Looking for recommendations for non-fiction ww2 books



  • I just finished reading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer and really loved it, I’m looking for other books to go through and figured the community on here would be a great resource to point me in the right direction.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    There’s an enormous range of non-fiction publications on WWII, so in a way it’s hard to make recommendations because there’s too much choice.  If you can indicate what specific aspects of the war interest you the most, this will help people make specific suggestions on what books you might like.

    One intriguing book, both in terms of content and style, is “Requiem for Battleship Yamato” by Yoshida Mitsuru  (I recommend the translation by Richard Minear).  It’s a first-person account of Yamato’s last mission during the Okinawa campaign, told from the point of view of a junior officer who served on the bridge.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    I am more interested in the ETO, so would suggest Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day or Max Hastings Armageddon. I believe Beevor’s D-Day is meant to be good, but i have not started it.
    In fact there is nothing wrong with either of Cornelius Ryan’s Longest Day or Bridge too Far.
    I also greatly enjoyed Robin Cross’s Citadel( a short book) and the 3 books on ISS Panzer Corps by Michael Reynolds. Steel Inferno was my favourite.

    As Marc said, please specify an area of interest. Many here have a particular knowledge of different areas of WW2.



  • The Russo-German War 1941-45, is a good read. The Trail of the Fox, is a good book on Rommel.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    In addition to the two Cornelius Ryan books recommended by Wittmann, another good read is the other volume in Ryan’s trilogy, The Last Battle, which deals with the Battle of Berlin in 1945.

    Another one I like is Richard Overy’s book Why The Allies Won, which focuses not so much on describing the course of WWII as on explaining the reasons for its outcome.  Interestingly from the point of view of the Axis & Allies game – which traditionally starts in 1942, at the Axis high-water mark – Overy argues that the reasons for WWII’s ultimate outcome can be found in the middle years of the conflict, rather than in either the early years (1939-1941, during which the Axis seemed unstoppable) or the late years (1944-1945, during which the Allies seemed unstoppable).


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    @CWO:

    In addition to the two Cornelius Ryan books recommended by Wittmann, another good read is the other volume in Ryan’s trilogy, The Last Battle, which deals with the Battle of Berlin in 1945.
    I have three books on the Fall of Berlin.
    I do not know how I missed that Ryan had also written one,  so thank you Marc. Not That I will rush to buy and read it; I have too much on.
    I am currently reading a book of fiction. I only do that once or twice a year!



  • I really enjoyed Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad and The Fall of Berlin.

    Another really good read, imho, is Death Traps by Belton Y Cooper. I highly recommend it if you are interested in US WW2 armored/mechanized history. It’s a personal account of his time in the /recon/recovery/refit side of armored warfare.

    Rob.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 '12

    Check out these two books by Adam Makos; “A Higher Call” and “Voices of the
    Pacific.”  Two really good read I read this Summer.

    Another good book is by Louis Zamparini called “Devil at my Heels” about a B-24 pilot shot down over the Pacific and drifts at sea for months until he is picked up by the Japanese and place in multiple prison camps.  Before the war, he was an Olympic sprinter that meets Adolf Hitler during the 1936 Berlin games. Angelina Jolie is producing the upcoming movie named “Unbroken.”

    The book gets pretty churchy in the end but I guess put in his position, you do what ever you can to get through



  • I’ve read over 10,000 pages worth of WWII history. This wasn’t just reading for the sake of reading. This was reading with a purpose: to dig, and keep digging until I’d arrived at the truth.

    I’d divide what I’d read into at least three categories:

    1. WWII history as fictionalized from the Allied perspective.
    2. WWII history as fictionalized from the Axis perspective. (Much less common than 1.)
    3. Actual history.

    One normally does not encounter much history written from the Axis perspective. At least in mainstream history books, to the extent that fictionalization has occurred at all, it’s from the Allied perspective only. Often this occurs through omission. For example: a historian fictionalizing things in an Allied-friendly way will often act exactly as if Germany had enough food with which to feed its own people. He will remain silent about the Allied food blockade. He will be equally silent about the false promises France had made to Poland in 1939 (a French general offensive against Germany), and will provide no alternative explanation for Polish diplomatic policy in 1939. For those who want fictionalized, feel-good history like that, there are plenty of mainstream history books out there.

    But suppose you want a mainstream history book that’s straight truth. A book written for adults, not children. The book you want is Wages of Destruction by Adam Tooze. Below is some praise for this, one of the best history books I’ve read, on any subject, hands-down.

    “It is among Adam Tooze’s many virtues, in “The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy,” that he can write about such matters with authority, explaining the technicalities of bombers and battleships. Hovering over his chronicle are two extraordinary questions: how Germany managed to last as long as it did before the collapse of 1945 and why, under Hitler, it thought it could achieve supremacy at all.”
    -Norman Stone, The Wall Street Journal

    “Virtually every page of his book contains something new and thought-provoking, making the whole an impressive achievement, in which original research has been combined with critical scrutiny of a vast literature that seems ripe for such a re-examination.”
    -Michael Burleigh, The Sunday Times (London)

    “A magnificent demonstration of the explanatory power of economic history.”
    -The Times (London)

    “Masterful . . . Tooze has added his name to the roll call of top-class scholars of Nazism.”
    -Financial Times



  • Thunder Below!


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    Well my post is a bit different from all who have mentioned books but this may be helpful.

    I personally enjoy WWII reference books akin to something like Jane’s militry reference books. I have quite a few and they are pretty expensive if you pay the usual fifty to even pushing up towards a hundred dollars.

    The trick is to wait until after the Christmas season and check out your local major retail booksellers such as Barnes & Noble. Many times these books don’t sell as well so you can get them for a steal some times as high 90% off. I built up a collection of some very nice books this way.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @toblerone77:

    I personally enjoy WWII reference books akin to something like Jane’s militry reference books. I have quite a few and they are pretty expensive if you pay the usual fifty to even pushing up towards a hundred dollars. The trick is to wait until after the Christmas season and check out your local major retail booksellers such as Barnes & Noble. Many times these books don’t sell as well so you can get them for a steal some times as high 90% off. I built up a collection of some very nice books this way.

    Good advice.  Among the reference books in my collection, some of my favourites are the three books on WWII battleships by Garzke and Dulin: one on US battleships, one on (non-US) Allied battleships and one on Axis and Neutral battleships.  They’re extremely detailed studies of all the battleships and battlecruisers that were built (or contemplated) in the 1930s and 1940s.  I also find Conway’s Battleships (aka Conway’s All the World’s Battleships, depending on the edition) to be a very useful single-volume source on all the dreadnoughts built from 1905 onward.



  • I always seem to end up with more of the nuts and bolts type of works.  For WWII here are a few that I didn’t see mentioned that I find very useful as references:
    1.  M.J. Whitley’s Destroyers of WWII, An International Encyclopedia.  This one covers most of the heavier ocean going torpedo boat types as well, but not some of the escorts/corvettes/frigates–often slower ASW/AA boats.
    2.  M.J. Whitley’s Cruisers of WWII, An International Encyclopedia.
    3.  Kay & Smith’s German Aircraft of the Second World War.
    4.  Francillon’s Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War.
    5.  Dean’s America’s Hundred Thousand, U.S. Production Fighters of World War II.
    6.  Gordon and Khazanov’s Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War.  Two volume set.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Yes, those two books by Whitley are very useful, as is his “Battleships of World War Two”.  I also like these two related books: Aircraft Carriers of World War Two by Antony Preston, and Submarines of World War two by Erminio Bagnasco.



  • Older books but,

    Albert Speer’s Inside the Third Reich
    John Toland’s  The Rising Sun - Pacific from the Japanese point of view (won puliter prize)



  • Find the complete lot of Illustrated World War II Encyclopedia . It was published by H.S Stuttman Inc. Publishers

    It’s unbiased and deep in content.

    At 15 I was hired to clean my neighbors storage shed and found a set that was about to get burned. I took the set .


  • '10

    Winston Churchill’s The Second World War Series.

    A MUST read for any serious student of WW2 History

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_World_War_book_series

    EPIC read…  EPIC detail and interesting perspective.

    Jeremy


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @FieldMarshalGames:

    Winston Churchill’s The Second World War Series.

    I think these were the projected volumes to which Churchill was referring when he allegedly said that he knew that history would treat him favourably because he was going to write it.



  • I like the stories from individuals:

    ROBINSON CRUSOE, USN tells the story of George Tweed, who is local and is buried at ‘Eagle Point National Cemetery’

    The movie is “No Man Is An Island” from 1962.

    Great true stories.



  • The Second World War by John Keagan. Barbarossa: The Russian-German Conflict, 1941-45 by Alan Clark. Illustrated World War II Encyclopedia by Lieutenant Colonel Eddy Bauer.


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