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Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 3:39:20 PM   
slybelle

 

Posts: 193
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Hello,

I'm looking for a recommendation on some books concerning WWII. What I'm looking for is a book at a personal soldier level describing their individual experiences during the war. So basically a "day in the life" of a soldier. I'm looking for a book from the perspective of the americans as well as a book from the perspective of the germans. They can be separate books.

Any recommendations?
Post #: 1
RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 4:07:15 PM   
leastonh1


Posts: 879
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From: West Yorkshire, England
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Hi slybelle,

There are hundreds of published personal memoirs around and you'll probably get just as many suggestions from the very knowledgeable people here.

Here's my 2p worth:
One that I'm reading right now and that stands out for me is: Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters - I loved Band of Brothers, the series and the book. This additional documentation from Richard Winters is outstanding and personal to him. He took much of the material from his own war diary and a lot of it wasn't included in Ambrose's book. It's well written and fascinating.

Edit: I believe at least a couple of the other guys from Band of Brothers (e.g. Bill Guarnere) have written memoirs too. They might be worth a look too.

All the best,
Jim


< Message edited by Jim_H -- 12/30/2009 4:10:10 PM >


_____________________________

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 6:27:24 PM   
vonRocko

 

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Panzer Commander by Col. Hans von Luck.

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 6:41:29 PM   
Hartford688

 

Posts: 261
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From: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Two suggestions for German soldiers:

The inevitable "Forgotten soldier" by Guy Sajer. Some will suggest it is a hoax, but there you go. Excellent book.

Also "In deadly combat" by Gottlob Herbert Bidermann. Another excellent book.


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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 6:44:09 PM   
Emobama

 

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If you can find it The Black March by Peter Neumann is great.

See also Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II by Belton Y. Cooper

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 6:50:47 PM   
Hartford688

 

Posts: 261
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Emobama

If you can find it The Black March by Peter Neumann is great.

See also Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II by Belton Y. Cooper


I was going to mention "Death traps" as well as it has some really interesting anecdotes and insights. But it needed more love from an editor. It could have been shorter and better; there were several grating repetitions. Still worth the read.

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 6:52:55 PM   
Emobama

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hartford688

I was going to mention "Death traps" as well as it has some really interesting anecdotes and insights. But it needed more love from an editor. It could have been shorter and better; there were several grating repetitions. Still worth the read.

In D-Day and or Citizen Soldiers Ambrose used a lot from it.

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 7:14:30 PM   
Hartford688

 

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From: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Emobama


quote:

ORIGINAL: Hartford688

I was going to mention "Death traps" as well as it has some really interesting anecdotes and insights. But it needed more love from an editor. It could have been shorter and better; there were several grating repetitions. Still worth the read.

In D-Day and or Citizen Soldiers Ambrose used a lot from it.


I have no doubt he did. Got a rep for it in 2002 as well.

But I certainly agree, it is well worth reading. I'm glad I bought it.

Slybelle, are you only after American and German, and only infantrymen?

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 7:42:09 PM   
Lützow


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There is a plethora of excellent German literature, mainly written in the postwar era. I don't know how many got translated to English, but for sure the Paul Carell books about Russian Campaign are recommendable:

- Unternehmen Barbarossa (Operation Barbarossa)
- Verbrannte Erde (Scorched Earth)

< Message edited by Lützow -- 12/30/2009 7:43:05 PM >

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 7:48:46 PM   
Aurelian

 

Posts: 4340
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Soldat. http://www.amazon.com/Soldat-Reflections-German-Soldier-1936-1949/dp/0440215269/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262202584&sr=8-1

< Message edited by Aurelian -- 12/30/2009 7:50:18 PM >

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 7:54:25 PM   
slybelle

 

Posts: 193
Joined: 10/16/2005
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hartford688


quote:

ORIGINAL: Emobama


quote:

ORIGINAL: Hartford688

I was going to mention "Death traps" as well as it has some really interesting anecdotes and insights. But it needed more love from an editor. It could have been shorter and better; there were several grating repetitions. Still worth the read.

In D-Day and or Citizen Soldiers Ambrose used a lot from it.


I have no doubt he did. Got a rep for it in 2002 as well.

But I certainly agree, it is well worth reading. I'm glad I bought it.

Slybelle, are you only after American and German, and only infantrymen?


I'm actually looking for both american and german. I would prefer infantry as well. Thanks.

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/30/2009 7:56:16 PM   
Southernland


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Personally I found the last 100 days by John Toland good.  Read it years ago at high school but from what I recall its anecdotal from many soldiers/nationalities perspectives with the historical overview to hold it all together

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Post #: 12
RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/31/2009 2:26:30 AM   
KG Erwin


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For the Pacific War, I must recommend the classic "With the Old Breed", by Eugene Sledge. Sledge served as a mortarman with K Company 5th Marines at Peleliu and Okinawa 1944-45.

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Post #: 13
RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/31/2009 3:14:57 AM   
htuna


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I agree with the two choices above for life of a soldier.. "Forgotten Soldier" and "Soldat"

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/31/2009 3:40:26 AM   
06 Maestro


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For an up close, down and dirty view of the Russian Front I would suggest Campaign in Russia by Leon Degrelle. Whatever one might think of his politics, that man was an amazing author. He went from a Private to a General in the Wallonian SS. Some of it is a little unsettling-even if you are "hardened".

Its a bit expensive for the hardcover-50 bucks.

http://www.amazon.com/Campaign-Russia-Leon-Degrelle/dp/0939484188



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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/31/2009 3:48:43 AM   
Jeffrey H.


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From: San Diego, Ca.
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Emobama

If you can find it The Black March by Peter Neumann is great.



I read this one in high school, or maybe even before then.

It left a very strong impresion on me. Particularly the bit about engineered or arranged sexual encounters.

Years later I had a mid level history teacher in the USA tell the entire class there was no evidence of the Nazis trying to engineer a race of Germanic children. After class I told him about this book and that it was a first hand account, (an autobiography) by someone who had been part of it.

I think I found it in the HS library of all places.



< Message edited by Jeffrey H. -- 12/31/2009 3:51:44 AM >


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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/31/2009 6:13:17 AM   
Adam Parker


Posts: 1848
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From: Melbourne Australia
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Two favourites:

US WW2: "Company Commander" - by Charles MacDonald.

German WW2: "Front Soldaten" - by Stephen Fritz.









Attachment (2)

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Post #: 17
RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/31/2009 3:18:21 PM   
Emobama

 

Posts: 64
Joined: 12/29/2009
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jeffrey H.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Emobama

If you can find it The Black March by Peter Neumann is great.



I read this one in high school, or maybe even before then.

It left a very strong impresion on me. Particularly the bit about engineered or arranged sexual encounters.

Years later I had a mid level history teacher in the USA tell the entire class there was no evidence of the Nazis trying to engineer a race of Germanic children. After class I told him about this book and that it was a first hand account, (an autobiography) by someone who had been part of it.

I think I found it in the HS library of all places.



quote:


Years later I had a mid level history teacher in the USA tell the entire class there was no evidence of the Nazis trying to engineer a race of Germanic children. After class I told him about this book and that it was a first hand account, (an autobiography) by someone who had been part of it.

I think I found it in the HS library of all places.

Though I believe there is evidence of the Germans trying to breed Aryan Children the authenticity of the book itself has been questioned. Still a good story.

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Post #: 18
RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 12/31/2009 7:15:56 PM   
New York Jets


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From: St. Louis, MO but stuck in Bremerton,WA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: slybelle

Hello,

I'm looking for a recommendation on some books concerning WWII. What I'm looking for is a book at a personal soldier level describing their individual experiences during the war. So basically a "day in the life" of a soldier. I'm looking for a book from the perspective of the americans as well as a book from the perspective of the germans. They can be separate books.

Any recommendations?



Pick up the first two books in Rick Atkinson's "Liberation Trilogy" (the third book is still on the way), An Army at Dawn and The Day of Battle. They concentrate on the American experience in the ETO in WWII. The first one covers the campaign in North Africa and the second book covers Sicily and Italy.

They are very well written and tell many stories from the persective of the individual soldiers. They also give great insight into the minds and actions of the various leaders in the operations.

A great read. I can't wait for the third book. It will cover Northwestern Europe and the final drive into Germany.

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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 1/1/2010 7:48:13 AM   
D.Ilse


Posts: 330
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From: Florahduh, yea that state.
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HELL'S GATE: The Battle of the Cherkassy Pocket January to February 1944 by Douglas Nash(Who wrote the great book on the 272.Volksgrenadier Div's Fusilier Company Victory was beyond their grasp)

Hell's Gate is 5 for 5 stars..and although it was 70$ at Barnes and Noble I got a coupon with my membership if I used my MC I would get 50% off and it was shipped free...so much the better...but even at full price or Amazon discount the book is fully worth it.

quote:

Product Description
Virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, the Battle of Cherkassy (also known as the Korsun Pocket) still stirs controversy in both the former Soviet Union and in Germany.
It was at Cherkassy where the last German offensive strength in the Ukraine was drained away, creating the conditions for the victorious Soviet advance into Poland, Rumania, and the Balkans during the summer and autumn of 1944. Eclipsed by a war of such gigantic proportions that saw battles of over one million men or more as commonplace, the events which occurred along the banks of the Gniloy Tickich river should have faded into obscurity. However, to the 60,000 German soldiers who were encircled there at the end of January 1944, this was perhaps one of the most brutal, physically exhausting, and morally demanding battles they had ever experienced. Thirty-four percent of them would not escape.

The culmination of years of research and survivor interviews, Hell's Gate is a riveting hour by hour and day by day account of this desperate struggle analyzed on a tactical level through maps and military transcripts, as well as on a personal level, through the words of the enlisted men and officers who risked the roaring waters of the Gniloy Tickich to avoid certain death at the hands of their Soviet foe.


Review on H.G>

quote:

Mr. Nashs' recent release concerning the Kourson Pocket Jan.- Feb. 1944 is, to me the closest thing to perfect military historical writing that I've read yet! To begin with, the book is physically HUGE. The fact that Mr. Nash has done exhaustive research from both the german and soviet sides is evident - having a bibliography following each chapter was quite impressive. In addition, the author has done many, many interviews with surviving participants that add a intimate flavor to his writing, with a myriad of details that gives the reader the reader the feel of being immersed amid the chaos and desperation of the action. Numerous side stories to the main action are covered in astonishing detail. And the pictures! Where on earth did he collect all these wonderful pictures that make it much easier to visualize what was going on. I have been a long time student of the Ost Front, having read all of Carell's books, the recent autobiographies by common landsers' and many, many other books on the subject. None of them comes even close to the detail and pure readibility of Mr. Nashs' masterpiece on the Kourson Pocket! Buy the book, eagerly await its' arrival, and then savor it like a fine wine upon obtaining it. This should be required reading for anyone thinking of pursuing writing in military history - the gold standard against which any future writing will be measured. My only hopes are (1)That the author wil turn his protean writing talents to other neglected, but equally exciting Ost Front actions such as Mansteins' actions in the Crimea in '42, or his masterful retreat from the Caucasas, or his crowning jewel - the recapture of Kharkov in '43. (2)That the motion picture industry will recognize this work that captures the chaos and hell of war on a personal level and the sacrifice involved for its' participants and make a movie that attempts to convey this. Friends and colleagues, it doesn't get any better than this!


< Message edited by D.Ilse -- 1/1/2010 7:59:16 AM >


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RE: Looking for WWII Book Recommendation - 1/1/2010 8:00:58 AM   
D.Ilse


Posts: 330
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From: Florahduh, yea that state.
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Victory Was Beyond Their Grasp: With the 272nd Volks-Grenadier Division from the Huertgen Forest to the Heart of the Reich by Douglas Nash

quote:

Review
As told through the eyes of German soldiers, Nash gives the first full accounting and range of experience of a Volks-Grenadier division. In detailing the experience of one such division in the Hürtgen Forest, Nash has opened a new window into the bloody fighting at the end of World War II. He also helps to explain why it was that the western allies failed to exploit their successes of the summer and autumn of 1944 and lost their momentum amid the cold, sodden, dreary forests that ranged along the German border. The Volks-Grenadier Divisions, even at this late stage of the war, could call on skilled commanders, outstanding small-arms weaponry, and a pool of determined soldiers. --Stephen G. Fritz, author of Frontsoldaten<br /><br />This study is unique in that it focuses on a small unit, an infantry company, when most books describe warfare on the divisional level, or an even larger scale. --George Nipe, author of Decision in the Ukraine, Summer 1943, II. SS and III Panzerkorps; and Last Victory In Russia: The SS-Panzerkorps and Manstein's Kharkov Counteroffensive, February-March 1943<br /><br />Using a trove of recently discovered materials, Nash has pulled together the remarkable story of one German unit that was almost continuously engaged in a futile effort to stop the Allied advance across western Europe. Here is the war we rarely see close combat from the German side. Nash has done a great service to general readers and future historians. --Ed Ruggero, author of The First Men In: US Paratroopers; and The Fight to Save D-Day

As told through the eyes of German soldiers, Nash gives the first full accounting and range of experience of a Volks-Grenadier division. In detailing the experience of one such division in the Hürtgen Forest, Nash has opened a new window into the bloody fighting at the end of World War II. He also helps to explain why it was that the western allies failed to exploit their successes of the summer and autumn of 1944 and lost their momentum amid the cold, sodden, dreary forests that ranged along the German border. The Volks-Grenadier Divisions, even at this late stage of the war, could call on skilled commanders, outstanding small-arms weaponry, and a pool of determined soldiers. --Stephen G. Fritz, author of Frontsoldaten


quote:

In recent years, a growing community of active duty military historians has enriched the discipline through the type of scholarship gained at our nation's post graduate service schools. Names like Edward G. Miller, Mark J. Reardon, and Peter R. Mansoor, just to name a few, have contributed greatly to the World War II canon. Douglas E. Nash has certainly earned his rightful place among this distinguished group. His latest contribution, _Victory Was Beyond Their Grasp: . . . _ will predictably be stamped into the bibliographies of future works on the Huertgen Forest for decades to come.

Like archeologists digging up ancient artifacts of lost civilizations, historians sometimes happen upon lost documents that change and enrich our perspectives on an historical event. Nash, fluent in the German language, discovered one such treasure trove in the form of a company clerk's long hidden and meticulously organized "company orderly room files and documents" of Fusilier Company 272 of the 272d Volks Grenadier Division. This unit fought in the Huertgen Forest battles; the northern shoulder of the "Bulge," and eventually capitulated in the Ruhr Pocket. Utilizing these newly discovered documents as a skeletal frame, and microscopic view at the company level, Nash has sculpted a masterful work culling equally from German and Allied sources. Likewise, the view from army or corps headquarters to the lowly Grenadier defending a mud filled foxhole flows evenly and balanced.

Several popular German Order of Battle books hint at the fact that late in the war, many standard German infantry divisions were reconstructed as Volks Grenadier divisions (VGD). Nash offers a thorough comprehensive analysis on the origins and implementation of this entire process, including VGD clothing, equipment, weapons, and tactics. Several books tell the story of the bitter Huertgen Forest battles during the fall and winter of 1944/45, its causes, effects, and the German units the American forces faced during that deadly campaign. Nash, in an engaging writing style that never bogs down, places the reader within the ranks of the 272 VGD as it arrived by rail and deployed in the forest, always short of heavy weapons support. Of particular interest to this reviewer was the raids conducted by my father's unit, the 13th Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division against the 272 VGD near Vossenack. Scores of books tell of the US 2d Ranger Battalion's heroic scaling of the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, but few tell of its worst day in combat: a futile frontal assault up Hill 400 (Castle Hill) at Bergstein, Germany. Nash shows us how on December 6, 1944, elements of the 272 VGD made the Rangers pay dearly for this chunk of German real estate. Several Huertgen Forest accounts mentions the green US 78th Infantry Division's unkind baptism of fire in the Huertgen during January 1945. In a battle narrative that constitutes one of the high points of the book, Nash recounts the head-on collision between the 272 VGD and the 78th Division at the village of Kesternich.

The Aberjona Press, with several books emphasizing the German perspective of World War II to their credit, has put together a nice package here. Easy to read battle maps accompany every action mentioned in the book. It would have been nice to have a map placed where that particular action was taking place, rather than all grouped together at the front of the book, but this method is not too distracting. Dozens of photographs, most never before seen reproduced a bit dark, but again, not a big annoyance. Though well deserving of a hard cover edition, this paperback is well bound and made of heavy gauge paper that should withstand years of turning. Copious notes and numerous appendices containing: Order of battle, organizational charts, equipment, and tables of organization (ET&O), casualty and replacements tables round out this monumental project.

Nash's book is arguably the best view of the other side of the hill to emerge in years. For students of the Huertgen Forest Campaign, and the last battles of the Third Reich in the west, this book is a must read.



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