THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

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BOOK DISCUSSIONS > So, What Are You Reading?

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message 301: by Patricrk (last edited Jul 29, 2010 02:22AM) (new)

Patricrk patrick | 79 comments Rod wrote: "I read this about a year ago and really enjoyed it. It gives a different and detailed insight into the battle. One of Beevor's most enjoyable accounts."

I just finished the chapter on liberating Paris which is where I am right now. This makes the chapter a whole lot more interesting. We are going over to Normanday in a couple of weeks to take a tour.


message 302: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments Hi Patricrk,

I also quite enjoyed Beevor's account of the Normandy campaign. I'm very envious that you are going on a tour of the beaches and areas of the fighting, it would be a sobering experience walking the spots that you have just read about. I hope you have a great tour and I hope you can give us an up-date when you get back.

D-Day  The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor by Antony Beevor


message 303: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 79 comments Just starting The Pacific by Hugh AmbroseHugh Ambrose


message 304: by George (new)

George | 107 comments just finished off Lecky's "Helmet for my Pillow." Naturally, I saw good chunks of the recent HBO series and thought I'd give it a shot. turned out to be excellent reading.


message 305: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments I've just started Max Hastings account of Churchill during WW2.


Finest Years  Churchill as Warlord 1940-45  Winston Churchill as Warlord 1940-45 by Max Hastings by Max Hastings


message 306: by Dero (new)

Dero Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speers


message 307: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments I'm on the final few chapters of "Finest Years" by Max Hastings and although I am enjoying it a great deal I need something to break up the politics with a bit more action so I have started a new Australian release by an up-and-coming new military historian Phillip Bradley.

This is his third book covering aspects of Australian military history during WW2 and this book deals with the Salamaua campaign in New Guinea. This campaign started with the Battle of Bismarck Sea which saw units of the USAAF and the RAAF decimate a Japanese naval convoy running reinforcements to Lae which produced some of the most startling film footage ever seen of aerial strafing attacks on ships by the Australian photographer Damien Parer.

To Salamaua (Australian Army History Series) by Phillip Bradley by Phillip Bradley


message 308: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments Here is a book I am going to try and read soon that may interest others:


Battleground Prussia  The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (General Military) by Prit Buttar by Prit Buttar


message 309: by Perry (new)

Perry | 7 comments I am reading a good one now that I highly recommend: Citizens of London, primarily about the handful of Americans who really influenced US views about Britain's plight (Murrow, Hopkins, Harriman etc) and then, after Pearl Harbor, the complicated and often times rocky working relationship between the 2 countries. Perry


message 310: by Dr. Michael (new)

 Dr. Michael Galvin (DrGalvin) | 135 comments Just about to start D-Day The Battle For Normandy bt Antony Beevor.


message 311: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Here is a book I am going to try and read soon that may interest others:


I'll look fwd to your review. I've always been
interested in that area of the war and history
of it in general.



message 312: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments Hi Carl, I'll let you know what its like once I get a chance to read it, soooo many books and so little time!


message 313: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Hi Carl, I'll let you know what its like once I get a chance to read it, soooo many books and so little time!"

Exactly!

doing my part, i'm starting this one. so far, it's
easy on the eyes.

Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors


message 314: by George (new)

George | 107 comments that's an excellent book. doesn't exactly have a happy ending, of course. my father served on board the Houston before the war but transferred off before the war started.


message 315: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments George wrote: "that's an excellent book. doesn't exactly have a happy ending, of course. my father served on board the Houston before the war but transferred off before the war started."

indeed it is a good read. sometimes with a history book we pick it up for the subject and have to endure the writing style, often a bit chewy, but this one cruise(r)d along. i was always looking forward to time to get in another chapter or two.

Ship of Ghosts  The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors by James D. Hornfischer


message 316: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments Next on the list, a bit of reading break, a photo essay. A touch
of histrionics in the title, we'll see.

ALBUM OF THE DAMNED  SNAPSHOTS FROM THE THIRD REICH by Paul Garson


message 317: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments Here is another recent release covering one of Germany's more famous Fallschirmjagers:

HITLER'S PARATROOPER  The Life and Battles of Rudolf Witzig by Gilberto Villahermosa by Gilberto Villahermosa
Publishers blurb:
Rudolf Witzig entered the history books as the heroic captor of Belgium's supposedly impregnable fortress Eben Emael in May 1940 - the first time that glider-borne troops were used in the war. To many people, he is also known as the commander of the battle group that fired the first shots of the Tunisian campaign.
Remarkably, next to nothing has been written about him as an individual. This biography, completed with the full support of Witzig's widow and son, is a comprehensive history of the man and also provides important new detail on the German parachute arm that he served.
In the course of his service, he was awarded the coveted Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He could not be awarded the decoration because he had not yet earned the Iron's Crosses 2nd and 1st class - to resolve the problem he was awarded all three on the spot.
Witzig was involved in Operation Mercury, the invasion of Crete, but was injured during the fighting. After his recovery, he was sent to Tunisia where he was credited with several successful defensive actions. He ended the war in captivity, surrendering to the Allies on 8 May 1945, the day after his name was placed on the Honor Roll of the Luftwaffe.


message 318: by Herzig (new)

Herzig | 1 comments I'm reading, actually, re-reading Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrach. It's a novel about Stalinist occupation of eastern Poland (now Belarus) after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. It's amazing how little is written about the Russian invasion, only two weeks after the German one. It gives an insightful glimpse into the sufferings of everyday people.


message 319: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Here is another recent release covering one of Germany's more famous Fallschirmjagers:

HITLER'S PARATROOPER  The Life and Battles of Rudolf Witzig by Gilberto Villahermosa by [author:Gilberto Villahe..."


AR, looks good, i admit i'm usually a sucker for
the 'other side' angle on things. Appears like
you're getting quite an enticing backlog. As you said before, so many books, so little time.


message 320: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments Regarding the Night of the Long Knives where
Hitler purged the SA, i recently read a blurb
that said :

in retaliation a secret group of SA
members formed a 'death squad' and
and during 34-35 assassinated over
150 SS members as an act of revenge.

Has anyone heard of such a thing? I find
it hard to believe. Can't imagine Heydrich
sitting there and saying, mmm, that's
the fifth heart attack this week.

Sounds like the subject of one of those
late night History channel specials.


message 321: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments The Bitter Road to Freedom  A New History of the Liberation of Europe by William I. Hitchcock

Giving this one a try. Always concerned about
the word 'New' in a title.


message 322: by Sdoconnor (new)

Sdoconnor | 31 comments I don't know if anyone here has seen this, but there is a blog at http://wwarii.com/blog/ about World War II. The author of the blog writes about interesting historical facts, books, and certain aspects of the war. There doesn't seem to be too many comments from people, but it seems that not too many people know about it. Maybe everyone should try and check it out.


message 323: by Steve (last edited Sep 25, 2012 01:39PM) (new)

Steve Anderson | 94 comments I'm enjoying Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre -- non-fiction history about an Allied intelligence ruse during WWII that involved planting a dead, faked British officer to wash up on the shores of Spain carrying papers that would fool the enemy about the invasion of Sicily. Lots of nice background about the quirky intelligence officers who cooked up the con, many of whom were novelists and frustrated adventurers.

I usually read (and write) historical espionage fiction but this is doing the trick. It was also a movie called The Man Who Never Was. As far as the characters go, it's about as close to fiction as you can get.

Steve Anderson


message 324: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments Hi Steve,

I've enjoyed both of Ben Macintyre’s books covering espionage/intelligence subjects during WW2. If you enjoy "Operation Mincemeat" you might like to try "Agent Zigzag".

Agent Zigzag  A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben MacIntyre by Ben MacIntyre


message 325: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments I'm currently reading a recent purchase titled "Fire from the Sky: A Diary Over Japan" by Ron Greer.


Fire from the Sky  A Diary Over Japan by Ron Greer by Ron Greer


message 326: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments everyone lose their library card? yeah i did, but
i had a barnes&noble gift card i had to use, so i
purchased one of those 'green' books in the
history aisle:


The Brandenburger Commandos  Germany's Elite Warrior Spies in World War II (Stackpole Military History Series) (Stackpole Military History Series) by Franz Kurowski


message 327: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeygaw) | 18 comments I've been working on The Armies Of Rommel. It's an interesting mixture of a biography of Rommel and technical information on the structure of the units he commanded as well as the weapons they were equipped with.


message 328: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments I'm currently reading "Battleground Prussia" by Prit Buttar and so far its been a pretty good account of the fighting in East Prussia during the final stages of WW2.


Battleground Prussia  The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (General Military) by Prit Buttar by Prit Buttar


message 329: by Josh (new)

Josh Liller (Joshism) | 19 comments Just picked up "Fortress Rabaul" on the new books shelf at my local library. Author is Bruce Gamble, who previously wrote "Black Sheep", "Black Sheep One", and "Darkest Hour".


message 330: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments Hi Josh,

I've got a copy of "Fortress Rabaul" put aside to read soon. I loved his book "Darkest Hour", excellent account.

Fortress Rabaul  The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942-April 1943 by Bruce Gamble & Darkest Hour  The True Story of Lark Force at Rabaul - Australia's Worst Military Disaster of World War II by Bruce Gamble by Bruce Gamble


message 331: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeygaw) | 18 comments I'm finishing up Europa, Europa, which is the biography of a Jewish teen who managed to survive the war by concealing his Jewish origins and claiming he was an ethnic German. He would go as far as to spend time in the Hitler Youth and even serve on the Russian Front.

I'm about to start Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland which tells of a rear area battalion that would round up the "undesirables" in places the German Army captured.


message 332: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments Michael wrote: "I'm finishing up Europa, Europa, which is the biography of a Jewish teen who managed to survive the war by concealing his Jewish origins and claiming he was an ethnic German. He would ..."

i saw the flic based on this book when it first came out. It was one of those 'artsy' foreign films. It was a good one and it inspired me to want to read the book, though somehow i've not gotten around to it yet.


message 333: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I'm currently reading "Battleground Prussia" by Prit Buttar and so far its been a pretty good account of the fighting in East Prussia during the final stages of WW2.

AR- I'm interested in your review of this one.



message 334: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Hi Josh,

I've got a copy of "Fortress Rabaul" put aside to read soon. I loved his book "Darkest Hour", excellent account.

[bookcover:Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, Jan..."


These looking interesting too, particularly if they have
some Japanese point of view on things, which is often
difficult to find. Looks like we have a similar taste
in history.


message 335: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 7991 comments carl wrote: "'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I'm currently reading "Battleground Prussia" by Prit Buttar and so far its been a pretty good account of the fighting in East Prussia during the final stages of WW2.

A..."


Hi Carl,

"Battleground Prussia" is a very decent account of the Soviet offensives in Prussia in late 1944 and early 1945. If you haven't read anything much on the subject it provides a very good overview of this campaign and the author has used numerous first hand accounts from German soldiers and civilians and some Russian accounts as well. He also covers quite well the role of the German Navy in supporting the German Army with its big guns and also in the evacuation of civilians and soldiers from pockets along the coast. There could have been more maps provided but overall I thought this was a very good book, 4 out of 5 stars!

Battleground Prussia  The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (General Military) by Prit Buttar by Prit Buttar


message 336: by Ian (new)

Ian | 65 comments Just finished reading Missing Believed Killed Missing Believed Killed  Casualty Policy and the Missing Research and Enquiry Service1939-1952 by Stuart Hadaway. A friend now 84 was a member of one of the Research & Enquiry teams tracing missing aircrew and establishing the fate of many of the 40,000 or so RAF crew were missing and bring what is now called 'closure' to their relatives. Very interesting & detailed history.


message 337: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments Ian wrote: "Just finished reading Missing Believed KilledMissing Believed Killed  Casualty Policy and the Missing Research and Enquiry Service1939-1952 by Stuart Hadaway. A friend now 84 was a member of one..."

This does sound like an interesting read. I always
wonder about the people counted in stats like that. Tend to get lost in the numbers, but each is important, especially if it's you!


message 338: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 980 comments Christmas Shopping - for myself ....

I've thought about buying Douglas Nash's
"Hell's Gate" as a splurge. As it was
near $50, and I had enough to read, I told
myself I'd wait buy it around Christmas for fun.

Went to price it on Amazon & B&N and now the
price is near $70!

Gee makes you wonder if that is special
Holiday pricing !? Since the book is kinda
big and likely to be on someone's list.

Now I have to hold off for January ...

Hell's Gate: The Battle of the Cherkassy Pocket January to February 1944


message 339: by Ray (new)

Ray (MangoRay) | 20 comments Just finished reading "Wild Blue" by Stephen Ambrose. About young George McGovern getting involved with the Air Corp, pilot training and fighting and surviving bombing missions out of Italy. Only other insight into the air war in Europe was the movie "Memphis Belle". Very good write-up of how these guys saw war much differently from ground pounders, navy or even fighter jocks. Sen. McGovern is still with us. I looked him up and sent him an email with sincere "Thanks" for his service to our country.


message 340: by Ian (last edited Dec 16, 2010 08:54AM) (new)

Ian | 65 comments Finished reading Alone in Berlinby Hans Fallada. A novel based on the true exploits of Elise & Otto Hempel, a working class couple, who were executed for distributing small cards with anti-Nazi messages. Low level resistance but the book captures the fear and despair of ordinary people in Germany who were not Nazis or became disillusioned as the true nature of the regime became apparent. Sometimes we get so absorbed in the campaigns, strategies and events that we lose sight of why the war was fought and the suffering of those under the Nazi yoke. In the UK we were not pulled into the Third Reich but at least until Barbarossa it was a real threat. Thoroughly recommended. Now changing direction. Just started A World on Fire  A Saga of the Civil War, at Home and Abroad by Amanda Foreman Actually the UK edition is subtitled 'A History of Two Nations Divided' and is a history of the relationships between the USA & Britain during the US Civil War. So far a fascinating history of the relationship between the two sides in the war and Britain and of the many Britons who fought on both sides.


message 341: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (Espo) | 3 comments I just started "The Training Ground: Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848" by Martin Dugard. It is basically the tale of how these great Civil War Generals knew each other and were friends at West Point then all served together at the Mexican War before facing each other in the Civil War. He also mentions Longstreet and few other Civil War generals.

He also wrote The Last Voyage of Columbus, which was awesome. He is a very good writer and provides excellent detail.


message 342: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 5 comments World War II Behind Closed Doors. A really important book on WWII.

Rees asks in his intro, "When do you think the Second World War ended?" and his answer to that is, "Well, it depends how you look at it." In 1945 when the war ended in the West, in eastern Europe the people "simply swapped the rule of one tyrant for another." How did this injustice happen? Rees, with the help of eyewitnesses and key archival material recently made available in the Soviet Union, attempts to answer this crucial question.


message 343: by Ray (new)

Ray (MangoRay) | 20 comments Erma wrote: "World War II Behind Closed Doors. A really important book on WWII.

Rees asks in his intro, "When do you think the Second World War ended?" and his answer to that is, "Well, it de..."


A very good question about US foreign policy. So we ramp up to defeat the Nazi's and Japanese only to "give" the Soviets what they want simply because they were our allies? I think Gen. Patton had it right. We should have continued the fight against tyranny when it was the next logical step and we were in a good position to do something about it.

This to me is the greatest flaw in our democratic system where politicians make these decisions. Same goes for MacArthur when he wanted to take on the Chinese north of the Yalu River during the Korean 'Conflict.' Look where negotiating has gotten us all these years later. If we get into a fight, we need to let the military finish it. And I am not advocating that nukes needed to be used either. Now look at the enemy we have to face. A shame, a damn shame. We don't learn from history.


message 344: by Allan (new)

Allan | 50 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I've just started Max Hastings account of Churchill during WW2.


Finest Years  Churchill as Warlord 1940-45 by Max Hastings by Max Hastings"

I hope you like it, but I recently opened up his history of the Korean War to see what he thought of a particular battle, and his account of it contained a number of glaring errors.


message 345: by Allan (new)

Allan | 50 comments Ray wrote: "Just finished reading "Wild Blue" by Stephen Ambrose. About young George McGovern getting involved with the Air Corp, pilot training and fighting and surviving bombing missions out of Italy. Only..."

I disagreed with McGovern politically, but I respect him a lot as a man and a veteran. I believe there was some controversy about Ambrose plagiarizing something else when he wrote this book, but I can't recall the details.


message 346: by Allan (new)

Allan | 50 comments Ray wrote: "Erma wrote: "World War II Behind Closed Doors. A really important book on WWII.

Rees asks in his intro, "When do you think the Second World War ended?" and his answer to that is, "..."


1. I have not read the Rees book, though I plan to take a look. Yet if he is saying that some ugly compromises were made with the Soviets in order to win the war against the Germans and Japanese, then he is not saying anything that historians have not known and written about for many years.

2. Whatever we 'gave' the Soviets, they already had what they wanted most: Eastern Europe. We didn't give that to them, they took it by force with their armies, and the only way to take it back would have been to drive those armies out with our own--in short, with another world war.

3. You seem to think that this not only should have been done, but that it could have been. I am less sure.

4. Japan was still unsubdued when the war in Europe ended, and the Japanese would cerainly have sided with the USSR if we had turned against the Soviets.

5. Public opinion in the west would not have understood or supported a sudden turning against the ally that had fought with us for four years. Public opinion only turned against the USSR as a result of the Soviet's ugly behavior in the first years after the war. A war against the USSR would have been fully as bloody and destructive as the war against the Axis, and after six years everyone was heartily sick of war.

6. Such a war would not have been a certain Western victory. the Soviet armies in Europe greatly outnumbered the Western armies. We would have had air superiority and naval supremacy, but Soviet armor was superior to ours in both numbers and quality, as Patton would have found out immediately.

7. Nuclear weapons would not have helped; we had only a few of them, they were not quick or easy to make, and the Soviet cities which were the only suitable targets would not have been easy even for our B29's to reach.

9. Patton and MacArthur were great generals, but even their biographers have agreed that they were ignorant of--and foolish about--politics and diplomacy. They were no guides to anything beyond their professional sphere, and this is true of nearly all generals. Politics and diplomacy are not, and should not be, their business.

10. I have recently read a good deal about the Korean War, and MacArthur's conduct after the Inchon invasion was inexcusable and at times amounted to virtual insubordination against both the president and the joint chiefs. His recklessness nearly put us into a third world war, and at that time we were so poorly prepared for such a war that we would have lost it very quickly. Finally, MacArthur's direction of his field forces produced one of the great disasters in American military history, the double defeat of the Chongchon River and the Chosin Reservoir. The joint chiefs--who can hardly be called cowards or communists--fully supported the president's decision to relieve MacArthur.

11. Whether you like it or not, in this country the military is subordinate to the civil authority, as it should always be. In countries where this is not so, you have coups, dictatorships, and tyranny. Civilian leadership may make military mistakes, but military leadership of a country destroys liberty.

12. I don't like the Soviet Union's record anymore than you do. I don't approve of all the deals that were made among the Allies to win the war. But in war, diplomacy, and politics, there is a difference between what is desirable and what is possible.


message 347: by Allan (new)

Allan | 50 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I'm on the final few chapters of "Finest Years" by Max Hastings and although I am enjoying it a great deal I need something to break up the politics with a bit more action so I have started a new A..."

Max Hastings' problem is that he thinks he could have won WWII if he had been in command. Phil Bradley, on the other hand, is a good, modest writer and a good guy as well.


message 348: by Ray (new)

Ray (MangoRay) | 20 comments Allan wrote: "Ray wrote: "Just finished reading "Wild Blue" by Stephen Ambrose. About young George McGovern getting involved with the Air Corp, pilot training and fighting and surviving bombing missions out of ..."

Agreed. Politics aside in his later life, his service as a young man is without question that of a patriot.

As for Ambrose, I found that not only were there questions about "Wild Blue" but others as well.

see http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/e...


message 349: by Ray (new)

Ray (MangoRay) | 20 comments Allan wrote: "Ray wrote: "Erma wrote: "World War II Behind Closed Doors. A really important book on WWII.

Rees asks in his intro, "When do you think the Second World War ended?" and his answer..."


Yeah, yeah, yeah, I agree with you on points 1-10. But as for 11 and 12 I guess it is just my frustration at what has transpired at our "political" leadership since the end of WWII with the Korean truce, Vietnam, the Gulf War where we did not finish the job when we could have, abandoning Afghanistan after the Soviets left, the mess we are in now and the mess that is coming with the Russians (START II my ass), those oh so wonderful Chinese, the Norks, Iran, Islamic Terrorists, Venezuela and other making moves in S. America ... oh my, let's just tuck our heads in our holes and hope everyone just leaves us alone.

You can get off your high horse now and stop lecturing. I know the military is a tool of the government, as 'brilliant' as government is. I'm not so sure I would believe all the views historians have about our military leaders not being smart enough to understand the realities of the human element. Most of the time, I think it is the politicians who are the ones who are at odds with the realities of life and their so-called "good intentions."


message 350: by Allan (last edited Dec 20, 2010 06:16PM) (new)

Allan | 50 comments I regret that the tone of my comments sounded a little harsh to you, but I am not on a high horse and I am not lecturing. None of us here are lecturing, really; we are all just amateurs who have gotten together to discuss books of common interest. We can keep the discussion amiable.

I can share some of your unhappiness with the outcomes of recent US wars (as I noted elsewhere, I disagreed with some of Senator McGovern's positions on Vietnam, etc). But as I said apropos WWII, the desirable and the possible cannot always be reconciled. On the whole, I am more impressed by what our leaders in WWII (both political and military) accomplished than by what they failed to accomplish.

I don't believe that our political leadership since WWII has been inferior to our military leadership but that would really be a political discussion, and so probably unsuitable for this forum.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Fatherland (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

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Michael Jones (other topics)
William Manchester (other topics)
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Richard J. Evans (other topics)
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