Voices in Wartime

Children's Books and Picture Books

Evacuees Memorial by Maurice Blik

Below follow a number of major books that look seriously at the effects that war, trauma, separation and upheaval have on children during a time of war.  They are presented here as a prelude to a list of quality books that tell the story of individual children, families and and friends as they forge their way through unspeakable and unbearable times.  With the exception of the general reference books below, most books in this section are recommended for primary age children.



Cohen, Sharon Kanglisser. (Sussex Academic Press).

This is the first exploration into the experience of child survivors in Israel, focusing on the child survivors’ experience in telling their past to a wider audience and in publicly identifying themselves as Holocaust survivors. Whilst psychological research focuses on survivor’s personal inhibitions and motivations in retelling their past, the book attempts to understand the impact that the post-war environment has had on the individual’s relationship to it. Using a qualitative narrative approach, this study examines the dynamics of 'silence' and 'retelling' in the post-war experience of child survivors. It demonstrates the ways in which social dynamics, as well as internal motivations, had an impact on the extent to which these people were likely to speak publicly about their war-time experience or whether they were more inclined to remain silent. The interviews with survivors are presented 'using their own voice', and can thereby be understood in their own unique context. The result is a unique work that synthesises social science fields as disparate as history and psychology.

 

 

Ericsson, Kjersti and Eva Simonsen (Editors).  Children of World War II: The Hidden Enemy Legacy (Berg Publishers, 2005).

Under pressure from the war children there, in 2001, social service agencies of the Norwegian government funded a research project into the children of Norwegian mothers and fathers from the German occupying forces during the war, and especially the government's policies regarding them. The project was later expanded to include all of Europe. The 14 studies explore such topics as Danish women's intimate fraternization, ideology and the psychology of war children in Franco's Spain, the Occupied Eastern Territories, and children of German Lebensborn Homes.

 

 


Lucas, Richard.  Did the Children Cry? : Hitler's War Against Jewish & Polish Children, 1939-44 (Hippocrene Books)

Based on eye-witness accounts, interviews, and prodigious research by the author, who is an expert in the field, this is a unique contribution to the literature of World War II, and a most compelling account of German inhumanity towards children in occupied Poland.

 

Yamazaki, James N. and Louis B Fleming.  Children of the Atomic Bomb (Duke University Press, 1995).

In 1949, the author, a pediatrician and medical researcher, was sent to Japan to study the effects of nuclear radiation, especially on children still in their mothers' wombs when the bomb was detonated. This report takes a medical look at the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and reviews some of the genetic abnormalities resulting from fetal exposure. The author also passes along information about the fate of Marshall Islanders accidentally exposed to radioactive fallout during the 1954 U.S. thermonuclear test at Bikini. This account is more than a medical report, however; Yamazaki relates his personal story as a Japanese American whose parents were treated roughly in a wartime internment camp in Arkansas while their son fought for America in the Battle of the Bulge. Yet the study is the most involving when he discusses the tragic legacy of the atomic bomb and sounds the alarm about the hazards of radiation in all forms. Yamazaki is on the staff of the UCLA medical school; Fleming is a former foreign correspondent. Illustrations.

 

Non-Fiction--Oe to Overy

Oe, Kensaburo.  Hiroshima Notes (Grove Press, 1996).

Hiroshima Notes is a powerful statement on the Hiroshima bombing and its terrible legacy by the 1994 Nobel laureate for literature. Oe’s account of the lives of the many victims of Hiroshima and the valiant efforts of those who cared for them, both immediately after the atomic blast and in the years that follow, reveals the horrific extent of the devastation. It is a heartrending portrait of a ravaged city — the “human face” in the midst of nuclear destruction.

 

Ogburn, Charlton.  The Marauders (Overlook, 2002).

In a time when battles were still fought on the ground, between men who could see their enemies with their own eyes, a wildly assorted band of soldiers volunteer for "a dangerous and hazardous mission." Their exploits ended up touching the imagination of the American people and their fate led to a Congressional inquiry.  Three battalions of American infantrymen marched and fought across six hundred miles of northern Burma to drive the Japanese from an area the size of Connecticut and achieve fame as Merrill's Marauders. Theirs was a victory over determined and resourceful enemies: over what Churchill called "the most forbidding fighting country imaginable"-over malaria, dysentery, and typhus: and over mismanagement from above. In the end, these men won both an extraordinary victory and an enduring place in American legend.

 

Oguro, Toyofumi.  Letters from the End of the World (Kodansha International, 2001).

More than fifty years after the Second World War, the scars left by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima refuse to heal. This compelling account of one man's experience gives a human face to the events of August 6, 1945.
For a week after the bombing, the author, who was an assistant professor at Hiroshima University, wandered the decimated streets of the city, searching for his wife and his youngest son. He finally located them, but his wife died just days later. Grief-stricken, the author wrote her a series of letters over the next year outlining the things he had seen and heard during her last days on earth. In 1948, the letters became the first eyewitness account of an atomic bombing ever published. 

 

Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko.  Kamikaze Diaries (University of Chicago Press, 2007).

“We tried to live with 120 percent intensity, rather than waiting for death. We read and read, trying to understand why we had to die in our early twenties. We felt the clock ticking away towards our death, every sound of the clock shortening our lives.” So wrote Irokawa Daikichi, one of the many kamikaze pilots, or tokkotai, who faced almost certain death in the futile military operations conducted by Japan at the end of World War II.

This moving history presents diaries and correspondence left by members of the tokkotai and other Japanese student soldiers who perished during the war. Outside of Japan, these kamikaze pilots were considered unbridled fanatics who willingly sacrificed their lives for the emperor. But the writings explored here by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney clearly and eloquently speak otherwise. A significant number of the kamikaze were university students who were drafted and forced to volunteer, and in their diaries and correspondence they often wrote heartbreaking soliloquies in which they poured out their anguish and fear and expressed profound ambivalence toward the war as well as opposition to their nation’s imperialism.  A salutary correction to the many caricatures of the kamikaze, this poignant work will be essential to anyone interested in the history of Japan and World War II.

 

Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko.  Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

Why did almost one thousand highly educated "student soldiers" volunteer to serve in Japan's tokkotai (kamikaze) operations near the end of World War II, even though Japan was losing the war? In this fascinating study of the role of symbolism and aesthetics in totalitarian ideology, Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney shows how the state manipulated the time-honored Japanese symbol of the cherry blossom to convince people that it was their honor to "die like beautiful falling cherry petals" for the emperor.

Drawing on diaries never before published in English, Ohnuki-Tierney describes these young men's agonies and even defiance against the imperial ideology. Passionately devoted to cosmopolitan intellectual traditions, the pilots saw the cherry blossom not in militaristic terms, but as a symbol of the painful beauty and unresolved ambiguities of their tragically brief lives. Using Japan as an example, the author breaks new ground in the understanding of symbolic communication, nationalism, and totalitarian ideologies and their execution.

 

O’Leary, Elizabeth.  A House at War (St. Martin’s Press, 1994).

The continuing story of The House of Eliott. With the start of World War II, Evie and Bea reunite to keep the House of Eliott afloat and protect Bea's children. Jack and Hugo, determined to volunteer their skills, join up to make newsreels and design bridges, respectively. When tragedy strikes, the Eliott sis ters must band together to fight the toughest battle of their lives.

 

Olson, Lynne.  Troublesome Young Men, (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).

On May 7, 1940, the House of Commons began perhaps the most crucial debate in British parliamentary history. On its outcome hung the future of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s government and also of Britain—indeed, perhaps, the world. Troublesome Young Men is Lynne Olson’s fascinating account of how a small group of rebellious Tory MPs defied the Chamberlain government’s defeatist policies that aimed to appease Europe’s tyrants and eventually forced the prime minister’s resignation.

Some historians dismiss the “phony war” that preceded this turning point—from September 1939, when Britain and France declared war on Germany, to May 1940, when Winston Churchill became prime minister—as a time of waiting and inaction, but Olson makes no such mistake, and describes in dramatic detail the public unrest that spread through Britain then, as people realized how poorly prepared the nation was to confront Hitler, how their basic civil liberties were being jeopardized, and also that there were intrepid politicians willing to risk political suicide to spearhead the opposition to Chamberlain—Harold Macmillan, Robert Boothby, Leo Amery, Ronald Cartland, and Lord Robert Cranborne among them. The political and personal dramas that played out in Parliament and in the nation as Britain faced the threat of fascism virtually on its own are extraordinary—and, in Olson’s hands, downright inspiring.

 

Orwell, George.  Homage to Catalonia (Harvest Books, 1980).

Autobiographical account by George Orwell of his experience as a volunteer for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, published in 1938. Unlike other foreign intellectual leftists, Orwell and his wife did not join the International Brigade but instead enlisted in the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista; POUM). The book chronicles both his observations of the drudgery of the daily life of a soldier and his disillusionment with political infighting and totalitarianism. (The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature)

 

Osur, Alan M.  Separate and Unequal: Race Relations in the AAF During World War II (University Press of the Pacific, 2004).

Race relations between white and black Americans in the Army Air Forces (AAF) during World War II ran the gamut from harmonious to hostile, depending upon the unique circumstances existing within each unit, command, and theater. In analyzing racial policy as it was implemented throughout the chain of command, are a number of themes relevant for an understanding of the utilization of African Americans during the war. First, the AAF never willingly accepted black soldiers. This service had totally excluded them for over two decades before they were permitted to enter, and then used them only reluctantly. The fact that the AAF even opened its doors to African Americans and proceeded to make additional opportunities available to them was due to pressures aimed at the War Department and the AAF. Individuals and organizations within the black community and white liberals in and out of Congress were quite vocal and were able to exert sufficient pressure to force the War Department and AAF to examine and modify their policies and practices throughout the war. 

Another recurring theme was that leadership within the War Department and AAF assumed that segregation was the most efficient system of race relations and accepted the "separate-but-equal" doctrine. Even if we accept "separate-but-equal" as the law of the land, the AAF did not, in fact, maintain equal facilities for black soldiers, and they were not afforded equal treatment. Thus, the policy of segregation was unsatisfactory for African Americans, and the duplicated facilities that were necessary to maintain the system were far too expensive in terms of the results obtained. And because of deeply ingrained racist beliefs, the American public and the military were willing to accept the additional financial burden, social unrest, and inefficiency of segregation in an attempt to keep African Americans "in their place." 

During the war, the U.S. military inherited from American society and from its own traditions a difficult problem in attempting to absorb large numbers of African Americans into a war apparatus, and racial issues plagued the AAF. Although the AAF fervently defended segregation, its leaders failed to understand that this implied second-class citizenship for blacks. Additionally, blacks were no longer willing to accept the demeaning status to which they had been relegated, and using the military as a vehicle for their protests, voiced their objection to discriminatory treatment and segregation. Their protests were for military leaders a constant source of frustration and annoyance. 

However, one can discern a decided shift in the approach of the War Department in 1943. Until then, officials in the War Department and the AAF reflected society's traditional racist attitude toward the utilization of African Americans. The military did not consider black soldiers as part of the American military tradition and used them only when absolutely necessary for the defense of the country or when political pressure forced their use. With mounting pressure upon War Department officials, there was change in outlook from 1943 through the end of the war to recognize and alleviate the race problem. The U.S. government sought to utilize black soldiers fairly rather than to view them merely as embarrassments and problems. Unfortunately, this change in attitude did not filter down through the AAF chain of command. Throughout the war, many AAF commanders demonstrated a reluctance to treat blacks with full equality and to show a sincere commitment to abide by positive War Department racial directives. 

 

Ottaway, Susan.  Hitler's Traitors: German Resistance to the Nazi's (Pen and Sword, 2004).

Hitler's Traitors: German Resistance to the Nazis is the story of the groups and individuals that opposed Hitler and his government and tells of their heroic, but largely ineffective, efforts to rid themselves of the most evil regime in modern times.  They came from many different backgrounds -Protestant pastors, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoeller; Catholic bishops such as Clements Galen, who was Bishop of Munster, and his cousin Konrad, Count von Preysing, Bishop of Berlin; politicians Otto Wels and Ernst Thalmann, students Hans and Sophie Scholl, their friends Christoph Probst and Alexander Schmorell and their university professor, Kurt Huber; military men such as Claus von Stauffenberg and Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and even a member of the Waffen 55, Kurt Gerstein. Sadly by the time the Nazi regime came to an end most of those Germans who had resisted it were dead: arrested, imprisoned, tried and executed in the most barbaric manner.

 

Overy, Richard.  The Twilight Years (Viking, 2009).

By the end of World War I, Britain had become a laboratory for modernity. Intellectuals, politicians, scientists, and artists-among them Arnold Toynbee, Aldous Huxley, and H. G. Wells-sought a vision for a rapidly changing world. Coloring their innovative ideas and concepts, from eugenics to Freud's unconscious, was a creeping fear that the West was staring down the end of civilization.

In their home country of Britain, many of these fears were unfounded. The country had not suffered from economic collapse, occupation, civil war, or any of the ideological conflicts of inter-war Europe. Nevertheless, the modern era's promise of progress was overshadowed by a looming sense of decay and death that would deeply influence creative production and public argument between the wars.

In The Twilight Years, award-winning historian Richard Overy examines the paradox of this period and argues that the coming of World War II was almost welcomed by Britain's leading thinkers, who saw it as an extraordinary test for the survival of civilization- and a way of resolving their contradictory fears and hopes about the future.

 

Overy, Richard.  Why the Allies Won (W. W. Norton & Company, Reprint edition, 1997).

Richard Overy's bold book begins by throwing out the stock answers to this great question: Germany doomed itself to defeat by fighting a two-front war; the Allies won by "sheer weight of material strength." In fact, by 1942 Germany controlled almost the entire resources of continental Europe and was poised to move into the Middle East. The Soviet Union had lost the heart of its industry, and the United States was not yet armed. The Allied victory in 1945 was not inevitable. Overy shows us exactly how the Allies regained military superiority and why they were able to do it. He recounts the decisive campaigns: the war at sea, the crucial battles on the eastern front, the air war, and the vast amphibious assault on Europe. He then explores the deeper factors affecting military success and failure: industrial strength, fighting ability, the quality of leadership, and the moral dimensions of the war.

 

Overy, Richard.  Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941-1945 (Penguin, New edition, 1998).

Fifty years after the end of World War II, historians now are coming to the consensus that Russia played the decisive role in the defeat of Hitler. At least 25 million Soviet soldiers and civilians perished at home and on the battlefield in the bloodiest struggle of our century. Using material available only since the end of the Cold War, the author writes: "The conflict was fought on such a gigantic scale and with such an intensity of feeling that conventional historical discourse seems ill-equipped to convey either very satisfactorily. Little, perhaps nothing, of the experience of most Western readers and historians will have prepared them for what they will find in the history of Russia's war."

 


Non-Fiction--Nalty to Norton

 

Nalty, Bernard C.  Right to Fight: African-American Marines in World War II (History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1995).

Compact, well-illustrated history on the long neglected topic of courageous service provided by African American Marines in the Pacific Theater.

 

Nagai, Takashi.  The Bells of Nagasaki (Kodansha International, 1994).

On Thursday, August 9, 1945, at two minutes past eleven in the morning, Nagasaki was wiped out by a plutonium atomic bomb which exploded at a height of five hundred meters over the city. Among the wounded on that fateful day was the young doctor Takashi Nagai, professor of radiology at the University of Nagasaki. Nagai succeeded in gathering a tiny group of survivors--doctors, nurses, and students--and together they worked heroically for the wounded until they themselves collapsed from exhaustion and atomic sickness. 

As he lay dying of leukemia, Dr. Nagai wrote The Bells of Nagasaki, vividly recounting what he had seen with his own eyes and heard from his associates. It is a deeply moving and human story. He tells how it dawned on him that this awful havoc was indeed the work of an atomic bomb, how he speculated about the American scientists who had put it together, how he picked up a leaflet dropped by American planes warning the Japanese to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, how he and his companions shed tears over the defeat of their country. 

 

Nagorski, Andrew.  The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II (Simon and Schuster, 2007).

The Battle for Moscow was the deadliest battle of World War II--and the deadliest battle of all time. Between September 30, 1941 and April 20, 1942, seven million German and Soviet troops took part in the battle, and 2.5 million of them were killed, taken prisoner, missing or severely wounded. As German troops approached Moscow, half of the city's population fled, while others looted stores, staged strikes and attacked those who were escaping. In the end, the German drive fell short, but Stalin's regime was so embarrassed by how close they came, by the mistakes the Soviet dictator made that allowed them to do so, and the behavior of many of its own citizens, that the battle was given short shrift in their history books.

Both Hitler and Stalin (briefly allied and now newly at war) intruded themselves into the strategies for their armies. Hitler was so overconfident--even though his generals warned him--that the German army went into battle in the Russian fall with no winter clothes. Stalin was so in denial that the majority of Russian soldiers had no weapons. They had to wait for a comrade to fall in order to acquire a gun. Soviet soldiers following the front lines were under orders to shoot anyone who retreated. Meanwhile, the German soldiers, well equipped with armaments, and well trained but with no winter clothes, were freezing to death by the thousands.

 


Nelson, Anne.  Red Orchestra (Random House, 2009).

In this unforgettable book, distinguished author Anne Nelson shares one of the most shocking and inspiring–and least chronicled–stories of domestic resistance to the Nazi regime. The Rote Kapelle, or Red Orchestra, was the Gestapo’s name for an intrepid band of German artists, intellectuals, and bureaucrats (almost half of them women) who battled treacherous odds to unveil the brutal secrets of their fascist employers and oppressors.

Based on years of research, featuring new information, and culled from exclusive interviews, Red Orchestra documents this riveting story through the eyes of Greta Kuckhoff, a German working mother. Fighting for an education in 1920s Berlin but frustrated by her country’s economic instability and academic sexism, Kuckhoff ventured to America, where she immersed herself in jazz, Walt Disney movies, and the first stirrings of the New Deal. When she returned to her homeland, she watched with anguish as it descended into a totalitarian society that relegated her friends to exile and detention, an environment in which political extremism evoked an extreme response.

Greta and others in her circle were appalled by Nazi anti-Semitism and took action on many fronts to support their Jewish friends and neighbors. As the war raged and Nazi abuses grew in ferocity and reach, resistance was the only possible avenue for Greta and her compatriots. These included Arvid Harnack–the German friend she met in Wisconsin–who collected anti-Nazi intelligence while working for their Economic Ministry; Arvid’s wife, Mildred, who emigrated to her husband’s native country to become the only American woman executed by Hitler; Harro Schulze-Boysen, the glamorous Luftwaffe intelligence officer who smuggled anti-Nazi information to allies abroad; his wife, Libertas, a social butterfly who coaxed favors from an unsuspecting Göring; John Sieg, a railroad worker from Detroit who publicized Nazi atrocities from a Communist underground printing press; and Greta Kuckhoff’s husband, Adam, a theatrical colleague of Brecht’s who found employment in Goebbels’s propaganda unit in order to undermine the regime.

For many members of the Red Orchestra, these audacious acts of courage resulted in their tragic and untimely end. These unsung individuals are portrayed here with startling and sympathetic power. As suspenseful as a thriller, Red Orchestra is a brilliant account of ordinary yet bold citizens who were willing to sacrifice everything to topple the Third Reich.

 


Newton, Adolph W.  Better than Good: A Black Sailor’s War, 1943-1945 (History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1995).

Poignant narrative from a World War II sailor who was one of the first African Americans assigned to an integrated navel ship.

 

Newton, Steven H.  Kursk: The German View (Westview Press, 2003).

This compilation of German material on the Battle of Kursk (1943) is about as user-friendly as a Tiger tank, but just as indispensable in the right place. Newton has assembled a variety of primary source material from high-ranking German participants either not previously available in English or found only in translations of dubious value. The first part of the book goes to a new translation of a study of Operation Citadel (the great tank battle of Kursk) edited by General Theodor Busse, which offers the perspectives of key tank, infantry, and air commanders. The rest is devoted to essays, mostly by corps commanders facing the Soviet offensive that followed the German defeat at Kursk, but with one perceptive set of comments by a senior railroad officer who throws light on the role (and limitations) of the Soviet partisans in the general logistical nightmare that was the Eastern Front. Both the introduction and the conclusionary third section, which Newton pens, add insightful editorial comments with a tendency to debunk the German myths of "we almost won," and support the characterization of Kursk as a battle the Germans should not have fought because they could not have won it at an acceptable cost. Largely inaccessible to the beginning student of the decisive campaign of World War II, the book may be hailed as invaluable by the serious one. 

 

Nicholas, Lynn H.  The Rape of Europa (Vintage, 1955).

Every few months you'll read a newspaper story of the discovery of some long-lost art treasure hidden away in a German basement or a Russian attic: a Cranach, a Holbein, even, not long ago, a da Vinci. Such treasures ended up far from the museums and churches in which they once hung, taken as war loot by Allied and Axis soldiers alike. Thousands of important pieces have never been recovered. Lynn Nicholas offers an astonishingly good account of the wholesale ravaging of European art during World War II, of how teams of international experts have worked to recover lost masterpieces in the war's aftermath and of how governments "are still negotiating the restitution of objects held by their respective nations."  (Amazon.com)

 

Norman, Elizabeth M.  We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese (Atria, 2000).

"This is a gripping book. Elizabeth Norman presents a war story in which the main characters never kill one of the enemy, or even shoot at him, but are nevertheless heroes. . . . First on Bataan, then moved to Corregidor, they were under almost constant shell fire, were always hungry, close to starvation, had horrendous diseases to deal with despite a shortage or even a complete lack of proper medicines, getting little or no sleep, nothing in the way of recreation--yet they were a true band of angels, inspiring all the men whom they were there to help. In a squalid prison camp, they remained giants, despite their small size. . . . They were the bravest of the brave, who endured unspeakable pain and torture. Americans today should thank God we had such women."   (Stephen E. Ambrose)

 

 

 

Non-Fiction--Monahan to Motley

Monahan, Evelyn and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee.  And If I Perish (Anchor, 2004).

In World War II, 59,000 women voluntarily risked their lives for their country as U.S. Army nurses. When the war began, some of them had so little idea of what to expect that they packed party dresses; but the reality of service quickly caught up with them, whether they waded through the water in the historic landings on North African and Normandy beaches, or worked around the clock in hospital tents on the Italian front as bombs fell all around them.

For more than half a century these women’s experiences remained untold, almost without reference in books, historical societies, or military archives. After years of reasearch and hundreds of hours of interviews, Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee have created a dramatic narrative that at last brings to light the critical role that women played throughout the war. From the North African and Italian Campaigns to the Liberation of France and the Conquest of Germany, U.S. Army nurses rose to the demands of war on the frontlines with grit, humor, and great heroism. A long overdue work of history, And If I Perish is also a powerful tribute to these women and their inspiring legacy.  

 

Monahan, Evelyn M. and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee.  All This Hell (University Press of Kentucky, 2003).

Before December 1941 drew to a close, five navy nurses on Guam became the first American military women of WWII to be taken prisoner by the Japanese. More than seventy army nurses survived five months of combat conditions in the jungles of Bataan and Corregidor before being captured, only to endure more than three years in prison camps. In all, nearly one hundred nurses became POWs.  Many of these army nurses were considered too vital to the war effort to be evacuated from the Philippines. Though receiving only half the salary of male officers of the same rank, they helped establish outdoor hospitals and treated thousands of casualties despite rapidly decreasing supplies and rations. After their capture, they continued to care for the sick and wounded throughout their internment in the prison camps. 

When freedom came, the U.S. military ordered the nurses to sign agreements with the government not to discuss their horrific experiences. Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee have conducted interviews with survivors and scoured archives for letters, diaries, and journals to uncover the heroism and sacrifices of these brave women. Their dedication to accuracy, combined with their personal expertise in medical care and military culture and discipline, has resulted in a honest, fair history of the dedicated military nurses who were captured in the Pacific theater during WWII. 

 

Moorhouse, Roger.  He Was My Chief: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler's Secretary (Frontline Books, 2009).

The memoir of one of Hitler's personal secretaries gives readers a behind-the-scene glimpse of one of the most evil men to have ever lived. Schroeder is never apologetic, and in a gossipy tone, she talks about Hitler as a person, detailing his personality, his mannerisms, his mood swings, his iron will, his food and conversation preferences, and his relationships with women.

Seeing Hitler through the eyes of someone who worked with him, respected him, and challenged him does not alter the common perception of him as a madman but provides a fuller picture of one of history's most notorious mass murderers and is bound to generate discussion.

 

Moore, Brenda.  To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race (New York University Press, New edition, 1997).

African American women were virtually excluded from military service until World War II. They received full military status with the establishment of the WAC, Women's Army Corps, in 1943. The WAC was set up in response to social and political pressures and the "critical need for personnel" during the war. The author relies on interviews with members of the 688th Central Postal Directory battalion, for they were the only African American group to serve overseas. Through a well-wrought investigation, Moore distinguishes the challenges faced by these women in regard to both gender and racial influences, forms a cogent background with historical facts to better present the impact of the WAC on the changing military structure and to list battles and victories of the women, and answers the readers' curiosity with coverage of the social cohesion and conflict within the unit and of the women's lives after military service. Those women still remain in contact with one another and sponsor events celebrating the success and memories of World War II. Moore has made an incredible discovery; this book will make a major contribution to military studies, African American studies, and women studies. (Lillian Lewis for Booklist)  

 


Moore, Brenda L.  Serving Our Country: Japanese American Women in the Military during World War II (Rutgers University Press, 2003).

Following the 1945 attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s declaration of war on Japan, the U.S. War Department allowed up to five hundred second-generation, or "Nisei," Japanese American women to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps and, in smaller numbers, in the Army Medical Corps. Through in-depth interviews with surviving Nisei women who served, Brenda L. Moore provides fascinating firsthand accounts of their experiences. Interested primarily in shedding light on the experiences of Nisei women during the war, the author argues for the relevance of these experiences to larger questions of American race relations and views on gender and their intersections, particularly in the country’s highly charged wartime atmosphere. Uncovering a page in American history that has been obscured, Moore adds nuance to our understanding of the situation of Japanese Americans during the war. 

 

Moore, Christopher.  Fighting for America (Presidio Press, Reprint edition, 2005).

Here are letters, photographs, oral histories, and rare documents, collected by historian Christopher Moore, the son of two black WWII veterans. Weaving his family history with that of his people and nation, Moore has created an unforgettable tapestry of sacrifice, fortitude, and courage. From the 1,800 black soldiers who landed at Normandy Beach on D-Day, and the legendary Tuskegee Airmen who won ninety-five Distinguished Flying Crosses, to the 761st Tank Battalion who, under General Patton, helped liberate Nazi death camps, the invaluable effort of black Americans to defend democracy is captured in word and image.

Readers will be introduced to many unheralded heroes who helped America win the war, including Dorie Miller, the messman who manned a machine gun and downed four Japanese planes; Robert Brooks, the first American to die in armored battle; Lt. Jackie Robinson, the future baseball legend who faced court-martial for refusing to sit in the back of a military bus; an until now forgotten African-American philosopher who helped save many lives at a Japanese POW camp; even the author’s own parents: his mother, Kay, a WAC when she met his father, Bill, who was part of the celebrated Red Ball Express.

 

Moorhouse, Roger.  Killing Hitler: The Plots, The Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death (Bantam, 2007).

For the first time in one enthralling book, here is the incredible true story of the numerous attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler and change the course of history.  Disraeli once declared that “assassination never changed anything,” and yet the idea that World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust might have been averted with a single bullet or bomb has remained a tantalizing one for half a century. What historian Roger Moorhouse reveals in Killing Hitler is just how close–and how often–history came to taking a radically different path between Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and his ignominious suicide.

Few leaders, in any century, can have been the target of so many assassination attempts, with such momentous consequences in the balance. Hitler’s almost fifty would-be assassins ranged from simple craftsmen to high-ranking soldiers, from the apolitical to the ideologically obsessed, from Polish Resistance fighters to patriotic Wehrmacht officers, and from enemy agents to his closest associates. And yet, up to now, their exploits have remained virtually unknown, buried in dusty official archives and obscure memoirs. This, then, for the first time in a single volume, is their story. 

 

Morehouse, Maggi M.  Fighting for Jim Crow (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Revised edition, 2007).

The voices throughout this book offer a glimpse into the mostly unknown story of two African American combat divisions as they experienced military service during World War II. The soldiers of the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions speak of segregation in the military and racial attitudes in army facilities stateside and abroad. Derived from several years of research by historian Maggi M. Morehouse, the historical account is built around personal interviews and correspondence with participants, National Archive research, as well as military archive materials, all augmented with historical and recent photographs.

 

Morgan, Michael L.  The Holocaust Reader (Oxford University Press, 2000).

The most comprehensive and representative collection of its kind, A Holocaust Reader: Responses to the Nazi Extermination features writings by theologians, literary figures, cultural critics, philosophers, political theorists, and others. It surveys the major themes raised by the Holocaust and examines the most provocative and influential responses to these topics and to the Holocaust itself. Organized in a roughly chronological pattern, the volume opens with early responses from the postwar period. Subsequent sections cover the emergence of central theological statements in the late 1960s and 1970s, the development of post-Holocaust thinking in the 1970s and 1980s, and burgeoning reflections on the significance of the death camps. Connections between the Holocaust and important events and episodes in Western culture in the 1980s and 1990s are also discussed. A Holocaust Reader: Responses to the Nazi Extermination offers selections from Theodor W. Adorno, Jean Amery, Hannah Arendt, Omer Bartov, Eliezer Berkovits, Michael Andre Bernstein, Martin Buber, Arthur A. Cohen, A. Roy Eckardt, Emil L. Fackenheim, Saul Friedlander, Amos Funkenstein, Irving Greenberg, Andreas Huyssen, Hans Jonas, Berel Lang, Primo Levi, Johann Baptist Metz, Richard Rubenstein, Kenneth Seeskin, Franklin Sherman, David Tracy, Elie Wiesel, Robert E. Willis, and Michael Wyschogrod. Ideal for courses in the Holocaust, Jewish studies, and the philosophy of religion, this extensive collection will also be of interest to general readers and scholars.

 

Morris, Rob.  Untold Valor (Potomoc Books, 2006).

For the men of the Army Air Corps in early World War II, the chance of surviving the obligatory twenty-five missions without death, injury, or imprisonment was one in three. In this groundbreaking book, Rob Morris has sought out remarkable but little-known stories of the air war from the men who lived and fought it.

Based on hundreds of interviews with American veterans and their families, Untold Valor illuminates the courage of airmen whose exploits have until now remained untold. Read about Jewish aviators’ experiences as POWs in German camps. Learn about American airmen who were imprisoned, even killed, by the neutral Swiss and about two Air Corps enlisted men who changed U.S. policy toward liberated concentration camp survivors. Also discover the unusual story of Luftwaffe Commander Herman Goering’s nephew, who flew B-17 missions against Germany. While some of the stories cover major events, most are about incidents and individuals misrepresented or overlooked by history books. Yet their efforts were vital, their lives forever changed.

 


Mortimer, Gavin.  The Longest Night: The Bombing of London on May 10, 1941 (Berkley Hardcover, 2005).

Seven months after the Nazi Blitz began in September 1940, London remained the center of the free world's resistance to Hitler's Germany. But-contrary to popular belief-the city's "all-in-together" camaraderie was disintegrating after two devastating Luftwaffe raids. Civil Defenses were chronically short of volunteers and newspapers reported looting, petty crime, and price-gouging. But there was reason for optimism. Churchill remained steadfast, rallying the English. London hadn't been bombed in three weeks, while the RAF shot down 90 German bombers over Britain. It began to appear that the worst could be over. So, when the air raid sirens sounded on the evening of May 10, 1941, Londoners were nonchalant. It soon became clear, however, that this was no ordinary bombing, but a devastating Luftwaffe raid that would eclipse all others.

 

Motley, Mary Pennick.  Invisible Soldier: The Experience of the Black Soldier, World War II  (Wayne State University Press, 1975).

A now classic study of the African American soldier in World War II, based on taped interviews. Pennick’s work concentrates heavily on the African American GI struggles against discrimination.

 

Non-Fiction--Mawdsley to Mitsui

Mawdsley, Evan.  Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet War, 1941-1945 (Hodder Arnold Publication, 2007).

The battles in Russia played the decisive part in Hitler's defeat. Gigantic, prolonged, and bloody, they contrasted with the general nature of the fighting on other fronts. The Russians fought on their own in "their" theater of war and with an independent strategy. Stalinist Russia was a country radically different from its liberal democratic allies. Hitler and the German high command, for their part, conceived and carried out the Russian campaign as a singular "war of annihilation." This riveting new book is a penetrating, broad-ranging, yet concise overview of this vast conflict. It investigates the Wehrmacht and the Red Army and the command and production systems that organized and sustained them. It considers a range of further themes concerning this most political of wars. Benefiting from a post-Communist, post-Cold War perspective, the book takes advantage of a wealth of new studies and source material that have become available over the last decade.

 

McBride, Gisela R.  Memoirs of a 1000-Year-Old Woman: Berlin 1925 to 1945 (First Books Library, 2000).

Memoirs of a 1000-Year-Old Woman is an account of the everyday life of a girl growing up in Berlin during Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. In this compelling book, the author captures a reader's emotions by weaving her personal experiences with the political and social upheaval of that most unusual time. 

 

Mcintosh, Elizabeth.  Sisterhood of Spies (Dell, 1999).

This appears to be the first historical overview of the women who worked for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. Individual women who were involved, including the author and Julia Child, have already written biographies detailing their OSS work, but this book is broader in scope. Each chapter outlines an individual woman or women in a particular department at the OSS. McIntosh clearly demonstrates the breadth of activities in which the women were involved, such as coding and decoding messages, creating disinformation, organizing resistance groups behind enemy lines, and analyzing research. The restrictions placed on women in the workplace are noted but not harshly stated. The rule against spouses being placed in the same theater of war is given as a factor in several divorces. In less-skilled hands the chapters would be choppy, but McIntosh provides excellent segues. Though written at a level that high school students can understand, this book will be useful to undergraduate and graduate students as well. (Julie Still, Rutgers University Library for Library Journal)

 

McLogen, Russell.  Boy Soldier (Terrus Press, 1998).

It is said that in order to completely understand a man you should probe the world as it existed when he was 19 or 20 years old--at the moment he became mature and autonomous as a man. Russell McLogan has done just that in this well-written autobiography. Drafted out of college at age 18 in 1944, he was trained as a rifleman and then sent to the Philippines as an infantry replacement. There he joined the battle hardened 6th Infantry Division on the Shimbu Line near Manila. Wounded in combat in northern Luzon, he spent 89 days in Army hospitals on Luzon and Leyte. When the atomic bomb abruptly ended the war, he was returned to duty just in time to sail off to Korea where he served in the Army of Occupation. Boy Soldier is about a young man's coming of age during this period of tremendous historical change. It includes much well-researched history of the Army's replacement training system, the Liberation of the Philippines, the dropping of the atomic bombs, the American-Russian occupation of Korea, and the Army's post-war demobilization--the people, places, and events that shaped a young life. Although written in a scholarly mode with endnotes, bibliography and index, it is very readable with the humor, violence, sexual situations and sometimes raw language as it actually happpened.

 

McManus, John C.  Alamo in the Ardennes (Wiley, 2007).

In December 1944, when the Germans launched their last-ditch offensive now known as the Battle of the Bulge, they badly needed to capture the Belgian city of Bastogne as a communications center, supply depot, and springboard for their drive to Antwerp. The city's defense by the 101st Airborne is often cited as the battle's most desperate and dramatic episode, but these heroics never could have happened if not for the unsung efforts of a ragtag, battered collection of American soldiers who absorbed the brunt of the German offensive first along the Ardennes frontier east of Bastogne. 

Alamo in the Ardennes tells the powerful, poignant, yet little-known story of the bloody delaying action fought by the 28th Infantry Division, elements of the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions, and other, smaller units. Outnumbered at times by as much as ten to one, outgunned by Hitler's dreaded panzers, and with no hope of reinforcement, they bore the full fury of the Nazi onslaught for five days, making the Germans pay for every icy inch of ground they gained. 

 

McMillan, Priscilla.  The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer: And the Birth of the Modern Arms Race (Penguin, 2006).

In a groundbreaking book that recasts the history of the Cold War, bestselling author Priscilla J. McMillan exposes, for the first time, the truth behind J. Robert Oppenheimer’s 1954 trial on charges of violating national security. Drawing on newly declassified papers and extensive interviews, McMillan places Oppenheimer’s opposition to development of the hydrogen bomb at the heart of the story—opposition that made him the victim of government officials who, conspiring with rival scientist Edward Teller, deceived President Eisenhower and trapped the enigmatic genius who had done more than anyone to build the atomic bomb. A chilling exposé of the McCarthy-era conspiracy that helped propel the East-West arms race, this is a spellbinding work of history.  

 

Mendelsohn, Daniel.  The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (HarperCollins, 2006).

The Lost begins as the story of a boy who grew up in a family haunted by the disappearance of six relatives during the Holocaust—an unmentionable subject that gripped his imagination from earliest childhood. Decades later, spurred by the discovery of a cache of desperate letters written to his grandfather in 1939 and tantalized by fragmentary tales of a terrible betrayal, Daniel Mendelsohn sets out to find the remaining eyewitnesses to his relatives' fates. That quest eventually takes him to a dozen countries on four continents, and forces him to confront the wrenching discrepancies between the histories we live and the stories we tell. And it leads him, finally, back to the small Ukrainian town where his family's story began, and where the solution to a decades-old mystery awaits him. 

Deftly moving between past and present, interweaving a world-wandering odyssey with childhood memories of a now-lost generation of immigrant Jews and provocative ruminations on biblical texts and Jewish history, The Lost transforms the story of one family into a profound, morally searching meditation on our fragile hold on the past. Deeply personal, grippingly suspenseful, and beautifully written, this literary tour de force illuminates all that is lost, and found, in the passage of time. 

 

Merridale, Catherine.  Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939—1945 (Picador, 2007).

They died in vast numbers, eight million men and women driven forward in suicidal charges, shattered by German shells and tanks. They were the soldiers of the Red Army, an exhausted mass of recruits who confronted Europe's most lethal fighting force and by 1945 had defeated it. For sixty years, their experiences were suppressed, replaced by patriotic propaganda. We know how the soldiers died, but nearly nothing about how they lived, how they saw the world, or why they fought. In this ambitious, revelatory history, Catherine Merridale uncovers the harrowing story of who these soldiers were, and how they lived and died during the war.

 

Metelmann, Henry.  A Hitler Youth: Growing up in Germany in the 1930s (Spellmount Publishers, 2004).

This book is an autobiography of a railway worker's son who joined the Hitler Youth at the age of 12 and became involved in the Nazi movement which was passionately opposed by his parents - the conflict between his Nazism and his father's socialism is a central theme.? ?This book will be of interest not only to the general reader but to historians, political scientists, sociologists and others interested in this unique period in German history. The book begins in the pre-Nazi period and covers all aspects of life in Hamburg's strong socialist working class community: street play, visits to the countryside, family gatherings and school life as well as the scout movement which was eventually to become the Hitler Youth. This settled society was disrupted by the arrival of the Nazis who used violence, propoganda and skillfully orchestrated gatherings and marches to achieve total political dominence. The author gives an account of the beating and intimidation of individual opponents of the Nazi regime - trade unionists and others - and the climate of fear and violence which gradually transformed his family, friends and local community. We see the rise of Hitler and the terrible consequences that followed through this detailed and sometimes painfully honest personal account.

 

Miller, Edward.  Bankrupting the Enemy (U.S. Naval Institute, 2007).

Award-winning author Edward S. Miller contends in this new work that the United States forced Japan into international bankruptcy to deter its aggression. While researching newly declassified records of the Treasury and Federal Reserve, Miller, a retired chief financial executive of a Fortune 500 resources corporation, uncovered just how much money mattered. Washington experts confidently predicted that the war in China would bankrupt Japan, not knowing that the Japanese government had a huge cache of dollars fraudulently hidden in New York. Once discovered, Japan scrambled to extract the money. But, Miller explains, in July 1941 President Roosevelt invoked a long-forgotten clause of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to freeze Japan s dollars and forbade it to sell its hoard of gold to the U.S. Treasury, the only open gold market after 1939. Roosevelt s temporary gambit to bring Japan to its senses, not its knees, was thwarted, however, by opportunistic bureaucrats. Dean Acheson, his handpicked administrator, slyly maneuvered to deny Japan the dollars needed to buy oil and other resources for war and for economic survival.

Miller's lucid writing and thorough understanding of the complexities of international finance enable readers unfamiliar with financial concepts and terminology to grasp his explanation of the impact of U.S. economic policies on Japan. His review of thirty-seven studies of Japan's resource deficiencies begs the question of why no U.S. agency calculated the impact of the freeze on Japan's overall economy. His analysis of a massive OSS-State Department study of prewar Japan clearly demonstrates that the deprivations facing the Japanese people were the country to remain in financial limbo buttressed its choice of war at Pearl Harbor. Such a well-documented study is certain to be recognized for its significant contributions to the historiography of the origins of the Pacific War.

 

Miller, Edward.  War Plan Orange (U.S. Naval Institute, 2007).

Based on twenty years of research in formerly secret archives, this book reveals for the first time the full significance of War Plan Orange--the U.S. Navy's strategy to defeat Japan, forumulated over the forty years prior to World War II. It recounts the struggles between "thrusting" and "cautionary" schools of strategy, the roles of outspoken leaders such as Dewey, Mahan, King, and MacArthur, and the adaptation of aviation and other technologies to the plan. The book shows that the strategy of Plan Orange was the basis of prewar U.S. naval development in training, ship and aircraft design, and amphibious and tactical thought. War Plan Orange is the recipient of numerous book awards, including the prestigious Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize.

 

Minear, Richard H.  Hiroshima: Three Witnesses (Princeton University Press, 1990).

Three Japanese authors of note--Hara Tamiki, Ota Yoko, and Toge Sankichi--survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima only to shoulder an appalling burden: bearing witness to ultimate horror. Between 1945 and 1952, in prose and in poetry, they published the premier first-person accounts of the atomic holocaust. Forty-five years have passed since August 6, 1945, yet this volume contains the first complete English translation of Hara's Summer Flowers, the first English translation of Ota's City of Corpses, and a new translation of Toge's Poems of the Atomic Bomb. No reader will emerge unchanged from reading these works. Different from each other in their politics, their writing, and their styles of life and death, Hara, Ota, and Toge were alike in feeling compelled to set down in writing what they experienced. Within forty-eight hours of August 6, before fleeing the city for shelter in the hills west of Hiroshima, Hara jotted down this note: "Miraculously unhurt; must be Heaven's will that I survive and report what happened." Ota recorded her own remarks to her half-sister as they walked down a street littered with corpses: "I'm looking with two sets of eyes—the eyes of a human being and the eyes of a writer." And the memorable words of Toge quoted above come from a poem addressed to a child whose father was killed in the South Pacific and whose mother died on August 6th--who would tell of that day? The works of these three authors convey as much of the "real story" as can be put into words.

 

Mitsuru, Yoshida.  Requiem for Battleship Yamoto (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1999).

Requiem for Battleship Yamato is Yoshida Mitsuru's story of his own experience as a junior naval officer aboard the fabled Japanese battleship as it set out on a last, desperate sortie in April 1945. Yoshida was on the bridge during Yamato's fatal encounter with American airplanes, and his eloquent, moving account of that battle makes a singular contribution to the literature of the Pacific war. The book has long been considered a classic in both Japan and the United States. As with most great battle stories, its ultimate concern is less bombs and bullets than human nature, less death than life. This sensitive translation by Richard Minear is totally faithful to Yoshida's original prose, its language vigorous and idiomatic yet poetic in nature. An informative introduction puts the work in historical and political context and discusses Yoshida's postwar search for the meaning of peace. 

 

Non-Fiction--Macarthur to Masumoto

Macarthur, Brian.  Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East (Random House, 2005).

Formerly of the London Times, MacArthur recalls the hideous treatment by the Japanese of British, Australian, and colonial soldiers they captured in 1942. For American readers, this topic invokes the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai; however, MacArthur asserts that the movie's central theme was fiction. The blockheaded British colonel played by Alec Guinness strikes MacArthur as a libel of history's real colonel, Philip Toosey. The author's reasons for praising Toosey as a hero, not the David Lean-created prig, become brutally evident as he recounts Toosey's leadership of his men amid the barbarity by which the Japanese forced their prisoners to build a railroad from Thailand to their army in Burma. The construction was a project in sadism and starvation: tens of thousands died or were intentionally killed. From the survivors' diaries and memoirs, MacArthur topically organizes their ordeals into food, medicine, and human nature stripped naked by the depravity of the Japanese military. A tough history to face but a moving memorial to the men it remembers.  (Gilbert Taylor for Booklist)

 

MacDonnell, Francis.  Insidious Foes (Lyons Press, 2004).

From 1938 to 1942, a case of national jitters gripped the United States.  Fear that a German Fifth Column was in place in America, and that Nazi sympathizers were engaged in a campaign of subversion, was voiced by the White House, Congress, the intelligence community, and citizens organizations.  Contributing to the hysteria, spies cropped up in movies and radio shows, novels and pulp fiction.  MacDonnell portrays the anxiety that permeated the country at the time, examining factors that led to the rise and fall of the Fifth Column panic.

 

MacDonogh, Giles.  After the Reich: The Brutal History of The Allied Occupation (Basic Books, 2007).

When the Third Reich collapsed in 1945, the Allied powers converged on Germany and divided it into four zones of occupation. A nation in tatters, in many places literally flattened by bombs, was suddenly subjected to brutal occupation by vengeful victors. Rape was rampant. Hundreds of thousands of Germans and German-speakers died in the course of brutal deportations from Eastern Europe. By the end of the year, Germany was literally starving to death. Over a million German prisoners of war died in captivity, where they were subjected to inadequate rations and often tortured. All told, an astounding 2.25 million German civilians died violent deaths in the period between the liberation of Vienna and the Berlin airlift. 

A shocking account of a massive and vicious military occupation, After the Reich offers a bold reframing of the history of World War II and its aftermath. Historian Giles MacDonogh has unearthed a record of brutality which has been largely ignored by historians or, worse, justified as legitimate retaliation for the horror of the Holocaust. Drawing on a vast array of contemporary firstperson accounts, MacDonogh has finally given a voice to tens of millions of civilians who, lucky to survive the war, found themselves struggling to survive a hellish peace. 

 

Makovsky, Michael.  Churchill's Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft (Yale University Press, 2007).

This book is the first to explore fully the role that Zionism played in the political thought of Winston Churchill. Michael Makovsky traces the development of Churchill’s positions toward Zionism from the period leading up to the First World War through his final years as prime minister in the 1950s. Setting Churchill’s attitudes toward Zionism within the context of his overall worldview as well as within the context of twentieth-century British diplomacy, Makovsky offers a unique contribution to our understanding of Churchill.  Moving chronologically, the book looks at Churchill’s career within the context of several major themes: his own worldview and political strategies, his understanding of British imperial interests, the moral impact of the Holocaust, his commitment to ideals of civilization, and his historical sentimentalism. While Churchill was largely sympathetic to the Jews and to the Zionist impulse, he was not without inconsistencies in his views and policies over the years. Makovsky’s book illuminates key aspects of Middle Eastern history; Zionist history; and British political, imperial, and diplomatic history; and further helps us understand one of the pivotal figures of the twentieth century.

 

Malkin, Lawrence.  Krueger's Men (Bay Back Books, 2008).

The true story of the greatest counterfeiting scheme in history and the men the Nazis called upon to help it succeed--a group of concentration-camp Jews.

Only a fortnight after the start of World War II, at a meeting that has remained a secret for more than half a century, Nazi leaders and officials of the German Reichsbank approved an audacious plot to counterfeit millions of British pounds. Now, drawing upon top-secret bank records, German and British correspondence, and interrogation transcripts, award-winning journalist and author Lawrence Malkin reveals how an unremarkable SS officer named Bernhard Krueger attempted to bring down the world financial system. But when Krueger discovered that forging pounds, and later dollars, was no easy task, he made a crucial decision: he would seek out the greatest counterfeiters of prewar Europe and enlist them in the effort. He found them in an unexpected place: a Nazi concentration camp.

 

Manchester, William.  Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War (Back Bay 2002).

For the first time in trade paperback, the book in which one of the most celebrated biographer/historians of our time looks back at his own early life and gives us a remarkable account of World War II in the Pacific, of what it looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and, most of all, what it felt like to one who underwent all but the ultimate of its experiences. Back Bay takes pride in making William Manchesters intense, stirring, and impassioned memoir available to a new generation of readers. A book that will enthrall readers interested in the experiences and exploits of Americas greatest generation. As noted in a recent front-page New York Times article, William Manchester is today widely regarded as Americas preeminent biographer/historian. In the two decades since its initial publication, Goodbye, Darkness has achieved the status of a modern classic.

 

Mangerich, Agnes Jensen, Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary L. Neidel.  Albanian Escape (University Press of Kentucky, 2006).

On November 8, 1943, U.S. Army nurse Agnes Jensen stepped out of a cold rain into a C-53 transport plane. But she and twelve other nurses never arrived in Bari, Italy, where they were to transport wounded soldiers to hospitals farther from the front lines. A violent storm and pursuit by German Messerschmitts led to a crash landing in a remote part of Albania, leaving the nurses, their team of medics, and flight crew stranded in German-occupied territory. What followed was a dangerous nine-week game of hide-and-seek with the enemy, a situation President Roosevelt monitored daily. Albanian partisans aided the stranded Americans in the search for a British Intelligence Mission, and the group began a long and hazardous journey to the Adriatic coast. During the following weeks, they crossed Albania’s second highest mountain in a blizzard, were strafed by German planes, managed to flee a town moments before it was bombed, and watched helplessly as an attempt to airlift them out was foiled by German forces. 

Albanian Escape is the suspense-filled story of the only group of Army flight nurses to have crash-landed and spent any length of time in occupied territory during World War II. The nurses and soldiers endured fridgid weather, survived on little food, and literally wore out their shoes trekking across the rugged countryside. Thrust into a perilous situation and determined to survive, these women found courage and strength in each other and in the kindnesses of Albanians and guerrillas who hid them from the Germans. 

 

Marton, Kati.  The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World (Simon and Schuster, 2006).

In this ground-breaking book, acclaimed author Kati Marton brings to life an unknown chapter of World War II: the tale of nine men who grew up in Budapest's brief Golden Age, then, driven from Hungary by anti-Semitism, fled to the West, especially to the United States, and changed the world. These nine men, each celebrated for individual achievements, were actually part of a unique group who grew up in a time and place that will never come again. It is Marton's extraordinary achievement to trace what for a few dazzling years was common to all of them—the magic air of Budapest—and show how their separate lives and careers were, in fact, all shaped by Budapest's lively café life before the darkness closed in. 

Marton follows the astonishing lives of four history-changing scientists, all just one step ahead of Hitler's terror state, who helped usher in the nuclear age and the computer (Edward Teller, John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, and Eugene Wigner); two major movie myth-makers (Michael Curtiz, who directed Casablanca, and Alexander Korda, who produced The Third Man); two immortal photographers (Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz); and one seminal writer (Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon). 

Marton follows these brilliant products of Budapest's Golden Age as they flee fascism in the 1920s and 1930s en route to sanctuary—and immortality. As the scientists labor in the secret city of Los Alamos in the race to build the atom bomb, Koestler, once a communist agent imprisoned by Franco, writes the most important anti-communist novel of the century. Capa, the first photographer to go ashore on D-Day, later romances Ingrid Bergman and is acknowledged as the world's greatest war photographer before his tragic death in Vietnam. Curtiz not only gives us Casablanca, consistently voted the greatest romantic movie ever made, but also discovers Doris Day and directs James Cagney in the quintessential patriotic film, Yankee Doodle Dandy. 

 

Manvell, Roger and Heinrich Fraenkel.  Doctor Goebbels: His Life & Death (Greenhill Books, 2006).

Joseph Goebbels was possibly the most dangerous and intelligent member of the Nazi hierarchy, not excluding Hitler himself. Without Goebbels’ flair for propaganda and spectacular organization the Fuehrer might never have come to power. If Hitler was the Nazi genius of destructive evil, Goebbels was its constructive genius, for it was through his practical and intuitive understanding of the instruments of ‘public enlightenment’ that the dictatorship was built and maintained. As the founder of the Reich Chamber of Culture, the Gauleiter of Berlin and the architect of the complex machinery of modern totalitarian propaganda, Goebbels can be considered one of the most significantly evil and portentous figures of the twentieth century. A remarkable picture emerges of Goebbels’ mind as a schoolboy, student, lover, unsuccessful author and apprentice in political agitation. Interviews with his friends and family shed light on his character as a young man. This book charts the full trajectory of Goebbels’ career, showing him at the apex of his power, a master of oratory, a brilliant and cynical showman and a ruthless administrator. Doctor Goebbels also portrays the man at the end, in the Berlin Bunker, the most devoted of the Fuehrer’s henchmen, committing the last gesture of propaganda of which he was capable: the sacrifice of his life and that of his wife and six children.

 

Masumoto, David Mas.  Harvest Son: Planting Roots in American Soil (W.W. Norton and Company, 1999).

Masumoto's Epitaph for a Peach described his love affair with a fragile, imperfect variety of peach. Here, he continues his meditation on the farm that has been in his family for three generations, reflecting on and celebrating his Japanese-American heritage as he prunes vines, digs hardpan, clears itchy grass and picks grapes. He skillfully writes on the practicalities of Thompson grapes becoming raisins and of those same divine Sun Crest peaches that never made it to market. In doing so, he reveals his sadness at never having known his grandfathers and his frustrating quest to hone the skills he needs to continue the farm. From his fertile, if sometimes inconstant, farm, he travels to the arid desert of Arizona's Gila River Relocation Center, where his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans, were interned during WWII. Almost nothing of the camp remains but a pile of broken, thick white dishes. "I brought them back to show my parents... Dad grabbed the platter between a firm thumb and curled fingers and held it up as if to receive a helping of mash or a spoonful of beans. They exchanged a subtle grin that quickly disappeared when Dad shook his head and set down the fragment." In this evocative and lyrical pleasure, metaphors of sowing, cultivating and reaping conjoin to describe the deepest roots of sustenance and nurturing found in families. Here, Masumoto writes with a keen sense of indebtedness and gratitude to the many individuals who make up the entity he calls his family. (Publisher’s Weekly) 

 

Non-Fiction--Lambert to Litvin

Lambert, Angela.  The Lost Life of Eva Braun (St. Martin’s Press, 2007).

With impeccable attention to detail, Lambert takes us into Eva’s early convent schooling, and stint as an apprentice at a camera shop, where she met Hitler for the first time.  The young Fuhrer-to-be was magnetic and charming.  Eva was virginal, malleable, and unthreatening.  A match made in heaven?  Not quite.  According to Lambert, Hitler’s “treatment of this one young woman—first enthralling, then dominating and finally destroying her—reflects in microcosm the way he also seduced and destroyed the German people.

 

Lanckoronska, Karolina.  Michelangelo in Ravensbruck: One Woman's War Against the Nazis (Da Capo Press, 2007).

In September of 1939, Countess Karolina Lanckoronska, wealthy landowner and professor of art history, watched the Soviet army march into Poland. After joining the resistance, she was arrested, sentenced to death, and held in Ravensbrueck concentration camp. There she taught art history to other women who, like her, might be dead in a few days. This brilliantly written memoir records a neglected side of World War II: the mass murder of Poles, the serial horrors inflicted by both Russians and Nazis, and the immense courage of those who resisted.

 

Lanckoronska, Karolina.  Those Who Trespass Against Us (Pimlico, 2006).

Born in Vienna in 1898, Karolina Lanckoronska was an aristocrat and art historian who taught at the University of Lwow. When the Soviets came to occupy the city, Lanckoronska became active in the Polish resistance. She was arrested in 1942, imprisoned and sentenced to death before being incarcerated, first in Stanislau then in Lwow and Berlin. She was finally placed in a concentration camp in Ravensbruck.

As a Countess, Lanckoranska was subjected to varying treatment, at times suffering near starvation, only to receive extra food and medical care at other times according to the often-conflicting concerns of the authorities in Berlin. With the intervention of some influential friends, the honourable actions of one Nazi, and efforts by the Swiss scholar Carl J. Burckhardt, she was eventually released. Throughout her imprisonment, Lanckoronska remained defiantly resilient, loyal to Poland and committed to her fellow prisoners. Her magnetic personality and superb storytelling makes this a powerful narrative and sustains our interest through harrowing reading. Hers is an extraordinary story of courage and will.

 

Lawson, Ted W.  Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (Pocket Star, 2004).

After Pearl Harbor, America seemed to have lost the war before it had begun. Allied forces were being beaten across the Pacific by the Japanese military juggernaut, and morale was at the breaking point. America desperately needed to strike back at the enemy. For this, a corps of heroic volunteer fliers led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle began training to attack the very heart of the Japanese Empire—Tokyo.  To succeed, the "Tokyo Raiders" would have to launch sixteen fully loaded B-25 twin-engine medium bombers off the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet—something never done before—and land at airfields in China. Through courage and luck, the raid itself went flawlessly. But bad weather, lack of fuel, and darkness worked against many of the pilots—and for many, escaping China proved even more perilous than the mission.

 

Lawson, Dorothea Von Schwanenfluegel.  Laughter Wasn't Rationed: A Personal Journey Through Germany's World Wars and Postwar Years (Tricor Press, 2000).

This book is about real life, real people & how the World Wars interfered along the way. It is an insider's view of the effect the wars had on ordinary Germans. As a native German, the author takes us from her youth through the much-staged rise & fall of Hitler & his Nazi Party, World War II & the devastating postwar years, up to the Berlin Wall. Through her you will experience the air raids & intense bombing of Berlin, the ever-present hunger, the Soviet invasion & other day-to-day struggles. Yet she also entertains the reader with her witty style & the many jokes about the Third Reich. Her stories demonstrate that war unites as much as it divides and that history is embedded in the lives of individuals, not in textbooks. And throughout, the human spirit prevails since Laughter Wasn't Rationed. 

 

Lerner, Gerda.  Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (Temple University Press, 2002).

This autobiography by a leftist feminist and historian tells of her birth in Vienna and her happy life before Nazism, and her departure from Europe and arrival in America. There, she lived a life politically contrary to the mainstream. The author was to become a founder of the National Organization of Women.

 

Le Tissier, Tony.  Slaughter at Halbe: Hitler's Ninth Army in the Spreewald Pocket, April 1945 (Sutton Publishing, 2005).

Operation Berlin, the Soviet offensive launched on 16 April 1945 by Marshals Zhukov and Koniev, isolated the German Ninth Army and tens of thousands of refugees in the Spreewald 'pocket', south-east of Berlin. Stalin ordered its encirclement and destruction and his subordinates, eager to win the race to the Reichstag, pushed General Busse's Ninth Army into a tiny area east of the village of Halbe. To escape the Spreewald pocket the remnants of Ninth Army had to pass through Halbe, where barricades constructed by both sides formed formidable obstacles and the converging Soviet forces subjected the area to heavy artillery fire. By the time Ninth Army eventually escaped the Soviet pincers, it had suffered 40,000 killed and 60,000 taken prisoner. Teenaged refugees recount their experiences alongside Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS veterans attempting to maintain military discipline amid the chaos and carnage of headlong retreat. While army commanders strive to extricate their decimated units, demoralised soldiers change into civilian clothing and take to the woods. Relating the story day by day, Tony Le Tissier shows the impact of total war upon soldier and civilian alike, illuminating the unfolding of great and terrible events with the recollections of participants.

 

Le Tissier.  With Our Backs to Berlin (Sutton Publishing, 2005).

In the final months of the Second World War in 1945, the German Army was in full retreat on both its Western and Eastern Fronts. British and American troops were poised to cross the River Rhine in the west, while in the East the vast Soviet war machine was steam-rolling the soldiers of the Third Reich back towards the capital, Berlin. Even in retreat, the German Army was still a force to be reckoned with and vigorously defended every last bridge, castle, town and village against the massive Russian onslaught. Tony Le Tissier has interviewed a wide range of former German Army and SS soldiers to provide ten vivid first-hand accounts of the fighting retreat that, for one soldier, ended in Hitler's Chancellery building in the ruins of Berlin in April 1945. The dramatic descriptions of combat are contrasted with insights into the human dimension of these desperate battles, reminding the reader that many of the German soldiers whose stories we read shared similar values to the average British 'Tommy' or the American GI and were not all crazed Nazis. Illustrated with photographs of the main characters and specially commissioned maps identifying the location and course of the battles, With Our Backs to Berlin is a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in the final days of the Second World War.

 

Levi, Primo.  Survival in Auschwitz (B.N. Publishing, 2007).

Survival in Auschwitz is a mostly straightforward narrative, beginning with Primo Levi's deportation from Turin, Italy, to the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland in 1943. Levi, then a 25-year-old chemist, spent 10 months in the camp. Even Levi's most graphic descriptions of the horrors he witnessed and endured there are marked by a restraint and wit that not only gives readers access to his experience, but confronts them with it in stark ethical and emotional terms: "[A]t dawn the barbed wire was full of children's washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need. Would you not do the same? If you and your child were going to be killed tomorrow, would you not give him something to eat today?"  (Michael Joseph Gross for Amazon.com)

 

Levi, Primo.  A Tranquil Star: Unpublished Stories of Primo Levi (W.W. Norton, 2007).

Holocaust memoirist Levi (1919–1987) also wrote small fiction sketches, reminiscent of contemporaries Dino Buzzatti and Italo Calvino, for periodicals, collected here and introduced by Goldstein. Of two realistic pieces that recall The Periodic Table and Survival in Auschwitz, one concerns the last minute in the life of a resistance fighter whose act against his German captors would today be called a suicide bombing. Transparent political allegories, of the kind that were fashionable in the Cold War period up to the late '60s, predominate. In the slighter of the 17 works, a miraculous paint is developed to replace lucky charms, and a Mad Max–like look at sports of the future describes tourneys conducted between men armed with hammers and cars. "The Molecule's Defiance" concerns the inexplicable spoiling of a batch of synthetic chemical, eerie in its description of a monstrous, gelatinizing mass expanding rapidly in a reactor, as though revolting against its human makers. (Review by Publisher’s Weekly)

 

Levi, Primo and Leonardo Debenedetti.  Auschwitz Report (Verso, 2006).

While in a Russian-administered holding camp in Katowice, Poland, in 1945, Primo Levi was asked to provide a report on living conditions in Auschwitz. Published the following year, it was then forgotten, and has until now remained unknown to a wider public.  Dating from the weeks and months immediately after the war, Auschwitz Report represents Levi's first yet still astonishingly lucid attempts to come to terms with the raw horror of events that would drive him to create some of the greatest works of twentieth century literature. It details the deportation to Auschwitz, selections for work and extermination, everyday life in the camp, and the organization and working of restraint, Auschwitz Report is a major literary and historical discovery.

 

Levi, Primo.  The Periodic Table (Schocken, 1995).

The Periodic Table is largely a memoir of the years before and after Primo Levi’s transportation from his native Italy to Auschwitz as an anti-Facist partisan and a Jew. It recounts, in clear, precise, unfailingly beautiful prose, the story of the Piedmontese Jewish community from which Levi came, of his years as a student and young chemist at the inception of the Second World War, and of his investigations into the nature of the material world. As such, it provides crucial links and backgrounds, both personal and intellectual, in the tremendous project of remembrance that is Levi’s gift to posterity. But far from being a prologue to his experience of the Holocaust, Levi’s masterpiece represents his most impassioned response to the events that engulfed him.

 

Lewis, Brenda Ralph.  Women at War (Readers Digest, 2002).

Meet the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters who changed the course of World War II-in battle and in everyday life. Explore how their experiences changed lives forever after-for both sexes. Both Allied and Axis countries are represented through personal stories and period photography that capture both their sacrifices and rare courage.

 

Lifton, Robert J. and Greg Mitchell.  Hiroshima in America (Harper Perennial, 1996).

Lifton and Mitchell bring their expertise to bear in this well-researched book examining the reaction of the American people to the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 and its domestic aftermath. The authors examine what they perceive to be a conspiracy by the government to mislead and suppress information about the actual bombing, Truman's decision to drop the bomb, and the birth and mismanagement of the beginning of the nuclear age. The authors claim that Americans then and now are haunted by the devastating psychological effects of the bomb. The most interesting aspect of their book is the analysis of Truman. The development of nuclear weapons and the bombing of Hiroshima will continue to foment debate and will be of interest to students of history and current affairs. (Christopher Pavek, Putnam, Hayes & Bartlett, Inc. for Library Journal)

 

Lifton, Robert Jay.  Death in Life (University of North Carolina Press, 1991).

In Japan, “hibakusha means 'the people affected by the explosion”—specifically, the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima in 1945. In this classic study, Robert Jay Lifton studies the psychological effects of the bomb on 90,000 survivors. Lifton sees this analysis as providing a last chance to understand, and be motivated to avoid nuclear war.

 

Lindley, David.  Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science (Doubleday, 2007).

In 1927, the young German physicist Werner Heisenberg challenged centuries of scientific understanding when he introduced what came to be known as “the uncertainty principle.” Building on his own radical innovations in quantum theory, Heisenberg proved that in many physical measurements, you can obtain one bit of information only at the price of losing another. Heisenberg’s principle implied that scientific quantities/concepts do not have absolute, independent meaning, but acquire meaning only in terms of the experiments used to measure them. This proposition, undermining the cherished belief that science could reveal the physical world with limitless detail and precision, placed Heisenberg in direct opposition to the revered Albert Einstein. The eminent scientist Niels Bohr, Heisenberg’s mentor and Einstein’s long-time friend, found himself caught between the two.  Uncertainty chronicles the birth and evolution of one of the most significant findings in the history of science, and portrays the clash of ideas and personalities it provoked. Einstein was emotionally as well as intellectually determined to prove the uncertainty principle false. Heisenberg represented a new generation of physicists who believed that quantum theory overthrew the old certainties; confident of his reasoning, Heisenberg dismissed Einstein’s objections. Bohr understood that Heisenberg was correct, but he also recognized the vital necessity of gaining Einstein’s support as the world faced the shocking implications of Heisenberg’s principle.

 

Lisagor, Trude. Small Things: Words from My Namesake (CreateSpace, 2010).

In 2009, shortly after her mom passed away, Trude discovered a cardboard box containing a worn, cloth-bound journal. Inside, she found short personal essays written by the grandmother she had never met. This collection of words from her namesake, which reveals the wisdom gained by a Jewish immigrant from Nazi Germany, leapt from the pages and into Trude's heart. In Small Things, Trude shares these essays along with her own reflections. "Most often, strangers to our shores, like Trude Grunwald, help us reacquaint ourselves with our values and attitudes, and reintroduce us to the importance of the freedoms we should hold dear." - Marilyn Turkovich, Executive Director, Voices Education Project.  Trude Lisagor (1951- ) taught elementary school for twenty years in Northern Virginia. She continues to help children with reading, writing and math on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where she lives with her husband, Mike. Her grandmother, Trude Grunwald (1899-1949), immigrated to Los Angeles from Wuppertal, Germany in 1938. Her strong sense of what matters most lives on in her writing.

 

Litoff, David C. Barrett and Judy Smith.  American Women in a World at War (SR Books, 1996).

This title brings together twenty-five writings by women who share their rich and varied World War II experiences, from serving in the military to working on the home front to preparing for the postwar world. By providing evidence of their active and resourceful roles in the war effort as workers, wives, and mothers, these women offer eloquent testimony that World War II was indeed everybody's war. Litoff and Smith combine pieces by well-known writers, such as Margaret Culkin Banning and Nancy Wilson Ross, with important-but largely forgotten-personal accounts by ordinary women living in extraordinary times. This volume is divided into the six sections listed below: Preparing for War In the Military At 'Far-Flung' Fronts On the Home Front War Jobs Preparing for the Postwar World. 

 

Litvin, Nikolai.  800 Days on the Eastern Front: A Russian Soldier Remembers World War II (University Press of Kansas, 2007).

During his 800 days of war, Nikolai Litvin fought at the front lines in the ferocious tank battles at Kursk, was wounded three times, and witnessed unspeakable brutalities against prisoners and civilians. But he survived to pen this brief but powerful memoir of his wartime experiences.  Barely out of his teens, Litvin served for three years in the Red Army on the killing fields of the Eastern Front. His memoir presents an unadorned, candid narrative of the common soldier's lot in Stalin's army. Unlike the memoirs of Russian officers-usually preoccupied with large military operations and political concerns-this narrative offers a true ground-level view of World War II's deadliest theater. It puts a begrimed human face on the enormous toll of casualties and provides a rare perspective on battles that were instrumental in the defeat of the German army. 

Litvin's varied roles, ranging from antitank gunner at Kursk to heavy machine gunner in a penal battalion to staff driver for the 352nd Rifle Division, offer unique per-spectives on the Red Army in World War II as it fought from the Ukraine deep into the German heartland. Litvin documents such significant battles as Operation Kutuzov, Operation Bagration, and the German counterattack on the Narev, while also providing unique personal observations on fording the Dnepr River under enemy fire, the rape of German women by Russian troops, and literally seeing his life pass before his eyes as he watched a Stuka's bomb fall directly on his position.

 

Non-Fiction--Kirk to Kuwahara

Kirk, Terence S.  The Secret Camera: A Marine's Story: Four Years as a POW (The Lyons Press, 2004).

On the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the twenty-three marines stationed in North China were at the peak of physical condition. They were young, brave men who were willing to die to defend their country. But on that day, they were forced to surrender to the Japanese and spent the rest of the war-all 1,355 days-as POWs. They didn't know the statistic that stated a marine was 17.5 times more likely to die in a Japanese prison camp than in battle-or that 38 percent of all Americans captured by the Japanese died in labor camps. But they were soon to find out on their own.

 


Kirschner, Ann.  Sala's Gift: My Mother's Holocaust Story (Free Press, 2007).

Few family secrets have the power both to transform lives and to fill in crucial gaps in world history. But then, few families have a mother and a daughter quite like Sala and Ann Kirschner. For nearly fifty years, Sala kept a secret: She had survived five years as a slave in seven different Nazi work camps. Living in America after the war, she kept from her children any hint of her epic, inhuman odyssey. She held on to more than 350 letters, photographs, and a diary without ever mentioning them. Only in 1991, on the eve of heart surgery, did she suddenly present them to Ann and offer to answer any questions her daughter wished to ask. It was a life-changing moment for her scholar, writer, and entrepreneur daughter. 

We know surprisingly little about the vast network of Nazi labor camps, where imprisoned Jews built railroads and highways, churned out munitions and materiel, and otherwise supported the limitless needs of the Nazi war machine. This book gives us an insider's account: Conditions were brutal. Death rates were high. As the war dragged on and the Nazis retreated, inmates were force-marched across hundreds of miles, or packed into cattle cars for grim journeys from one camp to another. When Sala first reported to a camp in Geppersdorf, Poland, at the age of sixteen, she thought it would be for six weeks. Five years later, she was still at a labor camp and only she and two of her sisters remained alive of an extended family of fifty. In the first years of the conflict, Sala was aided by her close friend Ala Gertner, who would later lead an uprising at Auschwitz and be executed just weeks before the liberation of that camp. Sala was also helped by other key friends. Yet above all, she survived thanks to the slender threads of support expressed in the letters of her friends and family. She kept them at great personal risk, and it is astonishing that she was able to receive as many as she did. With their heartwrenching expressions of longing, love, and hope, they offer a testament to the human spirit, an indomitable impulse even in the face of monstrosity.

 

Kitchen, Martin.  The Third Reich: A Concise History (Tempus Publishing, Limited, 2003).

Seventy years have passed since Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor, and in the intervening years a vast amount has been written on the origins and nature of the Third Reich. The years from 1933 to 1945 cast such a grim shadow that the moral, ethical, and religious elements embedded in the narrative are such that the subject still resists treatment as part of a historical past. Fierce debates still rage over both the how and the why of these terrible events. In this concise and accessible account Martin Kitchen addresses the major issues. How did Hitler come to power? How was the Nazi dictatorship established? What was the essential nature of the regime? What were the reasons for Hitler's extraordinary popularity? Why did Germany go to war? What led to the Holocaust? What was the legacy of National Socialism?

 

Kjellander, Petter.  Konigsberg: The Battle For East Prussia January - May 1945: The Russian Offensive (Leandoer And Eckholm, 2007).

East Prussia was the first genuine part of the German home lands that fell to the Red Army in 1945. Already by 1944 some parts of East Prussia had been under the attack of the Soviets. The tragedy became complete in April 1945. The losses and horrors German civilians had to endure were tremendous. The Red Army showed its worst after the capture of East Prussia. The discovery of the Red Army's behavior in late 1944 in some of the border towns led to the most severe battles ever to be fought in East Prussia. The German army tried in vain to save the civilians from the Red Army onslaught. The battle for East Prussia ended with the siege of Konigsberg and Pillau, April 1945. The loss of human lives during these battles for East Prussia was very high. This book covers a much overlooked and little recorded campaign during World War Two. It draws on sources from both the Russian archives giving the Red Army view and those from the German side gives a good balance, and it contains never before seen pictures of the fighting and a great number of maps and color profiles of the AFVs being employed on both sides in the battle.

 

Klabunde, Anja.  Magda Goebbels (Time Warner Books, UK, 2003).

Magda Goebbels was arguably the most contradictory and intriguing of the women who lived alongside the top-ranking Nazis. Beautiful and intelligent, she went from being deeply in love with Zionist leader Victor Chaim Arlosoroff to marrying Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda. She turned from being a devoted mother of 6 and role model of Nazi family values to becoming a Medea who poisoned her young children. Anja Klabunde’s impeccably researched biography explores how such an intelligent and charming woman could fall victim to fanaticism. The result is an absorbing account of a life that mirrors the tragedy and illusion of Germany in the first half of the 20th century.

 

Klemperer, Victor.  The Language of the Third Reich: LTI—Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist's Notebook (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006).

Under the Third Reich, the official language of Nazism came to be used as a political tool. The existing social culture was manipulated and subverted as the German people had their ethical values and their thoughts about politics, history and daily life recast in a new language. This Notebook, originally called LTI (Lingua Tertii Imperii)-the abbreviation itself a parody of Nazified language-was written out of Klemperer's conviction that the language of the Third Reich helped to create its culture. As Klemperer writes: "it isn't only Nazi actions that have to vanish, but also the Nazi cast of mind, the typical Nazi way of thinking, and its breeding ground: the language of Nazism." This brilliant, entertaining, profound, and ultimately saddening and horrifying book is one of the great twentieth-century studies of language and of its engagement with history.

 

Klemperer, Victor.  To the Bitter End, 1942-1945 (Orion Publishing, 2000).

In this second volume of Victor Klemperer's diary covers the period from the beginning of the holocaust to the end of the war, telling the story of Klemperer's increasing isolation, his near miraculous survival, and his growing awareness of the holocaust as his friends and associates disappeared.

 


Klemperer, Victor.  I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years, 1933-1941 (Modern Library Paperbacks, 1999).

The publication of Victor Klemperer's secret diaries brings to light one of the most extraordinary documents of the Nazi period. "In its cool, lucid style and power of observation," said The New York Times, "it is the best written, most evocative, most observant record of daily life in the Third Reich." I Will Bear Witness is a work of literature as well as a revelation of the day-by-day horror of the Nazi years.  A Dresden Jew, a veteran of World War I, a man of letters and historian of great sophistication, Klemperer recognized the danger of Hitler as early as 1933. His diaries, written in secrecy, provide a vivid account of everyday life in Hitler's Germany.
                          
What makes this book so remarkable, aside from its literary distinction, is Klemperer's preoccupation with the thoughts and actions of ordinary Germans: Berger the greengrocer, who was given Klemperer's house ("anti-Hitlerist, but of course pleased at the good exchange"), the fishmonger, the baker, the much-visited dentist. All offer their thoughts and theories on the progress of the war: Will England hold out? Who listens to Goebbels? How much longer will it last?

 

Kneece, Jack.  Ghost Army of World War II (Pelican, 2001).

Career journalist and newspaperman Kneece chronicles the story of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. With only 1100 men, the 23rd was repeatedly able to disguise itself as a much larger force, masking the Allies' real operations and saving thousands of lives. The Germans called them the "Phantom Army," while the 23rd preferred the nickname "Ghost Army." Using elaborate ruses of false radio traffic, sound effects, inflatable vehicles, and other techniques, these "ghosts" were so successful in over 20 operations that the Germans believed that they were facing a 30,000-man force. The unit's soldiers were actually artists, set designers, sound technicians, and other specialists (including Bill Blass, Elsworth Kelly, Art Kane, and George Stulten). Kneece uses numerous declassified documents and personal interviews with veterans to create a readable narrative of the unit's operations in France, Luxembourg, and Germany. This unit was classified top secret during World War II and remained so until 1996, and the author describes the "silent suffering" of the 23rd's men, who did not get due recognition because of this top-secret classification. While not scholarly, this book is a capable study of an elite military unit for public and academic libraries. (David M. Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY for Library Journal)

 

Knooz, Claudia.  The Nazi Conscience (Belknap Press, 2005).

Claudia Koonz's latest work reveals how racial popularizers developed the infrastructure and rationale for genocide during the so-called normal years before World War II. Her careful reading of the voluminous Nazi writings on race traces the transformation of longtime Nazis' vulgar anti-Semitism into a racial ideology that seemed credible to the vast majority of ordinary Germans who never joined the Nazi Party. Challenging conventional assumptions about Hitler, Koonz locates the source of his charisma not in his summons to hate, but in his appeal to the collective virtue of his people, the Volk. 

From 1933 to 1939, Nazi public culture was saturated with a blend of racial fear and ethnic pride that Koonz calls ethnic fundamentalism. Ordinary Germans were prepared for wartime atrocities by racial concepts widely disseminated in media not perceived as political: academic research, documentary films, mass-market magazines, racial hygiene and art exhibits, slide lectures, textbooks, and humor. By showing how Germans learned to countenance the everyday persecution of fellow citizens labeled as alien, Koonz makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust. 

 

Knox, Donald.  Death March: The Survivors of Bataan (Harvest Books, 2002).

Death March is an account of the extraordinary strength and courage exhibited by Americans under the extreme and seemingly unending stress of three and a half years of captivity under the Japanese on Bataan. Donald Knox (1936-1986) was an award-winning producer and director of television documentaries.


Konecky and Konecky.  The Secret History of World War II (Konecky and Konecky Publishers, 2008).

These are the complete wartime correspondence between the leaders of the Allied Forces. Released with the cooperation of the Russian government, these revealing and often starkly frank communiques between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin add to our understanding of the course of World War II an indispensable horde of information. Through them, the reader is afforded a wonderfully intimate insight into the thinking of the three men who led the Allies to victory.

 

Korda, Michael.  With Wings Like Eagles (Harper, 2009).

Michael Korda's brilliant work of history takes the reader back to the summer of 1940, when fewer than three thousand young fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force—often no more than nine hundred on any given day—stood between Hitler and the victory that seemed almost within his grasp.

Korda re-creates the intensity of combat in "the long, delirious, burning blue" of the sky above southern England, and at the same time—perhaps for the first time—traces the entire complex web of political, diplomatic, scientific, industrial, and human decisions during the 1930s that led inexorably to the world's first, greatest, and most decisive air battle. Korda deftly interweaves the critical strands of the story—the invention of radar (the most important of Britain's military secrets); the developments by such visionary aircraft designers as R. J. Mitchell, Sidney Camm, and Willy Messerschmitt of the revolutionary, all-metal, high-speed monoplane fighters the British Spitfire and Hurricane and the German Bf 109; the rise of the theory of air bombing as the decisive weapon of modern warfare and the prevailing belief that "the bomber will always get through" (in the words of British prime minister Stanley Baldwin). As Nazi Germany rearmed swiftly after 1933, building up its bomber force, only one man, the central figure of Korda's book, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, the eccentric, infuriating, obstinate, difficult, and astonishingly foresighted creator and leader of RAF Fighter Command, did not believe that the bomber would always get through and was determined to provide Britain with a weapon few people wanted to believe was needed or even possible. Dowding persevered—despite opposition, shortage of funding, and bureaucratic infighting—to perfect the British fighter force just in time to meet and defeat the German onslaught. Korda brings to life the extraordinary men and women on both sides of the conflict, from such major historical figures as Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, and Reichsmarschall Herman Göring (and his disputatious and bitterly feuding generals) to the British and German pilots, the American airmen who joined the RAF just in time for the Battle of Britain, the young airwomen of the RAF, the ground crews who refueled and rearmed the fighters in the middle of heavy German raids, and such heroic figures as Douglas Bader, Josef František, and the Luftwaffe aces Adolf Galland and his archrival Werner Mölders.

Winston Churchill memorably said about the Battle of Britain, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Here is the story of "the few," and how they prevailed against the odds, deprived Hitler of victory, and saved the world during three epic months in 1940.

 

Korda, Michael.  Ike: An American Hero (HarperCollins, 2007).

A big, ambitious, and enthralling new biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower, full of fascinating details and anecdotes, which places particular emphasis on his brilliant generalship and leadership in World War Two, and provides, with the advantage of hindsight, a far more acute analysis of his character and personality than any that has previously been available, reaching the conclusion that he was perhaps America's greatest general and one of America's best presidents, a man who won the war and thereafter kept the peace.  Ike starts with the story of D–Day, the most critical moment in America's history. It was Hitler's last chance to win the war –– he had the means to destroy the troops on the beaches, but he failed to react quickly enough. The one man who would have reacted quickly and decisively had he been on the spot, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, was home on leave and didn't arrive back at his headquarters until it was too late. It was Ike's plan, Ike's decision, Ike's responsibility. He alone, among all the Allied generals, could win or lose the war in one day, and knew it. 

 

Kotlowitz, Robert.  Before Their Time (Anchor, 1999).

In the summer of 1943, Robert Kotlowitz, an indifferent premed student at Johns Hopkins University, was drafted into the army. "I told myself," he writes in his affecting memoir of World War II, "that it was better than being blatantly tossed out of college." In any event, he continues, "part of me, at eighteen, was eager to suffer the hazards and humiliations of war."   Hazards and humiliations he found in abundance. He was assigned to a company led by an inept captain and put to work in a Browning Automatic Rifle unit. In combat school at Fort Benning he learned that, in battle, such units had a life expectancy of eleven seconds. "That is not hyperbole," he adds wryly. "It is scientific fact." But Kotlowitz lived through the war, fueled by his hatred, as a Jew, for the German enemy, and burning with the patriotic fervor of a young man. Both his hatred and his fervor diminished as he endured battle, living close to the bone and watching as his comrades fell.  (Amazon.com)

 

Kovner, Abba.  Scrolls of Testimony (Jewish Publication Society of American, 2002).

Accounts of the lives of displaced European Jews are collected in this fictionalized account of the years between 1930 and the late 1940s. The stories include not only the testimony of Jews in concentration camps but also the poems and commentaries of many others.

 

Kubizek, August.  The Young Hitler I Knew (Greenhill Books, 2006).

This is the first edition to be published in English since 1955 and it corrects many changes made for reasons of political correctness. It also includes important sections which were excised from the original English translation. August Kubizek met Adolf Hitler in 1904 while they were both competing for standing room at the opera. Their mutual passion for music created a strong bond, and over the next four years they became close friends. Kubizek describes a reticent young man, painfully shy, yet capable of bursting into hysterical fits of anger if anyone disagreed with him. The two boys would often talk for hours on end; Hitler found Kubizek to be a very good listener, a worthy confidant to his hopes and dreams. In 1908 Kubizek moved to Vienna and shared a room with Hitler at 29 Stumpergasse. During this time, Hitler tried to get into art school, but he was unsuccessful. With his money fast running out, he found himself sinking to the lower depths of the city: an unkind world of isolation and 'constant unappeasable hunger'. Hitler moved out of the flat in November, without leaving a forwarding address; Kubizek did not meet his friend again until 1938. The Young Hitler I Knew tells the story of an extraordinary friendship, and gives fascinating insight into Hitler's character during these formative years. 

 

Kuwahara, Yasuo.  Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot’s Own Spectacular Story of the Famous Suicide Squadrons (American Legacy Media, seventh edition edition, 2007)

Originally published in 1957, this enduring classic—the first-ever English publication co-written by a Japanese suicide pilot—remains a touching and insightful look into the world of the kamikaze. This edition, now completely revised, reflects the valuable insight and perspective gained by the author since the time of the book’s initial publication. From the age of 15, Yasuo Kuwahara began a life of military service that included suffering through brutal basic training, participating in ferocious aerial combat against the Allies, and avoiding a suicide mission when an atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, near his hometown. From being handpicked for kamikaze service to finding the discipline to die for the emperor, this history presents a firsthand account of the fascinating life of a kamikaze fighter pilot.

 

Non-Fiction--Ienaga to Johnston

Ienaga, Saburo.  Pacific War, 1931-1945 (Pantheon; First paperback edition, 1979).

'The Pacific War provides knowledge of what went on in Japan and in the conquered territories during World War ll in elaborate and sometimes terrifying detail. I believe that no one can really understand contemporary Japan and its policies unless he is acquainted with the grim Saburo lenaga presents.

 

Igarashi, Yoshikuri.  Bodies of Memory (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Japan and the United States became close political allies so quickly after the end of World War II, that it seemed as though the two countries had easily forgotten the war they had fought. Here Yoshikuni Igarashi offers a provocative look at how Japanese postwar society struggled to understand its war loss and the resulting national trauma, even as forces within the society sought to suppress these memories. Igarashi argues that Japan's nationhood survived the war's destruction in part through a popular culture that expressed memories of loss and devastation more readily than political discourse ever could. He shows how the desire to represent the past motivated Japan's cultural productions in the first twenty-five years of the postwar period.

Japanese war experiences were often described through narrative devices that downplayed the war's disruptive effects on Japan's history. Rather than treat these narratives as obstacles to historical inquiry, Igarashi reads them along with counter-narratives that attempted to register the original impact of the war. He traces the tensions between remembering and forgetting by focusing on the body as the central site for Japan's production of the past. This approach leads to fascinating discussions of such diverse topics as the use of the atomic bomb, hygiene policies under the U.S. occupation, the monstrous body of Godzilla, the first Western professional wrestling matches in Japan, the transformation of Tokyo and the athletic body for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the writer Yukio Mishima's dramatic suicide, while providing a fresh critical perspective on the war legacy of Japan.

 

Inoguichi, Rikihei, et.al.  The Divine Wind (Bantam Books, 1979).

Here the Japanese commanders relive the tragic 10 month history of this unique suicide force, the most carefully documented and accurate account of the suicide fliers, their lives and thoughts.  Written by senior officials in the wartime kamikaze effort, this book offers valuable insights into the thinking of the offense's leaders and fascinating information on Japan's last stand in the Pacific War.

 

Jackson, Kathi.  They Called Them Angels (Bison Books, 2006).

With the insight and intimacy of firsthand accounts from some of the thousands of army and navy nurses who served both stateside and overseas during World War II, this book tells the stories of the brave women who used any and all resources to save as many lives as possible. Although military nurses could have made more money as civilians, thousands chose to leave the security of home to care for the young men who went off to war. They were not saints but vibrant women whose performance changed both military and civilian nursing. Kathi Jackson's account follows army and navy nurses from the time they joined the military, through their active service, to their lives today.

 


Jefferson, Alexander.  Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free (Fordham University Press (April 1, 2005).

Alexander Jefferson was one of 32 Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group to be shot down defending a country that considered them to be second-class citizens. A Detroit native, Jefferson enlisted in 1942, trained at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, became a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined one of the most decorated fighting units in the War, flying P51s with their legendary--and feared--"red tails." Based in Italy, Jefferson flew bomber escort missions over southern Europe before being shot down in France in 1944. Captured, he spent the rest of the war in Luftwaffe prison camps in Sagan and Moosberg, Germany. 

In this vividly detailed, deeply personal book, Jefferson writes as a genuine American hero and patriot. It’s an unvarnished look at life behind barbed wire--and what it meant to be an African-American pilot in enemy hands. It’s also a look at race and democracy in America through the eyes of a patriot who fought to protect the promise of freedom. The book features the sketches, drawings, and other illustrations Jefferson created during his nine months as a "kriegie" (POW) and Lewis Carlson’s authoritative background to the man, his unit, and the fight Alexander Jefferson fought so well. 

 

Johnson, Paul.   Churchill (Viking, 2009).

In Churchill, Johnson applies a wide lens and an unconventional approach to illuminate the various phases of Churchill's career. From his adventures as a young cavalry officer in the service of the Empire to his role as an elder statesman prophesying the advent of the Cold War, Johnson shows how Churchill's immense adaptability combined with his natural pugnacity to make him a formidable leader for the better part of a century. Johnson's narration of Churchill's many triumphs and setbacks, rich with anecdote and quotation, illustrates the man's humor, resilience, courage, and eccentricity as no other biography before.

Winston Churchill's hold on contemporary readers has never slackened, and Paul Johnson's lively, concise biography will appeal to historians and general nonfiction readers alike.

 

Johnston, Harold.  A Bridge Not Attacked: Chemical Warfare Civilian Research During World War II (World Scientific Publishing Company, 2004).

This book tells the novel true stories concerning highly talented civilian scientists in some unusual places and situations during World War II. The purpose of this book is to present an almost forgotten history of secret war research in universities. The focus is on the narrow subject of chemical warfare research and on a small number of individuals, but with in-depth study of these individuals and what they did. Mostly graduate students and young instructors, they were working under the direction of professors at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California (Berkeley). Action took place in California, Florida and the jungles of Panama. This history touches on the work of four senior Nobel Prize winners and eight junior, future Nobel Prize winners at Caltech and Berkeley.

 

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