Military Buffs, I Need Some Reading Advice

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Andrew_Sch, Sep 1, 2003.

  1. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    I'm finishing up Band of Brothers, after watching the excellent miniseries I've just been devouring the equally excellent book. Next I'm looking to move into biographies of Patton and Rommel. I'd assume that Patton: Ordeal and Triumph would be the Patton bio to get, being as it's the basis of the movie, correct? However it's out of print, and I'm wondering if it's worth the effort to find or if there are better, more widely-available bios out there. As for Rommel, it seems to be between A Knight's Cross and Desert Fox. Which is the better bio? I also plan to read Bradley's A Soldier's Story, so any comments on that are more than welcome as well.
     
  2. wally

    wally Second Unit

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    The Greatest Generation by NBC's Tom Brokaw
     
  3. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I'm not sure of what other people think of this book, but Patton: A Genius For War by Carlo D'Este is a book I like.
     
  4. Greg Morse

    Greg Morse Stunt Coordinator

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    Why not read about them in their own words. My vote would be War as I Knew It by Patton.
     
  5. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I also suggest reading general military history. Such as John Keegan's "History of Warfare", which would also expose you to other amazing individuals. It should have an extensive bibliography, in addition to fascinating military tidbits. You can use this book as a stepping stone for further research. [​IMG]
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I agree with Max as to Keegan—most anything written by him is authoritative and at the same time not too demanding for non-historians.

    Bradley’s bio is excellent. A true American hero, never so much in the limelight as Patton or Macarthur no so colorful, he remains our last five star general.
     
  7. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    If you really want to become a historical nitpicker (like me); read ALL of them, and then start noting the inconsistencies, vague remembrancies, and slight references. Even our heroes (Patton was mine) have feet of clay when it comes to polishing their own images.

    Fer instance: In A Soldier's Story , Bradley discusses the battle for the Hurtgen Forest for all of 1 paragraph. It wasn't exactly his most shining moment. A lot of dead GIs would probably agree.

    Standard & Basic must reads about WWII:
    Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Shirer
    Churchill's History of WWII (abridged version unless you are a glutton for punishment)
    Guderian's Achtung-Panzer!; Panzer Leader; Panzer General
    and a whole lot more.
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    And if you want to expand to the navel portion of WWII, Samuel Elliot Morrison’s The Two Ocean War is a standard text (another not pitched for historians).
     
  9. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    check out the library or used book store for some of these

    British strategists

    B.H. Liddel Hart
    B.F. Fuller

    Plenty of German generals
    In addition to Guderian and Rommel, look up Erik Von Manstein, probably the greatest German strategist is of WWII.

    A good contempory writer on military affairs and matters is James Dunnigan. He has a site at strategypage.com
     
  10. NicholasL

    NicholasL Second Unit

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    Tim O'Brien's "the things they carried" and elie weisel's "night" (which won pulitzer prize) are both very worthwhile reads.
     
  11. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Tim O'Brien [​IMG]
     
  12. Greg Morse

    Greg Morse Stunt Coordinator

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    Never much liked Tim O'Brien. Read If I Die in a Combat Zone in High School and thought it was just ok. Picked up The Things They Carried in college for a buck and same thing. Decent read, nothing to write home about.

    The 3 best military history books I've ever read were

    A Frozen Hell by William R. Trotter about the Russo-Finnish War

    The Face of Battle by John Keegan

    Hell in a Very Small Place by Bernard Fall about the siege of Dien Bien Phu
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    For an excellent history book that is sort of military, read Richards Rhodes "The Making of the Atomic Bomb". Won the Pulitzer and is one of the greatest non-fiction books I have ever read. Also, "Band of Brothers", "D-Day" and "Citizen Soldier", all by Ambrose. I second "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich".

    And of course, "The Art of War" by Sun-Tzu.
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  15. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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  16. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Bernard Fall is an excellent choice in military authors. He has another well-known book entitled Street Without Joy that is also very, very good.

    Check out David Hackworth's nonfiction works, also. That guy is interesting, to say the least. Plus, About Face is a huge book, and should keep you busy for a while.

    My absolute fav military book is Maverick by Dennis Marvicsin. It's his story of flying Cobras in Vietnam, and is written in a very unique style. After finishing, you won't know whether to laugh or cry...
     
  17. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    Now we're talking! This is right up my alley.
    Military non-fiction is almost all I read, and have hundreds of titles.
    I would start you off by suggesting you lean toward personal accounts from folks who were there, initially.
    Find out what turns your crank and then read some of the historical stuff around the subjects that grabbed your attention.
    Over the years I have read a huge number of books from the Vietnam war. I have turned a large number of friends onto the subject, so I feel pretty confident that the titles that follow are among the classics of this genre.

    Chickenhawk by Mason.
    Headhunters by Brennan.
    Thud Ridge by Broughton.
    Marine Sniper by Henderson.
    Home before Morning by Van Devanter.
    Start with these. I could go on forever,..let me know when you want more.

    WWI.... Johnny Get your Gun / Trumbo.
    Air to air tactics.....Ace Factor/ Spick
    WWII Air War.....Thunderbolt/ Johnson with Caidin.
    WWII Air War.....Flying Forts/ Caidin.
    Gulf War Armor...Iron Soldiers/Carhart.
    Gulf War Air/POW..Tornado Down/Peters and Nichol.
    Modern Armor must-read.....King of the Killing Zone/ Kelly.
    50's-60's Naval Air........Feet Wet/ Gillchrist.
    WWII Codebreaking......Codebreakers/Hinsley and Stripp.

    I could go on forever. The above are among the best.
    Enjoy.
     
  18. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    It may sound like a weird/ insulting suggestion, but I really enjoyed:

    WWII for Dummies

    It is an excellent, readable summary of many aspects of the conflict, and has really help me put all the WWII movies and books into perspective as far as their place in the war. Before I read this book, I never really know how it all fit together (the people, places, and battles). It will also give you an excellent starting point to know what you want to study next.

    Borders also had a WWII atlas on sale for $10. It has awesome maps, and I refer to it constantly when I watch movies or read about the war.
     
  19. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    A couple that you will NOT be able to put down once you pick them up are "The Guns of August" and "The Zimmerman Telegram", both by Barabara Tuchman. "Guns" is about the outbreak of WWI and the other is about how Germany tried to get Mexico to attack the US from the south around the same time. "Guns" won the Pulitzer Prize and is widely considered one of the best histories of that period. "Zimmerman" is very short (~200 pages) so if you're an avid reader, you can finish it in a day or two.

    "Dreadnaught" by Robert K. Massie is also very good, though verrrry long (800+ pages) and is also about the runup to WWI, starting from before the Franco-Prussian war, Bismarck, etc ...
     
  20. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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