THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

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ARCHIVED THREADS > Best WW II Book for 2012?

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Dec 12, 2012 09:34PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments description

What was your favourite WW II book that you read in 2012 and why?


message 2: by Michael, Assisting Moderator Axis Forces (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) | 292 comments Tough question will have to put on my thinking cap.


message 3: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments That's what I'm doing, make take a bit of time :)


message 4: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments For me it was
Joseph Goebbels Life and Death by Toby Thacker Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death by Toby Thacker.
A finely written and highly readable study of a skilled politician and communicator who was central to Nazism and how Germany was seen by its own citizens and the rest of the world during the war.

Closely followed by:
All Hell Let Loose by Max Hastings by Max Hastings and

Spitfire Portrait Of A Legend by Leo McKinstry by Leo McKinstry


message 5: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments Wow, just one??? Okay, it would have to be
Between Silk and Cyanide A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945 by Leo Marks
This was such an incredible story about the what was done to help with the Resistance movement and the process by which codes were developed and then deciphered. A great story by someone who has a gift for writing a compelling narrative. This was my first foray into the spy/espionage world of WWII and I was enthralled for all 600+ pages.

A very close 2nd and 3rd would be from 2 of my favorite authors

In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson by Erik Larsen- what a great narrative non-fiction writer!

The Longest Winter The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon by Alex Kershaw by Alex Kershaw- also a great narrative non-fiction writer


message 6: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments It is hard to decide but I will have to go for; Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings as he provided such a gripping and balanced account of WW2 as a total war.

Inferno The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings by Max Hastings

Followed closely by these two great books:

The Liberator One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau by Alex Kershaw by Alex Kershaw
An excellent portrayal of one man's war and his struggle to retain his humanity during the darkest period of his life.

Hell's Battlefield by Phillip Bradley by Phillip Bradley
An excellent account and overview of Australia's war in New Guinea during WW2.


message 7: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 1494 comments year's not over, yet.


message 8: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Very true Carl, you got any suggestions so far?


message 9: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 1494 comments Inferno definitely was a good read and a frontrunner. I'll have to look at my list for 2012. sometimes i'm surprised at what i read back in january.


message 10: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments Geevee wrote: "For me it was
Joseph Goebbels Life and Death by Toby Thacker Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death by Toby Thacker.
A finely written and highly readable study of a skilled politician and communi..."


Geevee, all three sound fantastic, especially the one on Goebbels. Added them all to my wishlist :)


message 11: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2995 comments Read some good ones but this one stands above all as a story of unimaginable endurance:

Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Second place tie between:

Inferno The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings With the Old Breed At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene B. Sledge

Great year for WWII stories, in great part due to you bringing them to my attention and motivating me to read them.


message 12: by happy (last edited Dec 14, 2012 08:49AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 2241 comments I think the best one that I read was either Symond's


The Battle of Midway by Craig L. Symonds
or Hornfischer's
Neptune's Inferno The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer

Inferno was also right up there.

I read Unbroken in '11 so I can't count that:)


message 13: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments So far, that's 3 mentions for Inferno The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings and 2 mentions for Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand . I am moving both up on my wishlist to the top for 2013.


message 14: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments All excellent books so far and interesting to see what other people liked in 2012 as it does motivate you to move titles around on your 'to read' list. Like the two books Happy mentioned which I have but not read yet.


message 15: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Both Happy's look good and I've always meant to read Christie's recommendation Between Silk and Cyanide A Codemaker's War, 1941-1945 by Leo Marks by Leo Marks.

I was lucky with my picks in 2012 as I read only a few WWII books as I read a variety of other subjects. I've also enjoyed reading the posts on the group reads even when I've not been taking part too.


message 16: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 500 comments I read some really good books this year, but I think this was my favorite:
We Die Alone A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Armine Howarth
I bought it because the e-version was on sale for a buck or two and because I liked the title. It ended up reading like a novel, even though it's a true account. Great writing, great tale of perseverance and bravery. As a bonus, it had a happy ending.

I'll also mention Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand as a runner-up. As Mike said, it's a great story of unimaginable endurance. And the writing is fantastic.

In third, The Bicycle Runner A Memoir of Love, Loyalty, and the Italian Resistance by G. Franco Romagnoli . This was a random find at my local library, and it ended up being a well-written tale of a young man growing up in Fascist Italy.

Looking at this list, I think the concept of endurance ties all these titles together. Thank you everyone else for your recommendations! My to-read list just grew by several books.


message 17: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Great list of books there A.L. and I like the common theme that runs through your three favourite WW2 books for 2012.


message 18: by TR (new)

TR Peterson (trpeterson) | 9 comments The Second World War

Definitely this one. I thought Beevor's take on this was slightly different from the norm in focusing a bit more on the Asian origins of the conflict.


message 19: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Dec 14, 2012 07:18PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Good choice Tami, it's on my 'to read' list so hope to get to it soon.



The Second World War by Antony Beevor by Antony Beevor


message 20: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Tomba | 19 comments Inferno The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings by Max Hastings No contest whatsoever for me.


message 21: by Wilson (new)

Wilson Tomba | 19 comments I now see that it has to be a book read this year. In that case, Winston's War Churchill, 1940-1945 by Max Hastings also by Max Hastings has been the best so far.


message 22: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Two very good books Wilson, Inferno/All Hell Let Loose has been picked by a few members so far as well.


message 23: by Nick (last edited Dec 15, 2012 01:53PM) (new)

Nick (theprussian) | 61 comments First thanks to Aussie Rick for adding this topic and second thanks to all of you who have posted! Seeing the comments from fellow readers will drive me to make some changes to my reading list.

I didn't read as many WWII books as I'd hoped this year. But there were a few which stood out and I would recommend.

My first selection is The Retreat Hitler's First Defeat by Michael Jones The Retreat: Hitler's First Defeat

This is an excellent narrative of the events at the Gates of Moscow during the winter of '41/'42. Michael Jones weaves in a number of personal accounts which I found very engaging. If you are a fan of the Eastern Front this is a must read.

My second selection is a pair of books I read more or less by accident.

A friend of mine recommend I read Garden of Beasts by Jeffery Deaver Garden of Beasts

What I accidently purchased was In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

My friend and I then had a very funny episode as I described to him where I was in the story and his looking at me as if I had a third eye in my forehead.

Garden of Beasts, a historical fiction novel, is set in 1936 Berlin just as the Olympics are to start. It's an action / thriller spy novel which doesn't really capture your attention until the end when things get really mixed up. Although it's nothing special to begin I recommend you read it for the end.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin is an excellent factual account of the US Ambassador to Berlin during the pre-war years 1933 to 1936. Of the two books about the beasts in the garden I read this one first and it really set the tone for the second book. They make a really nice complementary pair. Erik Larson writes a fabulous account of Ambassador William Dodd, his reluctance at accepting the position and then the personal struggles Dodd encounters with not only the Nazi Government, but also the US State Department. This book provides a unique view of the Nazi Government and key officials. I highly recommend it to those interested in not only the war from the General's point-of-view, but also that of a diplomat.


message 24: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Nick yours is the second recommendation I've seen on In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson by Erik Larson so thanks and added to my TBR.


message 25: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Dec 15, 2012 08:58PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Hi Nick, thanks for your excellent recommendations for your best books for 2012. I have read The Retreat and like you, I quite enjoyed it. I have his latest book yet to read; Total war.

Total War From Stalingrad to Berlin by Michael Jones by Michael Jones

I also have a copy of In The Garden of Beasts yet to read so thanks for mentioning that book and also the story of your mix up with the titles, very funny :)


message 26: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments Nick wrote: "First thanks to Aussie Rick for adding this topic and second thanks to all of you who have posted! Seeing the comments from fellow readers will drive me to make some changes to my reading list.

I ..."


Nick, I too picked In the Garden of Beasts Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson in my top picks for 2012, but I lack the hilarious tale of buying it in error. Great synopsis of the book that you provided.

Aussie Rick, thanks as well for adding this thread to the board and I know you won't be disappointed if you move "In the Garden of Beasts" up a bit on your TBR list :)

Not WWII related, but I started reading The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson also by Erik Larson. It is the gripping account of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and the serial killer that stalked mostly young single women. Like "In the Garden of Beasts", it is completely factual but reads like a novel that you can't put down.


message 27: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments Nick wrote: "First thanks to Aussie Rick for adding this topic and second thanks to all of you who have posted! Seeing the comments from fellow readers will drive me to make some changes to my reading list.

I ..."


Oh, and I added The Retreat Hitler's First Defeat by Michael Jones to my Amazon wishlist for 2013. It sounds like a good one! Thanks for the recommendation.


message 28: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Soooo many good books eh! Glad to hear you are enjoying Erik Larson Christie, he is a pretty good writer.


message 29: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 2241 comments I read "The Retreat" last year, and I agree it is excellent. I highly recommend it.


message 30: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 1494 comments hap, i agree w/your Neptune's Inferno, except, i read it in 2011,
so not on my '12 oscar nominations.


happy wrote: "I think the best one that I read was either Symond's

or Hornfischer's
Neptune's Inferno The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer

"



message 31: by Míceál (last edited Dec 16, 2012 05:07PM) (new)

Míceál  Ó Gealbháin (miceal) Whereas the title of this discussion is Best WWII Books For 2012 I will only post books with 2012 copyright dates. I see some folks have posted book with older copyright dates. So here are my favorites for 2012:
Deliver Us From Darkness by Ian Gardner
September Hope: The American Side Of A Bridge Too Far by John C. McManus
Undefeated: America's Heroic Fight For Bataan & Corregidor by Bill Sloan
Dog Company: The Boys Of Pointe du Hoc by Patrick K. O'Donnell
Double Cross: The True Story Of The D-Day Spies by Ben MacIntyre
Assignment To Hell by Timothy M. Gay
Fatal Crossroads: The Untold Story Of The Malmedy Massacre At The Battle Of The Bulge by Danny S. Parker
In The Garden Of Beasts by Erik Larson
And, although I have not read it yet, based on his past books I'm sure Alex Kershaw's The Liberator would make my list. I'll be reading it next.


message 32: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Hi Dr. Michael, it's the best book you have read in 2012, I added a sub title below the pic :)

Some excellent titles there, a few I need to get to sooner or later! I also think you will enjoy Alex Kershaw's The Liberator.


message 33: by happy (last edited Dec 17, 2012 06:47AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 2241 comments Undefeated is on on the night stand now. It's number 2 in the que.


message 34: by Míceál (new)

Míceál  Ó Gealbháin (miceal) Thank you for the clarification Aussie Rick.


message 35: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Good list of books to help others choose too Doctor Michael so thanks for posting. What would your favourite from the list be?


message 36: by Míceál (new)

Míceál  Ó Gealbháin (miceal) That's a tough one Greevee but I think I have to say Assignment To Hell by Timothy Gay and Double Cross by Ben MacIntyre


message 37: by Michael, Assisting Moderator Axis Forces (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) | 292 comments Would have to say Inferno The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings


message 38: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments Michael wrote: "Would have to say Inferno The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings"

I've moved Inferno to the top of the queue for 2013 after all the mentions I've seen on this thread. Can't wait to pick up a copy:)


message 39: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments I think you will really enjoy the book Christie, it offers an excellent overview of WW2 with many first-hand accounts from those involved in the fighting, both servicemen and civilians.


message 40: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Dr. Michael wrote: "That's a tough one Greevee but I think I have to say Assignment To Hell by Timothy Gay and Double Cross by Ben MacIntyre"

Damn, I have a copy of this book which it looks like I will need to read very soon!

Assignment To Hell The War Against Nazi Germany with Correspondents Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, A.J. Liebling, Homer Bigart, and Hal Boyle by Timothy M. Gay by Timothy M. Gay


message 41: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments I read this last year Agent Zigzag The True Wartime Story Of Eddie Chapman Lover, Betrayer, Hero, Spy by Ben Macintyre by Ben Macintyre
and really enjoyed it so I must read Double Cross


message 42: by Míceál (new)

Míceál  Ó Gealbháin (miceal) I have Inferno but have yet to delve into it. Perhaps after The Liberator.


message 43: by Míceál (new)

Míceál  Ó Gealbháin (miceal) Greevee have you read MacIntyre's Operation Mincemeat?


message 44: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat are both good books, well worth the time to read.

Agent Zigzag A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre & Operation Mincemeat How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre by Ben Macintyre


message 45: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat are both good books, well worth the time to read.


I already have both Operation Mincemeat How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre and Double Cross The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre in my library, so I guess have books 2 and 3 for 2013 now. :) I know several of the members of the group have said great things about writer Ben Macintyre.



message 46: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18061 comments More good books for you Christie :)


message 47: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Dr. Michael wrote: "Greevee have you read MacIntyre's Operation Mincemeat?"

On my shelf Dr. Michael - just too many good books :)


message 48: by Míceál (new)

Míceál  Ó Gealbháin (miceal) That's for sure.


message 49: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 2241 comments Geevee wrote: " Dr. Michael wrote: "Greevee have you read MacIntyre's Operation Mincemeat?"

On my shelf Dr. Michael - just too many good books :)"


agree totally

I've read Operation Mincemeat - I thought it was a good, entertaining read, esp if compared to the original book on the the mission

The Man Who Never Was by Ewen Montagu

written in the 50's by the officer who thought up the idea and ran the op. ( It was also turned into a movie staring Clifton Webb )


message 50: by Christie (new)

Christie | 336 comments happy wrote: "Geevee wrote: " Dr. Michael wrote: "Greevee have you read MacIntyre's Operation Mincemeat?"

On my shelf Dr. Michael - just too many good books :)"

agree totally

Happy, I've seen the movie and it is really good. For anyone interested, it's called "The Man Who Never Was". It is available through Netflix by mail, not streaming. It was a streaming title earlier this year, but it has since been made by mail only :(
www.imdb.com/title/tt0049471/



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