WWII books you can recommend?

The WryGuy has a birthday coming and I’d like to find a really good book or two for him. He’s very into WWII stuff, and reads a lot on the subject. Recently, he’s read a biography of Churchill, some stuff about a Japanese soldier who mistakenly thought the war was still going on until sometime in the 1960s, and something along the lines of Band of Brothers by Steven Ambrose (in fact, it might have actually been Band of Brothers for all I know.)

Obviously, this is not stuff I would select, being more inclined to SF myself. So I need some help. I’d prefer to get him something that’s not “bestseller-ish” - and we’ve discovered he’s not a really big fan of Steven Ambrose’s writing.

Any ideas?

A terrific, enjoyable, and wonderful history of the war is “The Second World War” by John Keegan.

Anything by Richard Overy is good. “Russia’s War” is a nice, insightful, and relatively brief treatment of the Germany-Russia conflict.

Liddell Hart’s history of the war is exceptional, though tougher reading.

Strange Victory by Ernest May. If you really want to understand how the Germans pulled off their invasion of France and get past all of the myths out there about it - this is the book to read. And it will be a good intro to a lot of the main personas that will come into play later in WWII.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

“Quartered Safe Out Here” by George MacDonald Fraser (author of the ‘Flashman’ novels); his own experiences in Burma as an infantryman in WW2, and a classic;

“Accidental Journey” by Max-Otto Loewenstein, a German Jew whose family fled to Britain in 1935; he was interned by the British in 1940,but wound up joining the British Army, and is at once funny and touching;

“Stalingrad” and “The Fall of Berlin” by Anthony Beevor, who has had access to newly opened ex-Soviet archives, which are stuffed full of catupred German Army documents–not just high-level reports, but letters and diaries of officers and men. Stunning books that personalise the greatest struggles of the war.

“Into That Darkness” Gitty Sereny; a series of interviews with Fritz Stangl, who became the commandant of the extermination camp at Treblinka; a calm, yet horrifying progression from Austrian policeman, through euthaniser of the mentally deficient, to efficient mass exterminator.

“captured” German Army sources, and “Gitta” Sereny.

I’d recommend Alaistar Horne, but his book on WWII, To Lose a Battle is out of print. However, if he’s willing to try WWI, pick up Horne’s The Price of Glory, one of the best history books ever written about a battle (Verdun).

If you want to spend a lot of money, I heartily recommend Winston Churchill’s 6-volume history of WW2. It contains a lot of detailed information about the events leading up to the war and Britain’s battles before the USSR and USA became involved.

If that’s out of your price range, I agree with RickJay that Liddell Hart’s history is excellent.

Sir Allan Bullock’s “Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives” was a pretty good dual biography.

Also, check out Solomon Perel’s autobiography “Europa, Europa”. Perel was a Polish Jew who through some rather strange circumstances, (and hiding his Jewishness), became the mascot and good-luck charm of a German army group in Poland, the foster-son of an Army Colonel, and a member of the Hitler Youth.

You guys rock, you know that?

I made a list. I’ll go scope out what’s already on his bookshelves, then I’m going to head to Amazon.

Thank you!

Or, perhaps you will be as lucky as my brother, who found a complete set in hardcover for around twenty bucks at a used bookstore a few years ago, the bastard!:stuck_out_tongue:

If he hasn’t already read them, try some Cornelius Ryan: A Bridge too Far , The Longest Day , and The Last Battle . Operation Market Garden, D-Day, and the Battle of Berlin, respectively. If he is a big WWII buff like you say, though, he may have already read them.

He might also try Ernie Pyle’s books, Brave Men, Here is Your War, Last Chapter. Libraries usually have them.