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Old July 24 2013, 04:37 AM   #1
EmoBorg
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Military History Books

I am thinking about getting a World War 2 history book. I love reading about the Second World War and so anyone here can recommend any history books about WW2.

And If possible, can anyone recommend any history books about the First World War. I don't know much about that War and i want to change that.
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Old July 24 2013, 04:46 AM   #2
J.T.B.
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Re: Military History Books

EmoBorg wrote: View Post
I am thinking about getting a World War 2 history book. I love reading about the Second World War and so anyone here can recommend any history books about WW2.

And If possible, can anyone recommend any history books about the First World War. I don't know much about that War and i want to change that.
Both those wars are big subjects, can you narrow it down? Europe, Russia, Pacific? Ground, air, sea? Political, diplomatic, home front? Biography? I'm not familiar with many broad overview books, though there are probably some decent ones out there.
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Old July 24 2013, 05:14 AM   #3
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Re: Military History Books

I am thinking about broad view books. A general history of the conflict from 1939 to 1945.

But if you have books to recommend about specific events like the Russian Front, the Pacific Conflict and other parts of the war, i would certainly take a look at those books.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:55 AM   #4
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Re: Military History Books

For broad overview, I'd suggest "The World at War" by Mark Arnold-Forster, which was the tie-in to the famous tv documentary series; and also "History of the Second World War" by Basil Liddell Hart.

For World War I, I'd have to go with "History of the First World War" also by Basil Liddell Hart.
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Old July 24 2013, 09:02 AM   #5
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Re: Military History Books

For the outset of WWI Barbara Tuchman's 'The Proud Tower' is a great of European society during la belle epoque and the onset of the war. Her other volume, 'The Guns of August', is a wonderfully written view of the turmoil in Europe during the first month of the war as things started to heat up.
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Old July 24 2013, 10:27 AM   #6
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Re: Military History Books

I'd recommend Anthony Beevor's books about Stalingrad and Berlin.
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Old July 24 2013, 12:01 PM   #7
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Re: Military History Books

For something very readable and easily accessible, anything by Prof./Brig. Richard Holmes or Stephen Ambrose. They've both covered a fair amount of WWII history.
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Old July 24 2013, 01:21 PM   #8
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Re: Military History Books

These are way more specific than you want, but if you should find a particular aspect, vehicle or battle interesting, Osprey books give very concise, understandable descriptions:
http://www.ospreypublishing.com/
I have a gazillion of these.
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Old July 24 2013, 01:52 PM   #9
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Re: Military History Books

Start with the Rick Atkinson Liberation Trilogy book one An Army at Dawn. Easy to read perspective on the North African Campaign which starts the U.S. involvement with the war.
If you want to start at the beginning of the WWII I would suggest The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
The books mentioned above are also quite excellent although you will find its hard to put the entire war into a single volume. Many events are missed or glossed over, strategies are rarely discussed and you lose the personal perspective war has on the population.
For all your War book reading needs I would suggest casematepublishing.com they cover every era of war and have some hard to find books there.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:53 PM   #10
J.T.B.
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Re: Military History Books

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
For the outset of WWI Barbara Tuchman's 'The Proud Tower' is a great of European society during la belle epoque and the onset of the war. Her other volume, 'The Guns of August', is a wonderfully written view of the turmoil in Europe during the first month of the war as things started to heat up.
Agreed, I love those books.

Icemizer wrote: View Post
Start with the Rick Atkinson Liberation Trilogy book one An Army at Dawn. Easy to read perspective on the North African Campaign which starts the U.S. involvement with the war.
Good book, but "starts"? Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, Battle of the Atlantic, VIII Bomber Command?

Anyway, some personal favorites...

WW1:
Dreadnought by Robert Massie is a very readable account of the Britain vs Germany naval arms race and international rivalry leading up to the war. It has some technical shortcomings, but is more than adequate for most readers.

Somme Success, Bloody April and Aces Falling by Peter Hart. Great accounts of the ebb and flow of the first air war, with equally illuminating focus on the equipment, tactics and people.

The Rules of the Game by Andrew Gordon. A very in-depth and technical but at the same time readable and riveting story of the culture and leadership of the British Royal Navy, in an attempt to answer the question of why they were unable to "close the deal" on the German fleet in 1916.

WW2:
Six Armies in Normandy by John Keegan. A good account of Overlord and an excellent analysis of the strategic background.

Silent Victory by Clay Blair Jr. Long and rightfully so, this is the definitive account of the submarine war against Japan, from the history of the US sub service to the strategic picture to the action on individual boats. His Hitler's U-Boat War is also excellent.

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege by Anthony Beevor. An outstanding account of the long pivotal battle, but also gives a good background on the Eastern Front from Barbarossa on.

Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by J. Parshall and A. Tully. As good an account as has emerged of what may be the most important US battle of the war. It draws from much broader Japanese sources than previous works.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:58 PM   #11
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Re: Military History Books

Since I'm a naval buff, I'm going to throw in Victory At Sea (the book) by James F. Dunnigan and Albert Nofi, a detailed account of America's war in the Pacific. (What the hell...go find the old NBC series too. That rocked.)
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Old July 24 2013, 09:51 PM   #12
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Re: Military History Books

I saw Robert K Massie's "Dreadnought" mentioned and I thought it was a great book, just finished myself a few weeks ago. If you enjoy that one, check out "Castles of Steel" as well as it's basically a sequel. I also found Winston Churchills book series about WWII rather riveting as well.
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Old July 24 2013, 10:29 PM   #13
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Re: Military History Books

J.T.B. wrote: View Post

WW1:
Dreadnought by Robert Massie is a very readable account of the Britain vs Germany naval arms race and international rivalry leading up to the war. It has some technical shortcomings, but is more than adequate for most readers.
Good recommendation. I would add the follow-up volume, Castles of Steel by the same author.
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Old July 24 2013, 11:34 PM   #14
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Re: Military History Books

Andrew_Kearley wrote: View Post
For broad overview, I'd suggest "The World at War" by Mark Arnold-Forster, which was the tie-in to the famous tv documentary series; and also "History of the Second World War" by Basil Liddell Hart.

For World War I, I'd have to go with "History of the First World War" also by Basil Liddell Hart.
I second this recommendation although haven't read much on World War I.

Ambrose's Band of Brothers and Citizen Soldiers give a more detailed look at GIs, and I also recommend his D-Day and Cornelius Ryan's The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far - the latter one of my favourites, especially seeing as the movie got criticised for it's fantastic plot elements (that were actually true!).

Charles Whiting's The Battle of Hurtgen Forest shows how thousands of lives were lost when the US High Command got themselves fixated on what should never have been an objective in the first place.

I'm afraid I'm more of an ETO person, but I do know the books that the HBO series The Pacific were based on are supposed to be excellent. I had a book years ago (I think called Red Bear), that detailed the Eastern Front, from the initial attacks in Barbarossa up to the Battle of Berlin, but the author escapes me.
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Old July 25 2013, 01:36 PM   #15
Forbin
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Re: Military History Books

One Damned Island After Another (damn, that's expensive!) tells the story of the 7th Air Force's campaign across the Pacific. The USAAF hardly ever gets mentioned in the tales of the island-hopping campaign, this book covers that aspect, plus has a couple of photos of my father's P-47 in it!
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