AUSA Book Author Wins Distinguished Writing Award
The Army Historical Foundation on 12 June announced the winners of their 2019 Distinguished Writing Awards. We are proud to relate that one of the AUSA Book Program titles was selected as the winner of the Biography category: Edward M. Almond and the US Army: From the 92nd Infantry Division to the X Corps, by Michael E. Lynch.
Lt. Gen. Edward “Ned” Almond commanded the 92nd Infantry Division in World War II and X Corps during the Inchon invasion in the Korean War. His bigoted views on race have long overshadowed his actions in the field. We sat down with Dr. Lynch to discuss his biography of this controversial figure:
AUSA: Congratulations on winning the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for the book. How is life different now that you’re an award-winning author?
Lynch: Nothing much has changed yet, but I hope this will encourage more people to read the book.
AUSA: Why did you select Edward Almond as the subject for a book?
Lynch: Ned Almond is one of those controversial people who is somewhat widely known yet had no definitive biography. Most of what has been repeated in other histories about Almond is both incorrect and repetitive. I thought it was important to find out the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say.
AUSA: Rick Atkinson noted that you examined Almond’s life with “scrupulous scholarship and an unsparing eye.” How do you analyze a man whose personal views were so repellent?
Lynch: Throughout the project, I kept asking myself why he deserved a biography. I concluded that what we think we know about Almond is really just a caricature. With little written about him before, I wanted to find out if reality matched the myth. If the myth was true, then I wanted to figure out what made him the way he was. I also approached him with no previous connection to him, so that helped me be a little more objective.
AUSA: What one thing would you like young people joining the Army today to know about Almond?
Lynch: Almond was not alone in his thoughts about the differences between races; they were shared by the bulk of the army officer core and in fact most of American society at the time. The world has changed quite a bit since Almond’s time, yet we still see racial problems today. But the other part of Almond’s story that I tried to bring out is his dedication to training and his firm belief in leaders knowing their jobs. If a junior leader were to take a positive example from Almond today, it would be to train well and check everything.
AUSA: Who would you like to write about for your next book?
Lynch: For biography, I don't know. I do enjoy reading biographies and I enjoyed writing one. I have been thinking about a different sort of project for a couple of years. We've seen a lot of books recently about the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War. I think I would like to write about the refugee relocation efforts immediately after the fall of Saigon that brought thousands of Vietnamese refugees to the United States. It's a great story, and one that has been largely forgotten.
To order a copy of Edward M. Almond and the US Army, please visit www.ausa.org/books.