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Thread: Recommended WWII Readings

  1. #46
    Senior Contributor clackers's Avatar
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    Sir John Keegan called it "amongst the half-dozen most important books on 1939-45", marklv and said:

    "David Irving knows more than anyone alive about the German side of the Second World War. He discovers archives unknown to official historians and turns their contents into densely footnoted narratives that consistently provoke controversy... His greatest achievement is Hitler's War, which has been described as `the autobiography the Führer did not write' and is indispensable to anyone seeking to understand the war in the round."

    It's really entertaining, drawing on previously unreleased diaries and private correspondence of Rommel, Goebbels, Hitler's doctor and secretaries.

    But of course, Irving doesn't toe the line of Holocaust scholarship and has done Austrian prison time as a denier (amongst other things, he believes Himmler was the driver behind the Final Solution, and offered a cash reward if anyone could find written evidence Hitler authorized it).

    You can happily ignore this crap and concentrate on its amazing 'inside' version of the command decisions at the highest level on the Axis side. Hitler comes across as being obsessed with foreign/military policy, and surprisingly weak in domestic matters ... fools like Goering and Hess are tolerated for way too long ...

  2. #47
    Armchair Worrier Senior Contributor bolo121's Avatar
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    Have to say that although i detested the SOB his book on rommel was a great read.

  3. #48
    Senior Contributor clackers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolo121 View Post
    Have to say that although i detested the SOB his book on rommel was a great read.
    Yes, Bolo, he's hard to like, isn't he? (Irving that is, not Rommel!)

  4. #49
    Armchair Worrier Senior Contributor bolo121's Avatar
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    Yup....just could not believe that such an asswipe could write so well

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by clackers View Post
    Yes, Bolo, he's hard to like, isn't he? (Irving that is, not Rommel!)
    What's liking him got to do with it? He is an authority on the Third Reich. That's the important bit. His utterances (some of which were frankly incontestable) got him into some very hot water. He could have retracted but he went to jail to avoid that. Love him or loathe him he stands by his principles. Far too many academics these days have no principles at all. Oh they will nit-pick until the cows come home, but they know which side of their bread is buttered and they will cravenly avoid real research if it is likely to rebound on them in any way. Far better to have a smaller number of bold historians than vast numbers of self-important yes-men.
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    "The Forgotten Soldier"- By Guy Sajer- Excellent biography of raw recruit to seasoned vet on the Russian front while he served with the GrossDeutschland Division,to his ultimate capture and release. Wicked combat descriptions coupled with German perspective that for once doesn't apologize for winning the odd battle.

  7. #52
    Senior Contributor Stitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Not WW2, but describes the days in August that led directly to WW2.

    The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman
    Um, actually that book was about WWI, not II; if you liked that book, though, try the "prequel", "The Proud Tower".

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitch View Post
    Um, actually that book was about WWI, not II; if you liked that book, though, try the "prequel", "The Proud Tower".
    I think that's what Z meant by "Not WW2"
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  9. #54
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    After seeing Battle 360 on the History Channel again, and seeing my friend Jon Parshall providing insight on the Battle of Midway, I really gotta recommend once again Shattered Sword as a key WW2 reading.

    http://ww2db.com/read.php?read_id=34

    It's without exaggeration the definitive guide to Battle of Midway.

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    I'll add one which I recently read: No Simple Victory by Norman Davies. Davies basic position is that in the European theater of WW II, the main front of combat was the Eastern Front. Battles that occurred in the western front of the theater, including Normandy, were at best secondary.

    When you consider the number of troops, vehicles, and aircraft that were committed to the eastern front by both sides, and the numbers of casualties that were lost there, Davies has a good point.
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    I'll put in another mention for Slim's Defeat into Victory, which is a brilliant memoir of the Burma campaign. Dealing with the same theatre, Stilwell's diaries are also worth reading, and often quite funny.

    Hans Von Luck's Panzer Commander is another superb memoir, since Von Luck fought on three fronts. The chapter on his postwar captivity in the USSR is fascinating.

    Dmitry Loza's two books of memoirs, Fighting for the Soviet Motherland and With the Red Army's Sherman Tanks, make an interesting contrast with Von Luck's. Both men were successful, thoughtful commanders in armoured units, and both have a good sense of humour, but there is a huge difference of background between the well-travelled and well-educated Prussian aristocrat, and the rather less urbane Soviet Guards officer.

  12. #57
    Armchair Worrier Senior Contributor bolo121's Avatar
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    have to agree there. Defeat into Victory was among the first and still the best WWII book i ever read. Slim's honesty about his mistakes was refreshing and very brave.
    Last edited by bolo121; 22 Mar 08, at 20:49. Reason: tpp much glenfiddich leads to typos

  13. #58
    Herodotus
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    Broad strategic studies and histories of the conflict have been done, and all of these books mentioned are good reads. For specific countries' military forces I would recommend the official histories put out by the various government agencies in charge of doing so. In the US it would be the Center of Military History:

    U.S. Army in World War II Series

    Good stuff. For some specific tactical engagments such as the US Infantry versus German tanks from 1944-1945 I would recommend: Against the Panzers United States Infantry versus German Tanks, 1944-1945 by Allyn Varnoy and Jay Karamles. )
    Last edited by Herodotus; 04 Apr 08, at 01:57.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kmchugh View Post
    I'll add one which I recently read: No Simple Victory by Norman Davies. Davies basic position is that in the European theater of WW II, the main front of combat was the Eastern Front. Battles that occurred in the western front of the theater, including Normandy, were at best secondary.

    When you consider the number of troops, vehicles, and aircraft that were committed to the eastern front by both sides, and the numbers of casualties that were lost there, Davies has a good point.
    I agree that the key battles occurred on the Eastern front. The Eastern front was a meat grinder that ground the German armies down until they were a shell of their former selves. However the Western and Italian fronts (along with the air bombardment of Germany) were important in that they tied up a tremendous amount of resources that could have been used against the Russians. If Germany had no worries on the Western front, the Russians would have had a much more difficult time in the East. Might have even ended up in a stalemate.

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    Banned Military Professional Elbmek's Avatar
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    I have just bought, off amazon, Silent Victory, the "bible" of US Submarine ops in the Pacific. I hope to start reading it this week.

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