GI Ingenuity Improvisation, Technology, and Winning World War II

Carafano

ISBN 10: 0275986985 / ISBN 13: 9780275986988
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World War II saw the first generation of young men that had grown up comfortable with modern industrial technology go into combat. As kids, the GIs had built jalopies in their garage and poured over glossy, full-color issues of Popular Mechanics; they had read Buck Rogers in the Twenty Fifth Century comic books, listened to his adventures on the radio, and watched him pilot rocket ships in the Saturday morning serials at the Bijou. Tinkerers, problem-solvers, risk-takers, and day-dreamers, they were curious and outspoken―a generation well prepared to improvise, innovate, and adapt technology on the battlefield. Since they were also a generation which had unprecedented technology available to them, their ability to innovate with technology proved an immeasurable edge on the field of combat. This book tells their story through the experience of the battle of Normandy, bringing together three disparate brands of history: (1) military history; (2) the history of science and technology; and (3) social, economic, cultural, and intellectual history. All three historical narratives combine to tell the tale of GI genius and the process by which GI ingenuity became an enduring feature of the American citizen-soldier.

GI Ingenuity is in large part an old-fashioned combat history, with mayhem and mass slaughter at center stage. It tells the story of death and destruction on the killing fields of Normandy, as well as the battlegrounds that provide the prologue and postscript to the transformation of war that occurred in France in 1944. This story of GI ingenuity, moreover, puts the battles in the context of the immense social, economic, scientific, and technological changes that accompanied the evolution of combat in the twentieth century. GI Ingenuity illustrates the great transition of the American genius in battle from an industrial-age army to a postmodern military. And it does it by looking at the place where the transition happened―on the battlefield.

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This vivid account of the Normandy campaign combines military history and the history of science and technology with social, economic, cultural, and intellectual history to tell the tale of the World War II GI's technological genius and innovation and the process by which GI ingenuity became an enduring feature of the citizen-soldier.

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