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 (1939-1945) WWII
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GaryNJ
Cumberland NJ USA
Posts: 102
Joined: 2010
Any book suggestions
6/10/2021 9:51:36 PM
Hi to all,

I have not read many World War 2 books in the last twenty years. It seemed like I had overdosed on that war previously. The last book I bought was Normandy 1944: German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness by Niklas Zetterling in 2000. I would like to read some German soldier memoirs of the war and thought that some members of MHO will know some good ones. I did read Panzer Commander by Hans Von Luck many years ago and thought it was good. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Gary
Brian W
Atlanta GA USA
Posts: 1056
Joined: 2004
Any book suggestions
6/10/2021 11:01:31 PM
I've recently read several WWII memoirs. Here are my 2 favorite latest. They're posted on the front page of MHO.

US perspective:
Twenty-Two on Peleliu: Four Pacific Campaigns with the Corps: The Memoirs of an Old Breed Marine
[Read More]

German perspective (Volume 1 and 2):
Mortar Gunner on the Eastern Front: The Memoir of Dr Hans Rehfeldt. Volume 1: From the Moscow Winter Offensive to Operation Zitadelle
[Read More]

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"I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there can be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow-being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." - William Penn
GaryNJ
Cumberland NJ USA
Posts: 102
Joined: 2010
Any book suggestions
6/10/2021 11:34:50 PM
Brian W,

Thanks. I should start to look at front page of MHO instead of just using a link to the forums.

Gary
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3653
Joined: 2004
Any book suggestions
6/11/2021 9:52:22 PM
Gary, here are a couple I have enjoyed thoroughly:
• Nicholson Baker, Human Smoke, Simon and Schuster (2008).
• Hermann Knell, To Destroy a City, Da Capo (2003).

Baker’s volume is odd, and subtly challenging. It spans from 1914 to Dec 40, which may limit your interest. and it is not history offered in a normal form. It consists of several hundred quotations, news items, or reported government discussions, few more than 1 page long. It is up to the reader to make what connections he can. Giving invented copy, you might read a clip that, on a certain date, the British War Cabinet discussed the acceptability of introducing diseases to German crops, and noted in the minutes not to pursue such an action. Eighty pages further into the book, you might find a German entry suggesting recruitment problems in a Gau because a certain crop has been stricken with a disease. Nothing but your mind – and sometimes the author’s style – suggest the two are related.

Beyond that potential for detective work, the vignettes almost always shine a light on a specific which adds nuance to the war. An assessment by a statesman of WSC as “an orator even in conversation, and not a good listener. A good hater” strikes me, e.g., as an acute observation, and an apt descriptor of WSC. Baker, I should note, is a US writer who at the time of writing lived in Maine.

Hermann Knell’s volume is a very different creature. Knell was a 19-year-old disabled lad living in Würzburg when in the course of a few days his city was 86% destroyed by (largely) US bomber raids. He survived, and after the war emigrated to Canada, where he lived a full life as a professional engineer. He wrote To Destroy a City as his retirement project. I enjoyed this book because it combines German experience of air attack with 50 years of life afterwards, and because he brings what I see as an engineer’s skills to his assessment of the mass bombing of the Third Reich. More, the book is simply well-written.

Don’t know whether such things might meet your interests, but both are volumes I would recommend to those with more than a passing interest in and knowledge of the years from 1918-1941.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
GaryNJ
Cumberland NJ USA
Posts: 102
Joined: 2010
Any book suggestions
6/12/2021 8:36:14 PM
Brian W,

Thanks for the suggestions. I decided to get both volumes of Mortar Gunner on the Eastern Front for my Kindle. The second volume was only $2.99. Looks interesting.

Brian,

Thanks for suggestions. I ordered a used copy of To Destroy a City by Hermann Knell. The other book, Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker, I had heard a favorable opinion about it before and intended to get it but forgot. Thanks for reminding me. I ordered it.

Gary
Lew & Ginny Gage
Cornish NH USA
Posts: 120
Joined: 2006
Any book suggestions
6/13/2021 5:18:23 PM
"Spearhead" by Adam Makos
"The Bedford Boys" by Alex Kershaw

After reading "The Bedford Boys" make a visit to Bedford, VA, to see the D-Day Memorial there.

Ginny

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