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Posted on Nov 23, 2011 in Stuff We Like

Holiday Shopping Guide 2011: Books

By Armchair General

Here’s a list of recommended gift books for military history enthusiasts, selected from among this year’s book reviews on on the titles to read the full review of each.

Lines of Fire: A Renegade Writes on Strategy, Intelligence, and Security by Ralph Peters. Stackpole, 2011. 368 pages, hardcover $29.95. This superb collection of 35 “best of the best” think-pieces selected from over 1,000 of Ralph Peters’ journal, magazine and newspaper articles will clearly stand the test of time and will continue to enlighten and inform for years to come.

Blood, Steel, & Myth: The II. SS Panzer Corps and the Road to Prochorowka by George Nipe, Jr. RZM Imports, 2011. 496 pages, hardcover $75.00.
A good read destined to be extremely controversial: Nipe’s contention in this very well researched book is that the gigantic tank battle of Prochorowka (Prokhorovka), the mythical climactic event of the Battle of Kursk, never happened.


D-Day: The Battle for Normandyby Anthony Beevor. Penguin, 2009. 608 Pages, hardcover $32.95. Delivering far more than the title promises, Beevor’s book not only devotes significant coverage to events during the early weeks of June 1944, it continues through The Liberation of Paris, Operation Goodwood, Operation Cobra, the Mortain Counterattack, and the fighting of the Falaise Pocket.

Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanalby James D. Hornfischer, Bantam Books, 2011. 516 pages, 103 illustrations, 8 maps, 11 tables and diagrams, hardcover $30.00. The tough fighting on the ground for control of Guadalcanal is well-known and frequently written about. Neptune’s Inferno takes readers into the naval battles that, in the end, decided the outcome of the Guadalcanal campaign.

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda. HarperCollins 2010. 699 pages, with maps and illustrations, paperback, $17.99. Korda is neither a cheerleader for nor a critic of the legendary Lawrence—he is a biographer presenting the contradictions that made Lawrence who he was. For anyone who wishes to attempt to understand the enigma of T.E. Lawrence, this book is a must-have.

Lords of the Sea; The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy by John R. Hale. Penguin Books, 2010. 395 pages with 29 maps and diagrams, paperback $17.00. a comprehensive and engaging history of the Athenian navy from its foundation following the Persian Wars and the victory of Salamis, to the subvention of the Athenian state to the empire of Alexander the Great.

First to Die: The First Canadian Navy Casualties in the First World War. Bryan Elson. Formac Publishing Company, 2010. 96 pages, paperback $24.95. At 96 pages, First to Die is fairly short and an easy read, but it offers up a surprising wealth of information. Nearly every page contains a picture, map, or diagram. It does justice to Canada’s first naval casualties and serves as an excellent primer for World War I naval warfare in general.

Shadow of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War. Gail Stephens. Indiana Historical Society Press, 2010. 301 pages, hardcover $27.95. Gail Stephens says Wallace was “foremost an adventurous and intelligent man [who] dreamed of … adventure, fame, and glory as the soldier he had always wanted to be." This well-documented and long-overdue biography is extensively footnoted and mapped, and fully explores the controversy between Wallace and Ulysses S. Grant that tainted much of Wallace’s career.

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