John C. McManus

Award-Winning Professor, Author, and Military Historian

John C. McManus, Author, Professor of History, Historian

John C. McManus, Author and Professor of History

John C. McManus is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of U.S. military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T). This professorship is bestowed by the University of Missouri Board of Curators on the most outstanding scholars in the University of Missouri system. McManus is the first ever Missouri S&T faculty member in the humanities to be named Curators’ Distinguished Professor. As one of the nation’s leading military historians, and the author of fourteen well received books on the topic, he is in frequent demand as a speaker and expert commentator. In addition to dozens of local and national radio programs, he has appeared on Cnn.com, Fox News, C-Span, the Military Channel, the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, Netflix, the Smithsonian Network, the History Channel and PBS, among others. He also served as historical advisor for the bestselling book and documentary Salinger, the latter of which appeared nationwide in theaters and on PBS’s American Masters Series. During the 2018-2019 academic year, he was in residence at the U.S. Naval Academy as the Leo A. Shifrin Chair of Naval and Military History, a distinguished visiting professorship. His current project is a major three volume history of the U.S. Army in the Pacific/Asia theater during World War II. The first volume, Fire and Fortitude: The U.S. Army in the Pacific War, 1941-1943, received the Gilder-Lehrman Prize for Military History, the most prestigious literary award in the field. 

John C. McManus is a native of St. Louis. He attended the University of Missouri and earned a degree in sports journalism. After a brief stint in advertising and sports broadcasting, he embarked on a literary and academic career. He earned an M.A. in American history from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D in American history and military history from the University of Tennessee. He participated in the University of Tennessee’s Normandy Scholars program and, in the process, had an opportunity to study the battle first hand at the Normandy battlefields. At Tennessee he served as Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, where he helped oversee a major effort to collect the first hand stories of American veterans of World War II. Making extensive use of this material, as well as sources from many other archives, he published two important books, The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II in 1998, and Deadly Sky: The American Combat Airman in World War II in 2000. Shortly after the publication of Deadly Sky he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of U.S. Military History at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (at the time known as University of Missouri-Rolla) where he now teaches courses on the Civil War, World War II, Vietnam, American Military History, and the American Combat Experience in the 20th Century. He is on the editorial advisory board for World War II magazine and Global War Studies.

In 2004 he published a two volume series on the American role in the Battle of Normandy. The first book, The Americans at D-Day: The American Experience at the Normandy Invasion was released in June 2004. The second book, The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of 1944, the American War from the Beaches to Falaise was published in November 2004.

In 2007-2008 he published four new books. Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers who made the Defense of Bastogne Possible (John Wiley and Sons, March 2007) is a fast paced, graphic history of the desperate race for the key town of Bastogne in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge. The book won the Missouri Conference on History Best Book Award and NAL quickly acquired the paperback rights. The 7th Infantry: Combat in an Age of Terror, Korea through the Present, (TOR-Forge, May 2008) was the first of two gritty volumes covering the history of one of the U.S. Army’s most distinguished combat outfits. The second volume on the earlier part of the regiment’s history, American Courage, American Carnage: The 7th Infantry Regiment and the Story of America’s Combat Experience, 1812 through World War II (TOR-Forge) was published in 2008. In the fall of 2007, McManus published U.S. Military History for Dummies, (John Wiley and Sons), a lively, down-to-earth overview of the American military experience.

In 2010 Grunts: The American Infantry Combat Experience, World War II through Iraq, (NAL/Penguin), was released to rave reviews and wide acclaim. With well research chapters ranging from the Battles of Guam and Peleliu to urban combat at Aachen and Fallujah, to jungle and counterinsurgent warfare, including a chapter on the 7th Infantry in Iraq, this book examined the realities of modern American combat like no other before or since. The U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff named the book to the Army’s recommended professional reading list. In addition, the Army has also used Grunts as an important reading selection in the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.

He has since published three more highly acclaimed books: September Hope: The American Side of a Bridge Too Far; The Dead and Those About to Die, D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach; and Hell Before Their Very Eyes: American Soldiers Liberate Concentration Camps in Germany, April 1945.

Upcoming Events

  • Wed
    6:30 pmKansas City Public Library--Central Library
  • Thu
    12:00 pmDwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum, Abilene, KS
  • Sat
  • Wed
    National World War II Museum D-Day 75 Cruise, Normandy
  • Mon
    Normandy 75 Conference, Portsmouth University, UK
    Normandy 75: An International Conference

    Global War Studies, Brécourt Academic, and the University of Portsmouth Business School – in association with The D-Day Story and the Navy Records Society – are pleased to announce a major international conference marking the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Campaign.

    Normandy 75 brings together scholars, students, and the general public to explore this seminal event in detail, and promote an interdisciplinary and international study of the Normandy Campaign by drawing upon the latest scholarship from a variety of disciplines. The conference also serves as a forum for Second World War historians to discuss and debate the wide-ranging, international implications of the campaign and how it impacted other theatres – and aspects – of the conflict.

    The City of Portsmouth, and the adjacent areas of Gosport and Southsea, have a close association with the Normandy Campaign. In 1944, Portsmouth lay at the heart of a vast marshalling area for around 30,000 British and Canadian troops involved in the invasion. Many of these personnel embarked on the vessels that would carry them to Normandy at Portsmouth and nearby loading points, while hundreds of warships, landing craft, and other elements of the amphibious assault force gathered there before setting sail for France in early June.

    The massive Portsmouth naval dockyard provided critical construction, repair, and supply facilities for the maritime elements of the invasion force, and also played a significant role in the construction of components of the famous 'Mulberry Harbours'. Portsmouth was also close to the command and control centre for Operation Neptune, located at Southwick House, a few miles north-east of the city.

    In short, there is no place within the United Kingdom more suited as a venue for this important conference on one of the most significant events in 20th century military history.

    Monday 22 – Wednesday 24 July

    Keynote Speakers

    Richard B. Frank, "June 1944: Calendar of Triumph, Calendar of Tragedy"John C. McManus, "Foundations of a Superpower: The American Experience in Normandy"Marc Milner, "Normandy, Politics, and the Press"Julie Summers, "A Month in the Country: June 1944 on the Home Front"Geoffrey Till, "The Normandy Landings and their Antecedents"

    Thursday 25 July - The Air War for Normandy and the Liberation of Europe

    The Air Command and Staff College, as part of USAF Air University, Maxwell AFB Alabama, in association with the United States Air Force Academy and Brécourt Academic, are pleased to announce a special plenary session, "The Air War for Normandy and the Liberation of Europe."Featured participants in this special plenary event include:Dr. S. Mike Pavelec, Air Command and Staff CollegeDr. Mike Bechthold, Juno Beach Centre AssociationDr. Sebastian Lukasik, Air Command and Staff CollegeDr. Margaret Martin (Colonel, USAF), Chair, Dept. of History, U.S. Air Force AcademyDr. John C. McManus, Missouri University of Science and TechnologyDr. Donald K. Mitchener, University of North TexasDr. Heather Venable, Air Command and Staff CollegeDr. Russell Hart, Hawai'i Pacific University