|Official Space Nerd|
The 3 above were written by Martin Caiden. Thunderbolt deals with Robert S Johnson, the first US flyer to surpass Eddie Rickenbacker's WWI kill score in Europe. The last two are more or less histories of the development and war service of the P-38 and B-17. They deal heavily with the combat theaters where they were used and combat experiences of the crews.
Zero - I think Caiden. Same as above but for the Zero fighter
Samurai by Suburo Sakai about the highest scoring Japanese ace to survive the war.
The First Heroes, by Craig Nelson. The best WWII book I've ever read. Doolittle Raid.
I Could Never Be So Lucky Again - Doolittle's biography.
30 Seconds over Tokyo - Ted Lawson - Doolittle Raid pilot
At Dawn We Slept - Pearl Harbor
Miracle at Midway
War Fish - WWII sub book by George Grider
Clear the Bridge - Richard O'Kane's war service on two of the most famous boats of the war - USS Wahoo and Tang
A Higher Call - Adam Makos
The First and the Last - Adolf Galland's war memoirs
Band of Brothers - Stephen Ambrose
Hiroshima by John Hersey
Flyboys - James Bradley
Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors
Japanese Destroyer Captain - Tameichi Hara (hard to find, but it's a remarkable read from an amazing perspective)
The Greatest Raid of All - tells of the St Nazaire raid
Wings of Victory
Challenge for the Pacific - battle of Guadalcanal
South Pacific Destroyer
The Big E - story of the Enterprise
Day of Infamy - Walter Lord - Pearl Harbor
The Other Side of Infamy - Jim Downing - I met this guy several months ago - he's a 103-yr old Pearl Harbor veteran
Wings of Victory - tells the story of the Army Air Corps leading up to and during WWII
Fighter Pilot - Robin Olds - mainly his biography, but has some good stuff from WWII
Carrier Clash - tells about carrier ops in the Pacific
No arsenal is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
Anything about or written by Maj. Richard D. Winters.
"If you’re a leader, you lead the way. Not just on the easy ones; you take the tough ones too…” – MAJ Richard D. Winters (1918-2011), E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil... Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel." - Isaiah 5:20,24
|Just because you can, |
doesn't mean you should
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich isn't so much about particular battles but is a must read to understand how Germany developed into the force they were from defeat in WW1.
Eugene Sledges' With The old Breed, about Marines in the Pacific and Sledges' experiences in particular.
Clear the Bridge is his autobiography. It is a little rough.
"The Bravest Man: Richard O'Kane and the Amazing Submarine Adventures of the USS Tang " is also good.
If you have not heard of him, you should. He led more attacks on Japanese ships, sank more of them, and rescued more shot down US airmen from the water than any other submarine captain in WWII.
He may be among the most decorated - CMOH, 3 Navy Crosses, 3 Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit with V, Navy Commendation with V, and the Purple Heart
NRA Life Member - "Fear God and Dreadnaught"
"Fire in the Sky" by Eric Bergerud covers the air war in the South Pacific. I saw the P-47 mentioned in another post. Here's a pilot's quote from this book, "our evasive action in combat was to dive until you saw 500mph...and you could be sure there was no one behind you any longer."
Thanks for all the suggestions Gentlemen.
I will be hitting up Amazon for some of these!
Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
|Fourth line skater|
The last one I read was Patton, Montgomery, Rommel. By Terry Brighton. Not earth shattering but informative.
She's into malakas, Dino!
"A Higher Call" was excellent. The perspective of a German fighter pilot was amazing.
|Official Space Nerd|
That book was truly excellent, on numerous levels.
I have read literally hundreds of books on WWII over the past 40 years. I forgot the names of most of them. I like to think I know a great deal about how the air war worked, but this book was written from a perspective that was incredibly rare and valuable.
If you can only read 10 WWII books, make this one of them.
It gives an amazing view into the workings and mentality of the WWII Luftwaffe, from a guy who interacted with some of the most amazing personalities of the war (Galland and the men of the famous JV44, just to name a few).
The author also gives insight into the thoughts and mentality of the German pilots going up day after day against increasingly impossible odds, and describes what motivated them to keep going on what many would consider suicide missions.
It also shows, quite uniquely in my reading experience, the sheer nobility of our humanity that transcends politics and wars. It shows a man risking EVERYTHING by breaking his rules, and committing an unexcusable act of treason; simply because it was the humane thing to do. The vast scope of atrocities and horrors of WWII simply make this act of mercy and humanity even more impressive.
I can't put into words how this book touched me on a deep personal level. . .
No arsenal is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
|Armed and Gregarious|
I just finished reading The War Below by James Scott, which is about submarine warfare during WWII. I've never really been much interested in that topic, but I had recently read, Target Tokyo, also by James Scott, and that was so well done I though I'd give the sub book a try. Just like Target Tokyo the The War Below was excellent.
Some others that are also very good:
- The Rick Atkinson trilogy about the US operations in the ETO; An Army At Dawn, The Day of Battle, and The Guns At Last Light.
- The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer (be warned it's VERY long).
- Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
- Brothers, Victors, Rivals: Eishenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Relationship that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe by Jonathan Jordan
- Masters of the Air by Donald Miller
- Freedom Flyers by J. Todd Moye
- The Wild Blue by Stephen Ambrose
- The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of The Men Who Risked All for Greatest Rescue Mission of WWII by Gregory Freeman
Also, while not exclusively about WWII, I'd also recommend Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds, and The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight by Winston Groom (of Forest Gump fame). While the Doolittle impact on WWII was obvious to me, The Aviators also discusses the huge contribution Rickenbacker and Lindbergh made during WWII, which is something I was unaware of prior to reading the book.
"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
|There is a world elsewhere|
I forgot to include a few:
The Myth of Blitzkrieg by John Mosier. He is a Professor of English who is a newcomer to military history. I think he misses on some points, but he has a different perspective.
The Seeds of Disaster by Robert Doughty. Doughty was the chairman of the Military History Dept. at West Point. The book is about the organization and doctrine of the French Army and how it failed miserably during the German invasion of 1940.
Doughty also wrote another book, specifically about the Sedan and the collapse of the Allied defenses in France. The Breaking Point: Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940.
Another great book, and very detailed, is The Blitzkrieg Legend by Karl-Heinz Frieser. It is about how way, WAY too much has been read into the whole concept of Blitzkrieg thru the Sedan and how it was more accident, than design.
I have to put in another plug, David Glantz's books on the Red Army.
When the Soviet War archives opened up, Glantz dived into it with relish. What he and others did was restore some balance to the historiography of WW2 Eastern Front. For the 50 years prior to that, WWII history was dominated by revisionist, Germanophiles who simply swallowed whatever the Krauts were dishing out.
and here's a Youtube video by Glantz discussing some of those myths
A well balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed.
Oh, and Hans-Ulrich Rudel's autobiographical "Stuka Pilot" is also quite good.
This message has been edited. Last edited by: JD83,
|I run trains!|
Like others here I have read an untold number of books recounting the history of WWII. This one in particular always stuck with me. Something about the heroic actions of men that knew they had literally no chance at surviving a prolonged engagement. Yet it was that spirit that ultimately saved the day.
Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view.
|Almost as Fast as a Speeding Bullet|
I'll add one that I haven't seen yet.
Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Parshall and Tully
It is spendy, but the authors actually went to Imperial Japanese Navy archives to get a slightly different take on the battle. They realized that most all history written about the Japanese side of things came from one single source (Adm. Mitsuo Fuchida's book), and that source had its own significant biases. Using the navy sources they were able to look at actual Japanese strategy, tactics, and procedures that would have been in place before and during the battle.
It in no way takes away from the outstanding victory. It does however take on a number of myths that have grown over the years and looks at the the actual realities of what happened after the battle and what would have happened if we lost.
Aeronautics confers beauty and grandeur, combining art and science for those who devote themselves to it. . . . The aeronaut, free in space, sailing in the infinite, loses himself in the immense undulations of nature. He climbs, he rises, he soars, he reigns, he hurtles the proud vault of the azure sky. — Georges Besançon
May I recommend On to Berlin, by Jumpin' Jim Gaven, who commanded the 82nd Airborne Division through most of WWII?
|Honor and Integrity|
The Forgotten 500 by Gregory Freeman
Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley
|186,000 miles per second.|
It's the law.
Currahee!: A Screaming Eagle at Normandy
I'd like to recommend also an excellent biography of Gavin: "Paratrooper:The Life of Gen. James M. Gavin"by T. Michael Booth and Duncan Spencer.
Here's a short review of the book I wrote on another forum:
This now out-of-print book(copyright1994)by T. Michael Booth(a former paratrooper)and Duncan Spencer is well worth searching for online or in used book stores. The book is inspirational because Gavin’s life is inspirational. For those not familiar with his background Gavin had a very difficult youth-a youth that might have broken a weaker individual.
He never knew his real parents-probably born illegitimate to a poor Irish immigrant woman(as an adult he spent much time and money trying to locate her)Gavin was raised by foster parents in a Pennsylvania coal town. He and his foster mother shared a mutual hatred and his defiance of her and the life she expected him to follow(coal mining)was one of the early experiences that forged his character-for the better.
His escape from her and the coal town was the Army. He took to it like a duck to water. Stationed in Panama, he stood out, was noticed and was appreciated; he made corporal at age 17(he lied about his age to get into the Army). One of his superiors encouraged him try for West Point, he did so and was admitted in 1925(again fibbing about his age to cover his lack of a high school diploma), graduating in 1929.
Gavin’s rise in the Army, his role as an Airborne pioneer and subsequent actions in the ETO for which he is famous for is chronicled by the authors in superb narrative historical writing-if you enjoy and appreciate Rick Atkinson’s writing, you will really enjoy this book also. The authors never lose sight of what a truly remarkable and unique individual Gavin was: a warrior general, a maverick, outspoken and abrasive toward a rigid military establishment, a man that struggled to find his place and calling in a peacetime Army and somewhat surprisingly, an early critic of the Vietnam War. Here is an excerpt from the chapter dealing with Gavin and the 82nd’s role in the Ardennes Offensive(p. 286) :
"When the two divisions, the 101st and the 82nd had first been deployed……A spur-of-the-moment decision had sent the 101st to Bastogne and there, cut off and encircled, the Screaming Eagles became immortalized by the press…..while the 82nd’s desperate duel with three panzer divisions to hold the northern shoulder of the Bulge had gone unnoticed. The surrounded 101st became America’s heroes for its energetic defense….and for the war’s most famous messages: “Nuts!” Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe’s answer when asked to surrender the city…..If the Bastogne story needed any more glamour, that was supplied by the attack from the south by the flamboyant Patton and his legendary drive to reinforce the defenders.
Yet, many students of the battle conclude that it was the tough and unglamorous action of units like the 82nd at the shoulders of the break that destroyed the German plan. Time and the maps of the battle, which show the Bulge reaching its greatest extent to the south, have caused many to forget that the Germans were trying to push north. It was their failure to crack the northern shoulder that caused the Germans to fail in their thrust for the Meuse bridges and Antwerp, forcing them southward.
The significance of the part played by the 82nd was that Gavin’s force, in an emergency, was thrown into a role for which it was in no way trained or equipped, with no armor, no effective tank defenses except captured Panzerfausts, and little artillery. Yet the 82nd had dramatically outfought the enemy. They had withstood the assault of four of von Rundstedt’s best remaining divisions and wrecked the northernmost and quickest German route to Antwerp".
(Link to the post here)
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