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Subject: Suggested reading for a WW2 noob. rss

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Joshua Speelman
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I've not read much about WW2 beyond what was taught in school and they don't teach much about it in public schools. Anyone have any suggestions on books that would be a good place to start to get me on the track to knowing more about the war? I'd like to read something that's a general overview of the war and then something that gets more into the weapons and combat of the war. Suggestions please. Thanks.

Joshua
 
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Robert Wilson
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A Coworker is reading this and says its pretty good


http://www.amazon.com/Second-World-War-Complete-History/dp/0...

 
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Todd Reed
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Anything by www.ospreypublishing.com.

I'm currently reading, Infantry Tactics of the Second World War - Stephen Bull and Gordon L Rottman. Not an overview of the grand stragegy, but a great overview of squad and platoon tactics.
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Scott
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I have an "Atlas of World War II" I got from the Barns and Noble clearance rack that is a great overview with maps and pictures. Its' by David Jordan and Andrew Wiest. What really got me interested in WW2 is Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. Its not an overview but an excellent book. Flyboys is a good book about the Pacific. The first couple of chapters gives insight as to why Japan entered the war. It ties in what was going on in the movie Last Samurai when Japan was westernizing, and how that relates to them in WW2. 'Enemy at the Gates' by William Craig was a good one about the Germans and Russians in Stalingrad. Its' not like the movie but more of an overview of Staligrad.
 
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Andy Beaton
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The Second World War by John Keegan is a good overview. After that, you can dig further into any aspects you find more interesting.
 
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Tom Oxley
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For the details involved in ASL, I would think the second or subsequent series of books would include the series from Stackpole books, including Panzer Aces, Infantry Aces, etc. Excellent stories of the troops from all sides of the war with the level of detail that helps a player see what the game moves would be like in the real world. I find them at Barnes and Noble in the Military History section, average price for the 300-400 page books is around $20. Several scenarios seem to come right from some of these accounts.

Tom Oxley
 
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Christian Krach
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Maybe a novel? "Stalingrad" by Theodor Plievier or "Das Boot" by Lothar-Günther Buchheim are both quite impressive.
 
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Roar Stensrud
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"Total War - The Causes and Courses of the Second World War" by Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint and John Pritchard.

It's a brick, but it's good and should give you an answer to most things you want to know about WWII in general.

Apart from that, most books by Stephen Ambrose and Anthony Beevor is excellent reading.

I can also recommend "Eurpoe at War" by Norman Davies. It gives a sobering look at where the "centre of gravity", so to speak, of WWII was. Many westen historians have, during the years from the end of the war, created an impression that the war, at least in Europe, was won on the western front and that what happened on the eastern front was just something of a sideshow. If anything, it was the other way around.

In that same respect, I'll also recommend an excellent book by Richard N. Armstrong called "Red Army Tank Commanders - The Armored Guards". That book seeks to give a thorough presentation of a selection of some of the most able Soviet Army Commanders during WWII. A most welcome addition to WWII history as the higher officers of the Red Army has mostly been anonymized in the litterature.
That's due to the fact that a great deal of the litterature covering the eastern front is written, or derived from writings, by German higher officers. Those are, of course, most happy writing about their successes and tend to blame their defeats mostly on the Soviet "mindless masses" and Hitler's interference with the conduct of the war.

The fact remains though, that the Germans suffered the most total military defeat in history at the hands of the Red Army. And that can't be accounted to difference in numbers only.

R.
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Rob Stai

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"Army at Dawn" and "Day of Battle" by Rick Atkinson are both excellent resources on the US army, in North Africa and Italy, respectively.
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the scrub
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Tallguy2241 wrote:
"Army at Dawn" and "Day of Battle" by Rick Atkinson are both excellent resources on the US army, in North Africa and Italy, respectively.


I'll second this. I knew little about the North African campaign and now I think I love it.

See also Beevor's Stalingrad, and Hans von Luck's Panzer Commander.
 
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Michael Lucey
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Atkinson is very good, with 2 of his planned 3 books published.

I would look to Ambrose (and Ryan...The Longest Day), his layman writing is very good for the casual history fan. I would get or rent Band of Brothers, a very good series and based on his book. At least one SK module based on an episode from the series, or at least the insiration says Brian Youse. The US in France '44 is where a lot of the scenario's come from so Ambrose's 2 books D Day and Citizen Soldier along with his Pegasus Bridge and BoB should give you an overview on combat in WW2. Then you can go to the Osprey Books or other drilled down tactical books. Start lite so you don't get overwhelmed.
 
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Michael Lucey
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For an overview book go to the Barnes and Noble discount section in the front of the store. THere is almost always a pretty good Time Life (or type) big book that can give you maps and timeline of major battles and theatres of the war. From there you can get more targeted books on the campaigns that interest you most.
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Martin Castrey
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You could also try 'The Forgotten Soldier' by Guy Sajer (German soldier in the Grossdeutschland division); or any of the books by Sven Hassel (start with Legion Of The Damned); or, in a similar vein, anything by Leo Kessler (start with SS Panzer Battalion).
 
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