Military Book Club® Main Selection   History Book Club® Featured Alternate*The battle that transformed a group of common soldiers into the modern-day Marine CorpsMiracle at Belleau Wood begins in June 1918 at Les Mare Farm in France with just 200 U.S. marines, who spilled their blood to prevail against impossible odds, resisting an overwhelming German force of thousands and turned the battle back against the enemy, saved Paris, saved France, and saved the Allied hope of  victory. Called “the Gettysburg of the Great War” by many at the time, it rescued America and its allies from almost certain defeat. This book tells the riveting story of the modern marines as America’s fiercest and most effective warriors, the world’s preeminent fighting elite. Miracle at Belleau Wood is the story of an epoch-making battle--a battle that elevated the Corps to legendary status and forever burned them into the American imagination.  Praise for Miracle at Belleau Wood “Axelrod brings us back vividly to the shocking casualties of ‘the war to end all wars.’”—Bing West, author of No True Glory, former Assistant Secretary of Defense “Alan Axelrod has perfectly captured the embodiment of U.S. Marines and their unparalleled Esprit de Corps. . . . A must read!”—Jay Kopelman, author of the best-selling From Baghdad with Love “Axelrod is one of America’s great military historians. He’s done it this time with riveting non-stop action that reads like the best of Hemingway’s frontline reports plus the Marine Corps novels of W.E.B. Griffin. Axelrod pushes you right into the action, onto the battlefield, and never lets up.”—Paul B. Farrell, JD, PhD, syndicated columnist for Dow Jones’s MarketWatch, former Staff Sergeant in the US Marine Corps Praise for Patton: A Biography“Like Patton at his best: polished, precise, and persuasive.”—Kirkus Reviews
Prolific bestseller Axelrod (Patton: A Biography, etc.) examines the evolution of the Marine Corps in this sprightly popular history of the pivotal WWI Battle of Belleau Wood in France. The Marine Corps, founded in the American Revolution, entered the 20th century on the verge of extinction. Saved by a congressional intervention that repealed Theodore Roosevelt's 1908 executive order withdrawing Marines from warships, the Marine brass looked to WWI as a chance to build up their ranks. The War Department sent two Marine brigades to France, but the U.S. commander, Gen. John Pershing, was reluctant to use them relenting only when a German offensive threatened Paris. Belleau Wood, formerly "an idyllic patch of forest" used as a hunting preserve for the wealthy, was occupied by the Germans and transformed into "a natural fortress" bristling with machine-gun emplacements. In a savage, month-long fight, the 4th Marine Brigade pushed the entrenched Germans out of Belleau Wood, earning a new nickname from the enemy (Devil Dogs), forging a reputation as "America's fiercest warriors" and securing the future of the corps. Based exclusively on published material, Axelrod's brisk if conventional narrative provides a solid introduction to a crucial battle for fans of military history.
US Marine History
I wanted to know more about exactly what the Marine Corps did to earn the name Teufel Hunden at the Battle for Belleau Wood during WWI. This book explains how that came about in great detail. The only thing lacking in my opinion would be the inclusion of maps showing specific unit locations on different days, although the author’s sometimes “wordy” directional descriptions DID suffice.