ell, summer is finally here, and that usually means I’m sitting on the beach reading a book on World War II. It’s a routine I have. Sitting in my chair, burying my feet in the sand, listening to the sounds of waves lapping on the shore, and droning sounds of propellor planes over my head. You can't help but picture yourself on some lonely Pacific island!
Here is a collection of my favorite World War II books:
The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23-26 October 1944 (Bluejacket Books) [Paperback]by Thomas J. Cutler
Here's the setup : After 3 long years, General McArthur has finally returned to the Philippines, fulfilling a vow to the people he left behind. The Japanese Imperial Navy, shattered after the Battle of Midway, is still trying to find a way to destroy the American Fleet. Desperate to stop the American forces before they get any closer to the Japanese home islands, they launch one of the most audacious attacks of World War II. Beyond their wildest dreams, their plan almost works. The entire U.S. strike carrier force is lured away from the landing beaches, and Japan's still incredibly powerful surface fleet pounces on the helpless destroyers and jeep carriers protecting the men on the beach.
This is the incredible true story of what happens next, the battles that lead up to this decisive day for the Japanese Navy and the repercusions for leaders on both sides of the line. Vividly written and action packed, this book will keep you on the edge of your beach chair.
Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battleby Richard B. Frank
“Definitive” is right, this book covers every aspect of the Guadalcanal campaign, from the initial landing, to Ichiki’s charge at the Battle of Tenaru, to the brutal night battles in the waters off Guadalcanal island. The descriptions are thick with details and it's hard not to get caught up in the fighting.
The World At Armsby Readers Digest
By far the most comprehensive book on World War II is Readers Digest’s “The World At Arms”. The detail and illustrations are incredible. This isn’t just a book; it’s an encyclopedia of a war that raged over every continent and ocean. This book is hard to find and it only comes in hardcover, and as a result, I loan this book out to no one!
The Taste of Courageby Desmond Flower/ James Reeves
I found this one in a used book store during a visit to Kingston, New York and is quite possibly one of the most precious books in my collection. The Taste of Courage
is actually a collection of letters, diary entries and memories from the people on both sides of the war. In here you’ll read letters from Japanese naval commanders, German Generals, Belgium civilians, American serviceman and people from every other nation that was touched by the war. If you truly love to read about World War II, then track down this rare book and buy it. You won't find stories about grand strategies, or illustrations, just the desperate stories of people who lived it.
Miracle At Midwayby Gordon Prange
What would any World War II collection be without a book on the Battle of Midway, the decisive turning point in the Pacific War. In early June 1942, the Japanese Navy is sailing toward tiny Midway Island. Determined to destroy the tiny American garrison stationed there, the Japanese have amassed the largest naval force since the start of hostilities on December 7th, 1941. At the heart of this task force, four of the largest and mightiest carriers in the Japanese Navy. In command of the operation, Admiral Yamamoto himself.
Standing against them, a much smaller American force consisting of the the carriers Enterprise, Hornet and the recently rushed back into service Yorktown, fresh out of the dry docks after suffering heavy damage at the Battle of Coral Sea. To make matters worse, their best commander, Admiral Halsey, has been hospitalized and is out of the fight. Can Admiral Spruance succeed? Read on and discover how this battle changed the course of the war.