9/5/13

My Latest World War 2 Reads

Buy It and Read It!
I was going to post the following five books as a "Five for Friday" blog post. Then I realized there are six books on the list. Oops. This post is a follow-up to my Favorite World War 2 Books post from this past March. These are in alphabetical order:
  • The Battle of Midway by Craig Symonds. A decent and readable history of the Battle of Midway. This book is part of the Oxford University Press series, Pivotal Moments in American History. I am about halfway through the Pivotal Moments series. Most have been very good.
  • Bougainville, 1943-1945: The Forgotten Campaign by Harry Gailey. Apart from Pearl Harbor, Midway, Iwo Jima, and two atomic bombs, you would think nothing happened in the Pacific in WW2, at least based on the history section of your local book store. This book does a great job telling the story of Bougainville, one of the stepping stone island battles of the Pacific. It is notable that a fair amount of the combat involved African-American troops.
  • Inferno: A World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings. I have read about 100 books on WW2 over the course of my life. Inferno is in my top 5 of all time. I am a big Max Hastings fan but I went into this book a bit skeptical, with doubts as to how interesting or different yet another book on the whole war could be. Hastings doesn't aim for completeness. Instead, he aims to get it what it felt like for the participants, particularly the lower ranks, the civilians caught in combat, and those on the home front. Using the stories of the non-famous, he weaves a story that is heart-wrenching, horrifying and, at times, uplifting. This powerful narrative is coupled with Hastings unparalleled ability for critical analysis. Hastings created a book unlike any other that I have read.
  • Japanese Destroyer Captain: Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Midway-The Great Naval Battles as Seen Through Japanese Eyes by Capt. Tameichi Hara. This book was recommended to me by Mark Langsdorf and it is excellent.I enjoyed every page. The Japanese Navy had some excellent mid-level officers, Hara being a prime example. They also had excellent gunnery and airplane pilots. The U.S. Navy made huge leaps and bounds during 1942-45 in numbers of ships, planes, technology, skill, and command. Japan regressed in all these areas during the same time period and Hara recounts what this was like while on board a series of destroyers.
  • A Measureless Peril: America in the Fight for the Atlantic, the Longest Battle of World War II by Richard Snow. Snow combines a simple history of the Battle for the Atlantic with the narrative of his father's time on a destroyer escort in that same battle. I actually listened to this book while driving on a work-related trip. It was a nice "listen."
  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin. She won the Pulitzer Prize for this book, although she was later embroiled in controversy over plagiarism, which included this book. Apart from that, there is a reason this book won the Pulitzer. The book is a look at the U.S. home front during World War 2, looking through the lens of the Roosevelts. It is not a biography and it is not simply a history. It is a different sort of book, but I really enjoyed it and recommend it.
My "To Read" list continues to grow (you can see what it looked like back in March here, at the bottom of the post).

2 comments:

  1. Inferno is definitely on my list (for whenever I get out from under the stack of stuff I have to read for work...).

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    Replies
    1. I am sure you are swamped.

      I am anxious to hear your thoughts on Inferno.

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