WW II Books

by Steven F. Hayward

Tons of e-mails in response to my bleg below about nominees of insightful and favorite World War II books, but why should Jonah have all the fun soliciting reader feedback? As with Jonah’s e-mail storms, I’ve received too many to respond to everyone, but all are appreciated, and I’ve learned about a number of titles I didn’t previously know.  

A lot of you wrote to mention your fondness for Herman Wouk’s war novels (Winds of War and War and Remembrance), and of course I’m grateful that several wrote to note a big oversight in my original post in omitting William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and Gordon Prange’s great account of Pearl Harbor, At Dawn We Slept.  

More nominees: Max Hastings, A. J. P. Taylor, and John Keegan have a lot of fans in NRO-land; plainly they all belong on any good WW II bookshelf. Also lots of fans of Samuel Eliot Morrison’s books, and Winston Churchill’s six-volume history of the conflict. Readers Jeff Cole and Mark Nelson recommend an interesting title, The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer, a favorite of the USMC and the Army that offers the perspective of a German infantryman. David Alexander of Pocatello, Idaho (I’ve always loved to say the name of that town, which deserves to be more famous) recommends James Stokesbury’s A Short History of World War II. Several also recommend E. B. Sledge, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. Another pick I’ve overlooked: Gerhard Weinberg’s A World at Arms:A Global History of World War II. Martin Gilbert also has a doorstop one-volume global history of the war, simply titled The Second World War: A Complete History.  

I’m still working through responses and they are continuing to roll in about one every other minute. I’ll post more if I can carve out more time today.    

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