World War II Books Reviewed:
Biographies and Recommended Reading
Reading recommendations by Combat! fans for Combat! fans

(You can also browse reviews of all recommended books in alphabetical order by title.)

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Authors and publishers: books for review can be sent to:
Strange New Worlds, 5591 Shady Brook Trail, Sarasota FL 34243

Patton biography Patton- A Genius for War by Carlo D'Este
recommended by Carl on Feb 27, 2003 "... it really is an eye opener in terms of relating to the accuracy of the movie ..."
Read Carl's entire review of Patton : A Genius for War
Patton biography June 7, 2000 Recommended by David Steinert
Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley.
A son of one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers writes a gripping history of the men who raised the flag. "It's my opinion that this is the 'Saving Private Ryan' of books. Highly recommended. Read more...

recommended by DANIEL WYATT (Usma) on Friday, December 24, 1999:
Heroes of World War II Author Edward F. Murphy writes of the feats of selfless courage during World War II, of men who earned the nation's highest award: the congressional medal of honor. 433 were given the highest award for valor. Only 190 of these men survived to be given their medal.

Fellow fans Rob and Claudia Dressen recommend: September 16, 1999
Donald's Story
"I just wanted to recommend a book to all the Combat! fans. It's called Donald's Story. It tells the true story of an Army Air Corp. pilot's experience in WWII. The pilot's niece wrote the book and she tells his story through letters that he wrote home. I have never read a book that gives you so many perspectives of the war both on a personal level and an historical one. It's one of the most touching stories I have ever read. All you P-51 fans will really enjoy the technical stuff! Truly a unique account."
Battlefield Chaplains book cover Battlefield Chaplains -
chronicles the story of the frontline Catholic priests who served on all fronts in WWII.
WWII Canteen history book Recommended Dec 15, 2002 by Scout:
Once Upon a Town : The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen
true story of the North Platte canteen in a Nebraska town of 12,000. where the citizens decided to dedicate themselves to the war effort by providing love and kindness to all of the soldiers that passed through on the troop trains. Over 6 million soldiers passed through. Read more ...
War of Nerves : WWII medical history book Recommended by Jo October-3-2002
A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century
by Ben Shephard
This definitive history illuminates the bumpy efforts to understand the ravages of war on the human mind, and points towards the true lessons to be learned from treating the aftermath of war.  Read more...
Prisoners of the Japanese Recommended by "Scout" February 21-25, 2002:
Prisoners of the Japanese by Gavan Daws. Another fantastic book (and appalling!) by Gavan Daws. It's one of those books you read and don't 'get over' (emotionally) very soon. But then, it seems like all the books I've read on the PTO have that effect (especially 'With the Old Breed'). The Pacific war was so different in so many ways from the war in Europe."
Those Devils in Baggy Pants Recommended by "Scout" February 21-25, 2002: Tale of the 82nd Airborne Divisions' fight across North Africa, culminating in the Battle of the Bulge. The author was one of three men who survived the suicide stands of his platoon of paratroopers. First published in 1951, over one millon sold. Read more...
Carnage and Culture: Landmark battles in the rise of Western Culture
Scholarly and fascinating! Great examination of how free citizen soldiers and western values create superior armies. Read more...
Silent Night : The Story of World War I Christmas Truce
Recommended Christmas, 2001
The truly remarkable, and almost forgotten, story of the WWI Christmas truce. This truce is generally ignored by most major historians of the First World War. Read more...
Kindertransport Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
March 26, 2001: "I was glad to see "Into the Arms of Strangers" win the Oscar for best full-length documentary. I highly recommend this, and the book it was based on. It tells of the Kindertransport -- about 10,000 Jewish children evacuated from Europe just prior to the outbreak of the war. A heart-wrenching tale of parents giving the greatest sacrifice, gaving up their children to strangers so that they might live. One of the producers is the daughter of a one of the children rescued this way." - Jo Davidsmeyer 
For info about the book click here, or see info on DVD
Recommended Mon Feb 26, 2001by Scout
Nazi Prisoners of War in America by Arnold Krammer.  A lot of good information in this book. So many things to consider when housing prisoners on our soil that I never considered. Read more...
The Deadly Brotherhood Jan 24, 1999 Marty Black recommends:
The Deadly Brotherhood: The American Combat Soldier in World War II
by John C. McManus

The combat soldier, who was he? This books looks into the heart of an infantryman in WWII. "If you have an interest in the psyche of the WWII combat GI, or perhaps writing stories about WWII GI's, this is a great book for you." Read more...

April 2, 1999
Travis Weir
recommends the following non-fiction titles:

  • D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose 1994.
    Travis says: A fantastic operational and tactical narrative on the day that ensured freedom for the latter half of the 20th century. Ambrose does an incredible job of piecing together many first-hand accounts of Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword, and Juno beaches and spinning a tale which will keep you spellbound.
    (Also available in hard cover, audio cassette and large print edition)
  • Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945 by Stephen E. Ambrose Travis says about this book: As with "D-Day," Ambrose continues where he left off in early June of '44 with this account of the Allies' romp through Europe that year, the resulting breakthrough at the Bulge and onward into the German's heartland to Berlin.  Again, Ambrose paints a masterful portrait story thanks to many retired Allied soldiers, nurses, and surgeons.
    (Also available in paperback, audio cassette and large print edition)
  • The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich by William L. Shirer Travis recommends: Written by an American journalist who was the NY Times' contact in Berlin from the late 1920s until after WWII.  A simply breathtaking and exhaustive account of the rise of Hitler, his years building the National Socialist party, the triumphant rise of the Third Reich, and the pathetic fall of the same in 1945. If you are at all interested in just how Nazi Germany came to be, this is the book you have to start with !
  • Stalingrad by Antony Beevor Beevor's account of the battle that was possibly Hitler's greatest blunder.  The long and bloody siege of Stalingrad by the German Sixth Army and it's encirclement and ensuing slaughter by January of 1943 by the Russians is covered here in great detail combined with Beevor's easy-to-read style of writing.


The Last First Sergeant - a WWII memoir

I received the email below from a son who has published his father's memoir about his WWII experience. 

I would like to invite you to visit the site which I established in March of this year. My father, Layton Black, Jr. was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, with the 502, Company 'C', during WWII. Beginning in June of 1975, he began writing his "Screaming Eagle" memoirs. Through the process of continued research, communication with fellow soldiers, and ongoing revisions and rewrites, the story of one infantry soldier took shape. [...] I invite you to visit the Christmas, 1944 page at for a seasonal sampling from the text and the most recent addition to the site.

From:  Green Recruit 
Thu Mar 1, 2001 
A New Book Series...
The other day, I had some time to kill between stops to visit my customers.  Entering the nearest Barnes & Noble, I headed right to the bargain book  display. There I found a series of books written in English, French and  German and published by B & N. The series is titled "The Hulton Getty Picture Collection" and each book covers a different decade of the 20th century. I picked up the one for the 1940s and found it to be quite fascinating. In fact, there were some pictures in it that I had never seen before. The price 
of these books is a very reasonable $9.98... or at least *I* think it's reasonable! Divided into chapters, the book covers everything from WWII, sports, children and show business. 

August 11, 2000:
From Jo Davidsmeyer: I recently sat down with fellow Sarasota writer Robert E. Witter. He kindly shared with me his article about Neville Brand, along with his interview of the late Dick Peabody. Bob is a meticulous researcher who has several excellent reference books to his credit:

I highly recommend the above Small Boats and Large Slow Targets for its frank and revealing loook at the men who took the beaches. Bob has recently completed a book about the amphibious assault on Tarawa and is seeking a publisher.

July 20, 2000: Books recently purchased by your fellow Combat! fans:

  • The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
    Hailed as one of the finest American novels to come out of WWII, the story concerns a platoon of 13 Marines stationed on the Japanese-held island of Anopopei in the Pacific.
  • Operation Drumbeat : The Dramatic True Story of Germany's First U-Boat Attacks Along the American Coast in World War II by Michael V. Gannon

February 22, 2000:

Added June 23, 1999:
The Marine Corps Professional Reading Program List
Commandant's recommended reading for:
Privates, Privates First Class, Lance Corporals, Corporals, and Sergeants

June 23, 1999
Brad Hicks recommends:

I was very pleasantly surprised and enjoyed immensely "Hart's War" by John Katzenbach. The book is the story of a murder and subsequent trial within the confines of a German POW camp. The book was well written with good character development and an intense plot that kept your interest throughout with a wide range of emotion.

Click here for more information

March 30, 1999
Your fellow fans recently purchased the following books through

March 1, 1999
Marty Black recommends: I recently took a chance on a softbound D-Day photo book, that was advertised as having "many never before published photos." We've all heard that before, but although this book has many photos that we've seen in every other D-Day book, it does include many that I hadn't seen before. Many look like scenes from Saving Private Ryan! [...] 128 pages, mostly photos, and a little text. If you're into D-Day photo books, or a fan of Saving Private Ryan, this is a decent book.  Day of Destiny : The Photographs of D-Day

But don't forget to squirrel away an additional $6.95 plus $2.50 P&H for the "After the Battle" issue #103, due in at RZM Imports at the end of March. That will have a 29-page article on the making of Saving Private Ryan. That's got my strongest recommendation....Marty B.

Feb 3, 1999
cover Spearheading D-Day
American Special Units, 6 June 1944
by Jonathan Gawne

Just released December, 1998, this is a *must* for anyone needing research of D-Day, especially writers. Phenomenal detail at the soldier and platoon level. Covers not just the rifle companies, but all the support troops and special units that made it work, including info, pictures, and detailed illustrations of the uniforms, equipment, and maps. What a fabulous resource. I can tell already that I'll be re-visiting this book often. — Jo
Shopping CartOrder Spearheading D-Day

Jan 29, 1999 Marty Black recommends:
Beyond the Beachhead:
The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy

by Joseph Balkoski

Joe Balkoski is of "our" generation, and has written a tremendously good book on the 29th Div's fight, from D-Day through the taking of St. Lo. It was carefully written to appeal to the non-WWII-buff as well as us "hardcore experts."  Joe takes care to explain the command structure, organization of both armies, the differing weapons, etc. 
Shopping CartOrder Beyond the Beachhead

Ernie Pyle : WWII War Correspondent - see recommended books about this great war reporter who died in the war doing his job.



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