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Jonathan Parshall, Anthony Tully. Shattered Sword: The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway.

Excellent book about Midway and some new perspectives on that battle.

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The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.'
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Age Quod Agis
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^^^^This one, along with the Definitive Guadalcanal book reference earlier, the Trilogy of the european war written by Rick Atkinson and the Ian Toll books, Pacific Crucible and Fleet at Flood Tide.

All are modern scholarship, and draw much more heavily on Japanese sources than earlier works were able to do. In addition, these books eschew much of the triumphalism of earlier books, and are less likely to take the word of some of the participants at face value. These books benefit from the time that has elapsed between the events that they record, and today. Good reads all.

This is not to say that earlier books such as The Rising Sun, and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich aren't good. They are. But they tend to be kind of one sided, and don't highlight the mistakes that the US and Allies made, and the challenges they faced, and still overcame, to be victorious.

"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012

"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."

Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
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Not about the military aspect of WWII, but Making of The Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes is fascinating.

It covers in tremendous detail the science leading up to the development of the bomb, the development itself, the use of the bombs and the aftermath.

Phone's ringing, Dude.
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Trading with the Enemy
By, Charles Higham

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If you're gonna be a
bear, be a Grizzly!
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One of my favorites was a book of cartoons by Bill Mauldin. I don't remember the name, but after looking at covers on Amazon, I believe it was Bill Mauldin's Army.

Here's to the sunny slopes of long ago.
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"Those Devils in Baggy Pants" by Ross S.Carter.

I believe it was written in 1948. Carter describes his wartime experiences as a member of the 101st Airborne.

Many of the soldiers in his narrative have nicknames. The author did this so his mother would not know how dangerous his WWII exploits were.

The character generally accepted to be Carter is "The Arab". At one time this book was required
reading for all airborne candidates at Ft. Benning.

I first read this book well over 60 years ago. It's as good a tale of combat in the ETO as those written by Leckie and Sledge about the Pacific.

"I have resolved to fight as long as Marse Robert has a corporal's guard, or until he says give up. He is the man I shall follow or die in the attempt."

Feb. 27, 1865 Letter by Sgt. Henry P. Fortson 'B' Co. 31st GA Vol. Inf.
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The memoir of General Omar Bradley - "A Soldier's Story". Great read, one of the books which the movie "Patton" was based on.
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"The Forgotten Soldier". Great true story of a young Alsacian (sp?) teen that gets drafted into the German army and sent to the Russian front.

clarior hinc honos.
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For an overview of the entire war from the standpoint of economic production, relative strengths and weaknesses of each of the major powers, and perspective of who won and who lost, I recommend Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars.
Agree with the Rick Atkinson trilogy for lots of details on what the GI’s went through.

“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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I have enjoyed any of Stephen Ambrose's books, but here are a few others:

Descent into Darkness, Pearl Harbor, 1941: The True Story of a Navy Diver (great book on the Salvage divers right after the attack)

Back Home - Bill Mauldin (great read for "after the war")

Operation Drumbeat – Michael Gannon (must read for the U-boat war)

Hells Angels - Jay A Stout (not bad regarding the air war in Europe with B-17's)

There was also one other book on the B-24 squadrons in the pacific, cant think of the name, but a great book on that topic
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Originally posted by corsair:
Originally posted by TheGreatGonzo:
I have read, and very much enjoyed, "The Fleet at Flood Tide". I have not read James D. Hornfischer's other books, but "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" certainly seems to be a recurring recommendation.

Can't recommend Neptune's Inferno enough. While the Pearl Harbor attack and Battle at Midway were pivotal points of the war, Guadalcanal is where the Navy learned it's lessons. Lots of detail and insight to what shaped the Navy into the force it is today.
"A masterpiece of 20th-century naval history." --Bob Shacochis, National Book Award-winning author of The Immaculate Invasion

"The star of this year's reading list is James D. Hornfischer, a military historian whose flair for narrative is rivaled only by his ability to organize the sweep of battle and assess strategy and tactics in layman's terms." --Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Battle of Guadalcanal has long been heralded as a Marine victory. Now, with his powerful portrait of the Navy's sacrifice, James D. Hornfischer tells for the first time the full story of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers, and battleships in the narrow, deadly waters of "Ironbottom Sound." Here, in stunning cinematic detail, are the seven major naval actions that began in August 1942, a time when the war seemed unwinnable and America fought on a shoestring, with the outcome always in doubt. Working from new interviews with survivors, unpublished eyewitness accounts, and newly available documents, Hornfischer paints a vivid picture of the officers and enlisted men who opposed the Japanese in America's hour of need. The first major work on this subject in almost two decades, Neptune's Inferno does what all great battle narratives do: It tells the gripping human stories behind the momentous events and critical decisions that altered the course of history and shaped so many lives.

This was recently re-released. A one hour audio with the author discussing Neptune's Inferno on Midrat's (podcast about the Navy)
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Really excellent suggestions in this thread. There are a few I haven't read yet - looking forward to correcting that!

Here are a few off the beaten path that I really enjoyed:

The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic Bomb
Incredible story of a special ops mission - amazing it was able to be planned and carried out.

The Forgotten Soldier: The Classic WWII Autobiography
Written by a German soldier who served on the Russian front.

We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance
Amazing story of survival and evasion - wouldn't believe it if it was fiction.

The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis
The Lipizzaner breed was almost wiped out in WWII and would have been if not for this mission to save them.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
- John Adams
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There have been some excellent recommendations given covering all aspects of WW2. Here are a few more; John Toland's "Battle: The Story of the Bulge," love James Hornfischer's books on Naval battles in the Pacific and on the Eastern Front check out Jason Mark's "Island of Fire" which covers the fight for the Barrikady Factory in Stalingrad. Also check out the works of Charles McDonald, Cornelius Ryan, John McManus, and Joseph Balkoski.
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On my list next I have:

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

The Forgotten Highlander: My Incredible Story of Survival During the War in the Far East

Train how you intend to Fight

Remember - Training is not sparring. Sparring is not fighting. Fighting is not combat.
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Eschew Obfuscation
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Originally posted by mcrimm:
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors was a great read.

I'm just finishing this book. It is excellent.


NRA Endowment Life Member; ISRA Member

“The Left want to be our shepherds. But that requires us to be sheep.” ― Thomas Sowell
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The Liberation Trilogy, by Rick Atkinson:
- An Army At Dawn
- The Day Of Battle
- The Guns At Last Light

A detailed, yet entertaining account of the US Army ops in the ETO.

Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor, by James Scott. Again, very detailed, but entertaining account of the raid. I thought I knew a lot about this particular subject, but learned a great deal. The book was so well written, it inspired me to read another book by the same author . . .

The War Below: The Story of Three Submarines That Battled Japan, by James Scott. I only read it because the previously mentioned book so well done. Prior to reading this, on a scale of 1 to 10 my interest in submarines was about maybe slightly above 1. It was such a great book I'm currently looking for more books on the subject.

The Men Who Killed The Luftwaffe, by Jay Stout. A great book that details both the problems and successes of the USAAF in WWII. Again, a topic I though I knew very well, but again learned many things about what really happened.

"He was never hindered by any dogma, except the Constitution." - Ty Ross speaking of his grandfather General Barry Goldwater

"War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want." - William Tecumseh Sherman
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