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cape_royds
17 Jan 07,, 05:44
What are your favourite military memoirs?


Here's my list:


Among generals:

--U.S. Grant and W.T. Sherman both wrote superb memoirs which are very interesting. One can get a good appreciation of logistical factors from reading their account of campaigns.

--Field-Marshal Slim's Defeat into Victory is brilliant all-round.

--published parts of the diaries of Patton and Stilwell are quite interesting. If you enjoy sarcasm, Stilwell is a riot (and you can see why the authorities sent him off to spend the war on the other side of the world).

--Churchill's Their Finest Hour, although long a part of the canonical history of WWII, nevertheless offers a look from the position of a warlord at work, composed fairly soon after the events, and with surprisingly little apologia.

--Schwarzkopf's It Doesn't Take a Hero is well worth a read, and of course he made some telling remarks on the limited aims of the 1991 war.


Among non-generals:

--To read Hans von Luck, Panzer Commander, is an education in itself. Of particular note are the chapters covering his captivity in Georgia and Russia from 1945-50.

--Dimitri Loza's memoirs With the Red Army's Sherman Tanks and Fighting for the Soviet Motherland are rare looks at the Soviet experience. For more Soviet individual accounts, check out the "Russian Battlefield" site, www.iremember.ru (mixed quality, but interesting).

--T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom is often written for effect, but a lot of it still rings true to me.

--F.C. Hitchcock's Stand To is the best memoir of trench warfare I have read. A lot of details are related which I have found nowhere else.

--Robert Graves' Goodbye to All That is a classic, and along with Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, gives a good look at the effect of WWI on the British middle class.

--Orwell's Homage to Catalonia is another classic, with a good account of confused factional street-fighting in Barcelona, and an overall look at modern war waged in a underdeveloped country.

Kansas Bear
17 Jan 07,, 07:05
--T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom is often written for effect, but a lot of it still rings true to me.


An excellent read.

temujin77
17 Jan 07,, 17:21
Reminiscences by Douglas MacArthur

cape_royds
18 Jan 07,, 01:01
Here's one I forgot:

Florence Farmborough's Nurse at the Russian Front. An Englishwoman living in Moscow, who volunteered as a nurse in WWI, she gives a good account of the big retreats of 1915.

TopHatter
18 Jan 07,, 02:30
Reminiscences by Douglas MacArthur

You ought to try American Caesar by William Manchester...

...who also wrote his own World War II memoir Goodbye Darkness

Rifleman
18 Jan 07,, 04:35
From Generals:

On To Berlin by James M. Gavin


At the tactical level:

Beyond Band of Brothers by Richard Winters

Any of the Mobile Guerrilla Force/Blackjack mission accounts by James C. Donahue

The Marauders by Charlton Ogburn - Talk about a suckfest, the 5307th Composit Uinit (Provisional) endured a suckfest.

One of my all time favorites has to be War Story by Jim Morris. Here's a short exerpt. Morris, an SF officer, was assaulting a hill with a company of Nungs and an Australian advisor when he was shot in the left testicle.

"It was a slapping sting, really hard, and then it went numb. The thing, I think, that stopped me from pursuing this matter any further was something I had read, or heard somewhere, about your testicles being made up of thousands of feet of tiny filaments all rolled up in a ball in your scrotum. I got this rapid mental image of my scrotum being broken and all those filaments rolling out as I tried to charge on up that hill. I saw them thin as thread, pink and glittering, dragging down in the mud, and me charging the hill, stepping on them in my cleated jungle boots, stopping my own rapid charge with a jerk. Yes, I belive that mental image did it. I lost all interest in personally taking that hill at that moment."

And a few paragraphs later:

"We skinned down my pants for a look. It was very strange. The trousers were covered with blood, but they were not broken. Apparently the round had just plowed a furrow across my pants. If I'd been wearing jockey shorts it wouldn't have touched me at all. But as it was there was complete trauma and the scrotum was swollen and bruised black all over. It looked like a rather large eggplant covered with blond hair. My poor little penis, on the other hand, had shriveled almost to the point of disappearance. Another inch and it would have been concave."

Ouch!

temujin77
18 Jan 07,, 04:36
You ought to try American Caesar by William Manchester...

...who also wrote his own World War II memoir Goodbye Darkness

I read them both, American Caesar is one of the best biographies I've read. Manchester is just a wonderful writer. Goodbye Darkness is also another great piece of work. Matter of fact, I'm currently reading the Arms of Krupp, also by Manchester, which narrates the history of the the firm Fried. Krupp, which armed Germany through three wars; it's beautifully written just like all other works of Manchester's, while none of the historical details are sacrificed. I haven't written a review of it for my website ww2db.com yet, but I can already say I highly recommend this book.

TopHatter
19 Jan 07,, 01:56
Manchester is just a wonderful writer. Goodbye Darkness is also another great piece of work.Agreed, he is and it is.


Matter of fact, I'm currently reading the Arms of Krupp, also by ManchesterMy favorite Manchester book and one of my all-time favorites, period.
I've read and re-read it several times and never get tired of it.
His bone-dry sense of humor is hilarious if you appreciate that sort of thing (and I do).

I haven't written a review of it for my website ww2db.com yet, but I can already say I highly recommend this book.

Let me know when you do, I'd love to read it.

leib10
22 Jan 07,, 02:42
To read Hans von Luck, Panzer Commander, is an education in itself. Of particular note are the chapters covering his captivity in Georgia and Russia from 1945-50.

I'm rereading that one right now. Still one of my favorite memoirs of all time.