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PERSONALITIES > Personalities of the Second World War

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited May 02, 2012 04:28AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments description

Members can discuss any person involved in the Second World War in this area, soldiers, generals & admirals, combat leaders, politicians, etc.

message 2: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited May 02, 2012 01:06AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments I know in a previous post a member (Geevee) was looking for details on divisional commanders. Here we can discuss personalities involved in the war and any good books that cover them or their memoirs.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Here is a recent title that I have mentioned before but just to kick the new thread off:

Dogface Soldier  The Life of General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. by Wilson A. Heefner by Wilson A. Heefner
On July 11, 1943, General Lucian Truscott received the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, for valor in action in Sicily. During his career he also received the Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Purple Heart. Truscott was one of the most significant of all U.S. Army generals in World War II, pioneering new combat training methods—including the famous “Truscott Trot”— and excelling as a combat commander, turning the Third Infantry Division into one of the finest divisions in the U.S. Army. He was instrumental in winning many of the most important battles of the war, participating in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Anzio, and southern France. Truscott was not only respected by his peers and “dogfaces”—common soldiers—alike but also ranked by President Eisenhower as second only to Patton, whose command he took over on October 8, 1945, and led until April 1946.

Yet no definitive history of his life has been compiled. Wilson Heefner corrects that with the first authoritative biography of this distinguished American military leader. Heefner has undertaken impressive research in primary sources—as well as interviews with family members and former associates—to shed new light on this overlooked hero. He presents Truscott as a soldier who was shaped by his upbringing, civilian and military education, family life, friendships, and evolving experiences as a commander both in and out of combat.

Heefner’s brisk narrative explores Truscott’s career through his three decades in the Army and defines his roles in key operations. It also examines Truscott’s postwar role as military governor of Bavaria, particularly in improving living conditions for Jewish displaced persons, removing Nazis from civil government, and assisting in the trials of German war criminals. And it offers the first comprehensive examination of his subsequent career in the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served as senior CIA representative in West Germany during the early days of the Cold War, and later as CIA Director Allen Dulles’s deputy director for coordination in Washington.

Dogface Soldier is a portrait of a man who earned a reputation for being honest, forthright, fearless, and aggressive, both as a military officer and in his personal life—a man who, at the dedication ceremony for the Anzio-Nettuno American cemetery in 1945, turned away from the crowd and to the thousands of crosses stretching before him to address those buried there. Heefner has written a definitive biography of a great soldier and patriot.

message 4: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited May 02, 2012 01:23AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Here are three books that I have but am yet to read:

Panzer Commander  The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck by Hans von Luck by Hans von Luck

Tigers in the Mud  The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius by Otto Carius by Otto Carius

Grenadiers  The Story of Waffen SS General Kurt "Panzer" Meyer by Kurt Meyer by Kurt Meyer

message 5: by Michael, Assisting Moderator Axis Forces (last edited May 02, 2012 02:39AM) (new)

Michael Flanagan (Loboz) | 282 comments Great selection there Aussie Rick :) I hace read the top one and found it an entertaining read.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments I need to get to it soon myself then! Have you read this account by chance:

Panzer Operations  The Eastern Front Memoir Of General Raus, 1941-1945 by Erhard Raus by Erhard Raus

message 7: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited May 02, 2012 04:25AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments For those who enjoy books about the leaders of the warring nations during WW2, some may enjoy this detailed account of Winston Churchill as a 'warlord'.

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

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Here is a man that tends to stir up some diverse comments and arguments, MacArthur is a person you ever love or hate it appears. I found this book to be a very readable account of this most interesting American commander:

American Caesar  Douglas MacArthur 1880 - 1964 by William Raymond Manchester by William Raymond Manchester

message 9: by Steve (last edited May 04, 2012 05:25AM) (new)

Steve | 113 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "For those who enjoy books about the leaders of the warring nations during WW2, some may enjoy this detailed account of Winston Churchill as a 'warlord'.

[bookcover:Finest Years: Churchill as Warlo..."

Good choice Rick.....I read it recently and it was excellent. Very absorbing and well written.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Glad to hear you enjoyed the book Steve, MacArthur certainly raises some mixed emotions and responses from people but I think Raymond Manchester did a very good job in presenting MacArthur, the good and the bad.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Talking of interesting soldiers from WW2, here is one book that I read back in the 1980's that may interest some folks here.

Oba, The Last Samurai  Saipan 1944 45 by Don Jones by Don Jones

Books on the same subject that I haven't read are:

No Surrender  My Thirty-Year War by Hiroo Onoda by Hiroo Onoda

The Last Japanese Soldier  Corporal Yokoi's 28 Incredible Years In The Guam Jungle by Sankei Shimbun Fuji Terebi Tokubetsu Shuzaihan by Sankei Shimbun Fuji Terebi Tokubetsu Shuzaihan

Some amazing stories contained between these pages I bet!

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Talking about personalities of the Second World War it would be hard to miss these three commanders, all in one good book:

Brothers, Rivals, Victors  Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe by Jonathan W. Jordan by Jonathan W. Jordan

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments One of my favourite books covering a well known German commander was "Knight's Cross" by David Fraser.

Knight's Cross by David Fraser by David Fraser
Erwin Rommel was one of the oustanding commanders of World War II, respected as well as feared by his opponents. His instinct for battle and leadership set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired the men under his command. David Fraser's study brings to Rommel's career not only the insights of a biographer, but also those of a soldier. He shows how superficially undisciplined Rommel's style of leadership could be, and how he believed in boldness of manoeuvre, ferocity in attack, and tenacity in pursuit.

“Erwin Rommel (1891-1944) was the most celebrated German general of WW II, in large part because of his campaigns against the British but also because of his personal magnetism. Relying on speed and shock, his style of maneuver is a standard subject of study in most war colleges. Fraser, a historian and retired British officer, shows that Rommel's uncanny aptitude for maneuver warfare was evident even when he was a junior infantry officer in WW I. Promoted to field marshal in 1944, Rommel commanded German troops defending the coast of France against the Allied invasion, abandoning the proven precepts of mobile warfare for an uncharacteristically rigid defense, a change in tactics which Fraser explores. Implicated in the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, Rommel was given the choice of suicide or facing a people's court. Fraser explains why he took a fatal poison draught, though his only crime was to question Hitler's leadership. Fraser's superb biography reveals Rommel not only as a warrior who ranks with Napoleon and Lee, but also as an unpretentious man who found much contentment in the company of his wife and son.” – Publishers Weekly

“The paradox of a great general serving an evil cause looms over the reputation of the Desert Fox, bridged somewhat by Rommel's forced suicide after the anti-Hitler plot in July_ 1944. Would that he had survived to write his memoirs, for his influence on military thought to this day (his 1937 book Infantry Attacks is still in print) would certainly be felt in doctrines on armored maneuver. In lieu of such, Fraser presents what definitely will become the standard biography (only the second since 1950), as the author astutely traces the qualities of leadership which Rommel embodied. A retired British general himself, Fraser brings a cerebral tone to his analysis, noting Rommel's almost animalistic warrior quality--his zest for war and ability to master its fears, tempered by knowledge of its art and the critical necessity of independent decisions to attain victory. He was thrice wounded in World War I, in actions here meticulously described, and spent the interwar period training new officers. Essentially a patriot, he was ostensibly apolitical but rose meteorically as commandant of Hitler's personal guard, then of a division in France and of the Afrikakorps in the desert. The question of whether his tactical brillance carried over into strategy divides military opinions, but opinion in general--or rather Fraser's convincing work might mold it so--is that he was brilliant, brave, even chivalrous. Technical text in places, but engaging throughout for the library readership.” – Booklist (Gilbert Taylor)

“A judicious appraisal of Germany's best-known WW II soldier, from a retired British general whose published works include a well-regarded 1982 biography of Lord Alanbrook. Drawing on archival and secondary sources, as well as on the assistance of Rommel's son, Fraser offers a nuanced portrait of the so-called Desert Fox. The son of a Swabian schoolmaster, Rommel decided to make arms his profession at an early age. Commissioned less than three years before the outbreak of WW I, he led small units in combat on several fronts, earning the highest awards for bravery. Rommel's organizational gifts attracted Hitler's attention after their initial 1934 meeting, and the officer was given command of the 7th Panzer Division, which spearheaded the Wehrmacht's 1940 conquest of France. Posted to the North African theater early in 1941, he made a world-class name for himself as a master of battlefield maneuver by keeping better-equipped, numerically superior enemy forces at bay for over two years in campaigns from Cyrenaica to the Kasserine Pass. Back in Europe in mid-1943, Rommel oversaw strengthening of Axis defenses against an anticipated invasion by the Allies. Anglo-American troops nonetheless gained a secure foothold in Normandy, which marked the beginning of the Third Reich's end. Meanwhile, Rommel (who'd been implicated in a plot to assassinate Hitler) chose to commit suicide in return for a promise that his family would not be harmed. In addition to authoritative critiques of Rommel's military career, Fraser probes the content of his character and provides perceptive takes on the geopolitical as well as socioeconomic events that made him an originally enthusiastic instrument of an abhorrent movement he never formally joined. A tellingly detailed account that manages to put Rommel into a human context.” – Kirkus Reviews

carl  theaker | 818 comments Knight's Cross is a good book. i read a library
copy and have been meaning to buy my own ever

'Aussie Rick' wrote: "One of my favourite books covering a well known German commander was "Knight's Cross" by David Fraser.

Knight's Cross  Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, A by David Fraser by David Fraser
Erwin Rommel was one of the oustandin..."

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments I hope you find one Carl, it would be nice to have your own copy :)

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Below are two books on one of the most evil men in the Third Reich:

Himmler by Peter Padfield by Peter Padfield
Remarkably, this is the first full-length biography of a man often seen as the very personification of evil. Heinrich Himmler was not only head of Hitler's SS police and Gestapo, but was also in charge of the death camps in the East. The account of Himmler's life and his impact on the rise and fall of the Nazi state make a gripping and horrifying story. But more than this, it is a profound moral and intellectual inquiry into the nature of evil in the human character.

"A thorough, conscientious and compulsively readable investigation." - A. L. Rowse, (Sunday Telegraph)

Heinrich Himmler  A Life by Peter Longerich by Peter Longerich
Heinrich Himmler, an unremarkable looking man, was Hitler's top enforcer, in charge of the Gestapo, the SS, and the so-called Final Solution. We can only wonder, as biographer Peter Longerich asks, how could such a banal personality attain such an historically unique position of power? How could the son of a prosperous Bavarian Catholic public servant become the organizer of a system of mass murder spanning the whole of Europe?

In the first comprehensive biography of this murderous enigma, Longerich answers those questions with a superb account of Himmler's inner self and outward acts. Masterfully interweaving the story of Himmler's personal life and political career with the wider history of the Nazi dictatorship, Longerich shows how skillfully he exploited and manipulated his disparate roles in the pursuit of his far-reaching and grandiose objectives. Himmler's actual strength, he writes, consisted in redrawing every two or three years the master plans for his sphere of power. Himmler expanded that sphere with ruthless efficiency. In 1929, he took the SS--a small bodyguard unit--and swelled it into a paramilitary organization with elite pretensions. By the end of 1934 he had become Reich Chief of the Political Police, and began to consolidate all police power in his own hands. As Germany grabbed neighboring territory, he expanded the Waffen SS and organized the "Germanization" of conquered lands, which culminated in systematic mass murder. When the regime went on the defensive in 1942, Himmler changed his emphasis again, repressing any opposition or unrest.

The author emphasizes the centrality of Himmler's personality to the Nazi murder machine--his surveillance of the private lives of his men, his deep resentments, his fierce prejudices--showing that man and position were inseparable.

Carefully researched and lucidly written, Heinrich Himmler is the essential account of the man who embodied Hitler's apparatus of evil

"[S]upremely enlightening." - Jacob Heilbrunn, (The New York Times Book Review)

"Splendid" - The Sunday Telegraph

"Longerich's study of Himmler's banal evil promises to bear the standard." - The Village Voice

"A masterpiece." - Richard J. Evans, (author of The Coming of the Third Reich)

"Peter Longerich, already the author of a distinguihed history of the Holocaust, has written a biography that tells us everything that the world could ever need to know about this most terrible, yet dreery, of Hitler's authoritative record." - Max Hastings

"A remarkable and wholly fascinating new book by Peter Longerich, a German historian who is among the world's leading scholars of the Holocaust and the Third Reich." - Jewish Journal

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Two very interesting books on Grand Admiral Karl Donitz:

Dönitz  The Last Führer by Peter Padfield by Peter Padfield
A distinguished naval historian and biographer paints a riveting portrait of Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, the Supreme Commander of the German Navy and mastermind of World War Two's devastating submarine war. As Padfield so eloquently proves, dedicated officer Donitz was corrupted by his inner need for a cause and for a leader to serve--both of which he found in Adolf Hitler. As Germany slid inexorably toward defeat in 1945, the Fuhrer duly rewarded his most loyal supporter and confidant by appointing Donitz his successor: the last leader of the Third Reich.

"Padfield's compellingly readable book conveys a flavor of Nazi leadership unmatched by anything outside the memoirs of Albert Speer. It is difficult to frame higher praise." - John Keegan

Memoirs  Ten Years and Twenty Days by Karl Doenitz by Karl Doenitz
Commander of the U-boat fleet, Supreme Naval Commander, and finally Hitler's successor in the last days of the Third Reich, Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz (1891–1980) has been condemned as a Nazi and praised as one of the most brilliant and honorable military leaders of the war. His "wolfpack" tactics resulted in a handful of U-boats sinking 14.5 million tons and nearly deciding the Battle of the Atlantic. Sentenced to ten years at the Nuremberg Trials, Doenitz wrote his memoirs upon his release. In a clear firm style he discusses the planning and execution of the U-boat campaign; the controversial sinking of the Laconia; America's "neutrality" before its entry into the war; the Normandy invasion; the July 1944 bomb plot; his encounters with Raeder, Göring, Speer, Himmler, and Hitler; as well as his own brief tenure as the last Führer. Doenitz's invaluable work allows the reader to view the war at sea through the periscope's eye.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Here is a pretty decent and recent account on one of Hitler's Field Marshals:

Hitler's Commander  Field Marshal Walther Model--Hitler's Favorite General by Steven H. Newton by Steven H. Newton
Field Marshal Walther Model (1891-1945) was an extremely capable and aggressive German commander who rose through the ranks of the Wehrmacht’s high command during World War II. His expertise in rebuilding broken fronts earned him the nickname of the “Fuhrer’s Fireman,” and throughout the war, Hitler relied on the rapidly promoted general to save his army in several desperate situations, despite the fact that Model was often quite blunt with his erratic Fuhrer.Model’s greatest achievement was the restoration of stability along the eastern front in June 1944. In August he was sent to restore the deteriorating western front, where he re-established a strong defensive line along the West Wall in September. He was second-in-command at the Battle of the Bulge and was leading the German army when it collapsed at the end of the war. Rather than surrender, he shot himself in April 1945.Although Model destroyed most of his personal papers just before he died, Stephen H. Newton draws on a wide variety of original German sources, including extensive Wehrmacht archival material, to tell the first and only authoritative story of the commander who was Hitler’s favorite.

"Unlike many of his contemporaries—Rommel, Guderian, von Rundstedt—who have been rescued from the anonymity of defeat, Model (1891–1945) has "languished in relative obscurity." Historian Newton (Panzer Operations), a professor at Delaware State University, hopes to remedy that in this first English-language biography of the general dubbed the "Führer's Fireman" and "the Lion of the Defense." Newton follows Model's career from his heroic service as a young lieutenant on the Western Front in WWI through his meteoric rise to the command of an army group during WWII. Newton aims not only to rescue Model from obscurity but to rehabilitate his frayed reputation as a "Hitler sycophant" and war criminal. (It didn't help that Model's "abrasive personality" made him few friends or admirers.) Drawing on his extensive research in German and American archives, German war diaries and memoirs, Newton presents a picture of a "tactical genius" who was "pro-Hitler" but not blindly so. Facing certain defeat in April 1945, Model destroyed his papers and committed suicide, making the task of any future biographer difficult. In the absence of personal papers, Newton manages to reconstruct Model the commander but not Model the man." - Publishers Weekly

"A useful portrait for students of military history." -Kirkus Reviews

"A well-researched biography." - Washington Times

"This work is a welcome portrait of one of the best generals of World War II." - World War II Quarterly

message 19: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited May 11, 2012 12:22PM) (new)

Geevee | 2349 comments I very much enjoyed this about a man who served with distinction in World War One, had a strained relationship with Churchill, had some successes militarily notably against the superior in numbers Italians, and did great work in laying the foundations for Mountbatten to steer India to a peaceful handover for independence in 1947.

Witness To History  The Life Of John Wheeler Bennett by Victoria Schofield by Victoria Schofield

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Sounds like a great book, I might have to look around for a copy :)

Wavell  Soldier and Statesman  by Victoria Schofield by Victoria Schofield

message 21: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 2349 comments My current book The Quiet Canadian: The Secret Service Story Of Sir William Stephenson by H. Montgomery Hyde is proving to be a boon of information and trivia about Britain's Intelligence Services in America during WWII.

The cooperation helped greatly by the friendships between key people of the British SIS, US Government and fledgling OSS is interesting. One fascinating person I had not heard of was "Cynthia" who was a courageous and dedicated agent responsible for acquiring highly significant information including Italian codebooks. has a good article on her as I wanted to find out more as she is merely named by her codename in the book:

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Great info Geevee, thanks.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments This is one book that I have to try and read soon covering the life of Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis:

Alex; The Life Of Field Marshal Earl Alexander Of Tunis by Nigel. Nicolson by Nigel Nicolson

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Geevee | 2349 comments I have it too Rick - and yep I've not read it yet either :)

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Can't be helped, too many good books to catch up one! Maybe a buddy read one day :)

message 26: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 2349 comments Aye and perhaps we should look to 2013 ;)

message 27: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Geevee wrote: "Aye and perhaps we should look to 2013 ;)"

Good idea! I'm sure we have enough books between us to keep us going for quite a few years if we thought about it :)

message 28: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited May 15, 2012 05:27PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments One of the books I picked up the other day which looks really good and provides a decent account of commander normally eclipsed by General MacArthur is:

Hero of Bataan  The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainwright by Duane P. Schultz by Duane P. Schultz
“Remember Bataan! Remember Corregidor!” These words rallied a nation in the first dark days of World War II. When defeat screamed from every headline, Skinny Wainwright led the ragged troops of the US Army in the Philippines into battle again and again, disrupting Japan’s timetable for the conquest of the Pacific. With dwindling supplies, little food, no air force or navy and outmoded weapons from World War I, Wainwright fought a modern, well-equipped army to a standstill for almost five months. His actions were a triumph in the face of overwhelming odds, as fine as any military action in history.

General Wainwright was the man MacArthur left behind when he was ordered to leave the hopelessly surrounded garrison in the Philippines. Wainwright also became the highest-ranking American POW, enduring with his men the scanty rations, harassment, and beatings until the end of the war. His return, as a haggard, frail, yet still-proud soldier, brought him a fourth star, the Medal of Honor, and even the demand that he seek the US presidency.

Hero of Bataan: The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainwright is a superb history of the struggle for Bataan and Corregidor. Schultz has combed through military files, captured documents, and the personal letters and diaries of scores of army personnel who served in the Philippines. He also interviewed dozens of men and women who spanned Wainwright’s career from his West Point class of 1906 to his death in 1953 to tell this story of a genuine, old-fashioned American hero.

"The first biography of Wainwright, and though a little simpleminded (he's 'a genuine, old-fashioned, flag-waving, gun-toting American hero'), close to the mark historically and full of new material. Beginning with Wainwright's early years, Schultz (Wake Island) follows him from West Point into the cavalry; from the Philippines to France in World War I; and then into a long peacetime career as one of the most distinguished mounted officers in the American service. Wainwright's assignment to the Philippines in 1940 was the beginning of a new career for him, Schultz notes, since he was officially overage for combat service. The bulk of the book is devoted, inescapably, to Wainwright in the Philippines--as MacArthur's subordinate on Luzon before and during the Japanese invasion, as a commander of American and Filipino troops on Bataan, and then as commander of US forces. . . through his surrender of his battered, depleted command at Corregidor. From interviews and newly declassified documents, we not only get a sense of tough-minded, hard-drinking Wainwright's soldierly qualities, we see the other protagonists close-up; the 'enticing orbit' around MacArthur, the untrained Filipino soldiers, Japanese general Homma in tears at a temporary setback. MacArthur, to no surprise, comes off poorly--for his demurral in the award of the Medal of Honor to Wainwright, for his refusal to pass along critical information to the general on Bataan or to keep FDR properly informed. Then, after the humiliating, heart-breaking surrender, Wainwright is imprisoned--and bears the extra burden, during those long years, of wondering if he'll be court-martialled. By no means a noteworthy biography, but an appreciative, fully-researched account of a worthy life." - Kirkus Review

“A vivid picture of the last battles on Bataan.” - New York Times

“The standard work on Wainwright for a long time to come.” - Washington Post

“A moving and accurate account revealing many of the mysteries surrounding Wainwright. Good history, good drama.” - John Toland, (author of The Rising Sun and But Not in Shame)

“Eminently readable, soundly researched, and sympathetic yet honest in viewpoint, this work should stand as the standard biography of Wainwright for a long time.” - D. Clayton James, (author of The Years of MacArthur)

“It was Wainwright’s destiny to preside at one of the most searing episodes in American military history. In this fast-moving narrative, Schultz evokes the tragedy and glory in poignant detail. The story is an inspiring and instructive one of which all Americans can be justly proud.” - A. C. Wedemeyer, (General, US Army, Ret.)

Nicole | 77 comments Here is a new release on the US Naval 5 Star Admirals

The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

The Admirals  Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea by Walter R. BornemanbyWalter R. Borneman

Only four men in American history have been promoted to the five-star rank of Admiral of the Fleet. In the closing days of World War II, this rank was accorded to a quartet whose achievements were so extraordinary that legislation proscribed future appointments to that rank.

William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, Chester W. Nimitz, and William F. Halsey led America's greatest generation to victory on the high seas during World War II. Interacting with each other over four decades, they played critical--and occasionally controversial--roles in the defining events that developed the modern American navy. Put together, these four men were the best and the brightest the Navy produced. And even though they were sometimes at odds with one other, they succeeded in making the United States the world's greatest sea power.

In THE ADMIRALS, award-winning historian Walter R. Borneman tells their story in full for the first time. Drawing upon ship logs, journals, and other primary sources, he shows us how Leahy, King, Nimitz, and Halsey revolutionized naval warfare forever by relying heavily on submarines and aircraft carriers for the first time. And he shows us how these men--who were both friends and rivals--worked together to ensure that the Axis fleets lay destroyed on the ocean floor at the end of World War II.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Excellent post and information Nicole, thanks for sharing!

happy (happyone) | 957 comments Nicole wrote: "Here is a new release on the US Naval 5 Star Admirals

The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea

[bookcover:The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, a..."

This is on my Amazon wish list and I've requested my local library to purchase it.

message 32: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited May 21, 2012 06:23PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Members can also post about people or books covering those individuals who are known to us from the accounts of their actions or bravery during WW2. Such like:

To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy by Audie Murphy

Heroes of WW II  True Stories of Medal of Honor Winners by Edward F. Murphy by Edward F. Murphy

Biggest Brother  The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers by Larry Alexander by Larry Alexander

message 33: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited May 22, 2012 12:12AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments For our British and Commonwealth members, its books like these that may interest some:

British VC's of World War 2  A Study in Heroism by John Laffin by John Laffin

Bernard Freyberg, Vc  Soldier Of Two Nations by Paul Freyberg by Paul Freyberg

More info:

carl  theaker | 818 comments this seems like a personality story.

my wife often has older veterans for patients.
this one brought her one of his stories. i was
going to type it in, but found it online.

it involves a destroyer, sailors with a good idea, or so it seemed at the time, kangeroos, high crimes or maybe just misdemeanors ...

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Great story Carl :)

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments I've decided I must have a copy of this book so I've tracked down a second hand copy and ordered it :)

Bernard Freyberg, VC  Soldier Of Two Nations by Paul Freyberg by Paul Freyberg

message 37: by Kris (last edited May 24, 2012 04:25PM) (new)

Kris (KVolk) | 35 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Here is a pretty decent and recent account on one of Hitler's Field Marshals:

[bookcover:Hitler's Commander: Field Marshal Walther ModelHitler's Favorite General] by Steven H. Newton

I will have to look this one up...and the Rommel one.

Kris (KVolk) | 35 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I need to get to it soon myself then! Have you read this account by chance:

[bookcover:Panzer Operations: The Eastern Front Memoir Of General Raus 19411945] by Erhard Raus"

This was a real solid read I thought so I picked up

The Anvil of War: German Generalship in Defense on the Eastern Front

to read as well. Interesting reading on german strategy and tactics in the eastern front. I also learned from it how the US went to great lengths to obtain information from the german generals they captured.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Hi Kris,

I think you will enjoy Knight's Cross and also the book on Field Marshal Model, two very good books on two interesting commanders.

Knight's Cross  Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, A by David Fraser by David Fraser

Hitler's Commander  Field Marshal Walther Model--Hitler's Favorite General by Steven H. Newton by Steven H. Newton

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments I have ordered a copy of this book which looks very interesting and I will post it in the aviation section here as well:

For Kaiser and Hitler  From Military Aviator to High Command  The Memoirs of Luftwaffe General Alfred Mahncke 1910-1945 by Jochen Mahncke by Jochen Mahncke
he memoirs of General der Flieger a.D. Alfred Mahncke are the first from a former General of the German Luftwaffe to be published in the English language since those of Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring in 1953. Since then, thousands of books have been written on every aspect of the Luftwaffe's history, development, personalities, aircraft, campaigns, operations and ultimate defeat. But the historiography has lacked a fresh, detailed and personal insight into the leadership and command of the Luftwaffe from its earliest years through to the period of crisis which ensued after the tragedy of Stalingrad. Alfred Mahncke's For Kaiser and Hitler rectifies this omission, providing those with an interest in the history of the German military machine with an absorbing, detailed, highly readable and evocative account of life within the Luftwaffe at senior command level.

Yet Mahncke's account is much more than that - for as he states, his is a story spanning '...the national autocracy of the Monarchy and the unsuccessful parliamentary democracy of the Weimar Republic, to the failed National Socialist dictatorship.'

It is also a chronicle of the very beginnings of military aviation. Mahncke was among the first German military aviators and flew with the Kaiser's fledgling air unit in 1911, witnessing and experiencing the exhilaration - and dangers - of flying in some of the earliest military planes. He met the Kaiser, the German Crown Prince and various members of the Imperial royal family, as well as Hindenburg and many prominent German political and military figures. He flew in an early Zeppelin airship. By the outbreak of the First World War, Mahncke was an experienced pilot and he flew subsequently over the Western and Eastern Fronts, before assuming staff positions in France and Russia where he controlled tactical air operations. He went on a dive in a German U-boat in 1915 and later traveled to Palestine. He also suffered, and describes in highly graphic and emotional terms, the carnage and horror of the trench warfare on the Western Front in 1917.

In the 'dark years' of the interwar period following in the wake of the Versailles Treaty, Mahncke served in senior positions with the military police and his writing offers a valuable insight into life in the Weimar Republic and of the uncomfortable rise of National Socialism and Adolf Hitler - whom he first met in 1933 - from the viewpoint of the German conservative middle classes and the military. He met Charles Lindbergh and attended the controversial 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin as well as the Nuremberg rallies where he shared a podium with the Fuhrer.

In 1935, he joined the fledgling Luftwaffe, experiencing - from his position as overseer and champion of air sport in the Third Reich - at firsthand the politics, personalities and measures of stealth used to rebuild German air power under Nazi control. He witnessed, and describes vividly, the emergence of an awesome - but not flawless - new force in aviation and its eventual deployment in Hitler's invasion of Russia in June 1941, culminating in the drive into the Caucasus and Crimea and the advance on the Volga. Mahncke was deeply involved in Luftwaffe operations at Stalingrad and later in the Kuban in 1943, before moving to Italy, where he coordinated the desperate German air defense of Sicily ahead of the slow, tenacious defense and ultimate retreat through the Italian mainland throughout 1943 and 1944.

Mahncke met and worked with Goring, Udet, Milch, Kesselring, Jeschonnek, von Richthofen and many other senior commanders of the Luftwaffe and German armed forces. He describes their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their vision - or lack of it.

For Kaiser and Hitler is unapologetic, honest, readable and engaging. It provides an intriguing insight for those with an interest in the air power and military history of the First World War and the Third Reich and forms an important resource for scholarship.

Translator Jochen O.E.O. (John) Mahncke was born in Konigsberg, East Prussia in 1926. While attending high school in Berlin, he was conscripted as an anti-aircraft auxiliary in the Flak defense of Berlin from February 1943 to mid-1944. He joined the Wehrmacht as a Panzergrenadier in 1944 and was dispatched to Italy where he served as an NCO (Officer Cadet).

He was taken Prisoner of War by American forces in May 1945 and handed over to the British later that year and was shipped to North Africa. He was held in various PoW camps at El Dabbah, near El Alamein, until 1947. In mid-1947 he was moved to Cairo and then to the Suez Canal Zone where he served in a guard unit intended to protect British troops in their camps. By the time he was repatriated to Germany at the end of 1948, he was working as an assistant paymaster for the British administration at Port Said/Port Fouad.

Upon returning to Germany he took up an apprenticeship with an import/export business in Hamburg, but emigrated to South Africa in 1957 where he now lives with his wife and where he worked in the printing and packaging industry in Johannesburg and Cape Town until retirement in 1992. He has two sons and four grandchildren.

Jochen Mahncke is author of U-Boats and Spies in Southern Africa: Anecdotes, Legends, Stories (Cape Town, 2007) and is an Honorary Life Member of the South African Military History Society.

Kris (KVolk) | 35 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Hi Kris,

I think you will enjoy Knight's Cross and also the book on Field Marshal Model, two very good books on two interesting commanders.

[bookcover:Knight's Cross: Life of Field Marshal Erwin ..."

I will add these to my TBR list.

Nicole | 77 comments Found this book due out tomorrow on General Zhukov.

Stalin's General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov

Stalin's General  The Life of Georgy Zhukov by Geoffrey RobertsbyGeoffrey Roberts

Widely regarded as the most accomplished general of World War II, the Soviet military legend Marshal Georgy Zhukov at last gets the full-scale biographical treatment he has long deserved.

A man of indomitable will and fierce determination, Georgy Zhukov was the Soviet Union’s indispensable commander through every one of the critical turning points of World War II. It was Zhukov who saved Leningrad from capture by the Wehrmacht in September 1941, Zhukov who led the defense of Moscow in October 1941, Zhukov who spearheaded the Red Army’s march on Berlin and formally accepted Germany’s unconditional surrender in the spring of 1945. Drawing on the latest research from recently opened Soviet archives, including the uncensored versions of Zhukov’s own memoirs, Roberts offers a vivid portrait of a man whose tactical brilliance was matched only by the cold-blooded ruthlessness with which he pursued his battlefield objectives.

After the war, Zhukov was a key player on the geopolitical scene. As Khrushchev’s defense minister, he was one of the architects of Soviet military strategy during the Cold War. While lauded in the West as a folk hero—he was the only Soviet general ever to appear on the cover of Time magazine—Zhukov repeatedly ran afoul of the Communist political authorities. Wrongfully accused of disloyalty, he was twice banished and erased from his country’s official history—left out of books and paintings depicting Soviet World War II victories. Piercing the hyperbole of the Zhukov personality cult, Roberts debunks many of the myths that have sprung up around Zhukov’s life and career to deliver fresh insights into the marshal’s relationships with Stalin, Khrushchev, and Eisenhower.

A remarkably intimate portrait of a man whose life was lived behind an Iron Curtain of official secrecy, Stalin’s General is an authoritative biography that restores Zhukov to his rightful place in the twentieth-century military pantheon.

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Geevee | 2349 comments Thanks Nicole on my TBR

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Great information Nicole, thanks for the post.

Kris (KVolk) | 35 comments TBR material for sure....thx

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments And older publication on Zhukov is; Zhukov by :Otto Preston Chaney.

Zhukov by Otto Preston Chaney by Otto Preston Chaney
Marshal Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov, hero of Leningrad, defender of Moscow and Stalingrad, commander of the victorious Red Army at Berlin, was the most decorated soldier in Soviet history. Yet for many years Zhukov was relegated to the status of "unperson" in his homeland. Now, following glasnost and the fall of the Soviet Union, Zhukov is being restored to his rightful place in history. In this completely updated version of his classic 1971 biography of Zhukov, Otto Preston Chaney provides the definitive account of the man and his achievements.

Zhukov’s career spanned most of the Soviet period, reflecting the turmoil of the civil war, the hardships endured by the Russian people in World War II, the brief postwar optimism evidenced by the friendship between Zhukov and Eisenhower, repression in Poland and Hungary, and the rise and fall of such political figures as Stalin, Beria, and Krushchev. The story of Russia’s greatest soldier thus offers many insights into the history of the Soviet Union itself.(l

Nicole | 77 comments Found this book in the new release section.

Joe Rochefort's War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway

Joe Rochefort's War  The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway by Elliot CarlsonbyElliot Carlson

Elliot Carlson's biography of Capt. Joe Rochefort is the first to be written of the officer who headed the U.S. Navy's decrypt unit at Pearl Harbor and broke the Japanese Navy's code before the Battle of Midway. The book brings Rochefort to life as the irreverent, fiercely independent, and consequential leader that he was.

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments Another good book Nicole, thanks :)

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments I missed this earlier recommendation by Kris:

The Anvil of War  German Generalship in Defense on the Eastern Front by Erhard Rauss by Erhard Rauss

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 6158 comments I have a hard back edition of this book which I love just flicking through and reading about individual soldiers who had been awarded the Knight's Cross and the German Close-Combat Clasp in Gold.

The Face of Courage  The 98 Men Who Received the Knight's Cross and the Close-Combat Clasp in Gold by Florian Berger by Florian Berger

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