- Recommend me some wartime reading
Overlord, Max Hastings. D-Day onward, a really good book.Posted 3 years ago
D-Day, Anthony Beevor, though I think Max Hastings was better.
Stalingrad by A. Beevor got great reviews when it was released, I didnt think it was a great read but it does go into detail about one of the pivotal battles.
More recent – War. Sebastian Junger, about the US in Afghan, made into the film Restrepo(sp?.)
Task Force Helmand, Doug Beattie, UK in Afghan.MacavityMemberPosted 3 years agosandal100Subscriber
Anthony Beevor – either Stalingrad, WW2 or Ardennes 1944. Another vote for Chickenhawk. Stephen E Ambrose books are quite good, he did Band of Brothers. The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer is a good read but apparently questionable on how factually correct it is.
I also found Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes quite good. It’s a fiction book and the far east but the author served in Vietnam winning the Navy Cross which is one below the Medal of Honor so I’m guessing there’s a bit of fact in there amongst the story.Posted 3 years agogobuchulMember
I know the OP wasn’t interested in the Far East, however, this is best personal war memoir I have ever read.
Regarding The Last Panther and D-Day German Eyes, I read them and really enjoyed them, but there are questions over their authenticity.
Same goes for The Forgotten Soldier, which I have read at least 3 times.Posted 3 years agohamishthecatMember
^^ Completely agree ref GMF’s memoir.
Clostermann’s The Big Show is highly recommended and IMO the best WW2 aviation memoir (although he was flying Tempests at the end of the war, not Typhoons). His Flames in the Sky is also superb as a collection of combat episodes although I believe the veracity of some of the events has been questioned subsequently.
An exceptional WW1 aviation memoir is Sagittarius Rising by Cecil Lewis.
For something a bit different, I Flew for the Fuhrer by Heinz Knoke is excellent.
Other WW2 flying memoirs I would recommend are:
Flying Start by Hugh Dundas
Tumult in the Clouds, James A Goodson
Night Fighter, CF Rawnsley and Robert Wright (Rawnsley was John ‘Cat’s Eye’ Cunningham’s Nav/Radar operator)
Fighter Pilot by Paul Ritchie – published during the war and surprisingly short on propaganda bull.
And finally the classic The Last Enemy by Richard Hilary, a much more reflective account of Battle of Britain combat.
Spies in the Sky by Taylor Downing is a good read about the aerial intelligence war.Posted 3 years agoold donaldMember
2nd Quartered safe out here by George McDonald Faser – Yes its about the Burma campaign – but it is both sad and funny. In parts its written in Cumbrian dialect.
For me its very personal – my mate both it for me – and I was astonished to find it describes the death of my great uncle – still moves me to tears. The book is dedicated to him
There you go – off I go againPosted 3 years agomrwhyteSubscriber
The Ben McIntyre books are very good. They are all about the the true stories of espionage during the Second World War. Mostly based around key events such as D-Day, invasion of Sicily etc.
He weaves a very intricate story in an excellent and absorbing way, leaves you truly stunned, realising all the work that went in behind the scenes.Posted 3 years agoscruffywelderMember
ninfan – Member
The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monseratt.
Truly humbling stuff. A novel but all based oh his service in the North Atlantic. The film is remarkable, the book will give you nightmares.
My grandfather served on convoy escorts for a large chunk of the war (mostly in the Atlantic through the period the U-boat crews referred to as “The Happy Time” but also on several Arctic runs). He said that The Cruel Sea was the first book to come anywhere remotely close to the reality, more so even than some of the early post-war memoirs. The film adaptation is also brilliant if you’re into B&W war films.
Escort: War at Sea by Denys Rayner (who my granddad served with on a few convoys) is also pretty good.
The Shetland Bus by David Howarth is also an interesting book on a ballsy but largely forgotten campaign.Posted 3 years agopondoSubscriber
+1s on Sea Harrier Over The Falklands, No Mean Soldier and The Cruel Sea. I would add The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill (best wartime book ever, IMHO, covering 617’s whole war and brilliantly written – he wrote The Great Escape too, and that’s almost as good), The Quiet Soldier by Adam Ballinger on selection for the Territorial SAS, and if you’re ok with novels based on real events, Piece Of Cake by Derek Robinson. I like the idea of Das Boot more than the book – he don’t half rabbit on.Posted 3 years agoepicycloSubscriber
“Hitler’s U-Boat War” by Clay Blair. Two volumes, but full of detail.
Read what happened to Convoy HX229, and then wonder if Churchill deliberately sent it out into the path of the U-boats for political purposes, ie get maximum carnage (no rescue ship on this convoy) to support his need to have more USA support.
BTW the % death rate in the British Merchant Navy exceeded that of the other services, somewhere over 30%.
Agree about the books by George Macdonald-Fraser and Cecil Lewis. Definitely must reads.Posted 3 years agoJulianAMember
Charlotte Gray should NOT be on this list as it was written by Sebastian Faulks.
However, Between Silk and Cyanide should be on the list as it was written by Leo Marks.
Enemy Coast Ahead was good as I recall. Also The Colditz Story and The Latter Days At Colditz (fascinating place to visit by the way). So many great books about bravery and suffering
CFH, have you finished with my copy of I Flew For The Fuhrer? (Which should also be on the list).
Ps The Tunnels Of Cu Chi is gripping.Posted 3 years agonoteethMember
Road of Bones – the Seige of Kohima
Excellent book. My grandfather served in Burma with the Indian Army (artillery) – and it was a good insight into why he rarely talked about his experiences.
Another vote for Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser (of Flashman fame).Posted 3 years agoninfanMember
Enemy Coast Ahead was good as I recall.
Great book, but the most moving thing for me was the introduction by Sir Arthur Harris – essentially warning that ‘some may disapprove of tales of drunkenness and revelry, but what do you expect, these young men were under intolerable strain, faced with near-certain death, no wonder they needed to let off a little steam, if you want to be offended at anything, be offended at those who failed to prevent another war’
For a little escapism and ‘what might have been’ reading, I cannot recommend “Seelowe Nord” enoughPosted 3 years agojimwMember
“BTW the % death rate in the British Merchant Navy exceeded that of the other services, somewhere over 30%.”
Bomber Command losses were over 44% killed. Not that I am belittling the Merchant Navy. One of my friends’s fathers was on a number of the arctic convoys. I rememder hearing his tales of the conditions, and that was before the enemy started shooting at themPosted 3 years agoCountZeroMember
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1846031400/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1457832953&sr=8-2&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=Out+of+Nowhere%3A+A+History+of+the+Military+Sniper+%28General+Military%29&dpPl=1&dpID=51L6IgxpPjL&ref=plSrchPosted 3 years ago
A fascinating read about the history of the sniper in war.
Operation Paraquat by Roger Perkins, about the battle for South Georgia, to bring things into more recent history, can be picked up fairly cheaply:
I have to say I have a personal interest in this one; I designed it and did all of the page layouts and paste-up of the artwork, it somewhat predates Quarkxpress.StirlingCrispinSubscriber
I’ve recently read these – highly recommended:
Sea Wolves: The Extraordinary Story of Britain’s WW2 Submarines
The Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World WarPosted 3 years ago
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