Military History Books

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by EmoBorg, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. EmoBorg

    EmoBorg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  2. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    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.
     
  3. EmoBorg

    EmoBorg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  4. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  5. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. Shurik

    Shurik Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd recommend Anthony Beevor's books about Stalingrad and Berlin.
     
  7. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. Icemizer

    Icemizer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  10. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Agreed, I love those books.

    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.
     
  11. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.)
     
  12. IcecreamLtDan

    IcecreamLtDan Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  13. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good recommendation. I would add the follow-up volume, Castles of Steel by the same author.
     
  14. solariabsg25

    solariabsg25 Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    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! :D
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I wasn't as impressed by Castles of Steel, it didn't break any new ground, ignored some good scholarship from the previous decade or so and seemed like something of a re-hash of older histories. It also had some editing problems. But, if one needs a single volume on the major parts of naval WW1, it should do fine.

    I almost mentioned With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge above but thought I better limit myself before I went on and on. It is a fantastic memoir, and really captures the bleak, grim and deadly personal struggles between the marines and Japanese defenders on these tiny islands. Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie is also great.

    Unit histories like that are fascinating, I'd love to have a look at that one.
     
  17. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    ^I've got a first printing (I think) from Dad. Damn book's probably older than me!
     
  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I paid $250 for a copy of the unit history of my grandpa's engineer regiment a couple of years ago, but it was well worth it for the photos and details on the Battle of the Bulge. I wish he'd been around to see it, but my grandma enjoyed it.
     
  19. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    You might also like Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World. It deals mainly with the peace conference that led to the Treaty of Versailles, but there's a fair bit of discussion about the military aspects related to both the war and the peace conference.
     
  20. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I also have a 56th Fighter Group "yearbook" that I got from a 56th pilot many years ago. It has individual photos of every pilot, a full list and synopsis of every mission, and just tons of photos of planes and daily life at the base. A real gold mine!
     

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