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When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign,
October 1944-January 1945
Author: Keith Bonn
When the Odds Were Even: The Vosges Mountains Campaign, October 1944-January 1945
The time? Autumn and winter 1944-45. The place? The Vosges Mountains of northeastern France. Allied forces from the 7th US Army pitted against the vaunted, often overly hailed, but numerically superior Wehrmacht pierced the perimeter of Hitler's Army Group G. Keith Bonn conducts a complete analysis of the winter battle in When the Odds Were Even. While explaining the ground rules for comparing historical entities, Bonn offers a precise and thoroughly researched chronicle of the campaign from its initial successes in early October to the harsh fight for the Low Vosges in the closing days of 1944.
The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon
Author: Alex Kershaw
From the author of the best-selling The Bedford Boys, this is the remarkable story of America's most decorated platoon that miraculously halted Hitler's massive offensive at the Battle of the Bulge.
Band of Brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
Author: Stephen E. Ambrose
The horrifying, hallucinatory saga of Easy Company, whose 147 members are taken from grueling basic training to Utah Beach on D-day, where a dozen of them turned German cannons into dynamited ruins resembling "half-peeled bananas," on to the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of part of the Dachau concentration camp, and a large party at Hitler's "Eagle's Nest," where they drank the madman's (surprisingly inferior) champagne.
Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944
Author: Joseph Balkoski
Joseph Balkoski has crafted an amazing piece of literary history with "Omaha Beach". This book represents a serious amount of new scholarship and original research. Balkoski has done more than any other author to establish the crucial timeline of events, and has coupled this timeline with an intricate and invaluable series of detailed maps of Omaha Beach and the German defenses on the morning of June 6. Overall, the book is a tremendous tribute to the men who fought, and ultimately prevailed with great sacrifice, on Omaha Beach.
THE FIGHTING FIRST: The Untold Story of the Big Red One on D-Day
Author: Flint Whitlock
"The Fighting First: The Untold Story of the Big Red One on D-Day" is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in World War II. It is a well-written and readable tribute to the sacrifices made by the Big Red One on that fateful day in June 1944.
Flags of Our Fathers
Author:James Bradley, Ron Powers
Flags of Our Fathers recounts the sometimes tragic life stories of the six men who raised the flag that February day--one an Arizona Indian who would die following an alcohol-soaked brawl, another a Kentucky hillbilly, still another a Pennsylvania steel-mill worker--and who became reluctant heroes in the bargain. A strongly felt and well-written entry in a spate of recent books on World War II, Flags gives a you-are-there depiction of that conflict's horrible arenas--and a moving homage to the men whom fate brought there.
Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission
Author: Hampton Sides
Ghost Soldiers traces American GI's from the Bataan Death March through their internment in the Japanese prison system and the eventual liberation of several hundred during a daring raid on the prison at Cabanatuan by an army Ranger unit. It is a gripping and well written story that will keep you fixed to the pages of this fine book.
Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat
Author: Patrick K. O'Donnell
Drawing from over 800 interviews with WW2 veterans, a new collection of oral histories from veterans of the Second World War, this time from the Pacific theater. In an introduction, Patrick K. O'Donnell warns, "oral histories are perhaps the best means available to reveal the horrors and pathos of the foxhole." From raids on remote Japanese outposts, to the desperate fighting on Guadalcanal and in Burma, to the hellish catacombs of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, O'Donnell has assembled chilling tales told by survivors of some of the most vicious fighting in the war. This important work preserves these veterans' shocking and moving stories for generations to come.
An Army at Dawn : The War in Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy
Author: Rick Atkinson
A comprehensive look at the 1942-1943 Allied invasion of North Africa in which author Rick Atkinson posits that the campaign was, along with the battles of Stalingrad and Midway, where the "Axis ... forever lost the initiative" and the "fable of 3rd Reich invincibility was dissolved." Additionally, it forestalled a premature and potentially disastrous cross-channel invasion of France and served as a grueling "testing ground" for an as-yet inexperienced American army. Lastly, by relegating Great Britain to what Atkinson calls the status of "junior partner" in the war effort, North Africa marked the beginning of American geopolitical hegemony. Winner of the Purlitzer Prize.
The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, Volume Two of the Liberation Trilogy
Author: Rick Atkinson
Atkinson surpasses his Pulitzer-winning An Army at Dawn in this empathetic, perceptive analysis of the second stage in the U.S. Army's grassroots development from well-intentioned amateurs to the most formidable fighting force of World War II. The battles in Sicily and Italy developed the combat effectiveness and the emotional hardness of a U.S. Army increasingly constrained to bear the brunt of the Western allies' war effort, he argues. Demanding terrain, harsh climate and a formidable opponent confirmed the lesson of North Africa: the only way home was through the Germans: kill or be killed. Atkinson is pitilessly accurate demonstrating the errors and misjudgments of senior officers, Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander, Gen. Mark Clark and their subordinates commanding corps and divisions. The price was paid in blood by the men at the sharp end: British and French, Indians and North Africans?above all, Americans. All that remained of the crew of one burned-out tank were the fillings of their teeth, for one example. The Mediterranean campaign is frequently dismissed by soldiers and scholars as a distraction from the essential objective of invading northern Europe. Atkinson makes a convincing case that it played a decisive role in breaking German power, forcing the Wehrmacht onto a defensive it could never abandon.
The World At War - More than 30 years after its initial broadcast, THE WORLD AT WAR remains the definitive visual history of World War II. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Laurence Olivier and digitally re-mastered for DVD, this is epic history at its absolute best. A 26 hour-long program featuring an extraordinary collection of newsreel, propaganda, and home-movie footage drawn from the archives of 18 nations.
The Longest Day - Based on Cornelius Ryan's compilation of 1st-hand accounts, it features a platoon of marquee actors.
Band of Brothers - The history of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne from training, through D-Day, Norway, Bastogne and Berlin.
Patton - A riveting account of Ike's most notable general.
Ike: Countdown to D-Day - A&E did a great job of showing the delicate military and political maneuvers Eisenhower used to develop Operation Overlord.
Midway - The glory, the suspense, the spectacular drama of the men who won the most decisive naval battle in U.S. history.
Tora! Tora! Tora! - A clinical 360° view of December 7, 1941 from both sides, with subtitles (and Admiral Yamamoto's voice isn't the actor's).
The Great Escape - A slightly stylised treatment of the prison break that lead to a brutal massacre of Allied POWs by the SS.
A Bridge Too Far - Another of Cornelius Ryan's compilations from the men who were there. It suffers from some fictionalized and unnecessary social commentary-oriented sequences.
The Bridge At Remagen - As the Allied armies close in, the Nazis decide to blow up the last Rhine bridge, trapping their own men on the wrong side.
Twelve O'Clock High - A hard-as-nails general takes over a bomber pilot unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape.
Memphis Belle - The story of the "Memphis Belle's" final mission.
Battle of the Bulge - This provides a passable history lesson about the Germans' last gasp in Europe, but the director seems to display a cavalier attitude for technical accuracy. They didn't even try to simulate Panzers or Tiger IIIs, using Walker Bulldogs (Korean era) for BOTH sides.
In Harm's Way - A naval officer reprimanded after Pearl Harbor is later promoted to rear admiral and gets a second chance to prove himself against the Japanese.
Mister Roberts - Fictional, but worthwhile for the story as well as showing the typical navy life aboard the many non-combat USN vessels.
Kelly's Heroes - What do enterprising GIs do in Europe on a 3 day pass? Steal German gold, what else? Ya hockey puck! And it stars Clint Eastwood.
The Dirty Dozen - A US Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers in World War II.
Ambush Bay - Total fiction, but they have a cool mission that involves blowing stuff up. Mickey Rooney's final scene with the pineapples is classic and well-suited to imitate.
The Secret Invasion - This hard-to-find flick is arguably what The Dirty Dozen could be called a remake of, except Lee Marvin isn't likely to have agreed to play Stewart Granger's character. Mickey Rooney co-stars and he plays with grenades in this one too.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison - Another sentimental favorite. A Marine and a Nun, both shipwrecked on a Pacific Island, find solace in one another as the two wait out the war.
Operation Petticoat - Cary Grant takes command of the worst sub in the Pacific - the Sea Tiger. Because they get nothing but hind-teat leftovers, they have to mix the only paint they can scrounge - white and red - to cover the rusty barnacles and become infamous as a Pink Submarine and rescue some hot nurses. The Beatles had nothing on these guys with that whole yellow thing.
Father Goose - Cary Grant again. He's gets volunteered as a coast watcher for the Australian Navy, collects a French schoolmarm and the gaggle of little girls in her charge. She pronounces him a "Filthy Beast" and hides his whiskey. She gets bit by a snake (they think). The worried girls give up the whiskey. She gets snot-slingin' drunk and says silly things. They fall in love and get married over the radio while the Japanese strafe the island.
Kiss Them For Me - This one stars Jayne Mansfield and Cary Grant. Three decorated Navy pilots finagle a four day leave in San Francisco. They procure a posh suite at the hotel and Commander Crewson, a master of procurement, arranges to populate it with party people.
The Cross of Lorraine - A group of French soldiers during WWII are captured by Nazis troops and sent to a military prison. There they will have to make use of his best resources to keep alive... and sane, while at the same time scheming a way out.
Saving Private Ryan - Opening with the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, members of the 2nd Ranger Battalion under Cpt. Miller fight ashore to secure a beachhead. Amidst the fighting, two brothers are killed in action. Earlier in New Guinea, a third brother is KIA. Their mother, Mrs. Ryan, is to receive all three of the grave telegrams on the same day. The United States Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, is given an opportunity to alleviate some of her grief when he learns of a fourth brother, Private James Ryan, and decides to send out 8 men (Cpt. Miller and select members from 2nd Rangers) to find him and bring him back home to his mother.
Run Silent, Run Deep - Gable and Lancaster make the seas boil in the battle adventure that hits like a torpedo! A U.S. sub commander, obsessed with sinking a certain Japanese ship, butts heads with his first officer and crew.