STEPHEN AMBROSE Biography - Military related figures


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Name: Stephen Ambrose                                                                 
Stephen Edward Ambrose (January 10, 1936 - October 13, 2002) was an American         
historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard M.         
Nixon. He received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.       
Ambrose was born in Lovington, Illinois, and reared in Whitewater, Wisconsin,         
having graduated from Whitewater High School. His family also owned a farm in         
Lovington, Illinois.                                                                 
Ambrose served as a professor of history at several universities from 1960 until     
his retirement in 1995, having spent the bulk of his time at the University of       
New Orleans. For the academic year 1969-70, he was Ernest J. King Professor of       
Maritime History at the Naval War College. In 1970, he was driven from his           
position at Kansas State University in Manhattan after having heckled President       
Nixon during a speech that the president gave on the KSU campus. He also taught       
at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.                                         
Early in his career, Ambrose was mentored by World War II historian Forrest           
Pogue. He was the author of several bestselling books about the war, including D-Day, 
Citizen Soldiers and The Victors. Other major books include Undaunted Courage,       
about Lewis and Clark, and Nothing Like It in the World, about the construction       
of the Transcontinental Railroad. He was the founder of the Eisenhower Center         
and President of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. He       
was the military adviser on the movie Saving Private Ryan and was an executive       
producer on the television mini-series that was based on his book, Band of           
Eisenhower chose Ambrose as his biographer after admiring his work on Halleck:       
Lincoln's Chief of Staff, which was based on his doctoral dissertation. The           
resulting Eisenhower biographies were generally enthusiastic, but contained many     
criticisms of the former commander in chief.                                         
Ambrose also wrote a highly regarded three-volume biography of Richard Nixon,         
also generally positive, but his Band of Brothers (1993) and D-Day (1994), about     
the lives and fates of individual soldiers in the World War II invasion,             
catapulted him out of the ranks of academic history and into mainstream American     
culture. The mini-series 'Band of Brothers' (2001) lionized American troops and       
helped sustain the fresh interest in WWII that was stimulated by the 50th             
anniversary of D-Day in 1994, and the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004.             
Interestingly, Ambrose has received criticism from American veterans. Veterans       
of troop carrier units that transported paratroopers in the American airborne         
landings in Normandy have severely criticized Ambrose for portraying them as         
unqualified and craven in several of his works, including Band of Brothers and D-Day, 
and for characterizing them as "cranks" when they asked that he change the           
passages. Mark Bando, a published historian of the 101st Airborne in World           
War II, maintains a Web site ("Trigger Time") that while often praising Ambrose,     
also notes numerous discrepancies and some apparent fabrications, many of which       
have disturbed other veterans of the 101st.                                           
It is said that Ambrose organized his entire family into a sort of "history           
factory" and began turning out popular books of history like The Wild Blue. In       
2002, Ambrose was accused of plagiarizing several passages which he footnoted         
but did not enclose in the customary quotation marks.                                 
Ambrose also appeared as a historian in the landmark television history of World     
War II, The World at War.                                                             
In 1995, Ambrose urged that retired General Colin Powell seek the presidency.         
The historian said that he would back Powell on either major party ticket.           
Powell declined to seek the presidency.                                               
Ambrose, a longtime smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2002. The         
condition deteriorated rapidly, and six months after the diagnosis he died at         
the age of 66, leaving behind his wife Moira and children Andy, Barry and Hugh,       
Grace and Stephenie. Later that year, Ambrose was posthumously awarded the           
Theodore Roosevelt Medal for Distinguished Public Service from the Theodore           
Roosevelt Association.