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OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/20/2010 10:57:01 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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My sister called me today and said that my 11-year-old nephew has become very interested in WWII. She had given him Cornelius Ryan's "The Longest Day" to read and he really enjoyed it but she was looking for further ideas. So, does anyone have any good ideas along those lines?

I've looked over my own shelves and have pulled down a few books to lend him but a lot of the books we recommend as standards seem a little dense for even a bright 11-year-old. I would love to loan him the books that really got me started at around the same age, the "Ballentine Illustrated History of the Violent Century" volumes, but the ones I still have probably would not survive anything but the most gentle handling. Is there anything else like that out there that might be in print?

Remember, these would be for a future grognard, not a current one, so very general histories would be okay. Also books with good color plates of ships, aircraft, and armor - I was drawn to those at that age, bet he is too.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/20/2010 10:57:58 PM   
Bullwinkle58


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"Run Silent, Run Deep."

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/20/2010 11:07:52 PM   
Mark VII


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Since he liked Longest Day, try A Bridge to Far also by Ryan. Lots of high adventure with jumping out of airplanes and racing for the bridges. Come back to earth with Montys plan falling apart and the war grinds on.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/20/2010 11:08:30 PM   
Canoerebel


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Band of Brothers
Do or Die Men (1st Marine Raiders at Guadalcanal - fabulous book)
A Bridge Too Far


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/20/2010 11:08:37 PM   
Grunt


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I remember enjoying "PT-109" at about that age. Also, search the standard internet book sellers for "WWII illustrated" and you'll get some good ideas.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/20/2010 11:24:00 PM   
Bradley7735


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I liked "Baa Baa Black Sheep" in my teens.

There's also a short paperback on the defense of Wake Is that is great. I think it is called "Wake Island", but not real sure.

Not a lot of pictures in either book, but the story lines are pretty good.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 12:04:12 AM   
awadley

 

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God is my Co-Pilot and They were Expendable
Read them while I was in grade school at least four times each

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 12:29:22 AM   
aprezto


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Len Deighton: Bomber, Fighter and Panzer. Not the most 'grognardy' book as far as facts go, and some extremely cavalier assumptions made.

But;

They are written by a novellist. The are very easy to read, and I'd imagine, very absorbing for your budding aficionado.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 12:46:47 AM   
spence

 

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Another Ryan book: The Last Battle, would introduce a neophyte to the fact that the Russians participated in WWII as well as provide an interesting read.

I can't come up with a single title here but a book that chronicles the Guadalcanal Campaign from start to finish would also fit the bill. I read one when I was young (that would be a couple of weeks ago at least) but the title escapes me now: something like "Operation Shoestring" I think.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 12:51:39 AM   
Canoerebel


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Another WWII book that I loved at that age was one about the Allied bombing attack on Ploesti. I think the title was Raid on Ploesti, but I'm not 100% sure. It's been 35 years or so since I read the book.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 2:07:02 AM   
Arnhem44


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Six Armies in Normandy by John Keegan, an introduction to the major combatants of the ETO should pique his interest.
Pegasus Bridge by Stephen Ambrose, limited in scope so should be easy to digest
Also, Ernie Pyle's books would be a good counterpoint to the guts and glory side of war.



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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 2:26:47 AM   
Heeward


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The Bantam War book collection - most likely still available from used books stores. Some stand the test of time and others have been eclipsed by newer books / research.

The Desert War:
With Rommel in the Desert
Alamein to Zem Zem (on my desk right now to be read)
Brazen Chariots


Pacific War
Queen of the Flattops
The Pigboats
Two Ocean War
Midway the Battle that Doomed Japan
With the Old Breed
Iwo Jima
Typhoon of Steel
Samurai!
Japanese Destroyer Captain

Europe
To Hell and Back
Combat Command
War as I Knew It
Night Fighter
Fly for Your Life
Thunderbolt
God is My Copilot

Are the only ones I can think of.

Others:Samuel Morison's History of United States Naval Operations in World War II - short version Two Ocean War (above)
Theodore Roscoe's United States Destroyer Operations in WWII and United States Submarine Operations in WWII (also published as The Pigboats above)









< Message edited by Heeward -- 7/21/2010 5:19:03 AM >


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 3:49:42 AM   
vettim89


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For a young man of his age I would recomend:

PT-109 - A pretty good read and most likely he will have heard of JFK
The Raft - first WW II book I ever read at about his age. Very easy read
30 Seconds Over Tokyo - read this one shortly after the above. Again, a very easy read
Gabby - autobiography of Francis Gabreski - very well written and flowing narrative of two wars in the air

All those books have good flowing prose that will hold an eleven year old's attention. Some of the book's suggested are great books but are a little too hard core for a young man of the techno generation. Ease him into it with some lighter reads first would be my best advice.

If he show's interest, rent some movies (or more likely check them out from the local library):

A Bridge Too Far
The Longest Day
The Were Expendable
Tora Tora Tora


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 4:00:30 AM   
John 3rd


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Band of Brothers
Do or Die Men (1st Marine Raiders at Guadalcanal - fabulous book)
A Bridge Too Far



Concur--as always--with Dan's reading suggestions but I'm concerned about an 11 year-old understanding these...


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 4:01:55 AM   
John 3rd


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Heeward


The Bantam War book collection - most likely still available from used books stores. Some stand the test of time and others have been eclipsed by newer books / research.

The Desert War:
With Rommel in the Desert
Alamein to Zem Zem (on my desk right now to be read)
Brazen Chariots


Pacific War
Queen of the Flattops
The Pigboats
Two Ocean War
Miracle at Midway
Midway the Battle that Doom Japan
With the Old Breed
Iwo Jima
Typhoon of Steel
Samurai!
Japanese Destroyer Captain

Europe
To Hell and Back
Combat Command
War as I Knew It
Night Fighter
Fly for Your Life
Thunderbolt
God is My Copilot

Are the only ones I can think of.

Others:Samuel Morison's History of United States Naval Operations in World War II - short version Two Ocean War (above)
Theodore Roscoe's United States Destroyer Operations in WWII and United States Submarine Operations in WWII (also published as The Pigboats above)







GREAT suggestions! Might be hard to believe but I've got 4-6 of those books still on my shelves!


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 5:37:36 AM   
thegreatwent


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I will go with some favorites from that age. Life's Picture History of WWII. Not WWII but, Gilkerson on War From Rocks to Rockets. Some of the Heritage series books and last but not least Miracle at Midway.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 5:51:29 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish

My sister called me today and said that my 11-year-old nephew has become very interested in WWII. She had given him Cornelius Ryan's "The Longest Day" to read and he really enjoyed it but she was looking for further ideas. So, does anyone have any good ideas along those lines?

I've looked over my own shelves and have pulled down a few books to lend him but a lot of the books we recommend as standards seem a little dense for even a bright 11-year-old. I would love to loan him the books that really got me started at around the same age, the "Ballentine Illustrated History of the Violent Century" volumes, but the ones I still have probably would not survive anything but the most gentle handling. Is there anything else like that out there that might be in print?

Remember, these would be for a future grognard, not a current one, so very general histories would be okay. Also books with good color plates of ships, aircraft, and armor - I was drawn to those at that age, bet he is too.

Warspite1

Cuttlefish, I'm surprised by some of the responses. You say your nephew is 11? I can only recall where I was at at that age; if my reading age and grasp on life and things generally was typical, then I would steer clear of all books that dig deep into specific battles and campaigns.

I got started - as you suggest in your last paragraph - on general histories with LOTS of pictures and fantastic full colour Maps. My dad had Purnells History of the Second World War which was the business. I can't say I "read" much of it at 11, but it was great to look at - the map showing the army strength of each side pre the Battle of France and Barbarossa, the numerous pictures of battleships and aircraft carriers (only the big beasts held my interest then). These were what got me hooked on the subject. This together with my brothers books on naval warfare, although again I was only interested in the big colour reference books! Some DVD's could help too - at nine years old I was watching the World at War - a series of 26(?) programs, each looking at different episodes of WWII - highly recommended if you can get hold of that for him.

The detailed stuff then came later; as I got older I started actually reading these general histories and that fed my thirst for more knowledge and the reading of the more detailed books. I think the problem of stepping in to the detail too early is that your nephew becomes overwhelmed by the detail, finds it too hard a slog and turns off.

That's my 2 cents - I fully accept that we are all different and maybe at 11 I was just slow but if I was typical then I would say its a gradual process. It would not hurt to get your nephew into computer wargaming to help that process along -NOT WITPAE!! but some of the more general (but historical) WWII games for now.

Hope that helps.

EDIT - Sorry forgot the suggestions:

The World Encylopedia of Military Aircraft - Angelucci
The World at Arms - Readers Digest (good high level reading that covers the whole conflict; a kind of abridged version of Purnells History of the Second World War))
Conways - All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1922 - 1946
The War at Sea - John Hamilton (Full of great colour pictures to go with the text)
A bit more detail, but as an intermediate step I think Osprey do a great collection of books on individual campaigns and battles etc - have alook at their website

< Message edited by warspite1 -- 7/21/2010 6:14:07 AM >


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 7:18:55 AM   
Reg


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Cuttlefish, I'm surprised by some of the responses. You say your nephew is 11? I can only recall where I was at at that age; if my reading age and grasp on life and things generally was typical, then I would steer clear of all books that dig deep into specific battles and campaigns.

I got started - as you suggest in your last paragraph - on general histories with LOTS of pictures and fantastic full colour Maps. My dad had Purnells History of the Second World War which was the business....


Warspite, I was going to say exactly the same thing but you beat me to it. I would be a little hesitent to recommend what amounts to text books to someone this age. What I started with were books like the one issued to accompany the movie "Battle of Britian" with lots of colour photos from the movie and line drawings of all the aircraft. Great stuff for someone about this age.

I also found the Purnells magazines to be a great start on World War history though I never owned a set and had to rely on reading friend's and library copies. Unfortunately, a quick scan of Amazon shows a complete set of Purnells is now worth up to 1000 UK pounds. However, there must a modern equivalent to this series.

Edit: Thinking about it, why don't you have a look around at book clubs aimed at children of his age (bump it up by a few years if he's smart). In Australia we have Scholasic Book club which publish for specific age groups and include WWII history titles (I've bought a couple for my son) though the range probably isn't too wide. Around ANZAC and Remembrance Day seem to be the best time to look. Also Military Book clubs (eg Doubleday in Australia) will have heaps of WWII books and will tend toward the picture/general interest books rather than text books (they sell better) which would be suitable for an adolescent.

Hope this helps,






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< Message edited by Reg -- 7/21/2010 8:21:31 AM >


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 8:11:37 AM   
Heeward


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Reg

I got started - as you suggest in your last paragraph - on general histories with LOTS of pictures and fantastic full colour Maps. My dad had Purnells History of the Second World War which was the business....


I didn't know I was so rich - I have a set with binders, and the expansion, which I still use a general reference.

They also put out several book editions based on the series, that I would recommend.


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 8:19:49 AM   
JeffroK


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Try your local library, many have a junior section where books aimed more at his age group are.

Many of the above would probably bore him.

Ease him in gently, make sure he doesnt read too many Sven Hassel's or similar.

In a few years, I would add Guy Sajer's "Last Soldier"
True or Fiction, it puts across that war is hell.



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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 8:51:31 AM   
sprior


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Or try Horrible Histories, just the stuff 11 yo boys love.

< Message edited by sprior -- 7/21/2010 8:52:57 AM >


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 7:05:00 PM   
Bullwinkle58


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Reg

Warspite, I was going to say exactly the same thing but you beat me to it. I would be a little hesitent to recommend what amounts to text books to someone this age.


A bit OT, but I first read "Starship Troopers" in 3rd grade. It's REALLY about WWII, but a 3rd grader wouldn't know that. It's a great bit of summer reading for an 11-YO.

That book is one of the top-5 reasons I eventually served in the USN.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 7:24:32 PM   
JWE

 

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When I was that age, I began on some Time/Life books from the parent's library. Started out diggin on the pictures, but as time went on, started reading the text. They are not deep, but they are wide. The starting point does not matter. Spread the feast in as many dishes as you can. Perhaps he will choose one and surprise you.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 9:36:24 PM   
wgs_explorer

 

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One thing I was addicted to at that age was History of the Second World War from Marshall Cavendish/BPC Publishing. It was a weekly (?) magazine subscription back then. You might be able to get some or all of the issues from ebay. I was able to recreate (as an adult) my collection of the magazines that way. It was really excellent with lots of articles and lots and lots of pictures!

Bill

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 9:55:25 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sprior

Or try Horrible Histories, just the stuff 11 yo boys love.

Warspite1

....and girls - my daughters are a little younger, but both love horrible histories books and the TV program.

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 10:00:55 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Reg

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Cuttlefish, I'm surprised by some of the responses. You say your nephew is 11? I can only recall where I was at at that age; if my reading age and grasp on life and things generally was typical, then I would steer clear of all books that dig deep into specific battles and campaigns.

I got started - as you suggest in your last paragraph - on general histories with LOTS of pictures and fantastic full colour Maps. My dad had Purnells History of the Second World War which was the business....


.....Unfortunately, a quick scan of Amazon shows a complete set of Purnells is now worth up to 1000 UK pounds. However, there must a modern equivalent to this series.




Warspite1

Get yourself to a few boot sales - that's where I got my set from. Having left home, I felt the urge to buy a full set for myself. Found a set at a boot fare - okay the binders are a little tatty, but I got the whole lot for about £20 - result

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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/21/2010 11:00:56 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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There are some very good ideas and thoughts here. Thank you very much to everyone. "Run Silent, Run Deep" reminds me that I should have immediately thought of Robb White. He wrote some good WWII novels geared towards young adults - "Up Periscope," "Torpedo Run," and my favorite, "Silent Ship, Silent Sea." I should have thought of "The Raft," too, I had that book and read the cover off of it when I was my nephew's age.

The Osprey books are a great idea, I can loan him some of mine and if those are a hit they can get others. The Purnells series is also an excellent suggestion, I will have to see what I can turn up at used book stores in the area. Not that I need much of an excuse to get pulled into a book store!

Does anyone else recall the Ballentine series I mentioned? They were published in the late 60s and early 70s. I still have about twenty of them.






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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/22/2010 1:32:14 AM   
Heeward


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish
Does anyone else recall the Ballentine series I mentioned? They were published in the late 60s and early 70s. I still have about twenty of them.







Ballentine had two nearly identical series, with the same format.
Ballentine's Illustrated History of World War II
Ballentine's Illustrated History of the Violent Century

Ballentine reprinted around a dozen of the most popular volumes ten years ago?

A quick check at Amazon showed titles going used for a little as 75 cents

Note: Ballentine's Series and Purcell used John Batchelor for their artwork.


< Message edited by Heeward -- 7/22/2010 1:33:31 AM >


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RE: OT - WWII Books For Future Grognards - 7/22/2010 2:25:19 AM   
Mynok


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While not great history, when I was about that age, I found Walter Lord's Incredible Victory and Enemy at the Gates fascinating reads. Though long, they are also essentially a combination of short, personal stories mostly. Certainly not textbooks which I also agree would be death.

Lord wrote a good story if bad history. Kids love good stories. I know I did.

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