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Good WWII books

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by Connemara, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. Connemara

    Connemara Senior member

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    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.
     
  2. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Shirer.

    /thread.
     
  3. why

    why Senior member

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  4. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    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:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Michigan Planner

    Michigan Planner Senior member

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    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.
     
  6. w.mj

    w.mj Senior member

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    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.
     
  7. Rod

    Rod Member

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    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.
     
  8. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    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
     
  9. Connemara

    Connemara Senior member

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    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.
     
  10. denning

    denning Senior member

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    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.
     
  11. romafan

    romafan Senior member

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    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... [​IMG]
     
  12. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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.
     
  13. denning

    denning Senior member

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    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.
     
  14. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    ^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.
     
  15. EnglishGent

    EnglishGent Senior member

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    +1 on the abridged version
     
  16. em36

    em36 Senior member

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    American Caesar, The Last Lion. Both by William Manchester. About MacArthur & Churchill.
     
  17. RVAe30

    RVAe30 New Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    although Ambrose has some issues with plagiarism, the book is still a good read.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Lighthouse

    Lighthouse Senior member

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    Inglorious Bastards was on TV last night. It made me curious about how the German military interacted with the paramilitary branches, such as the SS. I don't see how a large industrial nation could operate functionally with two or three competing organizations. The Allies had military branches, but paramilitary organizations didn't play a role.

    If an SS major encounters an Army colonel, would the ranks hold? Or would the SS guy have the edge because of its more political nature? Another curiousity were the odd symbols used by the Germans. Finally, from a sartorial standpoint, I'd have to give the edge to the German's sense of style. But this may not be a fair comparison, because uniforms seemed to all go camo or grey once combat began in earnest.
     
  19. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    this was a major problem in germany. the proffetional, trained military officer corps were, mostly, in the real army. the paramilitary groups were, for the most part, politically appointed. so you had a large discrepancy in skills and experience, but often the paramilitary groups had more power or rank.
     
  20. Lighthouse

    Lighthouse Senior member

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    I recall that Hitler liked to pit these groups against each other, like the Night of Long Knives, where the brownshirts were set up and killed. This may work when trying to reach the top, Machiavelli style, but chaos among the ranks doesn't work in war. The 3rd Reich could probably be instructive in business courses and organizational courses, as a "how not to", but the subject is so charged . . .
     

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