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Richard Wheeler

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Richard Wheeler is a Marine Corps veteran of the Pacific campaign.  As a Marine Corps Corporal, he “served in the rifle platoon under the heroic leadership of Major John Keith Wells and was a member of the rifle company that raised both flags on the summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.”  Richard “Dick” Wheeler is the author of A Special Valor; The Bloody Battle for Suribachi: The Amazing Story of Iwo Jima that Inspired Flags of Our Fathers; Iwo; Witness to Gettysburg; Gettysburg 1863: Campaign of Endless Echoes; Voices of the Civil War; and, Lee's Terrible Swift Sword: From Antietam to Chancellorsville: an Eyewitness History

 

A number of people have comment on The Bloody Battle for Suribachi: The Amazing Story of Iwo Jima that Inspired Flags of Our Fathers: Robert Lorenz, Producer, Flags of our Fathers, said, “It is perhaps the most descriptive and informative retelling of the flag-raising story that exists.”  James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys, said, “The best book on the battle for Mount Suribachi.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune remarked, “Grips the reader from the first paragraph…an outstanding piece of war literature.”

 

According to AudioFile, “Wheeler's well-written account of his experiences of the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 describes his platoon's blood-soaked journey from the landing beach to the summit of Mount Suribachi. There, they raised the first U.S. flag. The second raising has become the famous icon of the Marine Corps. This grunt's point of view shows the horror of combat, all the while describing the devotion this "band of brothers" had for each other. This production from the Naval Institute Press is yet another example of their high production standards. The recording is flawless, with a very competent reading by Hitchcock. His baritone voice goes well with the text and is never monotonous. He gives several of the men in the platoon distinct, credible accents, which help make this recording worth the listener's investment.”

According to the book description of A Special Valor, “If the U.S. Marines gave birth to a legend in the halls of Montezuma in the nineteenth century, they added glorious luster to it with their heroism and victories against the Japanese in World War II as this vivid, foxhole view of the Marines’ war clearly demonstrates. The author, a Marine veteran of the Pacific campaign himself, draws extensively on frontline eyewitness accounts of Marines and combat journalists and backs up their stories with official U.S. action reports and captured Japanese materials. First published in 1983, the book has earned praise as a popular, one-volume history of all the battles fought by the Marine Corps in the Pacific campaign.

 

Richard Wheeler describes in fascinating and exciting detail the heroic defense of Wake Island against an overwhelming enemy assault force. He traces the long bloody battle for Guadalcanal that brought the Marines their first victory and gave America and its allies control of the strategically important Solomon Islands. He follows the painful, island-by-island counterattack toward the Japanese homeland when the Marines created new legends at such places as Bougainville, Saipan, Tarawa, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Also included are the remarkable exploits of the Marines holding off Japanese assault waves at Heartbreak Ridge and struggling up the slopes of Mount Suribachi to raise the Stars and Stripes. Some sixty-five photographs enhance the text.”

Publisher’s Weekly said of Witness to Gettysburg, “The three-day battle of Gettysburg, generally regarded as the turning point of the Civil War, is described in these pages largely in the words of participants. The confrontation between General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and the Union army under General Meade took place in and around the town itself, and its citizens were much involved (extraordinarily, the only civilian fatality was a woman hit by a stray bullet in her kitchen). Wheeler has collected vivid accounts not only from veterans who wrote about it but from male and female townspeople (and outside observers), and presents this with the narrative skill displayed in Sword Over Richmond.

 

With a sure grasp of strategic nuances, he explains the overall campaign that began in the broadest sense when Lee talked Confederate President Davis into authorizing a second invasion of the North. The climactic battle itself is then described in a you-are-there way that renders this enormously complicated affair understandable to non-Civil War buffs.”

The Library Journal said of Lee's Terrible Swift Sword: From Antietam to Chancellorsville: an Eyewitness History, “This latest "eyewitness" history follows the formula of Witness to Appomattox ( LJ 4/1/89), Sword Over Richmond ( LJ 4/1/86), and the author's other previous Civil War books. Excerpts from participants' writings carry the story forward, while Wheeler provides connecting narrative. This volume covers the Confederacy's high tide in the East, from the bloody draw at Sharpsburg through the striking Southern victories at Fredricksburg, Second Manassas, and Chancellorsville. Unlike earlier books in the series, it contains enough maps to render the strategic and tactical situations understandable, although the episodic structure inherent in the organization sometimes obscures the big picture. Nonetheless, an exciting and well-told story with vivid characterizations--especially of such key leaders as Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and George McClellan--that enliven the narrative.”


A Special Valor: The U.S. Marines And the Pacific War (Bluejacket Books)
Richard Wheeler  More Info

The Bloody Battle for Suribachi: The Amazing Story of Iwo Jima that Inspired Flags of Our Fathers
Richard Wheeler  More Info

Witness to Gettysburg (Stackpole Military History Series)
Richard Wheeler  More Info

Gettysburg 1863: Campaign of Endless Echoes
Richard S. Wheeler  More Info

Voices of the Civil War (Meridian)
Richard Wheeler  More Info
Lee's Terrible Swift Sword: From Antietam to Chancellorsville: An Eyewitness History
Richard Wheeler  More Info

A reader of Iwo said, “As someone who reads a lot of military history, I have to say this book keeps you in the action! Written from the point of view of the Marines fighting on Iwo Jima and the Japanese defending it, you're kept in the heat of the battle. Richard Wheeler's graphic descriptions of death, life, and sometimes humor in this "10 Day operation" will amaze and shock readers into seeing why "uncommon valor was a common virtue". The book is not a grand strategic overview of all the forces in the operation.

 

It does give the reader a look at the preparations the Japanese made, the Army Air Corps' use for the island, and the maneuvers the various Marine divisions did, or tried to do. Also contained is a complete background on the famous flag raising. The book is really the story of the individual Marines and how they lived and fought on the island. Marine's names and backgrounds abound due to the author's first-hand knowledge. For anyone that saw Saving Private Ryan this is the Pacific version. A must read for anyone interested in the Pacific campaigns of World War II, the war in general, or the Marines.”

Publisher’s Weekly said of Gettysburg 1863: Campaign of Endless Echoes, “Although he sheds no new light on the well-known story of the Civil War's greatest battle, Wheeler (Voices of the Civil War) provides a generally reliable account of the altercation that ended the South's desperate attempt to win the war by invading Union territory. Still, Wheeler's brief narrative is no replacement for such classics as Bruce Catton's Gettysburg: The Final Fury, Harry Pfanz's more focused Gettysburg: The Second Day or Edwin Coddington's The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command. Serious students of the battle will find the absence of source notes frustratingAand even annoying in the case of long, unattributed direct quotes of dialogue supposedly uttered by key commanders in the field.

 

They will likewise find the extensive illustrations less than satisfying. The more than 100 line drawings in the book are drawn from heavily censored Northern publications of the period, such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly and Harper's. These provide a glamorized and highly sanitized visual record of the slaughter that will leave most readers yearning for the grim and bloody truth of the compelling images captured by Mathew Brady and other battlefield photographers. As a popular summary, Wheeler's book suffices, but readers need not settle for an adequate account of Gettysburg when there are so many superlative ones to choose from.”

Publisher’s Weekly said of Voices of the Civil War, “Eyewitness accounts from men and women who experienced the Civil War make up the narrative of this volume. It could hardly be better done. The extracts are without exception memorable. The story unfolds with immediacy and color, and the reader knows what it was like to march through the countryside and take part in this frightful carnage.”

© 2006 - 2009 Raymond E. Foster, Hi Tech Criminal Justice