Hey guys, just thought I'd post some of the better books I have come across about WW2 and ask for some suggestions on what to get next. I know a lot of you are avid buffs who can point me in the direction of more good reads because lately I have stumbled onto some brilliant gems at used book stores and I have a hunger to find more! I am at work right now so I am going off memory for the page counts, but anyways you get the gist. The Rommel Papers by Erwin Rommel, editted by his son Manfred. ~ 600 pages This is Rommel's story from the opening campaigns of WW2 through the years in Africa, the futile defense of France and his final days being a scapegoat for Hitler and committing suicide to spare his family the persecution that would have come with a formal trial for treason. The bulk of this book was actually dictated by Rommel to one of his staff officers on a day-to-day basis during his command, with letters he wrote to family and other German officers added in to bring some depth and the personal touch to the story. The reading gets a bit heavy at times and it is a very long book, but it is unparalleled as far as I can tell for getting you inside the mind of one of the greatest strategic and tactical thinkers in history. When he knew the Gestapo was going to finish him off, he hid his papers in a variety of locations to preserve them and despite some of them being destroyed by Allied bombings, his son Manfred went back after the war and collected everything he could to compile this excellent book. An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson. 736 pages, although about half is bibliography This one's about the US invasion of North Africa from the troopships leaving America to the final defeat of the Axis in Tunisia. A really easy read for a book this size, almost in the style of a novel the way it gets right into the description of the environments and personal experiences of the characters. The subtitle is "the war in africa 1942-43" although I'd say that is an overstatement since it really doesn't touch on the British side of the fighting and Rommel's retreat westwards across Egypt and Libya; it is strictly the story of the Americans entering the fray. Apparently this is the first in a trilogy that is in progress, although sadly the next two books are still on the drawing board. This author has won the pulitzer prize and has an excellent website up if you want more info about it. http://www.anarmyatdawn.com/ When Titans Clash by David Glantz. ~ 400 pages I just picked this one up and am only a few chapters in, but it is a very excellent read so far covering WW2 from the highly misunderstood Russian perspectives. It is kind of a sweeping survey of various materials that have only recently been available to the west, and has a depth of content from descriptions of unit actions all the way up to Soviet doctrine and strategic planning. If you have ever been curious about the Russian perspective this one seems to be the cat's ass for a detailed and thorough starting point starting with the end of WWI, the Bolshevik revolution and how the turmoil of these days shaped the German and Red Armies in the intervening years during the build up to WW2. Fighter! A Story of Air Combat 1936-1945 by can't remember. ~ 150 pages Well this one is a fairly nice short read that I picked up for $4 used. It has a brief chapter about all the major air campaigns throughout the war, described from various Allied nations' perspectives except for the first and last chapters (Spain and Germany respectively). I was really piqued by the chapter of the Spanish Civil War and am really looking forward to finding a more detailed book about the air combat during the "Great Dress Rehearsal for WW2." Overall this a great sampler for those interested in getting an overview of air combat in the war and used a springboard for exploring the campaigns in more detail. The Hardest Day by Alfred Price. ~ 200 pages A day in the life of the RAF during the Battle of Britain. This is an incredibly detailed account of every unit action during the day with the single highest casualty count for both sides in the conflict. At times it bogs down a little with the attention to every detail even in the lives of some of the groundcrew, but usually only for a page or two. If you are interested in air combat this is quite a thrilling read over all, and although mainly focussed on the British side it does have a few German sources and portrays the story from the German bomber crews' point of view in places as well. Quite a good read, especially if you are an aviation buff and like getting down to the nitty gritty. The Flying Tigers by can't remember. ~ 200 pages Another cheap pick up for $3, this tells a reasonably detailed story of the American Volunteer Group in Burma and China. If you don't know much about these brave young pilots you really should try to learn, and this book is an excellent way to do it. It describes the history of Col.Chennault's mission in China and gets into some rousing descriptions of dogfighting. This is an amazing story, and even if you can't find this particular book try to read something about this unit.
this is a great site (link below) for anyone with a passing interest in any area of the second world war. many of the posters at this site are in fact authors of WWII books and related materials. the site is non-political and has strict injunctions against holocaust denial etc. i wouldn't be surprised if at least one of the FH devs visits this site, the knowledge these people have of their subject is just staggering and it would be the best way to get all the details on uniforms and vehicles etc. in relation to your post take a look at the site they have numerous links and threads on the kind of books you are looking for. http://forum.axishistory.com/ regards,
I've always enjoyed reading the Cornelius Ryan books -- Bridge Too Far, Longest Day, and the one about the fall of Berlin.
I've read literally hundreds of WWII books. Some are better than others, but I always find that I learn something new in every one.
One that I read 20 years or so ago that still sticks out in my mind is called Samurai. It's about Japan's top ace during the war. Very good read from a perspective you normally don't get.
I am currently about 3/4 through Guderian's 'Panzer Leader' and have found it quite insightful thus far into the failings of OKH, OKM, and Hitler to maintain a cohesive strategy. Topics discussed include the politics behind the heavy/ultra-heavy tanks and damn near worthless SPGs, the strategic blunders at Dunkirk and in the winter of 41-42 as well as the pre-war foundations and evolution of the armored units. If you want to get a view of the conflict from an honest-to-goodness German warrior without all the demonizing (or romanticizing as you see often now when mutineers are discussed), this may be what you are looking for.
WW2 books that I have read:
Hans von Luck's Panzer Commander
Hans von Luck was the commander of Rommel's 7th and the 21st Armored Division. I got this book from a friend and soon as I read the description I had to give it a look. One of the best German Memoirs I have read yet. He was quite a few famous battles; El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, and even some on the Eastern Front. He really didn't care much for Hitler's war, He only cared for the lives of the men under him, much like Rommel.
Gottlob Herbert Bidermann's In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir Of The Eastern Front
This was one of the first German Memoirs I had ever read. Biddermann was a member of the 132nd Infantry Division, which was involved in the capture of Sevastopol, in the tried attempt to save the surrounded soldiers in Stalingrad, and other various battles. He truly tells the battles as they were, better than most personal accounts of the Eastern Front.
Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943 by Antony Beevor
I decided to pick this up, sometime after watching Enemy At The Gates. I didn't know much about Stalingrad and decided I needed to know the real facts about the whole entire thing. I got just that. I enjoyed how he portrays both the Germans and Russians and what they went through.
The Fall of Berlin 1945 by Antony Beevor
I picked this up after I read Beevor's Stalingrad. I knew it was going to be a great read the second I opened the first page. He really has a nack for incredible detail. Sometimes the detail is so incredible, it I can easily imagine the terror of the surrounded germans felt, that no movie or game has ever shown.
Other WW2 books worth looking into:
Guy Sajer's Forgotten Soldier
Another German Memoir I haven't got around to buying.
War Without Hate: The Desert Campaign of 1940-1943 by Douglas Porch
I first heard about this book in the off topic area, I believe. I haven't got around to buying it yet.
I'm also currently looking for any personal accounts of German pilots, but I can't seem to find any.
RaftermanI've always enjoyed reading the Cornelius Ryan books -- Bridge Too Far, Longest Day, and the one about the fall of Berlin. I've read literally hundreds of WWII books. Some are better than others, but I always find that I learn something new in every one. One that I read 20 years or so ago that still sticks out in my mind is called Samurai. It's about Japan's top ace during the war. Very good read from a perspective you normally don't get.
About Saburo Sakai I believe his name is. A very good book. It was amazing that any of the pilots who began the war survived till the end.
Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943 by Antony Beevor <- Currently Reading
Guy Sajer's Forgotten Soldier <- Excellent book imo
I have another book Written by Peter Brune, About the Australians on Kokoda trial. He also use'd to be my teacher lol.
A WW1 book :All Quiet on The Western Front very good book
The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich by William L. Shirer This book provides with no shortage of detail an outstanding history of the National Socialists in Germany. William Shirer provides excellent accounts of events that occured during the Second World War in Germany. I doubt that a book on any war could be written with same detail and quality that William Shirer used. A must read for anyone!!! :nodding:
Come on people! Add more recommendation!