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War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission

by Thomas H. Conner foreword by James Scott Wheeler

Availablecloth$50.00s 978-0-8131-7631-4
AUSA Books
376 pages  Pubdate: 10/05/2018  6 x 9  49 b&w photos, 5 maps

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LISTEN: John J. Miller, host of the Bookmonger podcast, chats with Thomas H. Conner, author of War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission. | Listen online here

"No soldier could ask for a sweeter resting place than on the field of glory where he fell. The land he died to save vies with the one which gave him birth in paying tribute to his memory, and the kindly hands which so often come to spread flowers upon his earthly coverlet express in their gentle task a personal affection.”—General John J. Pershing

To remember and honor the memory of the American soldiers who fought and died in foreign wars during the past hundred years, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was established. Since the agency was founded in 1923, its sole purpose has been to commemorate the soldiers’ service and the causes for which their lives were given. The twenty-five overseas cemeteries honoring 139,000 combat dead and the memorials honoring the 60,314 fallen soldiers with no known graves are among the most beautiful and meticulously maintained shrines in the world.

In the first comprehensive study of the ABMC, Thomas H. Conner traces how the agency came to be created by Congress in the aftermath of World War I, how the cemeteries and monuments the agency built were designed and their locations chosen, and how the commemorative sites have become important “outposts of remembrance” on foreign soil. War and Remembrance powerfully demonstrates that these monuments—living sites that embody the role Americans played in the defense of freedom far from their own shores—assist in understanding the interconnections of memory and history and serve as an inspiration to later generations.

Thomas H. Conner is the William P. Harris Professor of Military History at Hillsdale College. For forty years, he has made nearly annual visits to our country’s overseas war memorials, often with groups of touring students.

Thomas H. Conner has written a riveting and probably definitive history of the federal institution responsible for the conception, building and ongoing maintenance of these awe-inspiring cemeteries and monuments. This is an absorbing and thoroughly researched history, in itself a worthy monument to the ABMC. -- Army Magazine

Conner employs superb writing and meticulous research to form a narrative that is as enjoyable as it is instructive. In highlighting the service of a nearly unknown government commission, Conner rightly reveals to his fellow Americans that the duty to remember our fallen fellow citizens is never complete. In a time such as ours, which seems bent on erasing everything from history that it finds distasteful, the work of recalling an honorable past is more vital than ever. -- American Spectator

A beautifully rendered and meticulously researched history of the American Battle Monuments Commission. For those interested in the history of the memorialization of America’s fallen, this is the perfect book—a significant contribution to the history of memory and what happens to the dead after the guns fall silent. -- Peter Mansoor, Colonel, US Army (Ret.), and CNN military analyst

The author has taken on a project that no one else has attempted, and has done so on the basis of extremely extensive research in relevant archives, publications, and personal papers deposited in widely separated locations. This well-written book will be of interest for readers in many decades to come. -- Gerhard L. Weinberg, author of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

Professor Thomas Conner has written a much needed and fascinating study of the history and practice of the American Battle Monuments Commission. It is the first scholarly and widely accessible account of a singular effort to honor the American dead who have fallen overseas. Conner’s scholarship is impeccable. His gratitude both to the dead and those who have honored them is moving. And his prose is engaging. We are fortunate that our first book on the ABMC has been entrusted to such an distinguished and learned scholar. -- Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Second World Wars