Voices in Wartime

Non-Fiction--Hegi to Hornfischer

Hegi, Ursula.  Tearing the Silence: On Being German in America (Touchstone, 1998).

Hegi's outstanding fictional accounts of life in World War II Germany were the catalysts for this powerful nonfiction collection of interviews of first-generation German Americans. Herself a German-born American, Hegi aims to shatter the reluctance, even refusal, of Germans to mention the Holocaust other than to say, "We suffered, too." The Germany Hegi grew up with and ultimately struggled against is reflected in the personal accounts by other Germans, now living in America, whom she interviewed informally. For example, there is Eva, who remarks, "Just because I'm German doesn't mean I am a Nazi," and Hans-Peter, who says, "It's my heritage?yet I had no say in it." This singular work is an important addition to a greater understanding of the Holocaust and to giving credible cognizance to submerged feelings. (Kay Meredith Dusheck, University of Iowa, Iowa City for Library Journal)

 

Hein, Laura and Mark Shelden.  Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age (East Gate Book, 1997).

The development and use of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki number among the formative national experiences for both Japanese and Americans, as well as for U.S.-Japan relations throughout the last half of the twentieth century. It is now clear, however, that memories and lessons learned from the bombings are still being reworked and contested, perhaps even more heatedly than they were in 1945. Tracking the development of that fifty-year trajectory, this volume explores the ways in which the bomb has shaped the self-image of both peoples: for Americans, the dominant story is that the bombs provided an appropriate and necessary conclusion to a just war; for Japanese, it is a symbol of their victimization. The distinguished contributors analyze the ways in which memories of the bombs, constantly reworked in the media, in the arts, and in the political arena, continue to define important, albeit often unacknowledged, undercurrents in the U.S.-Japan relationship.

 

Heimann, Judith M.  The Airmen and the Headhunters (Harcourt, 2007).

Instead they found themselves unexpectedly facing a Japanese fleet—and were shot down. When they cut themselves loose from their parachutes, they were scattered across the island’s mountainous interior. Then a group of loincloth-wearing natives silently materialized out of the jungle. Would these Dayak tribesmen turn the starving airmen over to the hostile Japanese occupiers? Or would the Dayaks risk vicious reprisals to get the airmen safely home? The tribal leaders’ unprecedented decision led to a desperate game of hide-and-seek, and, ultimately, the return of a long-renounced ritual: head-hunting.

A cinematic survival story that features a bamboo airstrip built on a rice paddy, a mad British major, and a blowpipe-wielding army that helped destroy one of the last Japanese strongholds, The Airmen and the Headhunters is a gripping, you-are-there journey into the remote world and forgotten heroism of the Dayaks.  

 

Hein, Laura Elizabeth.  Censoring History: Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States (East Gate Book, 2000).

Exploring one of the most dynamic and contested regions of the world, this series includes works on political, economic, cultural, and social changes in modern and contemporary Asia and the Pacific.

 

Hemingway, Ernest and Sean Hemingway (Editor).  Hemingway on War (Scribner, 2004).

Ernest Hemingway witnessed many of the seminal conflicts of the twentieth century—from his post as a Red Cross ambulance driver during World War I to his nearly twenty-five years as a war correspondent for The Toronto Star—and he recorded them with matchless power. This landmark volume brings together Hemingway's most important, timeless writings about the nature of human combat. 

Passages from his beloved World War I novel A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, about the Spanish Civil War, offer an unparalleled portrayal of the physical and psychological impact of war and its aftermath. Selections from Across the River and Into the Trees vividly evoke an emotionally scarred career soldier in the twilight of life as he reflects on the nature of war. Classic short stories, such as "In Another Country" and "The Butterfly and the Tank," stand alongside excerpts from Hemingway's first book of short stories, In Our Time, and his only full-length play, The Fifth Column.  With captivating selections from Hemingway's journalism—from his coverage of the Greco-Turkish War of 1922 to a legendary early interview with Mussolini to his jolting eyewitness account of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944—Hemingway on War represents the author's penetrating chronicles of perseverance and defeat, courage and fear, and love and loss in the midst of modern warfare. 

 

Herf, Jeffrey.  The Jewish Enemy (Belknap, 2006).

The sheer magnitude of the Holocaust has commanded our attention for the past sixty years. The extent of atrocities, however, has overshadowed the calculus Nazis used to justify their deeds. According to German wartime media, it was German citizens who were targeted for extinction by a vast international conspiracy. Leading the assault was an insidious, belligerent Jewish clique, so crafty and powerful that it managed to manipulate the actions of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Hitler portrayed the Holocaust as a defensive act, a necessary move to destroy the Jews before they destroyed Germany. 

Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, and Otto Dietrich's Press Office translated this fanatical vision into a coherent cautionary narrative, which the Nazi propaganda machine disseminated into the recesses of everyday life. Calling on impressive archival research, Jeffrey Herf recreates the wall posters that Germans saw while waiting for the streetcar, the radio speeches they heard at home or on the street, the headlines that blared from newsstands. The Jewish Enemy is the first extensive study of how anti-Semitism pervaded and shaped Nazi propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, and how it pulled together the diverse elements of a delusionary Nazi worldview. Here we find an original and haunting exposition of the ways in which Hitler legitimized war and genocide to his own people, as necessary to destroy an allegedly omnipotent Jewish foe. In an era when both anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories continue to influence world politics, Herf offers a timely reminder of their dangers along with a fresh interpretation of the paranoia underlying the ideology of the Third Reich. 

 

Hesketh, Roger.  Fortitude: The D-Day Deception Campaign (Overlook, 2000). 

Behind the astonishing success of D-Day was the most sophisticated deception scheme ever devised. Its code name was "Fortitude," and its objective was to persuade the enemy that the long-awaited landings would take place in the Pas-de-Calais and that any attack in Normandy could be safely ignored. The Nazis relied on aerial reconnaissance, wireless intercepts, news from London-based diplomats, and reports from the Abwehr's extensive network of agents to predict the time and place of the Allied offensive, and much of this misinformation was helpfully supplied by Roger Hesketh's team of deception specialists, who coordinated the most complex conjuring trick of the century.

 

Hiroyuki, Agawa.  Citadel in Spring (Kodansha International Press, 1995).

An autobiographical account of fighting on the losing side in the Pacific War. This book tells the story of a young man who has lost everything yet manages to come to terms with loss and despair.

 

Hiroyuki, Agawa.  The Reluctant Admiral (Kodansha International, 2000).

This is a portrait both of an individual and of an organization. The individual is the Japanese admiral who, as architect of the Pearl Harbor raid and commander of the Combined Fleet throughout the first part of World War II, is one of the most widely known of Japanese wartime leaders. The organization is the Japanese Imperial Navy, whose "gentlemanly" traditions and outlook contrasted strongly with those of the Japanese army and whose failure to check the latter in its headstrong course makes one of the sadder episodes of recent history.

Here, for the first time, Yamamoto emerges as the complex, sympathetic, and in many ways contradictory character that he was. A realist who foresaw the future importance of the airplane for the navy long before his contemporaries and who believed that Japan would inevitably be defeated in any war with America and Britain, he was also an inveterate gambler with an odd streak of superstition. A tough leader, he had at the same time a vein of sentimentality that would allow him to burst into tears at the funeral of a young subordinate. In public the very epitome of the dignified national hero, in private he often showed a schoolboyish playfulness that was sometimes endearing and occasionally embarrassing. He was always ready to express his views with a frankness uncommon in his day, yet he revealed in the end the same readiness as most of his fellow countrymen to accept passively "the call of duty."

The author, refusing the temptation to indulge in speculation or "reconstruction," has gone straight to the original sources--accounts written by those who worked with Yamamoto; scores of interviews with men and women who knew him personally; above all, letters written by Yamamoto himself. The latter range from his more circumspect, semi-official communications to intimate letters addressed to his mistress or long-standing friends of both sexes, in which he bares his private doubts and pessimism. It is these personal documents and reminiscences that make the character so human and, ultimately, give such a moving quality to the account of his dramatic wartime death in the South Pacific.  An intimate portrait of the man who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor and died a dramatic death in the South Pacific.

 

Hoberek, Andrew.  The Twilight of the Middle Class: Post-World War II American Fiction and White-Collar Work (Princeton University Press, 2005).

In The Twilight of the Middle Class, Andrew Hoberek challenges the commonly held notion that post-World War II American fiction eschewed the economic for the psychological or the spiritual. Reading works by Ayn Rand, Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, Phillip Roth, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and others, he shows how both the form and content of postwar fiction responded to the transformation of the American middle class from small property owners to white-collar employees. In the process, he produces "compelling new accounts of identity politics and postmodernism that will be of interest to anyone who reads or teaches contemporary fiction.

Hoberek argues that despite the financial gains and job security enjoyed by the postwar middle class, the transition to white-collar employment paved the way for its current precarious state in a country marked by increasingly deep class divisions. Postwar fiction provided the middle class with various imaginative substitutes for its former property-owning independence, substitutes that since then have not only allowed but abetted this class's downward mobility. To read this fiction in the light of the middle-class experience is thus not only to restore the severed connections between literary and economic "history in the second half of the twentieth "century, but to explore the roots of the contemporary crisis of the middle class.

 

Hoffman, Daniel.  Zone of the Interior: A Memoir 1942–1947 (Louisiana State University Press, 2000). 

A memoir of the 'zone of the interior', which designated military service within the continental USA during World War II. Written by former American poet laureate Daniel Hoffman, it describes the unusual experiences of life on the home front, as well as providing testimony to its influence on his poetry.

 

Hoffman, Jon T.  Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller (Random House, 2002).

The Marine Corps is known for its heroes, and Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller has long been considered the greatest of them all. His assignments and activities covered an extraordinary spectrum of warfare. Puller mastered small unit guerrilla warfare as a lieutenant in Haiti in the 1920s, and at the end of his career commanded a division in Korea. In between, he chased Sandino in Nicaragua and fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu. 

With his bulldog face, barrel chest (which earned him the nickname Chesty), gruff voice, and common touch, Puller became--and has remained--the epitome of the Marine combat officer. At times Puller's actions have been called into question--at Peleliu, for instance, where, against a heavily fortified position, he lost more than half of his regiment. And then there is the saga of his son, who followed in Chesty's footsteps as a Marine officer only to suffer horrible wounds in Vietnam (his book, Fortunate Son, won the Pulitzer Prize).  Jon Hoffman has been given special access to Puller's personal papers as well as his personnel record. The result will unquestionably stand as the last word about Chesty Puller.

 

Holmes, Richard.  The World at War (Ebury Press, 2007).  

The highly respected historian and bestselling author Richard Holmes has skillfully womven extracts from over 280 valuable sources, setting each chapter in context.  Well-known figures such as Albert Speer and Traudl Junge (Hitler’s secretary), Arthur “Bomber
 Harris and Ambassador Averell Harriman present their testimony alongside ordinary men and women.  Moving and powerful, this book perfectly exemplies the words of Rabbi Frankforter to a young man in Buchenwald, “Wherever you go tell this, also to your children so that they should pass it on…To remember and not to forget.”

 


Holway, John B.  Red Tails, Black Wings: The Men of America’s Black Air Force (Yucca Tree Press, 1997).

A very readable history of the Tuskegee Airmen filled with many anecdotes and personal reminisces.

 

Hoppes, Jonna Doolittle.  Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle-Aviation Pioneer and World War II Hero (Santa Monica Press, 2005).

Famous for leading the Tokyo Raid, America's first strike against Japan in World War II, Jimmy Doolittle lived a remarkable life as an American pilot. This firsthand account by his granddaughter reveals an extraordinary individual—a scientist with a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from MIT, an aviation pioneer who was the first to fly across the United States in less than 24 hours and the first to fly "blind" (using only his plane's instruments), a barnstormer well known for aerobatics, a popular racing pilot who won every major air race at least once, recipient of both the Congressional Medal of Honor and Presidential Medal of Freedom, a four-star general, and commander of the 8th, 12th, and 15th Air Forces. This memoir provides insights into the public and private world of Jimmy Doolittle and his family and sheds light on the drives and motivation's of one of America's most influential and ambitious aviators.

 

Hornfischer, James.  Ship of Ghosts (Bantam, Reprint, 2007).

"Son, we’re going to Hell."  The navigator of the USS Houston confided these prophetic words to a young officer as he and his captain charted a course into U.S. naval legend. Renowned as FDR’s favorite warship, the cruiser USS Houston was a prize target trapped in the far Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Without hope of reinforcement, her crew faced a superior Japanese force ruthlessly committed to total conquest. It wasn’t a fair fight, but the men of the Houston would wage it to the death.

Hornfischer brings to life the awesome terror of nighttime naval battles that turned decks into strobe-lit slaughterhouses, the deadly rain of fire from Japanese bombers, and the almost superhuman effort of the crew as they miraculously escaped disaster again and again–until their luck ran out during a daring action in Sunda Strait. There, hopelessly outnumbered, the Houston was finally sunk and its survivors taken prisoner. For more than three years their fate would be a mystery to families waiting at home.

In the brutal privation of jungle POW camps dubiously immortalized in such films as The Bridge on the River Kwai, the war continued for the men of the Houston—a life-and-death struggle to survive forced labor, starvation, disease, and psychological torture. Here is the gritty, unvarnished story of the infamous Burma–Thailand Death Railway glamorized by Hollywood, but which in reality mercilessly reduced men to little more than animals, who fought back against their dehumanization with dignity, ingenuity, sabotage, will–power—and the undying faith that their country would prevail.

Using journals and letters, rare historical documents, including testimony from postwar Japanese war crimes tribunals, and the eyewitness accounts of Houston’s survivors, James Hornfischer has crafted an account of human valor so riveting and awe-inspiring, it’s easy to forget that every single word is true.

 

Non-Fiction--Hachiya to Heck

Hachiya, Michihiko.  Hiroshima Diary (University of North Carolina Press, 1995).

Hiroshima Diary is Michihiko Hachiya's account of the bombing and the ensuing several weeks in the city, especially at the 
Hiroshima Communications Hospital where he served as director.  Dr. Hachiya did not realise at first that a bomb had fallen:  he describes a brilliant flash of light which illuminated the garden brightly enough to eliminate shadows, followed by darkness like night, strong winds, collapsing houses, firestorms, and heavy rain.  Severely injured, he survived only through the perseverance of his wife who found him help, and friends who carried him ahead of the racing fire and treated his injuries at his hospital. 

Dr. Hachiya’s eye-witness account of watching houses collapse and burst into flame, of fleeing from fire, of heroic efforts to treat and comfort survivors with no running water, no electricity, few drugs, and no instruments vividly helps the reader to visualise the scene.  He presents details of case histories in a way that brings individuals to life for the reader, though most of those individuals died in agony.  Because this is a diary, the reader relives the bewilderment of the doctors trying to understand why apparently-uninjured people sicken and die while others who are badly wounded survive, of the frustration of trying to treat the sick without even a thermometer or adequate food or beds, and no light. As Dr. Hachiya recovered his health and friends started to visit, he recorded some of their stories.  One man met people whose faces had melted, so they had no ears, nose or mouth.  Another described crowds standing on a riverbank when balls of fire blew across the river 
setting the forest behind them on fire and forcing them into the water, where most drowned.  Yet another described meeting four schoolboys who knew they were dying and asked only for shade and a little water.  A colleague described his hands spontaneously bursting into flame.  Dr. Hachiya himself describes how those in Hiroshima when the bomb fell recounted a flash of light and silence, while those in the suburbs recalled a loud boom and a mushroom cloud rising over the city. 

Despite the degrading conditions in which the survivors lived, this is a story of great dignity.  Dr. Hachiya describes scenes of looting and selfishness which, he says, cause him great shame, but these follow after the initial few weeks, when people are starting to deal with defeat in war and having to provide for themselves since they did not die.  His views on culpability for the war, particularly regarding the emperor and the Japanese military are, perhaps, surprising to a westerner.  It is particularly surprising that at no point does he blame the Allies for dropping the bomb.  (SHVOONG Summaries and Short Reviews)

 


Hale, Christopher.  Himmler's Crusade: The Nazi Expedition to Find the Origins of the Aryan Race (Wiley, 2003).

Why would the leader of the Nazi’s dreaded SS, the second-most-powerful man in the Third Reich, send a zoologist, an anthropologist, and several other scientists to Tibet on the eve of war? Himmler’s Crusade tells the bizarre and chilling story one of history’s most perverse, eccentric, and frightening scientific expeditions. Drawing on private journals, new interviews, and original research in German archives as well as in Tibet, author Christopher Hale recreates the events of this sinister expedition, asks penetrating questions about the relationship between science and politics, a nd sheds new light on the occult theories that obsessed Himmler and his fellow Nazis. 

Combining the highest standards of narrative history with the high adventure and exotic locales of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Himmler’s Crusade reveals that Himmler had ordered these men to examine Tibetan nobles for signs of Aryan physiology, undermine the British relationship with the ruling class, and sow the seeds of rebellion among the populace. Most strangely, the scientists—all SS officers—were to find scientific proof of a grotesque historical fantasy that was at the center of Himmler’s beliefs about race. 

 

Hamilton, A. Stephen.  Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945 (Helion and Company, 2008).

On 16 April 1945 the Soviet Army launched the fourth largest offensive of World War II with the goal to capture Berlin in five operational days. The Soviet Army took four days just to breech the prepared German defenses along the Seelow Heights, followed by another four days to reach Berlin. Berlin's fall occurred after another eight days of bloody street fighting-sixteen days after the operation began and eleven days longer than planned. The backbone of Berlin's defense was the German LVI Panzer Corps, newly formed and under strength. This corps bore the brunt of the Soviet attack along the Seelow Heights by the 5th Shock, 8th Guards, 1st and 2nd Guards Tank Armies and now was faced with holding Berlin against the combined weight of seven separate Soviet Armies from two competing Soviet Fronts. Supporting the LVI Panzer Corps were various formations of the Volkssturm, Hitler Youth, and SS, as well as smaller ad hoc formations of foreign volunteers and locally formed units. The Battle of Berlin precipitated the death of Adolf Hitler and the fall the Third Reich-at a high cost. Soviet operational daily casualty rates were among the highest of the war, and they lost more than the equivalent of a Tank Army in armor and self-propelled guns in the streets of Berlin. Bloody Streets is a massive new work that uses previously unpublished German, Russian, and Allied first person accounts, as well as previously unused primary sources and photographs, including aerial imagery, to bring to life the largest urban assault in military history. All aspects of this battle are covered with new insights into how it was planned, shaped, and executed. This book uniquely presents a day-by-day account of the tactical fighting throughout the city's ruins in greater detail than previously published. German and Soviet units come to life through vivid first person accounts and insightful analysis that are interwoven to provide a complete picture of the brutal urban combat that ensued in the bloody streets of Berlin.

 

Hartcup, Guy.  The Effect of Science on the Second World War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

This fascinating account of how science was used by both the victors and the vanquished in the Second World War makes use of newly available material from the Public Record Office. The book provides an overall view of how the latest advances in science were fully exploited in the war, including radar, sonar, improved radio, methods of reducing disease, primitive computers, the new science of operational research, and finally, the atomic bomb, necessarily developed like all wartime technology in a remarkably short time. This progress would have been impossible without the cooperation of Allied scientists with the military, and the Axis powers' failure to recognize this was a major factor in their defeat.

 

Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Belknap Press, 2005).

With startling revelations, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa rewrites the standard history of the end of World War II in the Pacific. By fully integrating the three key actors in the story--the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan--Hasegawa for the first time puts the last months of the war into international perspective. From April 1945, when Stalin broke the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and Harry Truman assumed the presidency, to the final Soviet military actions against Japan, Hasegawa brings to light the real reasons Japan surrendered. From Washington to Moscow to Tokyo and back again, he shows us a high-stakes diplomatic game as Truman and Stalin sought to outmaneuver each other in forcing Japan's surrender; as Stalin dangled mediation offers to Japan while secretly preparing to fight in the Pacific; as Tokyo peace advocates desperately tried to stave off a war party determined to mount a last-ditch defense; and as the Americans struggled to balance their competing interests of ending the war with Japan and preventing the Soviets from expanding into the Pacific. 

 

Hastings, Max.  Armageddon: The Battle for Germany (Vintage, Reprint edition, 2005).

In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler’s army was beaten and expected the bloodshed to end by Christmas. Yet a series of mistakes and setbacks, including the Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered this timetable and led to eight more months of brutal fighting. With Armageddon, the eminent military historian Max Hastings gives us memorable accounts of the great battles and captures their human impact on soldiers and civilians. He tells the story of both the Eastern and Western Fronts, raising provocative questions and offering vivid portraits of the great leaders. This rousing and revelatory chronicle brings to life the crucial final months of the twentieth century’s greatest global conflict. 

 

Hayward, James.  Myths and Legends of the Second World War (Sutton Publishing, New edition, 2005).

As with the Great War, the Second World War gave rise to a rich crop of legends, many of which persist in the public consciousness even today. Some are well known, like the Dunkirk story, which portrayed the disaster of 1940 as a victory. Others are more obscure like the rumors of a German invasion attempt on the beaches of Norfolk in 1940, a myth that resurfaced in 1992. There are stories of the 'Manston Mutiny' during the Battle of Britain, espionage myths that surround the sinking of the battleship Royal Oak at Scapa Flow, the falsehood that no German spies in Britain operated outside MI5's double-cross system, and the real story behind 'the man who never was' (first revealed in 1996). Also covered are the Rudolf Hess story, myths about the nature and true effectiveness of the Resistance movements in Europe, and the true extent of Hitler's belief in astrology and his quest for the Holy Grail. Myths on land, sea and air are also discussed including the 'betrayal' at Dieppe, Nazi U-boat bases in Ireland. Weaving his narrative around a wide range of contemporary documentary sources, James Hayward presents an objective and rigorous analysis of the main myths, legends and popular falsehoods of the Second World War. The result is a new and refreshing perspective on the popular image of the Second World War.

 

Heck, Alfons.  The Burden of Hitler’s Legacy (Renaissance House Publishers, 1988).

In this sequel to his first autobiographical work, A Child of Hitler, Alfons Heck continues his story, but with the overarching aim of demonstrating that Germans themselves, and most notably the young people, were also victimized by Hitler's madness. With great sensitivity and narrative force, Heck recounts how he, as a youth with Jewish friends and anti-Nazi family members, was nevertheless transformed into a Nazi fanatic like so many of his peers. He does a wonderful job of interweaving his personal narrative with that of general historical events, so that one can fully appreciate the paradox of his rising in the ranks of the Hitler Youth, ultimately to be decorated by Hitler himself, precisely at the time Germany was going down to defeat. From that last moment, as Heck tells it, he undertook a personal quest to understand the forces that led to the disaster and to his own transformation. The book reveals how Heck began to find and, eventually, reached a broadened historical self-consciousness in the wake of Germany's ruin; in short, it describes his evolving and personal denazification. This book is to be applauded for its refreshing candor and trenchant insights, even if sometimes thoughts and feelings attributed to -the young Heck seem to be retrospective inserts by an older and more mature person. It makes for absorbing, even chilling reading, as one sees again the electric magnetism of Hitler and how it came to be institutionalized by the Hitler Youth, resulting in teenage power run amok. Heck immigrated to Canada, then to the United States, where for the last seven years, he has appeared at community forums, universities, and media events, frequently with Helen Waterford, a Jewish holocaust survivor. The last chapters portraying the often hostile reactions to their joint appearances and the kinds of questions and answers they have received underscore the enormous difficulties contemporaries still have in confronting Nazism. Was Heck equally a victim as was Helen Waterford? In the final analysis, that is the burden of this book.

 

Heck, Alfons.  Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika (Renaissance House Publishers, 1985).

A Child Of Hitler: Germany In The Days When God Wore A Swastika is the no-holds-barred autobiography of a high-ranking leader of the Hitler Youth, who now is an American citizen and a nationally recognized authority on Nazi youth indoctrination. The book is required reading in over 380 universities and schools.

 

Non-Fiction--Glusman to Grunden

Glusman, John A.  Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese (Viking, 2005).

The fierce, bloody battles of Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines are legendary in the annals of World War II. Those who survived faced the horrors of life as prisoners of the Japanese. In Conduct Under Fire, John A. Glusman chronicles these events through the eyes of his father, Murray, and three fellow navy doctors captured on Corregidor in May 1942. Here are the dramatic stories of the fall of Bataan, the siege of “the Rock,” and the daily struggles to tend the sick, wounded, and dying during some of the heaviest bombardments of World War II. Here also is the desperate war doctors and corpsmen waged against disease and starvation amid an enemy that viewed surrender as a disgrace. To survive, the POWs functioned as a family. But the ties that bind couldn’t protect them from a ruthless counteroffensive waged by American submarines or from the B-29 raids that burned Japan’s major cities to the ground. Based on extensive interviews with American, British, Australian, and Japanese veterans, as well as diaries, letters, and war crimes testimony, this is a harrowing account of a brutal clash of cultures, of a race war that escalated into total war. 

 

Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah.  Hitler's Willing Executioners (Abacus New edition, 1997).

This groundbreaking international bestseller lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen reconstructs the climate of "eliminationist anti-Semitism" that made Hitler's pursuit of his genocidal goals possible and the radical persecution of the Jews during the 1930s popular. Drawing on a wealth of unused archival materials, principally the testimony of the killers themselves, Goldhagen takes us into the killing fields where Germans voluntarily hunted Jews like animals, tortured them wantonly, and then posed cheerfully for snapshots with their victims. From mobile killing units, to the camps, to the death marches, Goldhagen shows how ordinary Germans, nurtured in a society where Jews were seen as unalterable evil and dangerous, willingly followed their beliefs to their logical conclusion.

 

Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas.  The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology (New York University Press, 1993).

This book traces the intellectual roots of Nazism back to a number of influential occult and millenarian sects in the Hapsburg Empire during its warning years.

 

Grant, Myrna.  Vanya: A True Story (Charisma House, 1975).

This is a true story of Ivan (Vanya) Moiseyev, a soldier in the Soviet Red Army who was ruthlessly persecuted and incarcerated for his faith.

 

Grant, R.G.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Raintree, 1998).

This work describes the causes and horrible effects of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

Grass, Gunter.  Peeling the Onion (Harcourt, 2007).

In this extraordinary memoir, Nobel Prize–winning author Gunter Grass remembers his early life, from his boyhood in a cramped two-room apartment in Danzig through the late 1950s, when The Tin Drum was published.  During the Second World War, Grass volunteered for the submarine corps at the age of fifteen but was rejected; two years later, in 1944, he was instead drafted into the Waffen-SS. Taken prisoner by American forces as he was recovering from shrapnel wounds, he spent the final weeks of the war in an American POW camp. After the war, Grass resolved to become an artist and moved with his first wife to Paris, where he began to write the novel that would make him famous.

 

Grass, Gunter.  My Century (Harvest Books, 2000).

In a work of great originality, Germany's most eminent writer examines the victories and terrors of the twentieth century, a period of astounding change for mankind. Great events and seemingly trivial occurrences, technical developments and scientific achievements, war and disasters, and new beginnings, all unfold to display our century in its glory and grimness. A rich and lively display of Grass's extraordinary imagination, the 100 interlinked stories in this volume-one for each year from 1900 to 1999-present a historical and social portrait for the millennium, a tale of our times in all its grandeur and all its horror.

 

Groom, Winston.  1942: The Year That Tried Men's Souls (Grove Press, 2006).

From the author of Forrest Gump and A Storm in Flanders comes a riveting chronicle of America's most critical hour. On December 6, 1941, an unexpected attack on American territory pulled an unprepared country into a terrifying new brand of warfare. Novelist and popular historian Winston Groom vividly re-creates the story of America's first year in World War II. To the generation of Americans who lived through it, the Second World War was the defining event of the twentieth century, and the defining events of that war were played out in the year 1942. This account covers the Allies' relentless defeats as the Axis overran most of Europe, North Africa, and the Far East. But midyear the tide began to turn. America finally went on the offensive in the Pacific, and in the west the British defeated Rommel's panzer divisions at El Alamein while the U.S. Army began to push the Germans out of North Africa. By the year's end, the smell of victory was in the air. 1942, told with Groom's accomplished storyteller's eye, allows us into the admirals' strategy rooms, onto the battle fronts, and into the heart of a nation at war.

 

Gross, Jan.  Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz (Random House, 2006).

Poland suffered an exceedingly brutal Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Close to five million Polish citizens lost their lives as a result. More than half the casualties were Polish Jews. Thus, the second largest Jewish community in the world–only American Jewry numbered more than the three and a half million Polish Jews at the time–was wiped out. Over 90 percent of its members were killed in the Holocaust. And yet, despite this unprecedented calamity that affected both Jews and non-Jews, Jewish Holocaust survivors returning to their hometowns in Poland after the war experienced widespread hostility, including murder, at the hands of their neighbors. The bloodiest peacetime pogrom in twentieth-century Europe took place in the Polish town of Kielce one year after the war ended, on July 4, 1946.

Jan Gross’s Fear attempts to answer a perplexing question: How was anti-Semitism possible in Poland after the war? At the center of his investigation is a detailed reconstruction of the Kielce pogrom and the reactions it evoked in various milieus of Polish society. How did the Polish Catholic Church, Communist party workers, and intellectuals respond to the spectacle of Jews being murdered by their fellow citizens in a country that had just been liberated from a five-year Nazi occupation?

Gross argues that the anti-Semitism displayed in Poland in the war’s aftermath cannot be understood simply as a continuation of prewar attitudes. Rather, it developed in the context of the Holocaust and the Communist takeover: Anti-Semitism eventually became a common currency between the Communist regime and a society in which many had joined in the Nazi campaign of plunder and murder–and for whom the Jewish survivors were a standing reproach.

 

Grossjohann, Georg.  Five Years, Four Fronts: The War Years of Georg Grossjohann (Aberjona Press, 1999).

Five Years, Four Fronts, is a wartime memoir of a professional German soldier who rose from sergeant to major during WWII, commanding infantry units from platoon to regiment. Includes unusually candid recollections of not only combat, but of professional and personal relations with superiors, peers, and subordinates alike during combat duty on four fronts across Europe. 26 original photos, 27 original maps, appendices, notes, index.

 

Gross, Leonard.  The Last Jews in Berlin (Carroll & Graf, 1999).

In February 1943, four thousand Jews went underground in Berlin. By the end of the war, all but a few hundred of them had died in bombing raids or, more commonly, in death camps. This is the real-life story of some of the few of them - a young mother, a scholar and his countess lover, a black-market jeweler, a fashion designer, a Zionist, an opera-loving merchant, a teen-age orphan - who resourcefully, boldly, defiantly, luckily survived. 

In hiding or in masquerade, by their wits and sometimes with the aid of conscience-stricken German gentiles, they survived. They survived the constant threat of discovery by the Nazi authorities or by the sinister handful of turncoat Jewish "catchers" who would send them to the gas chambers. They survived to tell this tale, which reads like a thriller and triumphs like a miracle. 

 

Grossman, Vasily.  A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945 (Vintage, 2007).

When the Germans invaded Russia in 1941, Vasily Grossman became a special correspondent for the Red Star, the Soviet Army's newspaper, and reported from the frontlines of the war. A Writer at War depicts in vivid detail the crushing conditions on the Eastern Front, and the lives and deaths of soldiers and civilians alike. Witnessing some of the most savage fighting of the war, Grossman saw firsthand the repeated early defeats of the Red Army, the brutal street fighting in Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk (the largest tank engagement in history), the defense of Moscow, the battles in Ukraine, the atrocities at Treblinka, and much more. Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova have taken Grossman's raw notebooks, and fashioned them into a gripping narrative providing one of the most even-handed descriptions—at once unflinching and sensitive—we have ever had of what Grossman called “the ruthless truth of war.”

 

Groves, Leslie R.  Now It Can Be Told: The Story of the Manhattan Project (Da Capo Press, New edition, 1983).

Groves's astuteness is most clearly demonstrated in that, in spite of every contraindication from the military security division whose value and function he supported and even overestimated, he selected Oppenheimer as scientific director ... Oppie knew in detail the research going on in every part of the laboratory, and was as excellent at analyzing human problems as the countless technical ones. He knew how to lead without seeming to do so.

 

Grunden, Walter E.  Secret Weapons and World War II: Japan in the Shadow of Big Science (University Press of Kansas, 2005).

The atomic bomb. Rocket-propelled bombs.  Jet propulsion.  Radar, by failing to develop effective programs for such "secret weapons," Japan increased the probability that it could not triumph over its more advanced enemies. While previous writers have focused primarily on strategic, military, and intelligence factors, Walter Grunden underscores the dramatic scientific and technological disparities that left Japan vulnerable and ultimately led to its defeat in World War II. Grunden's fascinating analysis of this fundamental flaw in the Japanese war effort seamlessly weaves together science, technology, and military history to provide an entirely unique look at a crucial but understudied aspect of World War II. Comparing the science and weapons programs of all the major combatants, he demonstrates that Japan's failure was nearly inevitable, given its paucity of strategic resources, an inadequate industrial base, the absence of effective centralized management to coordinate research, military hostility toward civilian scientists, and bitter inter-service rivalries. In the end, Japan could not overcome these obstacles and thus failed to make the transition to the kind of "Big Science" it needed to ward off its enemies and dominate the Far East. In making his case, Grunden provides comprehensive coverage across a range of major weapons systems, including the most persuasive explanation yet developed for Japan's failure to develop nuclear weapons. He also assesses the failure of the Japanese navy to fully appreciate the combat utility of radar, describes the largely impotent "death ray" that remained under development until the last days of the war, and traces the expansion into jet propulsion technology that came too late. Japan did, however, achieve one inauspicious success by developing biological agents capable of wreaking havoc in America's western cities. Grunden not only illuminates the program and the logic behind its success but also unflinchingly describes our own nation's complicity in the postwar cover-up of that program, raising issues that remain resonant and relevant today. Drawing extensively upon Japanese as well as English-language sources, "Secret Weapons and World War II is written with clarity and insight and a remarkable integration of sources from a diverse array of disciplines. The book makes a unique and significant contribution to the histories of World War II, Japan, science, and technology, chronicling another chapter in the endless pursuit for "ultimate" weapons.

 

Non-Fiction--Gallery to Glantz

Gallery, David.  Twenty Million Under the Sea (Bluejacket Books, 2001).

In June 1944, U.S. Navy Task Group 22.3, a “hunter-killer” force commanded by Daniel Gallery to track down German submarines, boarded and captured U-505 off the coast of Africa. It was the first time that an enemy ship of war had been captured on the high seas by U.S. Navy sailors since 1815, when the USS Peacock seized HMS Nautilus as part of the War of 1812. The extraordinary feat is described in gripping narrative by Gallery himself, who chronicles the long and arduous battle against the German U-boat under the most hazardous conditions. Once they succeeded in capturing and towing their prize seventeen-hundred miles across the Atlantic Ocean, U-505 proved to be of inestimable value, yielding secrets to radio codes among other things. U-505 is now on exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

 

Gaskin, Margaret.  Blitz: The Story of December 29, 1940 (Harcourt, 2006).

Churchill called it his nation’s greatest trial and its finest hour. Europe had fallen to Hitler and Britain stood alone. Determined to bomb the English into submission, the German Luftwaffe attacked London nearly every night, targeting the “Square Mile,” the heart of the city and the site of some of its greatest landmarks. In this gripping historical narrative, Margaret Gaskin puts the reader into the middle of the Blitz, its horror and its heroism, by vividly reconstructing the night that Hitler tried to burn the city to the ground—the night that one of the war’s most haunting photographs was taken, showing St. Paul’s still standing amid burning ruins. Stunningly vivid and compelling, Blitz uses the voices of those on whom the bombshells fell—the ordinary and the famous, including Edward R. Murrow and FDR—to tell the story as it has never before been told.

 

Gerard, Philip.  Secret Soldiers: How a Troupe of American Artists, Designers, and Sonic Wizards Won World War II’s Battle of Deception Against the Germans (Plume, 2002).

They were Eisenhower's secret weapon-an elite troupe of artists, actors, electronics wizards, designers, and writers. These men created dazzling theatrical battlefield ruses, fooling the German high command into attacking the wrong place, defending the wrong bridgeheads, even retreating from phantom attackers. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. helped pioneer the tactics of this unlikely band of heroes, which included future fashion king Bill Blass, abstract painter Ellsworth Kelly, and artist Hal Laynor. Drawing on recently declassified records, interviews, diaries, and letters, Secret Soldiers provides a fascinating and long-overdue tribute to these uniquely talented soldiers.

 

Gershon, Karen.  We Came As Children (Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966).

"The reminiscences of men and women who escaped to England as child refugees from the Nazi terror. " As our population ages, there are a dwindling number of Holocaust survivors. Here are detailed accounts of survivors whose stories have not been widely told: those who were children at the time.

 

Gershon, Karen.  A Lesser Child (Peter Owen Publisher, 1992).

Gershon (1924-1993), writer and poet, is known for her book We Came as Children: A Collective Autobiography (1966) which told of the traumas experienced by refugee children in Britain during WWII. This recounts her childhood as she came of age in Germany under Hitler's growing power. The granddaughter of a prominent member of the local Jewish community, and part of a close-knit and loving family, she was not only academically gifted, but also a natural poet. Still, as the youngest of three sisters, she thought of herself as a lesser child. The book is more than just an account of Gershon's childhood. She illuminates the period leading up to the Holocaust, showing how Jewish families were trapped into becoming victims, while the German people were gradually conditioned to condone it. She vividly recreates the atmosphere of the period, and her analysis of her family's psychology is beautifully and convincingly told.

 

Giese, Otto.  Shooting the War: The Memoir and Photographs of a U-Boat Officer in World War II (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2003).

The war diary of former German naval officer Otto Giese recounts a seafaring career of extraordinary scope. It begins with the dawn of World War II, while the author is a junior officer on board the ocean liner SS Columbus, and continues through his confinement in a British prisoner-of-war camp after the war. This book showcases more than one hundred high-quality photographs taken by Giese throughout his wartime service to present a unique historical overview. Interspersed among tales of hardship and loss are colorful anecdotes that relay the camaraderie surrounding plots to escape detention at Angel Island, the unlikely processing of German seamen at Ellis Island, and Giese's experiences policing guerilla warfare in the Malayan jungle. He greets the incongruous movements of war with equanimity and offers an unwavering assessment of the dictates of duty. 

 

Gilbert, Martin.  Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship (Henry Holt and Company, 2007).

Winston Churchill was a young man in 1894 when Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was convicted of treason and sent to Devil’s Island. Despite the prevailing anti-Semitism in England as well as on the Continent, Churchill’s position was clear: he supported Dreyfus, and condemned the prejudices that had led to his conviction.

Churchill’s commitment to Jewish rights, to Zionism—and ultimately to the State of Israel—never wavered. In 1922, he established on the bedrock of international law the right of Jews to emigrate to Palestine. During his meeting with David Ben-Gurion in 1960, Churchill presented the Israeli prime minister with an article he had written about Moses, praising the father of the Jewish people. Drawing on a wide range of archives and private papers, speeches, newspaper coverage, and wartime correspondence, Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, explores the origins, implications, and results of Churchill’s determined commitment to Jewish rights, opening a window on an underappreciated and heroic aspect of the brilliant politician’s life and career. 

 

Gilbert, Martin.  The Boys (Phoenix, New edition, 1997).

In August 1945, the first of 732 child survivors of the Holocaust reached Britain. First settled in the Lake District, they formed a tightly knit group of friends whose terrible shared experience is almost beyond imagining. This is their story, which begins in the lost communities of pre-World War II central Europe, moves through ghetto, concentration camp and death march, to liberation, survival, and finally, fifty years later, a deeply moving reunion. Martin Gilbert has brought together the recollections of this remarkable group of survivors. With magisterial narration, he tells their astonishing stories. The Boys bears witness to the human spirit, enduring the depths, and bearing hopefully the burden and challenge of survival. 'Martin Gilbert is to be congratulated on producing a masterly and deeply moving tribute to those who had the courage and luck to survive' (Literary Review).

 

Gilbert, Martin.  Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction (HarperCollins, 2006).

On November 7, 1938, a young Jew, enraged by his family's expulsion from Germany, walked into the German embassy in Paris and fired five shots at a junior diplomat. Three days later the diplomat was dead, and Germany was in the grips of skillfully orchestrated anti-Jewish violence. In the early hours of November 10, Nazi storm troopers and Hitler Youth rampaged through Jewish neighborhoods across Germany, leaving behind them a horrifying trail of terror and destruction. More than a thousand synagogues and many thousands of Jewish shops were destroyed, while thirty thousand Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. This was the moment when deliberately inflamed hatreds ignited nationwide destruction. 

With rare insight and acumen, Martin Gilbert, one of the leading historians of our time, examines Kristallnacht –the Night of Broken Glass—and describes how the rest of the world reacted in its wake. His narration of that night and day of terror is chilling, vividly conveying its scale and intensity through more than fifty previously unpublished eyewitness testimonies and graphic newspaper accounts of the events as they unfolded. No other attack on Jews during the course of the Second World War was as widely reported by contemporary observers. 

Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the systematic eradication of a people who traced their origins in Germany to Roman times and was a sinister fore-warning of the Holocaust. By setting the tone for the terrible war to follow, it shaped the second half of the twentieth century and continues to haunt us, almost seventy years later. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, this is an eye-opening study of one of the darkest chapters in human history. 

 

Gilbert, Martin.  The Second World War: A Complete History (Holt Paperbacks, Revised edition, 2004).

It began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. By the time it came to an end on V-J Day-August 14, 1945 -it had involved every major power and become global in its reach. In the final accounting, it would turn out to be, in both human terms and material resources, the costliest war in history, taking the lives of thirty million people.

In one brilliant volume, eminent historian Martin Gilbert offers the complete history of the Second World War. With unparalleled scholarship and breadth of vision, Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill as well as one of the leading experts on the Holocaust, weaves together political, military, diplomatic, and civilian elements to provide a global perspective on the war, in a work that is both a treasure trove of information and a gripping, dramatic narrative.

 

Gilbert, Martin.  Churchill: A Life (Owl Books, Reprint edition, 1992).

Distilled from years of meticulous research and documentation, filled with material unavailable when the earliest books of the official biography's eight volumes went to press, Churchill is a brilliant marriage of the hard facts of the public life and the intimate details of the private man. The result is a vital portrait of one of the most remarkable men of any age as well as a revealing depiction of a man of extraordinary courage and imagination.

 

Gildea, Robert.  Marianne in Chains: Everyday Life in the French Heartland under the German Occupation (Metropolitan Books, 2003).

In this study of the German occupation of France during World War II, a British historian examines the social codes and negotiations that arose between the German troops and the French populace, Gildea draws on archival research and interviews with survivors who lived in the Loire Valley.

 

Ginzburg, Eugenia Semyonovna.  Journey Into the Whirlwind (Harcourt, Brace and World, 1975).

Both witness to and victim of Stalin's reign of terror, a courageous woman tells the full story of her harrowing eighteen-year odyssey through Russia's prisons and labor camps.

 

Glantz, David M.  Red Storm over the Balkans: The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944 (University Press of Kansas, 2006).

Working from newly available Russian and long-neglected German archives-plus Red Army unit histories and commanders' memoirs-Glantz reconstructs an imposing mosaic that reveals the immense scope and ambitious intent of the first Iasi-Kishinev offensive. His re-creation shows that Stalin was not as preoccupied with a direct route to Berlin as he was with a "broad front" strategy designed to gain territory and find vulnerable points in Germany's extended lines of defense. If successful, the invasion would have also eliminated Romania as Germany's ally, cut off the vital Ploiesti oilfields, and provided a base from which to consolidate Soviet power throughout the Balkans. 

Glantz discloses General Ivan Konev's strategic plan as the 2nd Ukrainian Front prepared its Iasi offensive and fought a climactic battle with the German Eighth Army and its Romanian allies in the Tirgu-Frumos region in early May, then the regrouping of General Rodion Malinovsky's 3rd Ukrainian Front for its decisive offensive toward Kishinev, which aborted in the face of a skillful counterstroke by a threadbare German Sixth Army. Glantz describes how the Wehrmacht, with a nucleus of combat veterans, was able to beat back Soviet forces hampered by spring floods, while already fragile Soviet logistical support was further undermined by the Wehrmacht's scorched-earth strategy. Although Konev's and Malinovsky's offensives failed, the Red Army managed to inflict heavy losses on Axis forces, exacerbating the effects of Germany's defeats in the Ukraine and making it more difficult for the Wehrmacht to contain the Soviet juggernaut's ultimate advance toward Berlin.

 

Non-Fiction--Fessler to Fussell

Fessler, Diane Burke.  No Time for Fear (Michigan State University Press, 1996).

No Time For Fear summons the voices of more than 100 women who served as nurses overseas during World War II, letting them tell their story as no one else can. Fessler has meticulously compiled and transcribed more than 200 interviews with American military nurses of the Army, Army Air Force, and Navy who were present in all theaters of WWII. Their stories bring to life horrific tales of illness and hardship, blinding blizzards, and near starvation-all faced with courage, tenacity, and even good humor. This unique oral-history collection makes available to readers an important counterpoint to the seemingly endless discussions of strategy, planning, and troop movement that often characterize discussions of the Second World War.

 

Fleming, Gerald.  Hitler and the Final Solution (Univeristy of California Press, 1987).

Fleming is the only scholar given access to the interrogations of the German civilian crematoria engineers lying inaccessible, until a few months ago, in Moscow. This historically important information finally places the last stone in the mosaic of Auschwitz-Berkenau.

 

Fletcher, Marvin.  America’s First Black General (Amistad, 2003).

Excellent biography of Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., who became the first African American to be promoted as a flag officer in the United States military.

 

Ford, Ken.   (The History Press, 2007).

On the night of 9/10 July 1943, an Allied armada of 2,590 vessels launched one of the largest combined operations of the Second World War - the invasion of Sicily, Operation 'Husky'. Over the next 38 days, half a million British, Canadian, American and French soldiers, sailors, and airmen grappled with their German and Italian counterparts for control of this rocky outcrop of Hitler's 'Fortress Europe'. The Allied assault on Sicily featured airborne and amphibious landings; mountain warfare; international rivalry; poorly performing troops; tenacious German resistance; and, improvements in tactical air support and the ultimate Allied victory on the island. Almost the whole of the progress of the Second World War is illustrated by this one campaign. It was the only action where the whole Allied war effort was brought to bear on a single objective, with one army commanded by Patton and one army commanded by Montgomery. Both men were insufferable egoists and insubordinate commanders; they always chose to do their own thing, regardless of others' sensibilities and always with one eye on how history would see them. The seeds of rivalry between these two key Allied commanders that were sown in the Sicily campaign eventually grew to fruition in the battles for Normandy and the Ardennes.

 

Fowler, Edward.  San'Ya Blues (Cornell University Press, 1998).

Over the years, Edward Fowler, an American academic, became a familiar presence in San'ya, a run-down neighborhood in northeastern Tokyo. The city's largest day-labor market, notorious for its population of casual laborers, drunks, gamblers, and vagrants, has been home for more than half a century to anywhere from five to fifteen thousand men who cluster in the mornings at a crossroads called Namidabashi (Bridge of Tears) in hopes of getting work. The day-labor market, along with gambling and prostitution, is run by Japan's organized crime syndicates, the yakuza. Working as a day laborer himself, Fowler kept a diary of his experiences. He also talked with day laborers and local merchants, union leaders and bureaucrats, gangsters and missionaries. The resulting oral histories, juxtaposed with Fowler's narrative and diary entries, bring to life a community on the margins of contemporary Japan.

Located near a former outcaste neighborhood, on what was once a public execution ground, San'ya shows a hidden face of Japan and contradicts the common assumption of economic and social homogeneity. Fowler argues that differences in ethnicity and class, normally suppressed in mainstream Japanese society, are conspicuous in San'ya and similar communities. San'ya's largely middle-aged, male day-laborer population contains many individuals displaced by Japan?s economic success, including migrants from village communities, castoffs from restructuring industries, and foreign workers from Korea and China. The neighborhood and its inhabitants serve as an economic buffer zone, they are the last to feel the effects of a boom and the first to feel a recession. They come alive in this book, telling urgent stories that personify such abstractions as the costs of modernization and the meaning of physical labor in postindustrial society.

 

Franco, Jere Bishop.  Crossing the Pond: The Native American Effort in World War II (University of North Texas Press, First edition, 1999).

“Crossing the Pond” is a term Native Americans used to describe the process of being transfered overseas for military duty. This was both an event and a duty taken quite seriously by tribal memebers, who participated in every aspect of wartime America. On the homefront, Native Americans gave comparable and sometimes exemplary contributions to civilian defense work, Red Cross drives, and war bond purchases. 

Crossing the Pond also chronicles the unsuccessful efforts of Nazi propagandists to exploit Native Americans for the Third Reich, as well as the successful efforts of the United States government and the media to recruit Native Americans, utilize their resources, and publicize their activities for the war effort. Franco's research indicates that Native Americans fully intended to return to their reservations after the war, where they believed they, as the "First Americans," would be able to participate in a "better America." Attention is also given to the postwar experiences of Native American men and women as they sought the franchise, educational equality, economic stability, the right to purchase alcohol, and the same amount of respect given to other American war veterans. 

 

Francis, Charles E.  Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed a Nation (Branden Books, 4th edition, 2002).

In publishing this book in 1955, Charles Francis did not know that his title, The Tuskegee Airmen, was to launch a revolution of awareness among America's black pilots. Now in its fourth edition, the book contains about 100 original photographs, 120 pages of facts, 26 Index pages, and as complete a listing of the original graduating classes as can be found in other publications.

 

Frank, Richard B.  Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (Penguin, 2001).

In a riveting narrative that includes information from newly declassified documents, acclaimed historian Richard B. Frank gives a scrupulously detailed explanation of the critical months leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb. Frank explains how American leaders learned in the summer of 1945 that their alternate strategy to end the war by invasion had been shattered by the massive Japanese buildup on Kyushu, and that intercepted diplomatic documents also revealed the dismal prospects of negotiation. Here also, for the first time, is a comprehensive account of how Japan's leaders were willing to risk complete annihilation to preserve the nation's existing order. Frank's comprehensive account demolishes long-standing myths with the stark realities of this great historical controversy.

 

Franks, Lucinda.  My Father’s Secret War (Miramx, 2007).

In this moving and compelling memoir about parent and child, father and daughter, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lucinda Franks discovers that the remote, nearly impassive man she grew up with had in fact been a daring spy behind enemy lines in World War II. Sworn to secrecy, he began revealing details of his wartime activities only in the last years of his life as he became afflicted with Alzheimer’s. His exploits revealed a man of remarkable bravado—posing as a Nazi guard, slipping behind enemy lines to blow up ammunition dumps, and being flown to one of the first concentration camps liberated by the Allies to report on the atrocities found there. 

My Father’s Secret War is an intimate account of Franks coming to know her own father after years of estrangement. Looking back at letters he had written her mother in the early days of WWII, Franks glimpses a loving man full of warmth. But after the grimmest assignments of the war his tone shifts, settling into an all-too-familiar distance. Franks learns about him—beyond the alcoholism and adultery—and comes to know the man he once was. 

 

Frantz, Douglas and Catherine Collins.  Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the 'Struma' and World War II's Holocaust at Sea (Harper Perennial, 2004).

On the morning of February 24, 1942, on the Black Sea near Istanbul, an explosion ripped through a ship filled with Jewish refugees. One man clung fiercely to a piece of deck, fighting to survive. Nearly eight hundred others—among them, more than one hundred children—perished. From this dramatic prologue Death on the Black Sea unfolds as a powerful story of endurance and the struggle for survival aboard a decrepit former cattle barge called Struma. The only path to escape led through Istanbul, where the desperate passengers found themselves trapped in a closing vise between the Nazis and countries that refused them sanctuary.

The story of the Struma, its passengers, and the events that led to its destruction is investigated and revealed fully in two vivid, parallel accounts set six decades apart. One chronicles the diplomatic maneuvers and callousness of Great Britain, Romania, Turkey, and the rest of the international community, which resulted in the largest maritime loss of civilian life during World War II. The other part of the story recounts a recent attempt by a team of divers to locate the Struma at the bottom of the Black Sea, an effort initiated and pursued by the grandson of two of the victims. A vivid reconstruction of a grim exodus aboard a doomed ship, Death on the Black Sea illuminates a forgotten episode of World War II and pays tribute to the heroes, past and present, who keep its memory alive.

 

Friedlander, Saul.  Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 (Harper Perennial, 1998).

A great historian crowns a lifetime of thought and research by answering a question that has haunted us for more than 50 years: How did one of the most industrially and culturally advanced nations in the world embark on and continue along the path leading to one of the most enormous criminal enterprises in history, the extermination of Europe's Jews? 

Giving considerable emphasis to a wealth of new archival findings, Saul Friedlander restores the voices of Jews who, after the 1933 Nazi accession to power, were engulfed in an increasingly horrifying reality. We hear from the persecutors themselves: the leaders of the Nazi party, the members of the Protestant and Catholic hierarchies, the university elites, and the heads of the business community. Most telling of all, perhaps, are the testimonies of ordinary German citizens, who in the main acquiesced to increasing waves of dismissals, segregation, humiliation, impoverishment, expulsion, and violence. 

 

Friedlander, Saul.  The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 (HarperCollins, 2007).

With The Years of Extermination, Saul Friedländer completes his major historical work on Nazi Germany and the Jews. The book describes and interprets the persecution and murder of the Jews throughout occupied Europe. The enactment of German extermination policies and measures depended on the cooperation of local authorities, the assistance of police forces, and the passivity of the populations, primarily of their political and spiritual elites. This implementation depended as well on the victims’ readiness to submit to orders, often with the hope of attenuating them or of surviving long enough to escape the German vise. 

This multifaceted study—at all levels and in different places—enhances the perception of the magnitude, complexity, and interrelatedness of the many components of this history. Based on a vast array of documents and an overwhelming choir of voices—mainly from diaries, letters, and memoirs—Saul Friedländer avoids domesticating the memory of these unprecedented and horrific events. The convergence of these various aspects gives a unique quality to The Years of Extermination. In this work, the history of the Holocaust has found its definitive representation. 

 

Friedrich, Jörg.  The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945 (Columbia University Press, 2006).

For five years during the Second World War, the Allies launched a trial and error bombing campaign against Germany's historical city landscape. Peaking in the war's final three months, it was the first air attack of its kind. Civilian dwellings were struck by-in today's terms-"weapons of mass destruction," with a total of 600,000 casualties, including 70,000 children. In The Fire, historian and journalist, Friedrich explores this crucial chapter in military and world history. Combining meticulous research with striking illustrations, Friedrich presents a vivid account of the saturation bombing, rendering in acute detail the annihilation of cities such as Dresden, the jewel of Germany's rich art and architectural heritage. He incorporates the personal stories and firsthand testimony of German civilians into his narrative, creating a macabre portrait of unimaginable suffering, horror, and grief, and he draws on official military documents to unravel the reasoning behind the strikes. 

Evolving military technologies made the extermination of whole cities possible, but owing, perhaps, to the Allied victory and what W. G. Sebald noted as "a pre-conscious self-censorship, a way of obscuring a world that could no longer be presented in comprehensible terms," the wisdom of this strategy has never been questioned. The Fire is a rare account of the air raids as they were experienced by the civilians who were their targets.

 

Fujitani, T.  (Editor).  Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s) (Duke University Press, 2001).

Perilous Memories makes a groundbreaking and critical intervention into debates about war memory in the Asia-Pacific region. Arguing that much is lost or erased when the Asia-Pacific War(s) are reduced to the 1941–1945 war between Japan and the United States, this collection challenges mainstream memories of the Second World War in favor of what were actually multiple, widespread conflicts. The contributors recuperate marginalized or silenced memories of wars throughout the region—not only in Japan and the United States but also in China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Korea.

Firmly based on the insight that memory is always mediated and that the past is not a stable object, the volume demonstrates that we can intervene positively yet critically in the recovery and reinterpretation of events and experiences that have been pushed to the peripheries of the past. The contributors—an international list of anthropologists, cultural critics, historians, literary scholars, and activists—show how both dominant and subjugated memories have emerged out of entanglements with such forces as nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, racism, and sexism. They consider both how the past is remembered and also what the consequences may be of privileging one set of memories over others. Specific objects of study range from photographs, animation, songs, and films to military occupations and attacks, minorities in wartime, “comfort women,” commemorative events, and postwar activism in pursuing redress and reparations.

 

Fussell, Paul.  The Boys' Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945 (Modern Library, 2005).

The Boys’ Crusade is the great historian Paul Fussell’s unflinching and unforgettable account of the American infantryman’s experiences in Europe during World War II. Based in part on the author’s own experiences, it provides a stirring narrative of what the war was actually like, from the point of view of the children—for children they were—who fought it. While dealing definitively with issues of strategy, leadership, context, and tactics, Fussell has an additional purpose: to tear away the veil of feel-good mythology that so often obscures and sanitizes war’s brutal essence.

“A chronicle should deal with nothing but the truth,” Fussell writes in his Preface. Accord-ingly, he eschews every kind of sentimentalism, focusing instead on the raw action and human emotion triggered by the intimacy, horror, and intense sorrows of war, and honestly addressing the errors, waste, fear, misery, and resentments that plagued both sides. In the vast literature on World War II, The Boys’ Crusade stands wholly apart. Fussell’s profoundly honest portrayal of these boy soldiers underscores their bravery even as it deepens our awareness of their experiences. This book is both a tribute to their noble service and a valuable lesson for future generations.

 

Fussell, Paul.  Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic (Back Bay Books, 1998).

A novelist and WWII veteran, reminds us that only those who've experienced it can truly understand that war is hell. He writes with bite and humor of the horrors and inequalities of the so-called "Good War," which he says "for the United States, [was] an unintended form of eugenics, clearing the population of the dumbest, the least skilled, the least promising of all Americans." Not exactly the thoughts of a sentimentalist, but the notion that war is horrible should be eternally reinforced, and Fussell does so with a fury and skill few writers can muster.

 

Fussell, Paul.  Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 1990).

Winner of both the National Book Award for Arts and Letters and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, Paul Fussell's classic The Great War and Modern Memory remains one of the most original and gripping volumes ever written about the First World War. In its panoramic scope and poetic intensity, it illuminated a war that changed a generation and revolutionized the way we see the world. Now, in Wartime, Paul Fussell turns to the Second World War, the conflict in which he himself fought, to weave a more intensely personal and wide-ranging narrative. Whereas his former book focused primarily on literary figures, here Fussell examines the immediate impact of the war on soldiers and civilians. He compellingly depicts the psychological and emotional atmosphere of World War II by analyzing the wishful thinking and the euphemisms people needed to deal with unacceptable reality; by describing the abnormally intense frustration of desire and some of the means by which desire was satisfied; and, most importantly, by emphasizing the damage the war did to intellect, discrimination, honesty, individuality, complexity, ambiguity, and wit. Of course, no book of Fussell's would be complete without serious attention to the literature of the time. He offers astute commentary on Edmund Wilson's argument with Archibald MacLeish, Cyril Connolly's Horizon magazine, the war poetry of Randall Jarrell and Louis Simpson, and many other aspects of the wartime literary world. In this stunning volume, Fussell conveys the essence of that war as no other writer before him has.

 

Non-Fiction--Eber to Evans

Eber, Irene.  The Choice: Poland, 1939-1945 (Shocken, 2004).

In 1980, at the age of fifty, Irene Eber returned to her father’s hometown of Mielec, Poland, where she and her middle-class Jewish family had first gone in 1938 when they were expelled one evening from their home in Germany. Her journey back would unleash a life’s worth of memories, and the result is this extraordinary book.  Eber re-creates life in wartime Mielec: the rivalries and opportunism, the acts of courage and generosity, the constant fear borne by the Jewish community, and the moment in 1942 when the Germans marched all of Mielec’s Jews out of town and toward the death camps. And she reveals what was perhaps the defining decision of her life: when an opportunity arose for her to escape, Irene left, despite her father’s desperate wish that the family stay together. Thus began her life-long journey toward reconciling her lifesaving grasp at freedom with her heartbreaking separation from her family, setting her on a path to self-acceptance.

 


Edsel, Robert M. with Bret Witter.  The Monuments Men (Center Street, 2009).

At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture.  Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.

 

Edsel, Robert M.  Rescuing Da Vinci: Hitler and the Nazis Stole Europe's Great Art (Laurel Publications, 2006).

During and following WWII, a special multinational group of more than 350 men and women served behind enemy lines and joined frontline military units to ensure the preservation, protection, liberation and restitution of the world's greatest artistic and cultural treasures. This "band of unsung heroes," formally referred to as the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) section, or commonly referred to as the "Monuments Men," worked tirelessly to track down, identify and catalogue millions of priceless works of art and irreplaceable cultural artifacts, including masterpieces by Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Vermeer, that had been stolen by Hitler and the Nazis.

The story of the Monuments Men, including their heroics and exploits in rescuing and safeguarding many of the world's greatest artworks for the benefit of mankind, has never before been fully revealed until now, with the publication of Rescuing Da Vinci, an exhaustively researched historical account written by Robert M. Edsel. Mr. Edsel can best be described as a successful athlete and business entrepreneur turned modern day "Indiana Jones." Mr. Edsel has dedicated the last five years of his life to painstaking and far-reaching research to unravel the secrets of the Monuments Men and, in so doing, to make the world aware of their unprecedented contributions, both during and after WWII, and to ensure that these unsung heroes receive appropriate recognition from the United States government, as well as the broad public.

The detailed documentation, inventories and photographs developed and catalogued by the Monuments Men during and following World War II, have made possible, and continue to make possible, the restitution of stolen artworks of to rightful owners and their descendents. Long after WWII, many Monuments Men went on to become renowned directors and curators of preeminent international cultural institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Toledo Museum of Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, among many others, as well as professors at esteemed universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, New York University, Williams College and Columbia University. Others became founders, presidents, and members of associations such as the New York City Ballet, the American Museum Association, the American Association of Museum Directors, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Society of Architectural Historians, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as respected architects, archivists, artists and musicians.

"Mr. Edsel's book is captivating in several respects, from the graphic, garish reminders of the faces of the great plunderers, to the singular beauty of the art they sought to steal. And it is a high and overdue memorial to the "Monuments Men," who did the herculean job of tracking down and repatriating the great art." -- William F. Buckley Jr.

 

Ehrenreich, Eric.  The Nazi Ancestral Proof: Genealogy, Racial Science, and the Final Solution (Indiana University Press, 2007).

How could Germans, inhabitants of the most scientifically advanced nation in the world in the early 20th century, have espoused the inherently unscientific racist doctrines put forward by the Nazi leadership? Eric Ehrenreich traces the widespread acceptance of Nazi policies requiring German individuals to prove their Aryan ancestry to the popularity of ideas about eugenics and racial science that were advanced in the late Imperial and Weimar periods by practitioners of genealogy and eugenics. After the enactment of Nazi racial laws in the 1930s, the Reich Genealogical Authority, employing professional genealogists, became the providers and arbiters of the ancestral proof. This is the first detailed study of the operation of the ancestral proof in the Third Reich and the link between Nazi racism and earlier German genealogical practices. The widespread acceptance of this racist ideology by ordinary Germans helped create the conditions for the Final Solution. 

 


Eisenhower, Dwight David.  Crusade in Europe (The Johns Hopkins University Press, Reprint edition, 1997).

Five-star General Dwight D. Eisenhower was arguably the single most important military figure of World War II.  For many historians, his memoirs of this eventful period of U.S. history have become the single most important record of the war. Crusade in Europe tells the complete story of the war as Eisenhower planned and lived it. Through his eyes, the enormous scope and drama of the war—strategy, battles, moments of fateful decision--become fully illuminated in all their fateful glory.  Yet this is also a warm and richly human account. Ike recalls the long months of waiting, planning, and working toward victory in Europe. His personal record of the tense first hours after he had issued the order to attack--and there was no turning back—leaves no doubt of Eisenhower's travail and reveals this great man in ways that no biographer has ever surpassed.

 

Erenberger, Timothy.  Grandfather's Tale: The Tale of a German Sniper (Universe Star, 2001).

Grandfather’s Tale is the story of Georg’s transformation from reluctant new soldier into a master sniper. Georg fought in dozens of battles in several countries, including Poland, Belgium, the Soviet Union, Crete, Italy and Germany. After proving himself to be an exceptional sniper, he joined a special team of German paratroopers. This group of expert soldiers was parachuted into Eben Emael, the strongest single fortress in the world! Georg's story is one of adventure and survival under extreme circumstances, including the brutal Soviet winter, and the final battle, the Battle of Berlin. Join Georg as he recounts his harrowing experiences to his grandson, in hopes that he may learn the lessons of war, and not repeat them.

 

Evans, Richard.  The Third Reich in Power (Penguin, Reprint edition, 2006).

This magnificent second volume of Richard J. Evans’s three-volume history of Nazi Germany was hailed by Benjamin Schwartz of the Atlantic Monthly as “the definitive English-language account... gripping and precise.” It chronicles the incredible story of Germany’s radical reshaping under Nazi rule. As those who were deemed unworthy to be counted among the German people were dealt with in increasingly brutal terms, Hitler’s drive to prepare Germany for the war that he saw as its destiny reached its fateful hour in September 1939. The Third Reich in Power is the fullest and most authoritative account yet written of how, in six years, Germany was brought to the edge of that terrible abyss.

 

Evans, Richard J.  Rituals of Retribution: Capital Punishment in Germany, 1600-1987 (Penguin UK, 1999).

The state has no greater power over its own citizens than that of killing them. This book examines the use of that supreme sanction in Germany, from the seventeenth century to the present. Richard Evans analyses the system of traditional' capital punishments set out in German law, and the ritual practices and cultural readings associated with them by the time of the early modern period. He shows how this system was challenged by Enlightenment theories of punishment and broke down under the impact of secularization and social change in the first half of the nineteenth century. The abolition of the death penalty became a classic liberal case which triumphed, if only momentarily, in the 1848 Revolution. In Germany far more than anywhere else in Europe, capital punishment was identified with anti-liberal, authoritarian concepts of sovereignty. Its definitive reinstatement by Bismarck in the 1880s marked not only the defeat of liberalism but also coincided with the emergence of new, Social Darwinist attitudes towards criminality which gradually changed the terms of debate. The triumph of these attitudes under the Nazis laid the foundations for the massive expansion of capital punishment which took place during Hitler's Third Reich'. After the Second World War, the death penalty was abolished, largely as a result of a chance combination of circumstances, but continued to be used in the Stalinist system of justice in East Germany until its forced abandonment as a result of international pressure exerted in the regime in the 1970s and 1980s. This remarkable and disturbing book casts new light on the history of German attitudes to law, deviance, cruelty, suffering and death, illuminating many aspects of Germany's modern political development. Using sources ranging from folksongs and ballads to the newly released government papers from the former German Democratic Republic, Richard Evans scrutinizes the ideologies behind capital punishment and comments on interpretations of the history of punishment offered by writers such as Foucault and Elias. He has made a formidable contribution not only to scholarship on German history but also to the social theory of punishment, and to the current debate on the death penalty.

 

Non-Fiction--Dorries to Dyess

Dorries, Matthias.  Michael Frayn's "Copenhagen" in Debate: Historical Essays and Documents on the 1941 Meeting Between Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg (University of California, Berkeley, 2005).

In 1941, two of the world's leading scientists met in Nazi-occupied Denmark. They were old friends, a mentor and his brilliant former protégé, and together they had changed the world of physics. But one was German and a leading figure in Hitler's nuclear fission program. The other was Danish, half-Jewish, and a statesman in the global physics community. The meeting between Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr broke off in embarrassment and strained their relationship for the rest of their lives. What was said—what exactly happened that night—has been fiercely debated ever since. Michael Frayn's Tony Award-winning drama Copenhagen takes the controversial encounter to the stage. Was Heisenberg trying to forestall the development of nuclear weapons? Carrying out atomic espionage? Or just clumsily seeking personal rapprochement across a political chasm? Frayn's characters play through the different interpretations and find that their understandings, like quantum mechanics itself, are rooted in uncertainty. Michael Frayn illuminates the complexities of self-knowledge, memory, and the very possibility of recapturing the past. The production of Copenhagen stirred up a vigorous exchange between the playwright and historians of science. In 2002, the publicity prompted Bohr's family to release previously unavailable documents pertaining to the infamous conversation. In light of the new information, historians were forced to examine the incident yet again. Michael Frayn's Copenhagen in Debate collects essays specially written by leading historians in reaction to the play and the new documents. They debate Frayn's depiction, shed light on the mystery at its center, and reflect on the relation between history and drama. What conclusions can be drawn from Copenhagen? That is for the reader to decide. By special arrangement with the Niels Bohr Archive in Copenhagen, Bohr's now-famous documents are reproduced in this volume.

 

Downer, John W.  War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (Pantheon, 1987).

War Without Mercy has been hailed by the New York Times as "one of the most original and important books to be written about the war between Japan and the United States." In this monumental history, Professor John Dower reveals a hidden, explosive dimension of the Pacific War—race—while writing what John Toland has called "a landmark book...a powerful, moving, and even-handed history that is sorely needed in both America and Japan."

Drawing on American and Japanese songs, slogans, cartoons, propaganda films, secret reports, and a wealth of other documents of the time, Dower opens up a whole new way of looking at that bitter struggle of four and a half decades ago and its ramifications in our lives today. As Edwin O. Reischauer, former ambassador to Japan, has pointed out, this book offers "a lesson that the postwar generations need most...with eloquence, crushing detail, and power."

 

Dower, John W.  Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (W. W. Norton & Company, 2000).

Winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Non-Fiction, finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, Embracing Defeat is John W. Dower's brilliant examination of Japan in the immediate, shattering aftermath of World War II. Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary photographs, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate. Dower, whom Stephen E. Ambrose has called "America's foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific," gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life. Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order.

 

Duffy, Peter.  The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Saved 1,200 Jews, and Built a Village in the Forest (HarperCollins, 2003).

The astonishing story of a community of Russian Jews who fled to the forests around Belarus during the Nazi invasion of their country. Led by three brothers from the Bielski family, these "forest Jews" escaped the fate of those who remained in the ghettos, and their brigade mounted a resistance movement that harassed German troops.

 

Dulles, Allen W.  The Secret Surrender (Lyons Press, 2006).

This is the classic and controversial inside story of Operation Sunrise, which brought about the surrender of a million Nazi and Fascist forces in World War II. Allen Dulles—who became director of the CIA in 1953—guided the delicate, top-secret negotiations in Switzerland as an officer of the OSS. Dulles now reveals one of the most successful intelligence operations of our time in an immediate, personal, compelling, and suspenseful narrative. Here he recreates the climate of terror that paralyzed the German top military command and delayed surrender even when all hope of an Axis victory was gone, vividly conveying the hidden antagonisms of important Nazis concerned for their personal safety. He describes the hazards of keeping open the channels of communication with the SS general in Italy who defied Hitler's "scorched earth" command. Finally, he recounts the tension-packed weeks during which Allied support of the surrender plan was secured despite Stalin's plot to wreck the enterprise.  The Secret Surrender conveys the breathless excitement of a fictional thriller. But most important, it furnishes valuable, firsthand insight into the end of World War II and—some have argued—the beginning of the Cold War.

 

Duncan, Francis.  Rickover (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2001).

As the father of the nuclear powered Navy, Adm. Hyman G. Rickover was a pivotal figure in twentieth-century American history. While many books have been written about various aspects of his career, this is the first biography to have access to private papers, family and close friends. It not only deals with the admiral's controversial naval career but with phases of his personal life that made him what he was, including his youth as a Jewish immigrant who embraced America and the opportunities it offered. The author, Francis Duncan, worked with Rickover from 1969, when he was assigned to write a history of the nuclear propulsion program, until the admiral's death in 1986. Shortly before he died, Rickover turned over his files to Duncan, including letters to his first wife that give a vivid picture of the Navy from 1929 to 1945. Rickover's second wife allowed Duncan access to letters covering important events later in his career.

The author was also granted interviews with the admiral's son and sister and with individuals from the Naval Reactors, an organization headed by Rickover whose members mostly had refused to talk to other biographers. A witness to the admiral's daily activities and the programs he directed, Duncan also drew on his own considerable knowledge to present a portrait of the man that gives new insights into Rickover's genius and short-comings. The book does not go into technical detail but focuses on the admiral's fights to build and extend the nuclear fleet and the often-difficult relationships that developed in the pursuit of the goal. He shows that Rickover's efforts had a profound effect on the postwar world, that the excellence and responsibility he demanded are qualities that reach beyond the Navy, and that his influence continues to be felt today.

 

Dunphie, Chris.  Operation Goodwood (Pen and Sword, 2005).

Operation Goodwood, the largest tank battle involving British troops ever to have taken place, has been a perpetual subject of controversy. Was it intended as a break-out from the Normandy Bridgehead, or not? Was it a success or failure? Did it lead to a severe crisis in confidence over Field Marshal Montgomery's leadership?  This book seeks to unearth the true background, reasons, aims and achievement of Goodwood, set in the context of the overall campaign, while bringing the battle to life through personal accounts of some of those involved, both British and German.

 

Dyess, William E.  Bataan Death March: A Survivor's Account (Bison Books, 2002).

The hopeless yet determined resistance of American and Filipino forces against the Japanese invasion has made Bataan and Corregidor symbols of pride, but Bataan has a notorious darker side. After the U.S.-Filipino remnants surrendered to a far stronger force, they unwittingly placed themselves at the mercy of a foe who considered itself unimpaired by the Geneva Convention. The already ill and hungry survivors, including many wounded, were forced to march at gunpoint many miles to a harsh and oppressive POW camp; many were murdered or died on the way in a nightmare of wanton cruelty that has made the term "Death March" synonymous with the Bataan peninsula. Among the prisoners was army pilot William E. Dyess. With a few others, Dyess escaped from his POW camp and was among the very first to bring reports of the horrors back to a shocked United States. His story galvanized the nation and remains one of the most powerful personal narratives of American fighting men. Stanley L. Falk provides a scene-setting introduction for this Bison Books edition.

 

Non-Fiction--Daglish to Doolittle

Daglish, Ian.  Goodwood: Over the Battlefield (Pen and Sword, 2006).

For the first book in our new series Over The Battlefield, we have chosen Ian Daglish to describe the events of Operation Goodwood, July 1944, the dramatic attempted British armored breakout from the Normandy bridge-head. This was the greatest armored battle undertaken by the British during the Second World War.  What is so special about this book is the discovery and use of superb aerial photos taken during the fighting by the RAF. This amazing imagery makes it possible to trace the course of the battle and to track the movement of the armored regiments and troops of both sides. The effect is sensational and the reader is able to follow history in the making.

 

Da Silva, Cara.  In Memory’s Kitchen (Jason Aronson, 1996).

Everyone eats, everyone has memories, and everyone has traditions. Written by undernourished and starving women in the Czechoslovakian concentration camp, In Memory's Kitchen pages are filled with the recipes giving instructions for making beloved dishes in the rich, robust Czech tradition. Sometimes steps or ingredients are missing, the gaps a painful illustration of the condition and situation in which the authors lived. Reprinting the contents of the original hand sewn book, In Memory's Kitchen is a beautiful memorial to the brave women who defied Hitler by preserving a part of their heritage and a part of themselves, proving that the Nazis could not break the spirit of the Jewish people.

 

Davies, Norman.  No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945 (Viking, 2007).

Davies asks readers to reconsider what they know about World War II, and how the received wisdom might be biased or incorrect. He poses simple questions that have complicated and unexpected answers. For instance, Can you name the five biggest battles of the war in Europe? Or, what were the main political ideologies that were contending for supremacy? The answers to these and other questions—and the implications of those answers—will surprise even those who feel that they are experts on the subject.  Norman Davies has established himself as one of the preeminent scholars of World War II history, in the tradition of John Keegan and Antony Beevor. No Simple Victory is an invaluable contribution to twentieth century history and an illuminating portrait of a conflict which continues to raise questions and provoke debate today.

 

Davis, Donald A.  Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006).

This is the story of the fighter mission that changed World War II. It is the true story of the man behind Pearl Harbor—Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto—and the courageous young American fliers who flew the million-to-one suicide mission that shot him down. Yamamoto was a cigar-smoking, poker-playing, English-speaking, Harvard-educated expert on America, and that intimate knowledge served him well as architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the next sixteen months, this military genius, beloved by the Japanese people, lived up to his prediction that he would run wild in the Pacific Ocean.  He was unable, however, to deal the fatal blow needed to knock America out of the war, and the shaken United States began its march to victory on the bloody island of Guadalcanal.  Donald A. Davis meticulously tracks Yamamoto's eventual rendezvous with death. After American code-breakers learned that the admiral would be vulnerable for a few hours, a desperate attempt was launched to bring him down. What was essentially a suicide mission fell to a handful of colorful and expendable U.S. Army pilots from Guadalcanal's battered "Cactus Air Force.”

 

Davis, Maggie.  Stage Door Canteen (eReads.com, 2003).

New York City, the capital of the free world, is dark, its lights turned off as enemy submarines lurk offshore, as close as Coney Island. Three men - a gunner from a B-17 bomber who‘s a national hero, a magazine editor uprooted from civilian life and attached to the Allied High Command, and the violence-stalked captain of a Royal Merchant Navy freighter - find their destinies linked with three volunteer hostesses from New York’s famous Stage Door Canteen. Genevieve Rose is a beautiful Broadway star in an experimental Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that seems headed for disaster. Elise Ginsberg is an indomitable young refugee from Hitler’s terror. And Bernadine Flaherty is the ambitious, talented teenage dancer from Brooklyn hoping for her big show business break. Against Manhattan’s wartime glamor, GIs fresh from combat in North Africa and the Pacific find themselves dancing with the likes of the Stage Door Canteen’s Katherine Hepburn and Ava Gardner. Food, whiskey and clothes are rationed, and spies are where one least expects to find them. Life is lived for the moment, love is passionate and often random, and those who can, snatch at a chance for happiness. For beyond the frenetic blackout, the entire world is fighting and dying.

 

Daws, Gavin.  Prisoners of the Japanese: Pows of World War II in the Pacific (Harper Perennial, 1996).

Gavan Daws combined ten years of documentary research and hundreds of interviews with surrviving POWs to write this explosive, first-and-only account of the experiences of the Allied POWs of World War II. The Japanese Army took over 140,000 Allied prisoners, and one in four died the hands of their captors. Here Daws reveals the survivors' haunting experiences, from the atrocities perpetrated during the Bataan Death March and the building of the Burma-Siam railroad to descriptions of disease, torture, and execution.

 

De Bruhl, Marshall.  Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden (Random House, 2006).

On February 13 and 14, 1945, three successive waves of British and U.S. aircraft rained down thousands of tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs on the largely undefended German city of Dresden. Night and day, Dresden was engulfed in a vast sea of flame, a firestorm that generated 1,500-degree temperatures and hurricane-force winds. Thousands suffocated in underground shelters where they had fled to escape the inferno above. The fierce winds pulled thousands more into the center of the firestorm, where they were incinerated. By the time the fires burned themselves out, many days later, a great city–known as “the Florence on the Elbe”–lay in ruins, and tens of thousands, almost all of them civilians, lay dead.

In Firestorm, Marshall De Bruhl re-creates the drama and horror of the Dresden bombing and offers the most cogent appraisal yet of the tactics, weapons, strategy, and rationale for the controversial attack. Using new research and contemporary reports, as well as eyewitness stories of the devastation, De Bruhl directly addresses many long-unresolved questions relating to the bombing: Why did the strike occur when the Allies’ victory was seemingly so imminent? Was choosing a city choked with German refugees a punitive decision, intended to humiliate a nation? What, if any, strategic importance did Dresden have? How much did the desire to send a “message”–to Imperial Japan or the advancing Soviet armies–factor into the decision to firebomb the city?

 

Dederichs, Mario.  Heydrich: The Face of Evil (Greenhill Books, 2006). 

This meticulously researched biography creates a complete and balanced picture of Reinhard Heydrich. A leading figure within the Nazi Party, he was responsible more than Himmler for the planning and execution of the Holocaust. Having joined the Nazi Party in 1931, Heydrich rose quickly through the ranks of the SS. By the age of twenty-nine he had become an SS Brigadier General, and his ruthless ambition led many senior Nazis to believe that he was the natural successor to Hitler. It was Heydrich’s initiative to create the Einsatzgruppen, paramilitary units which were established before Operation Barbarossa to murder Jews and political operatives of the Communist party. In 1941 Heydrich was made Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. Supremely confident of his authority within the province, he would often drive alone in an open-top car. British-trained Czech partisans took advantage of this gesture, and in 1942 carried out a daring assassination attempt. Heydrich was mortally wounded in the ambush and died a week later in hospital. The reprisals that followed were brutal: more than 15,000 Czechs were murdered and the town of Lidice was razed to the ground. This book examines Heydrich’s meteoric rise to power, his complex personality, and the aftermath of his death: Hitler’s vengeance and the postwar fortunes of Heydrich’s widow and descendants.

 

Delaforce, Patrick.  The Hitler File (Michmer, 2008).

Adolf Hitler is one of the most infamous men of the 20th century, and the legacy of his terrible crimes will live for centuries, but what do most people really know about him, beyond the scale of his atrocities? Many biographies are long and daunting, but "The Hitler File "is easily accessible and covers the life and actions of Hitler from birth right through to his death in 1945. What drove Hitler and his megalomania, and what brought about his, and Nazi Germany's eventual downfall? At once fascinating, sobering, and far-reaching, Patrick Delaforce's latest book roots out things that most readers won't know about the Nazi dictator; including his Olympic rivalry with the British, his youth as church acolyte and choirboy, school reports and teacher's opinions, his art phase, and his relationship with Eva Braun, the "bird in a gilded cage."

 

Denji, Kuroshima.  A Flock Of Swirling Crows And Other Proletarian Writings (University of Hawaii Press, 2005).

Why is education potentially subversive? How does ethnocentrism facilitate an oppressive status quo? Who actually benefits from war? Questions such as these are integral to the work of writer Kuroshima Denji (1898-1943), one of modern Japan’s most dedicated antimilitarist intellectuals. Best known for his Siberian stories of the late 1920s—vivid descriptions of agonies suffered by Japanese soldiers and Russian civilians during Japan’s invasion of the newly emerged Soviet Union—Kuroshima also wrote powerful narratives dealing with the hardships, struggles, and rare triumphs of Japanese peasants. His only full-length novel, a shocking description of economic and military aggression against China, is superbly translated here as Militarized Streets. This volume makes much of Kuroshima’s most highly acclaimed work available for the first time in English.

 

D’Este, Carlo.  Patton: A Genius for War (Harper Perennial, Reprint edition, 1996).

Fifty years after his death, General George C. Patton Jr. remains one of the most colorful, charismatic, misunderstood and controversial figures ever to set foot on the battlefields of World War II. And the image of the man has been not a little influenced by the 1970 film Patton, starring George C. Scott, in which he is portrayed as a swashbuckling, brash, profane, impetuous general who wore ivory-handled pistols into battle and slapped two hospitalized soldiers in Sicily. 

It is one of the achievements of this riveting biography that it reveals the complex and contradictory personality that lay behind the facade. With full access to Patton's private and public papers, and the cooperation of the general's family, Carlo D'Este shows us not only the extrovert Patton of public perception, but also the intensely private Patton -- the devoted student of history, the poet, the humble man very unsure of his own abilities -- who could burst into tears, be charming or insulting quite unexpectedly, and the Patton who trained himself for greatness with a determination matched by no other general in the twentieth century. D'Este describes Patton's patrician background with its strong military heritage in the Civil War on the Confederate side; his struggle to overcome dyslexia to get through West Point; his lifelong doubts about his own courage that forced him to take reckless chances; and the enduring and sometimes troubled marriage to his childhood sweetheart, Beatrice Ayer, daughter of a wealthy Boston family, who proved to be a tower of strength and devotion to a soldier husband who was miserable in peacetime. 

 

de Zayas, Alfred-Maurice.  A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

The genocidal barbarism of the Nazi forces has been well documented. What is little known is the fate of fifteen million German civilians who found themselves on the wrong side of new postwar borders. All over Eastern Europe, the inhabitants of communities that had been established for many centuries were either expelled or killed. Over two million Germans did not survive. Some of these people had supported Hitler, but the great majority did not. In A Terrible Revenge, de Zayas describes their horrible fate. This new edition includes an updated foreword, epilogue, and additional information from recent interviews with the children of the displaced.  

 


Diehl, Lorraine.  Over Here! (Smithsonian, 2010).

More than any other place, New York was the center of action on the home front during World War II. As Hitler came to power in Germany, American Nazis goose-stepped in Yorkville on the Upper East Side, while recently arrived Jewish ÉmigrÉs found refuge on the Upper West Side. When America joined the fight, enlisted men heading for battle in Europe or the Pacific streamed through Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station. The Brooklyn Navy Yard refitted ships, and Times Square overflowed with soldiers and sailors enjoying some much-needed R & R. German U-boats attacked convoys leaving New York Harbor. Silhouetted against the gleaming skyline, ships were easy prey—debris and even bodies washed up on Long Island beaches—until the city rallied under a stringently imposed dim-out.

From Rockefeller Center's Victory Gardens and Manhattan's swanky nightclubs to metal-scrap drives and carless streets, Over Here! captures the excitement, trepidation, and bustle of this legendary city during wartime. Filled with the reminiscences of ordinary and famous New Yorkers, including Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, and Angela Lansbury, and rich in surprising detail—from Macy's blackout boutique to Mickey Mouse gas masks for kids—this engaging look back is an illuminating tour of New York on the front lines of the home front.

 


DK Publishing.  World War II: The Definitive Visual History (DK Publishing, 2009).

World War II is divided into nine chronological chapters, each introduced by a general overview of the military and political situation. This is followed by a comprehensive timeline, covering events in all theaters of the war. The opening chapter analyzes the build-up of hostility in the years leading up the war, both in Europe and in the Pacific. Similarly the final chapter analyzes the immediate and long-term consequences of the war and the way it has shaped recent history. In the chapters that cover the events of the war itself, the main spreads move from one theater of war to another but are linked by an easy-to-use system of cross referencing to earlier events and the consequences of the actions described on the spread. The main spreads are interspersed with features, eyewitness accounts, and galleries of weaponry and equipment.

 

Doenitz, Karl.  Memoirs (Da Capo Press, 1997).

Commander of the U-boat fleet, Supreme Naval Commander, and finally Hitler's successor in the last days of the Third Reich, Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz (1891-1980) has been condemned as a Nazi and praised as one of the most brilliant and honorable military leaders of the war. His "wolf-pack" tactics resulted in a handful of U-boats sinking 14.5 million tons and nearly deciding the Battle of the Atlantic. Sentenced to ten years at the Nuremberg Trials, Doenitz wrote his memoirs upon his release. In a clear firm style he discusses the planning and execution of the U-boat campaign; the controversial sinking of the Laconia; America's "neutrality" before its entry into the war; the Normandy invasion; the July 1944 bomb plot; his encounters with Raeder, Goring, Speer, Himmler, and Hitler; as well as his own brief tenure as the last Fuhrer. Introduced by two acclaimed historians who knew Doenitz well, this invaluable work allows the reader to view the war at sea through the periscope's eye.

 

Donovan, Robert.  PT 109 (Ragged Mountain Press, 2001).

Seventeen years before John F. Kennedy became the thirty-fifth president of the United States--in the early morning of August 2, 1943, to be exact--a PT or Motor Torpedo Boat under his command was rammed and sliced in half by a Japanese destroyer in the waters of Blackett Strait, in the Solomon Islands. Kennedy's wartime career had been unremarkable to that point. He had shown a talent for scrounging the occasional loaf of bread or haunch of New Zealand mutton for his crew, he had nearly destroyed a refueling dock in his rush to be the first PT boat returning from overnight patrols, and he as a congenial and businesslike commander of his tiny boat with its crew of twelve. The PT boats were the terriers of the Pacific Fleet, yapping at the enemy's heels but rarely getting the chance for heroics, and PT 109 was no exception. Kennedy's first direct confrontation with an enemy ship was the one that sank his boat. There was no time to react; in the concealing darkness, with no radar, the destroyer was inside torpedo range before they saw it. In the aftermath of the ramming, as the destroyer swept away and fired two shots back at the broken and burning PT boat, and with an injured back, Kennedy became a hero. Gathering his surviving crew to the derelict forward section of the boat, which was still floating, Kennedy swan into the darkness and towed the injured back to the hulk. He would spend 30 of the next 36 hours in the water, during which time he and the crew swam three miles to a small island with Kennedy towing a badly burned survivor. Over the next three days Kennedy placed his life at risk in the effort to secure the rescue of his crew, which was finally effected on day 4. Only two men were lost, and those at the time of the collision. In September 1943 Kennedy assumed command of PT 59 and was =promoted to Lieutenant. In October he plucked 50 marines from the water beneath enemy guns. In November, suffering from a ruptured disc and malaria, Kennedy was directed by a doctor to leave his command, and returned stateside in earl 1944 weighing just 125 pounds. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal and the Purple Heart.

 

Doolittle, James.  I Could Never Be So Lucky Again (Bantam, 2001).

Best remembered as leader of the 1942 raid over Tokyo, Doolittle later commanded the U.S. 8th Air Force in England. After the war he was active in the reorganization of our defense establishment and became director of several companies in the private sector. Doolittle, with retired Army Air Force colonel Glines, here recounts his knockabout Alaskan youth, his experiences as a miner in California, his brief but successful career as a prizefighter, and his adventures as a aerial-show "aerobat" and later as a test pilot. Air history buffs will appreciate the detailed comments on the technological advances stimulated by competition for the Bendix and other air-race trophies during the '20s and '30s, races in which Doolittle was a prominent participant. The book recalls vividly Doolittle's days as an aviation pioneer—and retells the exciting story of the Tokyo raid. The rest, mostly dealing with the general's top-level leadership during the remainder of the war, his successes in the business world after retiring from the Air Force and the reception of innumerable honors and awards, is less interesting. (Publisher’s Weekly)

 

Non-Fiction--Calvocoressi to Cornwell

Calvocoressi, Peter, et. al.  The Penguin History of the Second World War (Penguin, Third revised edition, 2001).

Originally published under the title Total War, this acclaimed analysis of the causes and courses of World War II has stood the tests of time and criticism. The first part deals with the war in the West, and the second covers the war in the Pacific Theatre. The three highly regarded authors of this classic resource create a fluid narrative that provides vivid portraits of the war leaders and an unflinching exploration of the devastation and hardship of this major world conflict.

 

Carter, Allene G.  Honoring Sergeant Carter: Redeeming a Black World War II Hero’s Legacy (Amistad, 2003).

Moving story of how Sergeant Eddie Carter’s family succeeded over a period of years to gain Medal of Honor recognition for his heroic action with General George Patton’s 12th Armored Division during the Rhineland campaign.

 

Cavanagh, William.  Battle East of Elsenborn (Pen and Sword, 2005).

The Battle East of Elsenborn closely examines the role of Oberstgruppenfuhrer Joseph 'Sepp' Dietrich's Sixth Panzer Army in the massive German winter counteroffensive. Hitler had tasked Dietrich with making the main effort east of the Elsenborn Ridge and against the positions of the US 99th Infantry Division. Hitler's plan was to reach deep into Allied-held territory and seize the vital port of Antwerp. In the event this daring and desperate counterattack failed but it was a close run thing. Credit for the outcome must ultimately go to the American soldiers who, some new to combat and others battle-hardened, fought valiantly to blunt the German advance and ultimately bring it to a halt just east of Elsenborn. The book also studies the actions of six individuals who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, their nation's highest bravery award. It tells of the courageous story of men who believed in their heritage, and who, through their heroic teamwork and dedication, stopped the main effort of the German Sixth Army.

 

Childers, Thomas.  Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II (Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1996).

After their son died when flak destroyed his plane on April 21, 1945, the parents of Howard Goodner endured the frustrating process of finding out from the War Department exactly what happened. They never did find out. In 1992, Goodner's mother died, having kept through the years a cache of letters her son had written home. They inspired Childers, nephew to the long-dead airman and a professional historian of Nazi electoral politics, to reconstruct his uncle Howard's and his crewmates' wartime experiences. This result, a searching and emotional exploration, powerfully evokes the tension and relaxation cycle of flying combat missions, and as Childers builds toward the fateful day, he deeply and deftly involves readers to the extent that Goodner and comrades seem to be their own relatives and their own inconsolable losses.  As Childers stands on the spot from which his uncle departed on the last (and unnecessary) mission, as he presses toward the truth through witnesses to the crash and the relative documents, it must be a stony heart that doesn't share his sorrow and tears. Imaginative and emotive, and factually unerring, this outstanding remembrance is possibly the most original title among this year's anniversary works.  (Gilbert Taylor for Booklist)

 


Christman, Al.  Target Hiroshima: Deak Parsons and the Creation of the Atomic Bomb (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1998).

Based on recently declassified Manhattan Project documents, including Deak Parson's personal logs, this book offers an unvarnished account of this unsung hero and his involvement in some of the greatest scientific advances of the 20th century. Deak Parsons: "A naval officer with the heart of a sailor and the searching mind of a scientist."

 

Churchill, Winston.  The Second World War: The Gathering Storm, Volume 1 (Mariner Books, Reissue edition, 1986).

The Gathering Storm depicts the rise of Hitler and the indifference of the leaders of the European democracies to the clouds of the gathering storm.  Churchill incorporates contemporary documentation and his own reminiscence in this opening memoir.

 

Churchill, Winston.  The Second World War: The Finest Hour, Volume II (Mariner Books, Reissue edition, 1986).

Their “finest hour" refers to Britain that struggled alone to survive overwhelming German advantage; detailed reconstruction of the bombing of London, the Battle of Britain.  Churchill, here wartime Prime Minister, incorporates contemporary documentation and his own reminiscence.

 

Churchill, Winston.  The Second World War: The Grand Alliance, Volume III (Mariner Books, Reissue edition, 1986).

The New York Public Library, in looking back on the greatest books of the past century, called Churchill's history "monumental" and said that the author "drew upon thousands of his own memoranda and documents in British archives, but in the end, this epic is structured on his personal experiences and expresses his courage and astonishing self-confidence."

 

Churchill, Winston.  The Second World War: The Hinge of Fate, Volume IV (Mariner Books, Reissue edition, 1986).

From uninterrupted defeat to almost unbroken success: a year when Rommel is gradually thrown back in North Africa, and in the Pacific the tide turns.

 

Churchill, Winston.  The Second World War: Closing the Ring, Volume V (Mariner Books, Reissue edition, 1986).

The fate of the Allies turns with the Normandy invasion after Hitler's defeat at Stalingrad. For the first time, the end of the war with an Allied victory seems possible. Churchill wartime Prime Minister through this period, incorporates contemporary documentation and his own reminiscence.

 

Churchill, Winston.  The Second World War: Triumph and Tragedy, Volume VI (Penguin Books, 2005).

The end of World War II, the crushing of Germany and the devastating bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the entrance into an uneasy and clouded peace as Churchill is dismissed from his office and the Allies embark upon a tragic, misguided and atomic-haunted Cold War.  The concluding volume of Churchill's great chronicle of the War resulted in his winning the Noble Prize in Literature.

 

Citino, Robert, M.  Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942 (University Press of Kansas, 2007).

For Hitler and the German military, 1942 was a key turning point of World War II, as an overstretched but still lethal Wehrmacht replaced brilliant victories and huge territorial gains with stalemates and strategic retreats. In this major reevaluation of that crucial year, Robert Citino shows that the German army's emerging woes were rooted as much in its addiction to the "war of movement"--attempts to smash the enemy in "short and lively" campaigns--as they were in Hitler's deeply flawed management of the war. 

From the overwhelming operational victories at Kerch and Kharkov in May to the catastrophic defeats at El Alamein and Stalingrad, Death of the Wehrmacht offers an eye-opening new view of that decisive year. Building upon his widely respected critique in The German Way of War, Citino shows how the campaigns of 1942 fit within the centuries-old patterns of Prussian/German warmaking and ultimately doomed Hitler's expansionist ambitions. He examines every major campaign and battle in the Russian and North African theaters throughout the year to assess how a military geared to quick and decisive victories coped when the tide turned against it.

 

Citino, Robert, M.  The German Way of War (University Press of Kansas, 2005).

Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great "sleigh-drive" against the Swedes to the age of Adolf Hitler and the blitzkrieg to the gates of Moscow. Along the way, he underscores the role played by the Prussian army in elevating a small, vulnerable state to the ranks of the European powers, describes how nineteenth-century victories over Austria and France made the German army the most respected in Europe, and reviews the lessons learned from the trenches of World War I. 

Through this long view, Citino reveals an essential recurrent pattern—characterized by rapid troop movements and surprise attacks, maneuvers to outflank the enemy, and a determination to annihilate the opposition—that made it possible for the Germans to fight armies often larger than their own. He highlights the aggressiveness of Prussian and German commanders--trained simply to find the enemy and keep attacking--and destroys the myth of Auftragstaktik ("flexible command"), replacing it with the independence of subordinate commanders. He also brings new interpretations to well-known operations, such as Moltke's 1866 campaign and the opening campaign in 1914, while intro-ducing readers to less familiar but important battles like Langensalza and the Annaberg.  The German way of war, as Citino shows, was fostered by the development of a widely accepted and deeply embedded military culture that supported and rewarded aggression. His book offers a fresh look at one of the most remarkable, respected, and reviled militaries of the past half millennium and marks another sterling contribution to the history of operational warfare.

 

Cohen, Hilda Stern.  Words that Burn Within Me: Faith, Values, Survival (Dryad Press, 2008).

A collection of photographs, essays, stories, snippets of interviews, and poems detailing Cohen's experiences during the war and the Holocaust as a German resident. Hilda talks about happier times in her village and with her sister, the trials of childhood and being bullied, but soon the reality of politics sets in and her family is forced to leave their ancestral home. Cohen's writing is sparse but detailed in its observations of those around her in the ghetto and the concentration camps. Her keen eye examines the impact of starvation on her fellow neighbors and on her family members, and it also sheds light on how well her family and herself cope with their situation.

 

Cohn, Marthe.  Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany (Three Rivers Press, Reprint edition, 2006).

Marthe Cohn was a beautiful young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents. But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe’s sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. The rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France. Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army.

As a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army, Marthe fought valiantly to retrieve needed inside information about Nazi troop movements by slipping behind enemy lines, utilizing her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé. By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight, risking death every time she did so, she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders.

When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Médaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had faced death daily while helping defeat the Nazi empire. At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.

 


Conant, Jennet.  109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos (Simon and Schuster, 2006).

In 1943, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant, charismatic head of the Manhattan Project, recruited scientists to live as virtual prisoners of the U.S. government at Los Alamos, a barren mesa thirty-five miles outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Thousands of men, women, and children spent the war years sequestered in this top-secret military facility. They lied to friends and family about where they were going and what they were doing, and then disappeared into the desert. Through the eyes of a young Santa Fe widow who was one of Oppenheimer's first recruits, we see how, for all his flaws, he developed into an inspiring leader and motivated all those involved in the Los Alamos project to make a supreme effort and achieve the unthinkable.

 

Cornwell, John.  Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact (Viking, 2003).

When Hitler came to power in the 1930s, Germany had led the world in science, mathematics, and technology for nearly four decades. But while the fact that Hitler swiftly pressed Germany's scientific prowess into the service of a brutal, racist, xenophobic ideology is well known, few realize that German scientists had knowingly broken international agreements and basic codes of morality to fashion deadly weapons even before World War I. In Hitler's Scientists, British historian John Cornwell explores German scientific genius in the first half of the twentieth century and shows how Germany's early lead in the new physics led to the discovery of atomic fission, which in turn led the way to the atom bomb, and how the ideas of Darwinism were hijacked to create the lethal doctrine of racial cleansing.

By the war's end, almost every aspect of Germany's scientific culture had been tainted by the exploitation of slave labor, human experimentation, and mass killings. Ultimately, it was Hitler's profound scientific ignorance that caused the Fatherland to lose the race for atomic weapons, which Hitler would surely have used. Cornwell argues that German scientists should be held accountable for the uses to which their knowledge was put-an issue with wide-ranging implications for the continuing unregulated pursuit of scientific progress.

 

Non-Fiction--Brooks to Bytwerk

Brooks, Victor.  Hell is Upon Us: D-Day in the Pacific June-August 1944 (DaCapo, 2005).

June 14, 1944, just nine days after the D-Day invasion of Normandy, another mighty fleet steamed towards its own D-Day landing. A huge U.S. flotilla of 800 ships carrying 162,000 men was about to attempt to smash into the outer defenses of the Japanese Empire. Their target was the Marianas Island group, which included Saipan, home to an important Japanese base and a large population of Japanese civilians, and Guam, the first American territory captured in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.  During the next eight weeks, tens of thousands of men, hundreds of airplanes, and dozens of major warships were locked in mortal combat. When it was over, 60,000 Japanese ground troops and most of the carrier air power of the Imperial Navy were annihilated; Japan's leader, Tojo, was thrown out of office in disgrace; and the newly captured enemy airfields were being transformed into launching bases for the B-29s that would carry the conventional and, later, atomic bombs to Japan, turning the land of the Rising Sun into a charred cinder. After the U.S. victory in the Marianas campaign, the road to Tokyo was clearly in sight. 

 

Browning, Christopher R.  The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (Bison Books, 2007).

In 1939, the Nazi regime’s plans for redrawing the demographic map of Eastern Europe entailed the expulsion of millions of Jews. By the fall of 1941, these plans had shifted from expulsion to systematic and total mass murder of all Jews within the Nazi grasp. The Origins of the Final Solution is the most detailed and comprehensive analysis ever written of what took place during this crucial period—of how, precisely, the Nazis’ racial policies evolved from persecution and "ethnic cleansing" to the Final Solution of the Holocaust. 

Focusing on the months between the German conquest of Poland in September 1939–which brought nearly two million additional Jews under Nazi control—and the beginning of the deportation of Jews to the death camps in the spring of 1942, Christopher R. Browning describes how Poland became a laboratory for experiments in racial policies, from expulsion and decimation to ghettoization and exploitation under local occupation authorities. He reveals how the subsequent attack on the Soviet Union opened the door for an immense radicalization of Nazi Jewish policy—and marked the beginning of the Final Solution. 

 

Browning, Christopher R.  Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Harper Perennial Reprint edition, 1993).

Shocking as it is, this book—a crucial source of original research used for the bestseller Hitler's Willing Executioners—gives evidence to suggest the opposite conclusion: that the sad-sack German draftees who perpetrated much of the Holocaust were not expressing some uniquely Germanic evil, but that they were average men comparable to the run of humanity, twisted by historical forces into inhuman shapes. Browning, a thorough historian who lets no one off the moral hook nor fails to weigh any contributing factor--cowardice, ideological indoctrination, loyalty to the battalion, and reluctance to force the others to bear more than their share of what each viewed as an excruciating duty--interviewed hundreds of the killers, who simply could not explain how they had sunken into savagery under Hitler. (Amazon.com)

 

Burgett, Donald R.  Currahee!: A Screaming Eagle at Normandy (Dell, 2000).

Seven days in hell!  In June 1944, the Allies launched a massive amphibious invasion against Nazi-held France. But under the cover of darkness, a new breed of fighting man leapt from airplanes through a bullet-stitched, tracer-lit sky to go behind German lines. These were the Screaming Eagles of the newly formed 101st Airborne Division. Their job was to strike terror into the Nazi defenders, delay reinforcements, and kill any enemy soldiers they met. In the next seven days, the men of the 101st fought some of the most ferocious close-quarter combat in all of World War II.

Now Donald R. Burgett looks back at the nonstop, nightmarish fighting across body-strewn fields, over enemy-held hedgerows, through blown-out towns and devastated forests. This harrowing you-are-there chronicle captures a baptism by fire of a young Private Burgett, his comrades, and a new air-mobile fighting force that would become a legend of war.

 


Burleigh, Michael and Wolfgang Wippermann.  The Racial State (Cambridge University Press, 1993).

Between 1933 and 1945 the Nazi regime in Germany tried to restructure a "class" society along racial lines. This book deals with the ideas and institutions that underpinned this mission, and shows how Nazi policy affected various groups of people, both victims and beneficiaries. The book begins with a serious discussion of the origins of Nazi racial ideology, and then demonstrates the way in which this was translated into official policy. It deals with the systematic persecution not only of the Jews, but also with the fate of lesser-known groups such as Sinti and Roma, the mentally handicapped, the "asocial," and homosexuals.  

 

Bytwerk, Randall L.  Julius Streicher: Nazi Editor of the Notorious Anti-Semitic Newspaper Der Sturmer (Cooper Square Press, 2001).

This work offers an incisive and damning look at the life and work of Julius Streicher, editor of Der Sturmer, the widely-read weekly newspaper devoted to arousing hatred against the jews.

 

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