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Have Camera - Will Travel
Wire Gonzo, Far Bombay
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Would folks be so kind as to recommend to me their favorite WWII books (and a few words as to why they are their favorite would be appreciate as well). I'm primarily looking for non-fiction, but if there is a WWII based fiction novel that you love, I'm certainly open to hearing about it as well. Thanks in advance.


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A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.-Robert A. Heinlein
 
Posts: 3041 | Registered: February 19, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"Abandon Ship! - The Saga of the USS Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster," by Richard Newcomb.

https://www.amazon.com/Abandon...reatest+Sea+Disaster

It's an incredible story of survival, bungling (the Navy never knew the ship was missing), and an odd court-martial that included the submarine skipper as a witness. There are other books on the topic, I just happen to have this one.

Shameless plug: PBS program on this very topic is on tonight.

http://sigforum.com/eve/forums...0601935/m/1730004154
 
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Fighting the good fight
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Anything by Anthony Beevor.
 
Posts: 22935 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Anything by Anthony Beevor.


He's very good. I'm fascinated by the fall of Berlin and all of the chaos that went with it. I personally have read "Race for the Reichtag" (by a fellow with LN of Tisler) several times.
 
Posts: 2604 | Location: Alexandria, VA | Registered: March 07, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Novice Elk Harvester
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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

It's a longer book, but really does a good job at illustrating what happened before, during, and after the fall.

Masters of the Air

If you like aviation, you'll really like this one!


"SUCCESS only comes before WORK in the dictionary"
 
Posts: 392 | Location: Kitsap Peninsula, WA | Registered: July 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Crusty old
curmudgeon
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"The Rising Sun" by John Toland is a great chronicle of Japans rise and fall from 1936 to 1945. Very well researched and narrated.

Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" are fictional novels that are based on actual events during WWII. Easy and very readable. The mini series based on these books is worth a watch as well.

Jim

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jimbo54,


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Posts: 7777 | Location: The right side of Washington State | Registered: September 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Legalize the Constitution
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The Liberation Trilogy from Rick Atkinson. All three are good.

I guess you want “why.” Because the author breaks down the story of the liberation of Europe with great detail, covering first the War in North Africa. “An Army at Dawn” is Atkinson’s description of the American Army in the earliest months of our country’s entry into WWII. Neither our weapons of war, or our leadership was sorted out.

The second book is the campaign for Sicily and Italy, and the final book covers D-Day to Germany’s surrender.


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Posts: 8724 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: January 10, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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With the old breed - E.B. Sledge

Helmet for my pillow - Robert Leckie

Two very well written first hand accounts of the pacific theater.
 
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Fighting the good fight
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quote:
Originally posted by TMats:
The Liberation Trilogy from Rick Atkinson. All three are good.

I guess you want “why.” Because the author breaks down the story of the liberation of Europe with great detail, covering first the War in North Africa. “An Army at Dawn” is Atkinson’s description of the American Army in the earliest months of our country’s entry into WWII. Neither our weapons of war, or our leadership was sorted out.

The second book is the campaign for Sicily and Italy, and the final book covers D-Day to Germany’s surrender.


Agreed. Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy is the best (and most current) option for a complete overview of the US Army's involvement in the MTO/ETO.

(And the audiobooks are very well done, if that's your thing.)

quote:
Originally posted by nukeandpave:
With the old breed - E.B. Sledge

Helmet for my pillow - Robert Leckie

Two very well written first hand accounts of the pacific theater.


Required reading for PTO entusiasts and students of WW2 history. I slightly prefer Sledge to Leckie, although Leckie's writing style is superior (naturally... he was a writer while Sledge wasn't).

And again, the audiobooks are extremely well done. They're read by the same two actors who played Sledge and Leckie in HBO's "The Pacific" miniseries.


Another WW2 biography I enjoyed was "And No Birds Sang" by Farley Mowat. A famous and prolific Canadian writer who mainly wrote about nature, he also wrote a memoir of his time serving as a Canadian officer in Italy during WW2.


As for WW2 historical fiction, I can recommend Steven Pressfield's "Killing Rommel", about the British Long Range Desert Group. All of Pressfield's historical fiction books are outstanding, but most are set in Ancient Greece, including his most famous book "Gates of Fire" which is required reading in warfare courses at Annapolis, West Point, and Quantico.
 
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The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors was a great read.

I served in the engineering area of a ship slightly larger than the infamous tin cans. We were 563' long and I can relate to the bravery and sacrifice these sailors made.

RIP
Mike



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Posts: 1896 | Location: Kalispell Montana & Florida’s Emerald Coast for the Winter | Registered: December 24, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I prefer reading more about small scale actions rather than "the big picture". Stephen Ambrose's Pegasus Bridge is one I've always recommended. Band of Brothers is also very good, though not as 'intimate'. Lastly, Currahee! A Screaming Eagle at Normandy is Donald Burgett's recollections of his 5-6th of June, 1944. Not as well written, IMHO, but interesting.


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If you're interested in reading how America started taking back the Pacific from Japan then I recommend Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle by Richard B. Frank.

I thoroughly enjoyed it as it is rich in detail and presents the battle from both sides. I found it very informative.

book here


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quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Anything by Anthony Beevor.


This was my first thought when seeing the thread title.
I've read 5 of his books and all have great from start to finish. I like how he writes about army and division placements,etc., but also gets down to the everyday experiences of the soldiers and civilians

"Stalingrad" is fantastic. I got emotional at times reading this. Same for "The Fall of Berlin 1945."

nukeandpave's recommendations are excellent too.

WW2 history is a very broad subject with tons of good books written about it.

If you want to be overwhelmed (in a good way Smile ) with choices, go to www.pen-and-sword.co.uk for WW2 history publications. It's dedicated to all kinds of military history publications for sale.
 
Posts: 576 | Location: SC, USA | Registered: October 09, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sixty Days that Shock the West
The Fall of France:1940
Jaques Beniost-Mecbin 1956.

== Interesting read on the political situation.

The Battle of The Atlantic
Jonathan Dimbleyby 2016

== In the end of the book, you'll understand why Atlee and Labour defeated Churchill and Tories in May/June of 1945.

Instuments of Darkness
The History of Electronic Warfare 1939-1945
Alfred Pierce PhD. 1967 (I have the 2017 USNI print)

== Great read if you're in to electronic warfare. Those on the inside know about the current issues in fighting a modern war with denial of the electro-magnetic spectrum for the 4 C's.

The Blitzkrieg Legend
The 1940 Campaign in the West
Karl-Heinz Friseur 1996 2nd edition

== Highly recommended. 1940 campaign is an interesting study in disobeying new orders and sticking to the original mission orders. Had the panzer commanders done so 15KM out side of Dunkirk, days before the Brits arrived to occupy it? Plus, a french general in table top war-game in '38 predicted the schwerpunkt of the German attach thru the Ardennes, indicting it would take60 hours to break thru. He was wrong. The Wehrmacht did it in 56 hours.

I'd add God is my Co-Pilot
Col. Robert L. Scott, jr. Bluebook 1944 edition

== first english language book I recall reader here at are 10; and 46 years later my original comprehension effort proved excellent. What's cool about this book is 2 fold. One,it's an account written and published during war itself. 2, it takes place in the China-India-Burma theater of operation 1942/1943.

I have more, but this is enough.

Oh, read the Great Escape by Paul Brickhill. Read the book before I ever saw the movie.


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It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.

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Thank you to each and every one of you for taking the time to make suggestions. Some I've read; some I'm familiar with; and some are brand new to me. I knew I could count on finding some gold in the Sigforum river.


_________________________

Sometimes good people have to do bad things to bad people to prevent bad people from doing bad things to good people.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.-Robert A. Heinlein
 
Posts: 3041 | Registered: February 19, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by nukeandpave:
With the old breed - E.B. Sledge

Helmet for my pillow - Robert Leckie

Two very well written first hand accounts of the pacific theater.


These and all Ernie Pyle books, Ambrose works are good and I’ll look at my aviation books and post again later
 
Posts: 1650 | Location: Alpharetta, GA | Registered: September 30, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by mcrimm:
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors was a great read.

I served in the engineering area of a ship slightly larger than the infamous tin cans. We were 563' long and I can relate to the bravery and sacrifice these sailors made.

RIP
Mike

I’m reading it now and it is very good. I also liked ‘Pacific Crucible’ by Ian Toll.

I read Atkinson’s trilogy and it is very good also.

But, ‘With the Old Breed’ is not just an excellent book, it is one of the best and most powerful books I’ve ever read.


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Just because you can,
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With The Old Breed by Sledge and Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer are standouts to me.
There are lots of others that are close behind.

Sledges book is a close up first hand account of the miserable conditions and brutal combat in the pacific.

Rise and Fall is an excellent account of the Nazi party and Hitler's rise to power and exactly how he pulled it off.
 
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70,000 to One

Read it in my teens, and it was both more personal and courageous than the general or theater histories.
 
Posts: 389 | Location: Alaska | Registered: September 29, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
goodheart
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I’d like to second what CoolRich59 wrote:
Atkinson’s trilogy is excellent; it gives not just the overview, but many details of the lives of the GI’s in North Africa, Italy, and France.

But Sledge’s book hits with the force of a sledgehammer (pardons the expression) with its descriptions of life in the muck, slime, blood and corpses of friend and enemy alike. It’s just horrific to think about what those Marines went through.


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“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”--Adam Smith, born June 16, 1723
 
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