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Good WWII books

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Specifically, I'd like to read general political history and Third Reich history. But recommendations of anything pertaining to WWII, as long as they are well-done, are welcome.
post #2 of 22
Shirer.

/thread.
post #3 of 22


It's a different perspective (often literally) on WWII away from all the Nazi drumbeating.

http://www.amazon.com/JG-26-Top-Guns.../dp/0804110506
post #4 of 22
I haven't read a novel for leisure cover to cover since high school, this being the last one. An absolutely amazing tale of endurance of a brave Norwegian hiding from the barbaric Kraut:

post #5 of 22
I read Guadalcanal Diary a few years back and it was pretty good. Of course, it deals with the Pacific Theatre and has little theory in it, but a great book nonetheless.
post #6 of 22
For history of the Third Reich, Richard Evans wrote a trilogy that covers the NSDAP and wartime Germany from 1919-1945. I read the first volume in one sitting; I couldn't put it down.

For general works about the war, Eugene Sledge wrote a book called "With the Old Breed" which is his memoir about life as a Marine in the Pacific islands campaign. It has all the touching traits of first-hand experience, but Mr. Sledge later became a professor, so it avoids the cloying quality that is so common to memoirs.

Finally, for broadly cultural history, I'd recommend "Wartime" by Paul Fussell. He also wrote a book called "The Great War and Modern Memory", which is about WWI, but may be the definitive work on how societies incorporate war into their consciousnesses.
post #7 of 22
I second "With the Old Breed." Great book. From a more general perspective I would have to say that John Keegan's "The Second World War" is, in my opinion, the definitive account of the war. Absolute must read for anyone interested in the subject.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by w.mj View Post
For history of the Third Reich, Richard Evans wrote a trilogy that covers the NSDAP and wartime Germany from 1919-1945. I read the first volume in one sitting; I couldn't put it down.


Finally, for broadly cultural history, I'd recommend "Wartime" by Paul Fussell. He also wrote a book called "The Great War and Modern Memory", which is about WWI, but may be the definitive work on how societies incorporate war into their consciousnesses.


exactly what I was going to recomend, plus I would suggest John Keegan - wwii and churchill, as well as his book on war and intellegence (that has a few good chapters on wwii) I would also read slaughterhouse 5 and catch 22 to see how people of that generation, who fought in the war, see the surreal side of the war
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by w.mj View Post
For history of the Third Reich, Richard Evans wrote a trilogy that covers the NSDAP and wartime Germany from 1919-1945. I read the first volume in one sitting; I couldn't put it down. For general works about the war, Eugene Sledge wrote a book called "With the Old Breed" which is his memoir about life as a Marine in the Pacific islands campaign. It has all the touching traits of first-hand experience, but Mr. Sledge later became a professor, so it avoids the cloying quality that is so common to memoirs. Finally, for broadly cultural history, I'd recommend "Wartime" by Paul Fussell. He also wrote a book called "The Great War and Modern Memory", which is about WWI, but may be the definitive work on how societies incorporate war into their consciousnesses.
"Great War and Modern Memory" is one of my favorite books. I didn't know Fussell wrote on WWII! Thanks for the recommendations.
post #10 of 22
I am currently reading Volume I: The Gathering Storm, of Churchill's 6 volume Second World War series. If it's good enough for a Nobel Prize, I'm willing to give it a whirl. Incidentally, I am enjoying it quite a bit.
post #11 of 22
Although Hemingway apparently thought him to be a putz, I liked James Jones' Pacific theatre triology (From Here to Eternity, Thin Red Line, Whistle). I read these in college and remember enjoying them tremendously, although I was taken aback by some of the foxhole shennanigans...
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by denning View Post
I am currently reading Volume I: The Gathering Storm, of Churchill's 6 volume Second World War series. If it's good enough for a Nobel Prize, I'm willing to give it a whirl. Incidentally, I am enjoying it quite a bit.

Fabulous book, but looooooooong. And biased. But I don't care about that.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Fabulous book, but looooooooong. And biased. But I don't care about that.

+1

I can only take about 20 pages or so at a time before my brain turns to mush.
post #14 of 22
^The one-volume abridgment that Churchill made published as "Memoirs of the Second World War" was enough for me, and has a decent epilogue on the post-war years (IIRC). It's still about 1100 pages, but definitely more managable than six vol's. Other than that, John Dower's Pacific-war based books "War Without Mercy" and "Embracing Defeat" are quite good.
post #15 of 22
+1 on the abridged version
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