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 Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Halleck: Lincoln's Chief of Staff
ISBN: 0807120715

LSU Press. 1996

“Halleck originates nothing, anticipates nothing, to assist others takes no responsibility, plans nothing, suggests nothing, is good for nothing.” Lincoln’s secretary of the navy Gideon Welles’s harsh words embody the stereotype into which Union General-in-Chief Henry Wager Halleck has been cast by most historians since Appomattox. In Halleck: Lincoln’s Chief of Staff, originally published in 1962, Stephen Ambrose challenges the standard interpretation of this controversial figure.

Ambrose argues persuasively that Halleck has been greatly underrated as a war theorist because of past writers’ failure to do justice to his close involvement with movements basic to the development of the American military establishment. He concedes that “by all the touchstones used to judge great captains of the past, Halleck was a failure,” but maintains he was nonetheless “the ‘Old Brains’ of the Union Army in the time of the testing of the nation.”

Upton and the Army
ISBN: 0807118508

LSU Press. 1993

Emory Upton (1839–1881) was “the epitome of a professional soldier,” according to Stephen E. Ambrose. Indeed, his entire adult life was devoted to the single-minded pursuit of a military career. Upton was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Fifth United States Artillery on May 6, 1861, the day of his graduation from the United States Military Academy, and by age twenty-five he had risen to the rank of major general. He distinguished himself in battles at Spotsylvania, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville, in Sheridan’s Shenan­doah Valley campaign, and in Wilson’s celebrated cavalry raid through Alabama and Georgia at the end of the war.

After the war, Upton traveled abroad as an observer for the army, an experience that resulted in his first book, The Armies of Asia and Europe. He also served as commandant of cadets at West Point and finally as commander of the Presidio in San Francisco. He was highly respected as a military tactician, and his Infantry Tactics became a widely used resource. Despite his successes, the ambitious Upton felt that his military talents were insufficiently recognized. His last book, The Military Policy of the United States, which advocated a number of sweeping changes in the organization of the American military system, went unpublished at his death by suicide in 1881. The book was finally published in 1904 at the urging of Elihu Root, Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary of war.

First published in 1964, Ambrose’s thorough and well-researched study of Emory Upton’s career has proven to be an important addition to American military history as well as to the history of the Civil War.

Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point
ISBN: 0801862930

Johns Hopkins University Press. 1999

This new paperback edition of Stephen E. Ambrose's highly regarded history of the United States Military Academy features the original foreword by Dwight D. Eisenhower and a new afterword by former West Point superintendent Andrew J. Goodpaster.

Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe (Norton Essays in American History)
ISBN: 0393320103

W. W. Norton & Company. 2000

In the final months of World War II, with the Allied forces streaming into Germany on two fronts, a major decision had to be made: where to draw a stop line to prevent an accidental clash between the Russian and the Anglo-American armies.

Behind this decision lay another. Whose forces would be the first to reach Berlin? General Dwight David Eisenhower, supreme commander of the British and American armies, chose to halt at the Elbe River and leave Berlin to the Red Army. Could he have beaten the Russians to Berlin? If so, why didn't he? If he had, would the Berlin question have arisen? Would Germany have been divided as it was? Would the Cold War have assumed a direction more favorable to the West? In a narrative of steady fascination, Stephen E. Ambrose describes both the political and the military aspects of the situation, sketches the key players, explains the alternatives, and considers the results. The result is a sharply focused light on an important question of the postwar world. This paperback edition features a new introduction by the author. Maps

The Supreme Commander: The War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhower
ISBN: 0307946622

Anchor. 2012

In this classic portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower the soldier, bestselling historian Stephen E. Ambrose examines the Allied commander’s leadership during World War II.

Ambrose brings Eisenhower’s experience of the Second World War to life, showing in vivid detail how the general’s skill as a diplomat and a military strategist contributed to Allied successes in North Africa and in Europe, and established him as one of the greatest military leaders in the world. Ambrose, then the Associate Editor of the General’s official papers, analyzes Eisenhower’s difficult military decisions and his often complicated relationships with powerful personalities like Churchill, de Gaulle, Roosevelt, and Patton. This is the definitive account of Eisenhower’s evolution as a military leader—from its dramatic beginnings through his time at the top post of Allied command.

Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors
ISBN: 0385479662

Anchor. 1996

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