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ARCHIVED READS > 2013 - May Theme Read - The Battle of the Bulge

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Mar 21, 2013 10:35PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments description


This thread is open to discuss any book covering the Battle of the Bulge with a theme month - May - for reading books on the topic.


message 2: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments This theme month should allow a few of us to clear one or two books off our 'to be read' piles I hope. Off the top of my head I know I have these titles in my library waiting to be read:

Company Commander The Classic Infantry Memoir of World War II by Charles B. MacDonald by Charles B. MacDonald

To Win The Winter Sky The Air War Over The Ardennes, 1944 1945 by Danny S. Parker by Danny S. Parker

Fatal Crossroads The Untold Story of the Malmedy Massacre at the Battle of the Bulge  by Danny S. Parker by Danny S. Parker

No Silent Night The Christmas Battle For Bastogne by Leo Barron by Leo Barron

Voices From The Battle Of The Bulge (Voices From The Battle Of The Bulge) by Nigel De Lee by Nigel De Lee


message 3: by Singleton (last edited Mar 21, 2013 12:05AM) (new)

Singleton Mosby | 96 comments I'm in. Just received a new book on the Battle of the Bulge the other day and I like to read it in the comming weeks.

Messengers Of The Lost Battalion by Gregory Orfalea Gregory Orfalea

I've visited the places over which this unit fought in january so it will make quite an interesting read for me.


message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom | 81 comments Have this one on my TBR pile.

The Bitter Woods by John S.D. Eisenhower by John S.D. Eisenhower

maybe a few others too.


message 5: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (cstarfire26) | 17 comments I'm in for the May!! I think I narrowed my list to 4 books, to which I hope to read at least two by the end of April:

Company Commander The Classic Infantry Memoir of World War II by Charles B. MacDonald by Charles Macdonald

The Battered Bastards of Bastogne The 101st Airborne and the Battle of the Bulge, December 19,1944-January 17,1945 by George Koskimaki by George Koskimaki

Alamo in the Ardennes The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible by John C. McManus by John C. McManus

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


message 6: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments It may take me longer than the whole of May but I may try this as I have it on my shelves: The Ardennes The Official History of the Battle of the Bulge by Hugh M Cole by Hugh M Cole


message 7: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Some good books being mentioned so far, should be an interesting month :)


message 8: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (goodreadscomboddy_l) | 157 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "This thread is open to discuss any book covering the Battle of the Bulge with a theme month - May - for reading books on the topic."


message 9: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (goodreadscomboddy_l) | 157 comments Hi Rick...I do not have any books in my stash on the Battle of the Bulge, but I would like to participate in the reading experience. What would you suggest as an interesting but fairly basic read. My knowledge of the European theatre is fairly good, but with a concentration on Canadian efforts, given that I'm a Canadian. I'll elaborate when I do my self introduction to the group, which I have not done yet. I appreciate your suggestions, and look forward to hearing from you. I have been reading lots of posts to familiarize myself with the group. I am very impressed!...and a little nervous, since so many of your members come from a military background. Thanks again.


message 10: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Hi Laurel,

It would be great if you could manage to join in this theme read and don't be nervous about the membership, no one here bites :)

The good thing about this diverse group is everyone brings something new or different to the discussion so we will look forward to your participation.

In regards to some recommendations for a good general account of the Ardennes Offensive, I found these two books quite good reads:

Battle The Story of the Bulge by John Toland by John Toland

Battle Of The Bulge by CHARLES B MACDONALD by CHARLES B MACDONALD

This is also supposed to be a pretty decent account although I have not read it yet:

The Bitter Woods by John S.D. Eisenhower by John S.D. Eisenhower

For more suggestions you could check out this thread:


http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


message 11: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Mar 23, 2013 09:41AM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Hi Laurel,
Rick's given some good ones there, and this one I found good too: A Blood-Dimmed Tide The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It (Dell World War II Library) by Gerald Astor by Gerald Astor

I'll look forward to sharing recommendations on Canadian efforts too. For me without the Canadians' three armed services and prime minister Mackenzie King's support, especially in the early years, Britain would have struggled even more.


message 12: by Bruce (new)

Bruce | 4 comments I have another MacDonald book on my TBR list, and this thread gives me a perfect excuse to move it to the top:

A Time for Trumpets The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge by Charles B. MacDonald


message 13: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Hi Bruce, thanks for the post and your plan to read this adds another title to an already good range of books that we'll be discussing for this battle.


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Good to hear Bruce, it should be an excellent read.


message 15: by Chris (last edited Apr 16, 2013 05:59PM) (new)

Chris (rastyk) | 12 comments wow.. great timing. I have


Alamo in the Ardennes The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible by John C. McManus by John C. McManus,
A Time for Trumpets The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge by Charles B. MacDonald by Charles B. MacDonald and
Company Commander The Classic Infantry Memoir of World War II by Charles B. MacDonald also by Charles B. MacDonald
all on my list to read. I'm not sure I'll get to all of them. I've heard good things about "Alamo" so I recently bought that one, but I keep finding library books that are distracting me from the ones in my own stash of books.

I read "Company Commander" years ago, and I liked it a lot.


message 16: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments A nice range of books Chris, I forgot that I have a copy of Alamo as well waiting to be read. So many good books to read eh!


message 17: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Apr 17, 2013 02:00PM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Chris wrote: "wow.. great timing. I have


Alamo in the Ardennes The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible by John C. McManus by John C. McManus,
[bookcover:A Time f..."


Be good to hear your thoughts on al/some of these in May Chris :)


message 18: by Bracken (last edited Apr 18, 2013 06:23AM) (new)

Bracken (nyelome) | 27 comments But the Battle of the Bulge is SO over-read. It's just.... ugh. Here in the States you'd think from common media and talk World War II was two things: Battle of the Bulge and Hitler. Perhaps Eisenhower summed it up best when he first heard of the German Attack: a good opportunity for the allies and that's about it. If it had to be Europe, why not something criminally under-read like the Sheldt Estuary campaign or the plight of Amsterdam in 1944 where famine reached Leningrad like scope?

I realize i'm nit-picking, but today is a nit-pick day.


message 19: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Apr 18, 2013 12:24PM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Nit-picking is fair enough Bracken as not everyone will agree with choices. It seems popular with people too. The Scheldt (and Walcheren) campaigns are a good idea. I'd like to cover these having read some books on this and so we should look to do that sometime

For me during "bulge" month I'll be reading an official history and if I can I'll fit this one about the British involvement and their 2500 casualties in the battle Battle of the Bulge by Charles Whiting by Charles Whiting


message 20: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Apr 18, 2013 03:28PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Fair comment Bracken but hang in there, we have a few more theme months to come so hopefully we can pick up on some of those under studied/read campaigns and battles.


message 21: by Tionne (new)

Tionne | 255 comments The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon I know its been mentioned above, but this is what I'm going to read for this discussion! Been looking forward to it!


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Nice to hear you have a good book picked out for the theme read :)


message 23: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Tionne wrote: "The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon I know its been mentioned above, but this is what I'm going to read for this discussion! Been..."

It has many good reviews Tionne on GR so should be a an interesting read.


message 24: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments I'm still not decided on which book or books to read yet but at the moment I am thinking of starting off with this title:

No Silent Night The Christmas Battle For Bastogne by Leo Barron by Leo Barron


message 25: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (goodreadscomboddy_l) | 157 comments Hello Aussie Rick. Hope you are well. Thank you for the suggestions you gave me for the May read on the Battle of the Bulge. I have decided to read to read No Silent Night The Christmas Battle For Bastogne by Leo Barron . I am looking forward to learning a lot during the discussion. This will be my first group read.


message 26: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Hi Laurel, good to see you here and I hope you enjoy your first group read. Hopefully we will have a number of different books being discussed during the month by various members, it should be fun :)


message 27: by Laurel (new)

Laurel (goodreadscomboddy_l) | 157 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Hi Laurel, good to see you here and I hope you enjoy your first group read. Hopefully we will have a number of different books being discussed during the month by various members, it should be fun :)"

Thank you, A.R. I also bought 11 Days in December Christmas at the Bulge, 1944 by Stanley Weintraub . Hopefully, I will get them both read. I have other books for other groups to finish, too.


message 28: by Bracken (new)

Bracken (nyelome) | 27 comments Perhaps that's my segueway into getting involved. While i'm 'decently' acquainted with the British involvement of the Bulge most of it is through the the general American rage following Field Marshal Montogmery's infamously misinterpreted interview. I certainly don't know as much as I probably should.


message 29: by Bracken (new)

Bracken (nyelome) | 27 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Fair comment Bracken but hang in there, we have a few more theme months to come so hopefully we can pick up on some of those under studied/read campaigns and battles."

Oh i'll get over it. Today has just been a categorically upsetting today - hence nit-picking. I've had to pick up disclaimers for my bad days so people don't think i'm just being stuffy. ( which I can also be.)

Like I told Geevee, perhaps reading more about the Commonwealth's involvement from a fresh British perspective would be better than complete abstinence from the topic. ( Though with as much black and white battle of the bulge documentary/movieing I was subjected to as a child I doubt the bad taste shall ever fully leave my memory.)


message 30: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Apr 18, 2013 06:06PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Hi Bracken, a good rant clears the baffles and is always good for you in moderation :)

A book covering a different perspective might be interesting, just sometimes hard to find.


message 31: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments And Monty may have been a good general (I know many will not subscribe to this) but he was a master at rubbing people up the wrong way.


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments Correct on all points there Geevee :)


message 33: by Betty (new)

Betty | 60 comments I've ordered and am planning to read The Longest Winter The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon by Alex Kershaw I have never read a book about them. I agree with the comment about Monty. He made lots of mistakes. I actually can't think of anything he did right... But I really don't know much about him. I've always been into the American, Japanese, and German parts of the war. Can anyone recommend a good biography for Monty? I'm sure he must have done some things right or he wouldn't have been a Field Marshall.


message 34: by Betty (new)

Betty | 60 comments I hope no one will be offended by what I said about Monty!!!! I just don't know much about him.


message 35: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Apr 20, 2013 02:07PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments The only book that I have on Monty is The Lonely Leader by Alistair Horne who is an author I really enjoy. I actually haven't read the book yet. Nigel Hamilton has written a three volume biography on the man as well.

The Lonely Leader Monty, 1944-1945. Alistair Horne with David Montgomery by Alistair Horne by Alistair Horne

Nigel Hamilton


message 36: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Betty wrote: "I hope no one will be offended by what I said about Monty!!!! I just don't know much about him."

No need to be worried about offence Betty :)

I'm a closet Monty fan as there was much he did well: training of troops, communicating with troops and keeping morale, his campaign in North Africa, and his command during the Battle of the Bulge for example; but he was a dreadful self-publicist, damned rude and incorrigible and wasn't slow to use and then take credit for other's plans and he certainly made mistakes. He would also - like Patton - quite happily tell you he won the war single-handedly. However, it is my view that Britain was lucky it had him but importantly too it had Alanbrooke to manage and control him - and stop others sacking him.


message 37: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1907 comments Remember that Operation Market garden, the greatest Western Allied blunder of the war was Monty's brainchild, and he and Browning ignored Dutch underground intelligence, just to risk getting a big headline.


message 38: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Indeed Colin you are quite right, and in essence there lies my point on mistakes and when you read his memoirs he doesn't readily admit error either.


message 39: by Colin (last edited Apr 21, 2013 06:42AM) (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1907 comments Ironically, Monty only became British commander of 8th Army due to my late friend Emil Clade, of JG-27 shooting down the transport of his predecessor, killing him.


message 40: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments I've often wondered Colin what would have happened if "Stafer" Gott had lived - the quirks of history. Did Clade have a view on this, and also the intense effort to continue shooting a downed crash-landed transport aircraft - did he know it had senior officers on board?


message 41: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Churchill | 435 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "The only book that I have on Monty is The Lonely Leader by Alistair Horne who is an author I really enjoy. I actually haven't read the book yet. Nigel Hamilton has written a three volume biography ..."

Nigel Hamilton has written the definitive biography of Montgomery, but if you want an excellent one-volume account that explodes some myths and includes current research, try Peter Caddick-Adams's "Monty and Rommel: Parallel Lives." As the title implies, the book is a dual biography of the two field marshals.


message 42: by Betty (new)

Betty | 60 comments Thanks for the suggestions!


message 43: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Gerald wrote: "'Aussie Rick' wrote: "The only book that I have on Monty is The Lonely Leader by Alistair Horne who is an author I really enjoy. I actually haven't read the book yet. Nigel Hamilton has written a t..."

Thanks for the recommendation Gerald I've not read but do have it on my TBR
Monty and Rommel Parallel Lives by Peter Caddick-Adams by Peter Caddick-Adams

I have Hamilton's books on Monty and for a one volume biog for people who are interested I would recommend this The Full Monty by Nigel Hamilton. It is very readable and covers his early life, experiences in WWI - which help understand his approach and tactics - and of course his early service in WWII prior to generalship. Don't be put off by the apparent emphasis on Monty's sexuality; it is covered but does not overwhelm nor ruin the wider study of him.


message 44: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1907 comments Geevee wrote: "I've often wondered Colin what would have happened if "Stafer" Gott had lived - the quirks of history. Did Clade have a view on this, and also the intense effort to continue shooting a downed cras..."

Intel believed that it may have had an SAS team, targeting German runways. They had no idea the staff was on board. I think Gott would have been far more aggressive in his methods than the wait and see Monty method. Gott, from what I have learned, also was a humble man who took suggestions, unlike Monty.


message 45: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 2203 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "The only book that I have on Monty is The Lonely Leader by Alistair Horne who is an author I really enjoy. I actually haven't read the book yet. Nigel Hamilton has written a three volume biography ..."

I read Hamilton's Bio as a teenager/young adult, I thougth they were pretty good, the first volume esp (IRRC it covers Monty's life up through El Alamien) They are probably dated now.


message 46: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 2203 comments Geevee wrote: "And Monty may have been a good general (I know many will not subscribe to this) but he was a master at rubbing people up the wrong way."

My personal opinion was that he was a master at a set piece battle, but when things got fluid, he had his problems. As for rubbing people the wrong way, esp the Americans.


message 47: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 1453 comments I always think of the US Civil War General George McClellan when discussions of Monty start up.


message 48: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1907 comments happy wrote: "Geevee wrote: "And Monty may have been a good general (I know many will not subscribe to this) but he was a master at rubbing people up the wrong way."

My personal opinion was that he was a master..."


Monty would out race his supplies and communication, and even when he had the advantage, he would wait for that support to catch up. Rommel moved with his supplies close by, using the double envleopment as a protective force for his supplies, and Luftwaffe air cover. Rommel learned quickly that Monty was not taht unusual in his method, so he was able to exploit the rigid minded british wirth his free thinking and intelligent approach to open desert warfare.


message 49: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Thanks gents - an interesting discussion. What is interesting is that many British veterans spoke highly of Monty. Clearly there would have been many who didn't but some good performances, some luck and a good personal publicity machine (and Alanbrooke) ensured Monty stayed in post to became one of Britain's most well known and respected generals.

My own view is that Monty was lucky Bill Slim ended up in Burma. As for other contenders I felt Gort was unlucky at having been in command too early and Wavell never got on with Churchill and again was in command too early (i.e. to soon where as Monty benefited from other's mistakes and the army's learning plus by 1942 the country had started to equip properly for total war). Miles Dempsey was very good too but just too junior for that senior command.

The following are all probably too young/junior as well but for me had real promise and would have given Monty a run for his money had the opportunity arisen:
McCreery did well with the Eighth Army in Italy but was overshadowed by Europe and Monty. Bolo Whistler was a fine general as was Allan Adair, Pip Roberts and also Tom Rennie (KIA March 1945).
I also wonder about Herbert Lumsden who probably would have had a fine career in Europe/Italy but fell out with Monty and was removed. Lumsden was KIA aboard a US ship serving as liaison officer to MacArthur.


message 50: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 16980 comments You still have to give Monty his due in that he was a great organizer, trainer and he lifted morale in the British forces at a crucial time.


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