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What Are You Reading?

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Mahross, Feb 1, 2004.

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  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I started this last night, after a forum friend sent it to me to read:

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    The Last Fighting General, Anne Hicks, 2006. Schiffer Military History. 254 pages, appendix and bibliography, ISBN 9-780764 324307

    It is a biography of Gen Robert Frederick, the original CO of the 1st Special Service Force, aka The Devil's Brigade.

    I'm already four chapters in and it looks very promising.
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I finished The Last Fighting General, Anne Hicks, 2006. Schiffer Military History. 254 pages, appendix and bibliography, ISBN 9-780764 324307

    An excellent account of the life of Gen Robert Tryon Frederick.

    I leaned a great deal about Gen Frederick from the book. I knew he was young, but did not realize he was the youngest major general in the US army in WWII, nor the exceptionally high regard the men of his various command held for him.

    The book follows a mostly chronological account his life, starting prior to his birth when his parents met and married. Apparently they were not the most ideal of parents and the book related that he did not realize the adults who lived on the bottom floor of his three story house in San Francisco were actually his parents until he was 5 years old. They were somewhat brutal and unloving to him.

    Apparently, though, that callousness did not translate into his treatment of his men, although he did expect the same hard work and training from them as he imposed on himself. He didn't expect his men to do things he had not done himself, including parachuting out of an aircraft with less than 30 minutes of instruction.

    He was not a fan of Mark Clark, which elevates the regard in which I hold him.

    There were a few editing errors of no-consequence and the author misspelled Adolf Hitler's name as "Adolph".

    There were a lot of photos spanning life but no maps at all.

    It was a great book and I encourage students of the war to read it.

    9/10 (-1 for no maps) Will read again.

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    I am now reading:

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    D Day Through German Eyes, Holger Eckhertz, 2015, 2016, DTZ History Publications, 320 pages, no maps or photos. ISBN 978 1539586395

    Already into Chap 3 and it looks very promising.
     
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  3. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Ivan Makarov's Born Under a Lucky Star. Makarov wrote in secret and many of his thoughts would have sent him to a gulag Siberia. Having once been captured by the Germans he was detained by Smersh for ten days under suspicion as a German spy (he wasn't) and that stain would come back and haunt his family many decades later. He talks about his battlefield experience and how credit for success flows upwards. His memoir was transcribed and published by his daughter.

    It is a brutally honest account of the war that was written in secret and his criticisms would have earned him a spot in a Siberian gulag. Free from Soviet scrutiny, editing and propaganda, it is a refreshing and humanistic look at the war. He doesn't see the average German as his enemy but as people led by fools who compelled them to war. He witnessed Chuikov's execution of their regimental commander for retreating w/out orders. Makarov openly criticizes commanding officers who from the safety of their bunker throws away the lives of men on suicide missions the worse of which involved two entire divisions being cut off and destroyed. Besides numerous near deaths, he also made a few miraculous escapes from encirclement.

    When there is victory, little credit is given to the soldier but the higher one is and farther from the front, the more awards are showered on them. Post-war soldiers wanted to celebrate in Moscow but they were prevented and shakened down by the cavalry unit assigned to patrol the streets. After they were looted, they were sent packing. So much for victory.

    Post-war when the mine he was working at discovered gold, he was to be arrested because he was untrustworthy all because he had the misfortune of having been captured once by the Germans! His boss liked him and cued him to pack his bags and disappear.

    Unfortunately, the book doesn't explain how he came to believe in God. He did grow up in Siberia so the reach of Moscow was a bit further, but the churches were closed. It must be from his grandparents & parents.
     
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  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    51Cx7vKQXBL._AC_SY780_.jpg

    Currently almost halfway through this book. Well written and also frightening. How these guys pressed forward is astounding.
     
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  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Lou,

    Give us a good report when you finish. It looks interesting.

    I finished:

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    D Day Through German Eyes, Holger Eckhertz, 2015, 2016, DTZ History Publications, 320 pages, no maps or photos. ISBN 978 1539586395

    This was an interesting read.

    Holger Eckhertz was really more of a interviewer, rather than an author, of mostly German soldiers and one pilot, all who fought in Normandy on 6 June 1944 or after. Some of the men interviewed were captured that day while others fought to the end of the war. They spanned a good spectrum, from Landsers in Static Divisions, StuG crewmember, engineers, to an Me 109 pilot.

    During the war, Eckhertz worked for Signal and Die Werhmacht and had toured Normandy in April and May 1944, gathering stories for those publications. He apparently had met most or all the men from the book at that time, as they mentioned in the interviews about remembering each other The interviews for the books all took place in 1955 and the author died before he could complete his project, which was to talk to more veterans and publish the interviews. The stories remained unpublished until Eckhertz's son published the first book in 2015, which were stories from one veteran from each of the assault beaches. Book Two (2016) consists mostly of stories from other combat arms and varies in location. Both books are in one volume.

    As I mentioned, it was interesting - interesting reading their thoughts insights on the war. Most mentioned often that they were fighting for a "United Europe" with several acknowledging that the idea was a farce. Some held firm to that belief. All seemed to mention the overwhelming material superiority and expressed surprise that there were no horses and that the Allies landed across the beaches with no immediate intent to take a port. There were other insights revealed that surprised me and other that confirmed what I had read in other accounts.

    One interviewee was involved in a special weapon I had not heard of, the Taifun (Typhoon). It was a fuel air explosive using kerosene and coal dust and was somewhat fragile in transport and use. Its effective range of effect was estimated to be measured in kilometers and heavily affected by weather conditions. The one time they were going to finally use was the night prior to Cobra, but US artillery destroyed the battery moments before the weapons were to be fired. Apparently the weapons drawbacks prevented further development.

    Anyway, the book was good and held my interested well.

    No photos or maps.

    9/10 Will read again.

    EDIT I found audio versions on Youtube




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    I am now reading

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    I'm Staying With My Boys, Jim Proser with Jerry Cutler, 2004, St Martin's Griffin.330 pages. photos throughout ISBN 978 1 4351 4357 9

    It is borrowed from another forum member.
     
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  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    [​IMG]

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    Blandford Press 1985, 176 pages.
     
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  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Re above: This is what I call a "Narrative Chronology", the dates and event written out longhand instead of in a table. Poss. Useful for reference.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Belton' s book has been questioned lately. Guy Sajer forgotten soldier and Manstein Lost Victories book have had as well those who liked them and those who doomed them as dead meat after reading them. I guess we just have to read them and consider if they are truly telling the absolute truth and which part is that? Or fiction all the way?
    Personally I was mostly shooked by Belton telling how they clearead the bodies of the dead previous crew from the Shermans and sent them back to Action. Never thought of that before...
     
  10. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    This was an excellent read. The author used a combination of archival material, books, interviews, and after action reports to weave a comprehensive look at the role of units of the Big Red 1 and other units at Omaha beach. He looked at the big picture as seen by people like General Huebner and the role of individual soldiers at the rank of private. The importance of non-coms was stressed for their role in Colonel Taylor's admonition to "get off the beach" and that the only people there were "the dead and those about to die". The role of training was given a place of importance. I especially liked that the significance of medics and engineers was given a whole chapter. Too often these men are ignored. Their devotion to duty was paramount. In all, a book I would recommend. D-Day, and especially the role of the First Division at Omaha is too important to forget.
     
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  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    140 Days to Hiroshima: The Story of Japan’s Last Chance to Avert Armageddon Hardcover – Illustrated, April 7, 2020
    by David Dean Barrett (Author)

    If you're a "Hirohito was a puppetmaster!" kind of person you'll like this one. I'm having trouble figuring out where the author gets his insight into Hirohito. So many bald assertions regarding intent and manipulation.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I finished:

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    I'm Staying With My Boys, Jim Proser with Jerry Cutler, 2004, St Martin's Griffin.330 pages. photos throughout ISBN 978 1 4351 4357 9

    Okay, this wasn't a bad book, but as far as providing a readable biography of John Basilone, it just wasn't good.

    I guess the biggest detraction was that is written in the first person, as though Basilone himself was telling, or had told his own story to others, even up to and including the assault on Iwo Jima. The authors spent a large amount of time delving into what Basilone was thinking about so many different aspects of his life and I wasn't sure if they were making it up or expanding greatly beyond what he may have spoken of himself to others.

    The story jumps directly into the landing at Iwo Jima and then jumps back to his childhood. It goes back and forth several times, such that I was not sure if the story was a flash back or flash forward. After alternating a few times, it settled into a chronological stream of consciousness-type telling of his life, with much delving into his feelings.

    I was just not impressed with the book. I began to skips parts paragraphs, especially when the authors were stringing us along too much talking about what he was thinking and feeling about things. I was often wondering "how did they know?" I almost put it down a time or two but managed to slog through to the end.

    No maps and a few photos. Some were too small to easily distinguish what they were a picture of.

    6/10 Okay for the bookshelf, won't encourage others to read.
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    I am now reading:

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    His Time in Hell, A Texas Marine in France, George B. Clark, editor, Presidio Press, 2001, 249 pages, maps and photos ISBN 9-780891-417514

    The World War I Memoir of Warren R Jackson.

    This is not of the time period of the forum, the 5th Marines of The Great War fame.
     
  14. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Marching From Defeat.
     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Just started this. Curious to see how the author approaches the subject.
     
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  16. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Hans Schmidt's SS Panzergrenadier.

    He's an unrepetent nazi who disavows the camps, the Malmedy Massacre and atrocities committed by the SS. He's dead now (2010) but he spread his twisted thinking among some of our own racists here.
     
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  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Practically for the details....

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    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I've almost finished with:

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    His Time in Hell, A Texas Marine in France, George B. Clark, editor, Presidio Press, 2001, 249 pages, maps and photos ISBN 9-780891-417514

    This is one of the best autobiographies of a soldier (actually a Marine) that I have read recently.
    The book is a memoir written by Warren R. Jackson prior to 1930 and found in the1990s. The book was edited by George B. Clark, who made great efforts to research the author and his unit. Little is known of Mr. Jackson before or after the war and where he died and is buried is unknown.

    Mr. Jackson's writing style was engaging and he used subtle humor throughout. His choice of words and sentence structure was interesting and to me, showed an engaging intelligence and command of the English language. He used now archaic terms from the era and and scattered the occasional pun throughout.

    He related day to day travails of the Marine infantryman and unintentionally painted a vivid picture of how inadequately the US was for war. The men were mistreated in training and in combat and their daily life outside actual combat was difficult at best. Frequently he mentioned going without food for days, even in quiet areas and when they would be supplied with food, it would be hard French bread or biscuits (US usage), and cold coffee. His comments illuminated the differences in food supply between the wars. While it was monotonous, the GI of WWII at least has nutritious food mostly available, where the Doughboy seemed to be on the verge of starvation often, especially when in close contact with the enemy, with what food provided, was cooked in the immediate rear areas.

    The editor provided chapter-end notes that I think would have been better served as footnotes, to keep the reader from having to flip back and forth while reading. There were a few crude maps and several pages of photos, though none of Jackson. I suspect the editor tried to find some, but with so little known of Jackson, that proved an impossible task.

    10/10 Well worth reading.
     
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  19. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    A Soldier in Stalingrad. A very rare account from the German perspective. Unfortunately the editor did not see fit to have someone write a foreword to tell us more about the author's pre-war background and survival in the gulag and repatriation to Germany.
     
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  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Actually Ike did not want to go to Paris straight away for logistical issues. The French changed the plans, however
     

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