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Information on conflicts to help me relate?

 
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Information on conflicts to help me relate? - 11/8/2018 1:38:48 AM   
Mousie

 

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This may sound strange, but while I'm looking into buying West, but one huge thing is stopping me: I can't relate to the western front. I know this is because of my own ignorance, which is caused because the most famous part of WW2 is Japan vs Allies. Thanks to media and games, this is the famous conflict, and the stories have been told hundreds of times.

I don't know anything about the role Russia (USSR back then?) played in WW2, and with the attitudes between Russia and US now, I can't even picture what it was like for US and Russia to be allies, let alone what it was like for them to stand their ground directly up against the hammer of Germany.

Do you guys know of good refrence materials for me to learn about Russia's part in the conflict, like the Jake Grafton novels, for example.
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RE: Information on conflicts to help me relate? - 11/8/2018 4:07:48 AM   
Lovenought

 

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1. I can't immediately think of any good books on the Eastern Front. I'm sure someone else will though.
2. In my opinion, the best narrative historical book (Or at least, the most enjoyable) that covers the time-period and theatre of WITW (Western Allied land campaigns from late 1942 through to the end of the war) is The Liberation Trilogy, by Rick Atkinson. It has a very good audiobook version, too.
3. I have some important advice to you, since you are just starting out in the study of this field and apparently have no/little prior knowledge (By your own admission). This is actually very important:

As you said, the US and Russian rivalry is very real. And sadly it has poisoned scholarship a bit. Along with many other things. When you are starting out, you should be cautious, and keep in mind that some opinions might be motivated by biases or agendas. Especially if you are just talking to other people over the internet.

A disappointing amount of people simply see what they want to see, to reinforce biases they already had. For example, someone who is resentful of USA in the present day for whatever reason (or someone who is a Russian Chauvinist) might go around saying "The Soviet Union did 99% of the work and the Western Allies did nothing". Which is obviously garbage since it ignores the many ways in which the Western Allies very significantly degraded German combat power on the Eastern Front. Or you might have an American saying "America won the war single-handedly and everyone else just helped a little", which is also obviously wrong. Or how the French believe that everyone and their dog was in the Resistance, which was of course worth more than an Army Group. This even permeates into the world of history books sometimes, sadly.

Of course, stuff like this is a risk in the study of any period of history. But it's just much more pronounced in WW2, due to the immense public interest in it, and it's immense significance to many countries.

But don't worry, there are many good, unbiased, and very enjoyable sources out there too. It's an incredibly fascinating field, i'm sure you'll love learning!

(in reply to Mousie)
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RE: Information on conflicts to help me relate? - 11/8/2018 10:13:06 AM   
robinsa


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I find it interesting that you think the Pacific war is the most "famous part". My impression is that the war in Europe and related stories have received much much more attention but maybe this because I grew up far from the Pacific.

I enjoyed "The second world war" by Antony Beevor. It had a good balance of East, West and Pacific and its a very captivating book.

(in reply to Lovenought)
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RE: Information on conflicts to help me relate? - 11/8/2018 11:32:46 AM   
loki100


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Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mousie

...

Do you guys know of good refrence materials for me to learn about Russia's part in the conflict, like the Jake Grafton novels, for example.


If you want a novel from the Soviet perspective read Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate. It revolves around the battle for Stalingrad but includes a lot about Soviet society at that era. One of its core characters is a nuclear scientist who is briefly denounced and likely to be sent to the Gulags before Stalin realises he needs him (others are not that lucky).

The author was a Soviet war correspondent with the Army's newspaper and was at Stalingrad for most of the defensive phase of the battle - so he knows what he's talking about.

The book fell out of favour with the Soviet authorities before publication, it was 'arrested' by the KGB (Grossman was sent off into retirement) and only published in the USSR in the 1980s. One copy was smuggled out so it was published in the west first.

Its not a big picture book, there is no real focus on those planning operations but very good on the grim realities on the ground, and the moral compromises that come from living under a totalitarian regime.

If you want to read about the airwar (of course key to WiTW), I'd strongly recommend Richard Overy: The Bombing War. It covers every major strategic bombing campaign in Europe so there is a lot in there, exceptionally well written and will give you a real insight into how to use the Allied bombers in the game.

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(in reply to Mousie)
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