THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

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ARCHIVED THREADS > Best WW2 Book of 2014

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments description

It's that time of year again where we find out what was the best book you read on a WW II subject this year and why?

The book does not have to have been published in 2014, it could be an old second hand book that you found and read for the first time this year. So share with the group which book you thought was the best WW II book you read this year.



message 2: by Manray9 (last edited Nov 06, 2014 08:22PM) (new)

Manray9 | 4278 comments For me, hands down, it was --

Man Of Valour The Life Of Field-Marshal The Viscount Gort, VC, GCB, DSO, MVO, MC by John Colville Man Of Valour: The Life Of Field-Marshal The Viscount Gort, VC, GCB, DSO, MVO, MC by John Colville

It was a rec from Mr. Geevee. Published in 1972.


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Good selection Manray9 and one I need to consider buying for myself, thanks for your nomination.


message 5: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)


message 6: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Nov 07, 2014 07:23AM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments An odd year for me as I only read a couple of WWII books this year (all sorts of other history esp WWI) so I nominate:
The Longest Siege Tobruk - The Battle That Saved North Africa. Robert Lyman by Robert Lyman by Robert Lyman


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Some excellent books being mentioned here, great stuff!


message 8: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Churchill | 435 comments As of right now, I second Geevee's nomination of "The Longest Siege." However, with nearly two months of reading left, I reserve the right to change my mind.:-)


message 9: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments That's totally acceptable Gerald :)


message 10: by Steve (new)

Steve | 123 comments Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe

Well researched and well written. An excellent read.


message 11: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Another good nominated for best WW2 book of 2014 and one that I am yet to read, thanks for reminding me Steve :)


message 12: by Steve (new)

Steve Snyder (shotdown) | 13 comments Has anyone read SHOT DOWN yet? http://bit.ly/ShotDownBook


message 13: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 500 comments I always have trouble picking just one, but here are the WWII books I gave 5 stars to in 2014 (meaning I thought they were good enough to read more than once, if I ever get caught up on my to-read list):
A Higher Call An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II by Adam Makos A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy To Hell and Back
The White Rabbit The Secret Agent the Gestapo Could Not Crack by Bruce Marshall The White Rabbit: The Secret Agent the Gestapo Could Not Crack

I guess this year I was in the mood for stories focused on individuals facing difficult situations and somehow surviving without losing their humanity.


message 14: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Nov 13, 2014 11:35AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Some good books there A.L. and excellent selections for best book of 2014!


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

Geevee | 3796 comments Good trio A.L.


message 16: by James (new)

James | 105 comments Hmmm, difficult question indeed, looking back I don't think I've read too much on WW2 this year. But I did really enjoy;

The Battle of Britain by James Holland by James Holland


message 17: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments James wrote: "Hmmm, difficult question indeed, looking back I don't think I've read too much on WW2 this year. But I did really enjoy;

The Battle of Britain by James Holland by James Holland"


One I want to read James so good to know.


message 18: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments What!!! You haven't read it yet Geevee, come on what's going on over there :)


message 19: by Gerald (last edited Nov 13, 2014 05:32PM) (new)

Gerald Churchill | 435 comments Earlier, I voted Robert Lyman's "The Longest Siege" as the best World War II book that I have read this year. I must admit to wavering. The first World War II book that I finished this year was Gordon Sander's The Hundred Day Winter War: Finland's Gallant Stand Against the Soviet Army. The book covers the Winter War, not just from the standpoint of combat, of which there is actually relatively little, but also of diplomacy and the world outside of the Soviet Union and Finland. The book incorporates the observations of the war correspondents, of whom there were many, and it provides fresh insights, such as the Soviet use of paratroopers. A few days ago, I realized that although I had started the book last December and finished it in January of 2014, I still thought about it. Any book that has you thinking about it--positively--10 months after you finish it is definitely a candidate for best book.


message 20: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments It would be hard to argue with that Gerald! I read the book last year and I quite enjoyed it as well, a good all round history of that conflict.


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

Geevee | 3796 comments Gerald wrote: "Earlier, I voted Robert Lyman's "The Longest Siege" as the best World War II book that I have read this year. I must admit to wavering. The first World War II book that I finished this year was Gor..."

Definitely worthy then Gerald.


message 22: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "What!!! You haven't read it yet Geevee, come on what's going on over there :)"

Doh! Too many books... :(


message 23: by Lee (new)

Lee | 215 comments I've looked over my Read/WW2 shelves, and I see a lot of 4-star books, but no 5-star books.

I think I will give my "best" rating to The Dead and Those About to Die D-Day The Big Red One at Omaha Beach by John C. McManus . The level of detailed research was amazing and enlightening.

Honorable mention to The Guns at Last Light The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (World War II Liberation Trilogy, #3) by Rick Atkinson , for excellent writing.


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Excellent selections Lee. I have been thinking about buying a copy of the first book for a while as well.


message 25: by Steve (new)

Steve Snyder (shotdown) | 13 comments SHOT DOWN just won the following 2014 Book Awards:

Southern California Book Festival - Honorable Mention General Non-Fiction

USA Best Book Awards - Finalist History: General

USA Best Book Awards - Finalist History: Military

View Amazon reader reviews at http://bit.ly/ShotDownBook


message 26: by happy (last edited Nov 15, 2014 02:08AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 2210 comments I haven't read much on WW II this year (a total of 6), of the few I have read the one I liked the most is

The Quiet Hero The Untold Medal of Honor Story of George E. Wahlen at the Battle for Iwo Jima by Gary W. Toyn
It was published a few yrs ago however.

Of recently published ones -

Pacific Payback The Carrier Aviators Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway by Stephen L. Moore
wasn't bad.


message 28: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments More good books folks.


message 29: by happy (last edited Nov 16, 2014 04:09AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 2210 comments happy wrote: "I haven't read much on WW II this year (a total of 6), of the few I have read the one I liked the most is..."

I forgot Deutermann's (I must be getting old :))

Sentinels of Fire by P.T. Deutermann

It is the best WW II themed book I read this year.


message 30: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Nov 22, 2014 07:37PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments I have finally decided for the best WW2 book I have read so far this year, which was an older book (published in 1994) that I have only just gotten around to reading but a classic:

Arnhem 1944 The Airborne Battle, 17 26 September by Martin Middlebrook Arnhem 1944: The Airborne Battle, 17 26 September by Martin Middlebrook


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

Geevee | 3796 comments A fine choice AR.


message 32: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2857 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I have finally decided for the best WW2 book I have read so far this year, which was an older book (published in 1994) that I have only just gotten around to reading but a classic:

[bookcover:Arnh..."


Ordered a copy because AR rated it so highly! Have to blame someone.


message 33: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Oh no, I really do hope you like it Mike and I'm more than happy to take the blame as long as your wife doesn't plan to visit Australia anytime soon :)


message 34: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Mike how about blaming me to give AR a break; it's my fault as I recommended it to him...LOL


message 35: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2857 comments Your turn is coming Geevee.


message 36: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 2210 comments Between the three (Mike, Geevee and AR) of you, ya'll are responsible for about 50% of my considerable TBR list :)


message 37: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Good to share the pain :)


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

Geevee | 3796 comments :)


message 39: by Dj (new)

Dj | 2077 comments So of the WWII books I read (and boy am I glad that I kept track of them here or I would have forgotten when I had read some of them) only five got four stars when I did the review. No Five Stars. Which says that I have to be a tad more particular about what I am reading...maybe not.

Here are the five.
Six Armies in Normandy, John Keegan
The Rape of Nanking, by Iris Chang
Courage has no Color, by Tanya Lee Stone
The Japanese Navy in World War II, edited by David C. Evans
The Longest Winder, by Alex Kershaw

I thought about them and worked over in my mind which would be the best...and how to judge that. They are all good books, all of them I enjoyed a great deal and all brought something new and worthwhile to the table of knowledge. Hey had to turn that tree into something.

In the end I decided that the best would have to be the Rape of Nanking. Because it brought the fact that the war was ugly, brutal and savage. We study war, we read about it and sometimes we glorify it, but in the end it is the singular event that brings out all that is worst in mankind. Books like this need to exist to remind us of that.

The Rape of Nanking


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments I think that is a fine recommendation for one of the better books of WW2 you have read this year DJ!


The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang by Iris Chang


message 41: by Doubledf99.99 (new)

Doubledf99.99 | 575 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I think that is a fine recommendation for one of the better books of WW2 you have read this year DJ!


The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang by Iris Chang"



When countries in Asia get nervous about Japan in recent events starting to flex their muscles, those countries have every right to be cautious...


message 42: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Dj wrote: "So of the WWII books I read (and boy am I glad that I kept track of them here or I would have forgotten when I had read some of them) only five got four stars when I did the review. No Five Stars. ..."

I've enjoyed your snippets and views on these this year too.


message 43: by Dj (new)

Dj | 2077 comments Geevee wrote: "Dj wrote: "So of the WWII books I read (and boy am I glad that I kept track of them here or I would have forgotten when I had read some of them) only five got four stars when I did the review. No F..."


What can I say I just like to make comments about what I read. LOL.


message 44: by Chin Joo (last edited Nov 30, 2014 06:44PM) (new)

Chin Joo (quekcj) | 283 comments Doubledf99.99 wrote: "When countries in Asia get nervous about Japan in recent events starting to flex their muscles, those countries have every right to be cautious..."

I agree. I was rather disappointed after reading this. Yomiuri Shimbun published this book as a way of trying to present the facts. But in the face of the current right-wing climate in Japan, they have regressed.

Who Was Responsible? From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor by The Yomiuri Shimbun Who Was Responsible? From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor

Note the title too: From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor, not from XXX to Nagasaki. In other words, the book was asking who was responsible for their aggressions, not their defeat.


message 45: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17322 comments Very interesting point Chin Joo!


message 46: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4278 comments Chin Joo wrote: "Doubledf99.99 wrote: "When countries in Asia get nervous about Japan in recent events starting to flex their muscles, those countries have every right to be cautious..."

I agree. I was rather disa..."


The Japanese are not unique in questionable approaches to dealing with unsavory aspects of their history.


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

Geevee | 3796 comments Chin Joo wrote: "Doubledf99.99 wrote: "When countries in Asia get nervous about Japan in recent events starting to flex their muscles, those countries have every right to be cautious..."

I agree. I was rather disa..."


Interesting input as always Chin Joo. From your varied titles what would be the best book for you this year?


message 48: by Chin Joo (last edited Dec 01, 2014 09:38PM) (new)

Chin Joo (quekcj) | 283 comments Thanks Geevee,

My list this year isn't long, especially with regard to WW2 books. A few of the books I read are not 'pure' WW2 books, Nomonhan 1939, for example. I think the one that stands out for me is

Japan 1941 Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy

It shows the complex political/military situation in Japan after getting stuck in China and how the military (especially the army) manoeuvred the civilian government into what they thought was the path to solving their problems, only to get themselves deeper into the quagmire and eventually incurring the wrath of the US.

Incidentally I'm making my way slowly through this other book (not WW2)
The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam The Best and the Brightest

I can't help getting an eerie feeling that the same mechanics was at work, except the manoeuvring was more subtle.


message 49: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4278 comments Chin Joo wrote: "Thanks Geevee,

My list this year isn't long, especially with regard to WW2 books. A few of the books I read are not 'pure' WW2 books, Nomonhan 1939, for example. I think the one that stands out fo..."


I wouldn't argue with you, Chin Joo.


message 50: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Chin Joo wrote: "Thanks Geevee,

My list this year isn't long, especially with regard to WW2 books. A few of the books I read are not 'pure' WW2 books, Nomonhan 1939, for example. I think the one that stands out fo..."


Thanks I have Eri Hotta's on my TBR and am aiming to read it in 2015.


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