Hopefully this thread is in the correct section of the website, anyways moving to the topic. So lately I have found it difficult to find any books that spark my interest in reading (particular Second World War). I was hoping that any of you lads would have some suggestions. I don’t mind what kind of book it is, as long as you found it interesting and that you may think I will enjoy it. Thank you for you’re time reading this and hopefully answer it.
Although it’s not a true history in the documentary fashion, it concerns life in Berlin immediately following the War’s end, and includes the Berlin blockade, and Air Lift. Title is “Armageddon” by Leon Uris. You should still be able to find it.
Some are pretty standard recommendations on this forum, but anyway:
[li]Wages of Destruction - Adam Tooze. Explains very thoroughly the limits the German war economy was operating under, and ultimately why they had to lose.
[/li][li]Britain’s War Machine - David Edgerton. Not quite as good at Tooze, but the two benefit strongly from being read together. Essentially he’s doing the same for the UK as Tooze does for Germany, and it’s very illuminating how badly the Germans were outclassed (and indeed how much of Britain being in trouble was wartime myth-making).
[/li][li]Business in Great Waters and The Right of the Line - John Terraine. Terraine is always very good, and covers the U-boat threat in both world wars and the RAF in WW2 respectively very well.
[/li][li]To Lose a Battle - Alistair Horne. Heavy going, but an excellent explanation of how the battle of France went so badly wrong (and which in turn set the scene for the rest of the war).
[/li][li]Blitzkrieg - Len Deighton. Covers the same territory as Horne, but a great deal easier to read (I finished it in about a day, Horne took a month or so!). Nowhere near as comprehensive though.
Moving slightly wider, a lot of WW1 stuff is worth reading as it relates closely to WW2. There are also several WW2 memoirs worth reading - Defeat into Victory, Popski’s Private Army and Eastern Approaches spring to mind.
I would add The Blitzkrieg Legend by Karl-Heinz Frieser gives an illuminating view on German strengths and strategic weaknesses from a German POV, and serves as the unofficial German after action review of the Battle for France, as Frieser is/was a Heer officer and historian. It’s not perfect, no book is as he sometimes neglects the forest to count the trees, but very detailed and a great retort to the myths of the Blitzkrieg (short war) military machine of Germany…
Okay, I like the sound of most of the books you recommended pdf27, thank you.
Sounds like a good book Nickdfresh, thank you.
The Second World War by John Keegan is good, its a summary of the war that is pretty in depth about what it covers. Had it as a textbook for a class and I liked it so much that I went out and bought a copy after I returned my rental.
Secret Weapons of World War II by William Breuer is rather interesting, just to get ideas about what was considered to win the war.
Britain’s War Machine by David Edgerton is a good book about what enabled the UK to continue fighting when they were without non-Empire allies. I recommend this book.
Patton, Montgomery, Romel by Terry Brighton is a good view on the three generals. In my opinion, it sort of turned into a bash Monty festival… But that’s just me.
Not knowing what you’ve read complicates recommendations. Classic reads include Is Paris Burning?, and any of Cornelius Ryan’s books. I enjoyed William B. Breuer’s Operation Torch: The Allied Gamble to Invade North Africa, Alexander McKees’ Caen: Anvil of Victory and Martin Caidin’s Black Thursday (dealing with the USAAF raid on Schweinfurt). Rick Atkinson’s recent trilogy is good. Lost Victories is also an interesting read.
Don’t miss your chance to read “On Wings We Conquer” and “The Dead Don’t Count”. These two books were a labor of love, written by John H. Mitchell with many years of help from his daughter Katie. She is now offering the books in hopes of sharing and preserving her father’s memory, as well as those who fought beside him in the 19th and 7th bomb groups.
These books are available in limited, last edition quantities on Amazon.
On Wings We Conquer (In Alis Vincimus):
John Mitchell’s “On Wings We Conquer” fills an important gap in American history. It seems almost unbelievable that it has taken fifty years for the factual story of the 19th Bombardment Group and its men and planes to finally be told.
There have been other accounts of those desperate days, but they were incomplete at best. Some were purely personal recollections, severely restricted by wartime censorship, others were broad overviews based on limited factual material.
Considering the circumstances it is not surprising that detailed day-to-day records were rarely kept, but the task facing John Mitchell was daunting. He had to piece his history together from personal recollections, diaries, and the sparse documentations that was available. This is history the hard way, but the results more than justify the effort.
America’s first bombing mission of World War II, the Royce mission, the MacArthur rescue mission - all “old” stories, Until John Mitchell tells them fully and accurately for the first time. Sometimes the legend pales against the truth, but more often it is the opposite. The story of Captain Harl Pease is a classic example, and this book finally sets the record straight.
This is an important book about a proud time in America’s history.
(Introduction by Steve Birdsall)
The Dead Don’t Count:
Meet Curt Summers and his friends, Tex, as they seek a college education to enable them to cope with a hectic economy.
Go with them as they answer their country’s call for service.
Experience the rigors of military training as they become Air Force pilots.
Get acquainted with Curt’s crew as they prepare for combat.
Puzzle over the enigmatic Lt. Carlos Blue – what was the reason for the strange and bitter feud between Blue and the gunner, Vincent.
Go with the green crew as they first experience the dread and fear of bombing missions.
Fly along with Curt and the crew of the B-17, Linda Lou, on a desperate mission to destroy a secret war plant far into Nazi Europe.
Thrill as Curt by chance meets his sweetheart, the army nurse, Lee, in war ravaged North Africa.
And finally fly with the Linda Lou’s last mission as they strike at the very heart of Hitler’s fortress, Berlin; and the futile struggle to return to the safety of their home base.