385479662. OCLC Number:

Anchor Books,. New York :. 1996.

On the sparkling morning of June 25, 1876, 611 men of the United States 7th Cavalry rode toward the banks of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory, where 3,000 Indians stood waiting for battle. The lives of two great warriors would soon be forever linked throughout history: Crazy Horse, leader of the Oglala Sioux, and General George Armstrong Custer. Both were men of aggression and supreme courage. Both became leaders in their societies at very early ages; both were stripped of power, in disgrace, and worked to earn back the respect of their people. Their parallel lives would pave the way, in a manner unknown to either, for an inevitable clash between two nations fighting for possession of the open prairie.

Eisenhower /
ISBN: 0671440691. OCLC Number:

Simon and Schuster,. New York :. ©1983-©1984.

Volume 1. Soldier, general of the army, President-elect, 1890-1952. "Stephen E. Ambrose draws upon extensive sources, an unprecedented degree of scholarship, and numerous interviews with Eisenhower himself to offer the fullest, richest, most objective rendering yet of the soldier who became president. He gives us a masterly account of the European war theater and Eisenhower's magnificent leadership as Allied Supreme Commander. Ambrose's recounting of Eisenhower's presidency, the first of the Cold War, brings to life a man and a country struggling with issues as diverse as civil rights, atomic weapons, communism, and a new global role. Along the way, Ambrose follows the 34th President's relations with the people closest to him, most of all Mamie, his son John, and Kay Summersby, as well as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Harry Truman, Nixon, Dulles, Khrushchev, Joe McCarthy, and indeed, all the American and world leaders of his time. This superb interpretation of Eisenhower's life confirms Stephen Ambrose's position as one of our finest historians"

Eisenhower /
ISBN: 0671605658. OCLC Number:

Simon and Schuster,. New York :. 1985, ©1983-©1984.

Vol. 2 covers the life and presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower from November 1952 to his death on March 28, 1968.

Pegasus Bridge :
ISBN: 074345068X. OCLC Number:

Pocket,. London :. 2003, ©1985.

D-Day before dawn. Minute by minute, hour by hour the danger grows ... In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, a small detachment of British airborne troops stormed the German defence forces and paved the way for the Allied invasion of Europe. Pegasus Bridge was the first engagement of D-Day, the turning point of World War II. This gripping account by acclaimed author Stephen E. Ambrose brings to life a daring mission so crucial that, had it been unsuccessful, the entire Normandy invasion might have failed. Ambrose traces each step of the preparations over many months to the minute-by-minute excitement of the hand-to-hand confrontations on the bridge. This is a story of heroism and cowardice, kindness and brutality - the stuff of all great adventures.

Nixon /
ISBN: 0671657224. OCLC Number:

Simon and Schuster,. New York :. ©1987-©1991.

This is volume one of a biography of one of the most elusive and intriguing American political figures, Richard M. Nixon, covering his life from birth through 1962.

Eisenhower :
ISBN: 0945707398. OCLC Number:

American Political Biography Press,. Newtown, CT :. 2007.

Nixon /
ISBN: 0671528378. OCLC Number:

Simon and Schuster,. New York :. ©1987-©1991.

This is volume one of a biography of one of the most elusive and intriguing American political figures, Richard M. Nixon, covering his life from birth through 1962.

Nixon :
ISBN: 0671792083. OCLC Number:

Simon and Schuster,. New York :. ©1991.

Volume three of Nixon's biography. Shows Nixon's struggle to save himself from political oblivion, and provides a portrait of the older Nixon in San Clemente.

Band of brothers :
ISBN: 0743216385. OCLC Number:

. .

"They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak -- in Holland and the Ardennes -- Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable group. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments. They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden. They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them. This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal -- it was a badge of office." -- Book jacket.

D-Day, June 6, 1944 :
ISBN: 068480137X. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. ©1994.

On the basis of 1,400 oral histories from the men who were there, Eisenhower biographer and World War II historian Stephen E. Ambrose reveals for the first time anywhere that the intricate plan for the invasion of France in June 1944, had to be abandoned before the first shot was fired. The true story of D-Day, as Ambrose relates it, is about the citizen soldiers - junior officers and enlisted men - taking the initiative to act on their own to break through Hitler's Atlantic Wall when they realized that nothing was as they had been told it would be. This is a brilliant telling of the battles of Omaha and Utah beaches, based on information only now available, from American, British, Canadian, French, and German veterans, from government and private archives, from never before utilized sources on the home front, gathered and analyzed by the author, who has made D-Day his life work. Ambrose's first interview was with General Eisenhower in 1964, his last with paratroopers from the 101st Airborne in 1993. Called the premier American narrative and military historian, Ambrose explains the most important day of the twentieth century. The action begins at midnight, June 5/6, when the first British and American airborne troops jumped into France to launch the invasion. It ends at midnight, June 6/7. Focusing on those pivotal twenty-four hours, this is the story of individuals rather than units. It moves from the level of Supreme Commander to that of a French child, from General Omar Bradley to an American paratrooper, from Field Marshal Montgomery to a British private, from Field Marshal Rommel to a German sergeant. Ambrose covers the politics of D-Day, from Churchill's resistance to the operation to Stalin's impatience and Roosevelt's concern. On the other side were Hitler's command structure, German policy, and the plot against the Fuhrer. This is the epic victory of democracy in winner-take-all combat. When Hitler declared war on the United States, he bet that the young men brought up in the Hitler Youth would outfight the Boy Scouts. Ambrose shows how wrong he was.

Undaunted courage :
ISBN: 0684811073. OCLC Number:

. .

Though primarily a biography of Meriwether Lewis, this book also provides fascinating sketches of Thomas Jefferson, William Clark, Sacagawea, & other contemporaries. From the bestselling author of the definitive book on D-Day comes the definitive book on the most momentous expedition in American history and one of the great adventure stories of all time. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River to the Rockies, over the mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, and back. Lewis was the perfect choice. He endured incredible hardships and saw incredible sights, including vast herds of buffalo and Indian tribes that had had no previous contact with white men. He and his partner, Captain William Clark, made the first map of the trans-Mississippi West, provided invaluable scientific data on the flora and fauna of the Louisiana Purchase territory, and established the American claim to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Ambrose has pieced together previously unknown information about weather, terrain, and medical knowledge at the time to provide a colorful and realistic backdrop for the expedition. Lewis saw the North American continent before any other white man; Ambrose describes in detail native peoples, weather, landscape, science, everything the expedition encountered along the way, through Lewis's eyes. Lewis is supported by a rich variety of colorful characters, first of all Jefferson himself, whose interest in exploring and acquiring the American West went back thirty years. Next comes Clark, a rugged frontiersman whose love for Lewis matched Jefferson's. There are numerous Indian chiefs, and Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition, along with the French-Indian hunter Drouillard, the great naturalists of Philadelphia, the French and Spanish fur traders of St. Louis, John Quincy Adams, and many more leading political, scientific, and military figures of the turn of the century. This is a book about a hero. This is a book about national unity. But it is also a tragedy. When Lewis returned to Washington in the fall of 1806, he was a national hero. But for Lewis, the expedition was a failure. Jefferson had hoped to find an all-water route to the Pacific with a short hop over the Rockies-Lewis discovered there was no such passage. Jefferson hoped the Louisiana Purchase would provide endless land to support farming-but Lewis discovered that the Great Plains were too dry. Jefferson hoped there was a river flowing from Canada into the Missouri-but Lewis reported there was no such river, and thus no U.S. claim to the Canadian prairie. Lewis discovered the Plains Indians were hostile and would block settlement and trade up the Missouri. Lewis took to drink, engaged in land speculation, piled up debts he could not pay, made jealous political enemies, and suffered severe depression. High adventure, high politics, suspense, drama, and diplomacy combine with high romance and personal tragedy to make this outstanding work of scholarship as readable as a novel.

Citizen soldiers :
ISBN: 0684815257. OCLC Number:

. .

Includes maps indicating the Normandy Beachhead expansion, July 1-24, 1944; the pursuit to the Siegfried Line, Aug. 26-Sept. 14, 1944; the Ardennes Campaign, Dec. 16-25, 1944, Dec. 26, 1944-Jan. 16 1945, and Jan. 17-Feb. 7, 1945; the Battle of the Rhineland, Feb. 8-Mar. 28, 1945; and the drive to the Elbe, Apr. 4-May 7, 1945.

Americans at war /
ISBN: 1578060265. OCLC Number:

University Press of Mississippi,. Jackson, Miss. :. ©1997.

Examines the history of American warfare from the Civil War through Vietnam and the Cold War, looking at the experiences of both leaders and the led and how American democracy defines itself through these conflicts.

The victors :
ISBN: 068485628X. OCLC Number:

. .

A telling of the war in Europe, from D-Day, June 6, 1944, to the end, eleven months later, on May 7, 1945. Ambrose draws on thousands of interviews and oral histories from government and private archives, from the high command Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton--on down through officers and enlisted men--to re-create the last year of the Second World War when the Allied soldiers pushed the Germans out of France, chased them across Germany, and destroyed the Nazi regime.

Comrades :
ISBN: 0743200748. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. ©1999.

The author explores male friendships, including those between brothers, fathers and sons, soldiers and more.

Nothing like it in the world :
ISBN: 0743203178. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. ©2000.

The account of an unprecedented feat of engineering, vision, and courage. It is the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad-the investors who risked their businesses and money; the enlightened politicians who understood its importance; the engineers and surveyors who risked, and sometimes lost, their lives; and the Irish and Chinese immigrants, the defeated Confederate soldiers, and the other laborers who did the backbreaking and dangerous work on the tracks. The U.S. government pitted two companies, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads, against each other in a race for funding, encouraging speed over caution. At its peak, the work force approached the size of Civil War armies, with as many as 15,000 workers on each line. Nothing like this great work had ever been seen in the world when the golden spike was driven in Promontory Peak, Utah, in 1869, as the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific tracks were joined. This is the story of the brave men, the famous and the unheralded, ordinary men doing the extraordinary -- who accomplished the spectacular feat that made the continent into a nation.

The wild blue :
ISBN: 0743223098. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. ©2001.

Includes references to George McGovern, who became a United States senator and a presidential candidate. He flew thirty-five missions (all the Army would allow) and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

To America :
ISBN: 0743252128. OCLC Number:

. .

The popular historian shares his views of his own life and on the history of America, in a series of reflections on the Founding Fathers, Native Americans, Theodore Roosevelt, World War II, civil rights, Vietnam, and the writing of history.

This vast land :
ISBN: 0689864485. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers,. New York :. ©2003.

A fictional journal recounting the travels--from 1803 to 1806--of eighteen-year-old George Shannon, the youngest member of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery, as the Corps explores the west and seeks a water route to the Pacific Ocean.