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Experts! Is this book worth reading?

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by ULITHI, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Let me know how it is. I'm thinking of downloading it for my Nook.
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Personally I think "Air War Pacific Chronology" is one of those books that are best held in your hand. It does appear to have a LOT of information with the day to day short descriptions. You can search for specific Units (I found 42 references to the 348th FG) or a particular date which is nice. It should be a good reference source but I like to flip pages once in a while. I may change my mind the more I read and use it though.
    It may just be me, but I think I'll use the Kindle for reading stories and stay with the good old hardback books for reference materials.
     
  3. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Has anyone read "The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War" by James Bradley?
    From Publishers Weekly

    Theodore Roosevelt steers America onto the shoals of imperialism in this stridently disapproving study of early 20th-century U.S. policy in Asia. Bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Bradley traces a 1905 voyage to Asia by Roosevelt's emissary William Howard Taft, who negotiated a secret agreement in which America and Japan recognized each other's conquests of the Philippines and Korea. (Roosevelt's flamboyant, pistol-packing daughter Alice went along to generate publicity, and Bradley highlights her antics.) Each port of call prompts a case study of American misdeeds: the brutal counterinsurgency in the Philippines; the takeover of Hawaii by American sugar barons; Roosevelt's betrayal of promises to protect Korea, which greenlighted Japanese expansionism and thus makes him responsible for Pearl Harbor. Bradley explores the racist underpinnings of Roosevelt's policies and paradoxical embrace of the Japanese as Honorary Aryans. Bradley's critique of Rooseveltian imperialism is compelling but unbalanced. He doesn't explain how Roosevelt could have evicted the Japanese from Korea, and insinuates that the Japanese imperial project was the brainstorm of American advisers. Ironically, his view of Asian history, like Roosevelt's, denies agency to the Asians themselves.

    Sounds interesting, any thoughts - critiques?
     
  4. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Roger, I asked about this book in another thread. I got it for Christmas, and had my suspicions about it being possible bad revisionest history. However, I haven't actually got around to reading it yet.

    Clint did, and he stated that it was an interesting read, but some of the information was taken from questionable sources and such. On this I phone, I can't paste the link, but I think it was in one of the Pearl Harbor threads if you want to search it out.
     
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  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Darren, you were correct. Here's Clint's post:
    I still might give it a read.
     
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  6. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Thanks Darren & Lou !

    I was going to get "The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt" and might as well get "The Imperial Cruise". Now to find the time to read the eight new additions to the library - and the 2 or 3 thousand pages.
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    One I have that is worth finding, particularly for those in the UK, is Islands in Danger by Alan and Mary Wood, 1955 Evans Brothers Ltd. It is a very detailed history of the occupation of the Channel Islands. It would seem that on the island of Sark that the "commandant" didn't change during the war and that Mrs. Robert Hathaway, Dame of Sark was running things nicely there. You have to think that a British noble woman had to be a real terror if the Germans took orders from her!
     
  8. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Well, I just downloaded it for my Nook. I'll probably start it in a day or two and let you know how it is.
     
  9. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Ok, I bought a few used books today.

    Anyone read:

    "Albert Speer: The end of a myth" by Matthias Schmidt

    "Abandon Ship! The saga of the USS Indianapolis" by Richard F Newcomb

    "My War" by Andy Rooney

    "Faith of my Fathers" by John McCain. (This one I bought in the hope it would talk about Admiral Slew McCain and lay off the politics.)
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Another good read and one of my all time favorites is Under the Red Sea Sun by Edward Ellsburg Cdr (later Captain) USN. It is a wonderful story of making chicken soup from chicken $4!+.
     
  11. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I read Faith of my Fathers years ago (paid a dollar for it at a discount store) and the best I can remember was it left me with a higher respect for his Military record and much less so for his Political career. As I recall not much mention of his Grandfather or Father other than the help he received in his quest for office. Having said that - it was an interesting read.
     
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  12. fredleander

    fredleander Member

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    Hi, Darren - in my recent book on Operation Sea Lion I have given some background information on earlier books on this never-to-be operation - as I see them. Here is what I wrote about Fleming's book:
    Peter Fleming: Operation Sea Lion

    Peter Fleming is an entertaining writer with several novels to his credit. Considering the subject, he is sometimes a little too funny. His book was published in the mid 1950’s and it must have been a very comforting read for the British population. According to Fleming, they never had to fear the Germans. His contemporary stories are enjoyable as he elegantly describes the situation in England at the time. His military specialty was the stay-behind groups, of which he led part of the build-up himself. Of these groups he speaks little, probably because the Cold War was on and the British felt these could be of use again sometime. That might also be why he writes little on the British defensive measures as a whole. Later in the war, he participated in the Greek campaign and with resistance groups on the island of Crete after the German occupation.

    He is spot on when he describes Hitler’s lack of ability (lack of will is probably more correct) to coordinate the efforts of the three defense branches. According to Fleming, there was a brisk rivalry between the branches, and rather than smoothing this over, Hitler accentuated it by never synchronizing their meetings but rather talking to each group separately. This did not improve coordination and planning on the higher levels. In my opinion, though, Fleming misses the point when he claims: “It is not fair to criticize these staffs for their lack of ability, or will, to integrate themselves more efficiently than they did,” meaning the operational staff. The fact remains that the staffs did integrate themselves and fulfilled their missions, the planning of the operation, in spite of the quarrels and lack of cohesion on the top level. His conclusion that German air superiority was a necessary pre-requisite for the laying of their minefields and the sweeping of the approach routes is also totally misunderstood. Most would have taken place during the dark of the night, a time of the day the RAF could only minimally influence events. Fleming uses Admiral Raeder as his witness on this while in reality this was the tactics of the Kriegsmarine’s leadership to have the operation delayed. Fleming has not seen through this, or wanted to emphasize it.

    He is missing the mark even more when he evaluates the effort of the German paratrooper units at Crete. This is unfortunate since that operation is the best one to judge their combat potential. Fleming served in Crete, so he should know better. First, he gives the number of paratroops to be dropped on the first day of Sea Lion as 15,000. This is realistic. That is, if he defines the 22nd Air Landing division as paratroopers, which they were not. As a reference on the bottom of the page, he writes: “In 1941 a German airborne force just over twice this size narrowly succeeded in capturing Crete, which was held by a weak garrison with virtually no air support.”That the British had little air support is correct since it had been suppressed and chased away by the Luftwaffe, but the German forces attacking Crete were not even close to the number he mentions. The correct number is 6,000 men who landed by parachute and gliders the first day. Later, members of the 5th Mountain Division were flown in by Luftwaffe transports, but it took several days before this division was close to complete. Furthermore, the island was defended by, in all, approximately 42,000 British and Greek soldiers in addition to Greek irregular and civilian guerrilla forces. In spite of this, the island was completely occupied within 10 days, with much of the British forces having been evacuated from the southern side by the Royal Navy, though not without serious naval losses. The British forces on the island were Australian and New Zealand troops that had experience from the fighting in the Desert and in Greece. They had plenty of time to establish prepared positions, and their commander, General Freyberg, was constantly updated on recent German positions because British Intelligence had cracked the German Luftwaffe codes. In spite of this, the British units were not able to stand up to the German forces, which were inserted piecemeal and divided into several landing zones. As a comparison, the plan for Operation Sea Lion specified a concentrated paratrooper assault of the whole division in the area of Lympne airport. An important part of the British general reserve in southeast England was composed of Australian and New Zealand troops.

    Incidentally, Crete is not much smaller than the area of England south of London. It is approximately 250 kilometers wide. The distance from Dover to central London is approximately 110 kilometers.


    It is worth reading.....;).....!
     
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  13. fredleander

    fredleander Member

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    One might say this book is a must to understand the Nazi way of thinking - but what a drag to read! Goebbels must have been one of the most self-centered persons in his circuits. He knows everything and everybody else are fools. Certainly a very shrewd propaganda minister, no trick too low to get the job done. I am not sure I can recommend it, though. It is so depressing that people can behave like how he describes his day-to-day life.

    Fred
     
  14. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    I bought two today very cheap:

    "The SS: Alibi of a Nation" by Gerald Reitlinger

    "Killing Hiter" by Roger Moorehouse

    I have heard that the first book is a classic work, but have not read the second. I appreciate any opinions as always! :)
     
  15. CPL Punishment

    CPL Punishment Member

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    Regarding The SS: Alibi of a Nation by Gerald Reitlinger I believe you have there the most extensive and readable one-volume history of the SS available in any language. Like Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners Reitlinger's book argues against containing the guilt for the war and its atrocities strictly within the most ruthless compartments of the Nazi bureaucracy. I agree with his conclusions but I do not believe he has sewn up all the logical loose ends tightly enough to persuade someone less inclined to agree than I am.

    For example, Reitlinger outlines in detail the "state within the state" nature of the SS, and he also paints the SS as a body of bureaucrats duly executing the public will. However I think the evidence suggests the "state within the state" paradigm is inadequate to the reality. The SS were more like a nation within the nation, with institutions more parallel to a nation (a distinctive people) than a merely a state (an organized political community, living under a government) because in addition to the parallel system of law and hierarchy the SS had its own traditions, symbolism, religion, rituals and mythology which made them practically a separate people from the hoi polli Germans who were deemed unworthy to join Himmler's initiates.
     
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  16. 36thva2

    36thva2 Member

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    Has anyone read this one?

    An Infantryman Remembers World War II by John H Light
     
  17. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Howdy folks, bought this one for a dollar today: "The Psycopathic God: Adolf Hiter" by Robert G L Waite. Looks a little dated and full of gossip, so I was wondering how much to take it seriously. Any comments are always greatly appreciated!
     
  18. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr Patron  

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    Have to say Darren that Waite's book is generally not taken seriously by 'serious' Hitler historians. It's more 'popular psychology' and not as deeply researched as more recent Hitler books.....
     
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  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member Patron  

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    Several years ago I read a book derived from a psychological study prepared for FDR on Hitler done in 1941/42 by the US Army. A lot of guesswork, but much of it was dead on, or at least seemed so to me.
     
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    To return to Fleming - and some of Fred's comments on him...

    Obviously Fred is not aware that Fleming was THE most popular travel writer of the 1930s in Great Britain. During the decade he completed a long trek through the forbidden-to-outsiders parts of China, and wrote them up as the bestselling News From Tartary. NOR is Fed apparently aware that Fleming was in military intelligence this early - his trip was a covert Intelligence sighting trip through China!

    Suprisingly little is STILL known about the Auxiliary Units, tho' with careful research the picture is slowly clearing. Fleming - who had previously been in Norway liaising with Colin Gubbins for a time during the long retreat north to Bodo - was one of the first liaison officers with the organisation; he had been involved in the first days of an indepedent stay-behind organisation in Kent created by Military Intelligence that was rapidly amalgamated with the Aux. Units, and the idea of underground Ops' Bases is said to have originated with Fleming.

    A lot of the original Aux Units Liaison officers later followed Gubbins into the SOE like Fleming, including his colleague...Anthony Quayle the actor! Famous for among other things playing an SOE BLO in The Guns Of Navarone....

    It might be worth noting that part of the reticence of Fleming to say more on the Aux Units is the whole ethos behind the organisation; after all, those thousands of staff at Bletchley Park held their tongues for many more years! ...It should be remembered that the first task of the individual Aux Units in the event of invasion was to assasinate their own Liaison Officers like Fleming!

    Fred has now been corrected elsewhere as to the realistic number of paratroopers and airlanding troops the Germans had available in September 1940 ;)

    I've read both an early edition of Invasion 1940, and own a later 2033 edition of it, now renamed Operation Sealion - and there aren't any real diferences between them, Fleming never revisited it bar a couple of footnotes. In the absence of a British equivalent of Peter Schenk he's valuable for his holistic view of the threat, the social context of it in the UK, and the preparations of both sides....and of course the events/spinning history of the period....particularly the parts that people DID know about and remember, like the paratrooper scares etc. In other words - it's very much a popular history of the Sealion "period".

    I noted above that as yet there isn't a real equivalent of Schenk for the british preparations - but we do come close ;) a David Newbold wrote a long and extremely detailed PHD thesis on anti-invasion preparations September 1939 to 1941 in the late 1990's, and it's available on the British Library's ETHOS system, as a free download. Also, three years ago the naval historian Brian Lavery published his "We Shall Fight On The Beaches" comparison of the invasion scares of 1803-5 and 1940...and in the process briought to light a lot more information on the British preparations in 1940 than Fleming could...or that the popularist direction of his book allowed him to.

    Taken together, these three are the present essential reading on the British preparations for Sealion...but there' no getting away from the fact that Fleming's is the original and best overview and contextualisation of events.

     

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