The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry
Life in the Old Army, 1917-1942
Lucian K. Truscott, Jr.
In an age of nuclear deterrence, SDI, and laser technology, its easy to forget that that the horse soldier played a vital role in the American military until World War II. The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry describes life at the old cavalry posts and recaptures the spirit and pace of that time-honored tradition.
General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. (1895–1965) was, in the opinion of many, the most outstanding U.S. Army combat commander in World War II. He chronicled his wartime exploits in the celebrated Command Missions (1954), which focused on the harsh realities and strategies of battle. By contrast, The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry recounts the decidedly more tranquil lives of cavalrymen in a peacetime army.
“No part of the American military past can exceed in romantic appeal the history of the Army's old horse cavalry. Truscott writes about the era both lovingly and eloquently.”
—Russell F. Weigley in the Washington Post Book World
“Soldiers and scholars will enjoy this fascinating little book.”
—Journal of American HistorySee all reviews...
“This book is a refreshingly unpretentious and unsentimental narrative of a time when an inwardly turned Army struggled with the poignant realization that inevitable modernization meant the end of much that was comfortable and familiar. It is the story, not only of the passing of the cavalry, but of the Old Army.”
“This book is a ‘must’ for all cavalrymen of yesteryear as well as their lineal descendants of current day armored cavalry squadrons and regiments. It is also meaningful to historians interested in the secluded military society during the interwar period.”
—Journal of Military History
“Truscott has a good story to tell, and he tells it extremely well, capturing the flavor of life in the Army of his day.”
“Truscott’s nostalgic reminiscences are excellent and entertaining.”
“An incomparable introduction not only to the cavalry but also to the old Army by one of its most distinguished veterans, who also happens to be a very talented writer.”
—Edward M. Coffman, author of The War to End All Wars
“A personal view of a personal army. Truscott catches the spirit of the U.S. Cavalry, a spirit that survived the change of steeds.”
—Allan R. Millett, coauthor of For the Common Defense
“An immensely readable memoir of the Old Cavalry and of the old Army, too. General Truscott takes us back to a flourishing world that is now gone.”
—Martin Blumenson, editor of The Patton PapersSee fewer reviews...
In this warm, nostalgic work, Truscott recalls fondly both the romance and the hard work of cavalry life among the regiments at Camp Jones (Arizona), Schofield Barracks (Hawaii), Camp Marfa (Texas), Ft. Riley and Ft. Leavenworth (Kansas), Ft. Myer (Virginia), Ft. Knox (Kentucky), Ft. Lewis (Washington), and Ft. Bliss (Texas). He describes “the sea of canvas” at Camp Jones, cavalry drills and “saddle technology,” rigorous training, colorful commanding officers, cotillion balls, fierce polo and equestrian competitions, fabulous prairie rides, Arlington Cemetery funeral escorts, the tragic “Bonus March” by World War I vets demanding Depression relief, Ft. Knox gold trains, and the looming presence of mechanized armor.
Truscott’s special brand of deadpan humor is frequently in evidence. He relates comic episodes about the supply train that lost its way, the officers’ wives who tried to swing a local election, and Ft. Leavenworths scandalous “wife-swapping” incident.
An impressionistic recollection filled with valuable historical detail, The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry creates a rich and fascinating mosaic that will be treasured by historians and military buffs alike.