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Another WWII book ranking

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by KJ Jr, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I am a sucker for rankings. No big surprises on this list. There are some good titles that are coveted by the members here and also the obligatory Beevor title.

    The 9 most essential World War II books
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    At least one didn't seem all that essential to me. I could name a few others that would be on a par with most of the rest.
     
  3. Moscow

    Moscow Member

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    I would appreciate your additions to the list, Iwd.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I saw three that I would not consider "essential," and a few others that I would consider debatable.
    Not essential:
    Maus
    In the Garden of Beasts
    Human Smoke

    Debatable:
    Hiroshima
    With the Old Breed
    Not that these two are bad books, only that they represent a very small niche aspects of WW2.

    Instead of Hiroshima, I would consider Richard Rhodes "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" to be a far more "essential" read for WW2.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I would put Shattered Sword on most list of this sort. The info about how the Japanese high command I found extremely interesting. It got me started on realizing just how different the Japanese were in regards to how their government worked.
    Wages of Destruction is another. It set the ground work for Germany in the pre and early war ways that no other book I've read has.
    The First Team for understanding USN air ops in the Pacific.

    Depending on what the purpose of the list is though it might not make the top 9. There may also be better books for the topics I just haven't run across them. Just reading the Hiroshima book I got the impression that it might be useful for understanding the post war world but not that important in regards to WW2 itself. It and the three Takao listed as not essential all seem to focus on individual non military areas. Useful perhaps in gaining a broader understanding but essential?

    Representing the war in the East with only a book about Stalingrad seems rather weak as well. A good text focusing on Europe (East and West) in the 38 or 39 to 42 time frame would seem essential to me.
     
  6. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I don't see how In the Garden of Beasts made this list.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I do. It's a counterpoint to Shirer's reporter's eye view of the rise of the Nazi's in Germany. Not from the POV of an "average" American family in Berlin, but from a very well-educated American family, with probably better entre to the Nazi leadership than Shirer had.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Sex sells.
     
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  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.

    Yep.

    Yep.

    I also question the inclusion of Beevor's derivative Stalingrad. Glantz's When Titans Clashed better represents the Ostfront. Similarly, why the first volume of Atkinson'd trilogy when Millet's There's a War to Be Won, for all its faults, at least is comprehensive? Similary, why D-Day, for all Ryan's qualities it is a dated work now and only covers a single battle...how is that battle narrative "essential", but others are not?
     
  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well, it helps, and certainly doesn't hurt... :D
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I'd buy that, except none of the other books really have counterpoints.
     
  12. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I understand your point, but if we were to whittle it down to 9-10 essential reads without categorizing, it seems lazy. If we were looking at POV that can give insight, I would agree...though it wouldn't be high on my list. Seems like the creators were giving a grab bag of choices without set rules.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Just started reading Craig Nelson's Pearl Harbor (I know, you didn't see that coming.) I'd already recommend it based on the first ~50 pages. He does a good job setting up the background for the raid.
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    True, but then its a pretty lame list...which we already knew. One reason I hate lists like this, they are entirely subjective to whoever threw it together.
     
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well, frankly, none of them are "essential reads" unless you essentially only want to read about that very narrow part of this cataclysmic world event that the particular book addresses. Why is Helmet for my Pillow more essential than Company Commander? Because its a Marine rifleman instead of an Army rifle company commander that wrote it? What does it say about the American experience Europe and conversely what does Mac's book have to say about our experience in the Pacific? Where is the Navy perspective in this list...any navy. Or the air forces.
     
  16. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Very true
     

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