The charming and very baseball savvy Lilly asked a question the other day--what are some favorite WWII books and why?
Thought I'd devote a post or several to this rather than just reply in the comments as it could get rather lengthy.
Here are a few off the top of my head. If anyone has some other favorites, post 'em.
A note on the list that follows: Apparently I'm big on autobiographical accounts. It's important to know the big picture, but nothing grips you like the stories of the people on the ground.
"Black Thursday", by Martin Caiden. The story of the bombing raid on the Schweinfurt ball bearing factory. It's meticulously researched with a lot of human details. And it reveals the frustrations of war--despite heavy losses and a prediction that destroying the ball bearing plant would have a severe impact on the German war machine, it had almost no impact.
"Give Us This Day", by Sidney Stewart. We've all heard about the Bataan Death March, but this book, written by a survivor, provides the gripping, wrenching details of surviving it day by day.
"The Road Past Mandalay", by John Masters. Autobiographical account of a British Ghurka officer. The author became a very well known novelist so you can imagine the quality of the writing. As I recall the story starts prior to the outbreak of the war, giving the reader a glimpse into British Colonial life. Very humerous at times.
I once had a book I think was called "While Eagles Screamed", but that wasn't the original title and I can't find any references under the title I know. It was another autobiography writtenby a guy who served in the 101st. He jumped into Normandy and wrote of watching aircraft drop troopers too low and hearing them hit and sounding like pumpkins thudding to earth.
"If You Survive", by Charles Wilson. A company commander assigned to the front lines at Normandy, he fought the rest of the war. The title comes from his first conversation with his commanding officer who prefaced a response to a question Wilson posed with the phrase "If you survive..."
"Company Commander", by Charles B. MacDonald. Another compelling autobiography by by an officer who fought across Europe.
Once read a book called "Samauri", written by a former Japanese fighter pilot. Don't recall his name and plugging "Samauri" into a search engine is going to lead to about 50 million hits.
Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery (1901-1977) deserves special mention. He commanded the USS Guadalcanal (a 'jeep' carrier), and achieved immortality by effecting the only capture at sea of a German U-Boat. It now resides at the University of Chicago, where he matriculated at some point, though he's a Naval Academy graduate. He also wrote a number of utterly hysterical books--some autobiographical and some pure fancy and populated by characters such as Chief Bosun's Mate Fatso and Curly the jet pilot. He also wrote about the capture of U-505 and an analysis of the USS Pueblo incident. His books are hard to find, but worth the effort.
Ok. These are a few that popped into my mind. As I recall others, I'll post them here.