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Posted on Nov 30, 2010 in Stuff We Like

Even More Books for Holiday Gifts

By Jerry D. Morelock

Our current January 2011 issue of Armchair General magazine (on sale now) contains our annual Holiday Book and DVD Shopping Guide, and we’ve also posted it here at But there are some additional recently published “must buy” military history books to add to your shopping carts.

The Retreat: Hitler’s First Defeat by Michael Jones (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press, 2010). The third in Jones’ outstanding “East Front trilogy,” this account of the 1941 Moscow campaign joins his “must read” earlier books — Stalingrad: How the Red Army Survived the German Onslaught (2007) and Leningrad: State of Siege (2008). We highly recommend all three.

The German Wars: A Concise History, 1859-1945 by Michael A. Palmer (Zenith Press, 2010). At a scant 248 pages, “concise” is the operative word in the title. Yet, Palmer has succeeded in creating an outstanding short history of the “German wars” that influenced the development of Europe and the world in the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s a terrific introduction and overview of the subject.

Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of K-129 by Norman Polmar and Michael White (Naval Institute Press, 2010). Conspiracy theories have run rampant regarding the Soviet missile submarine, K-129, that sank in the Pacific in 1968. This superbly researched book destroys those theories while presenting the fascinating true story of the Glomar Explorer’s effort to raise the sub from 16,000 feet deep.

Hitler’s Panzers: The Lightning Attacks That Revolutionized Warfare by Dennis Showalter (Berkley Caliber, 2010). Any book by Showalter, one of the deans of American military history, is well worth reading, and his examination of German armored warfare in World War II is no exception. He masterfully blends serious scholarship with a marvelously readable narrative to produce another “must read” book.

The Soviet Union at War, 1941-1945 edited by David R. Stone (Pen & Sword, 2010). This is a superb collection of eight essays (plus Stone’s excellent Introduction and Conclusion) on important aspects of the USSR during World War II – the most important front in the European war. Subjects include: industry; propaganda; women; the Red Army; partisans; and the horrors of the brutal Nazi occupation.

Victory in Defeat: The Wake Island Defenders in Captivity by Gregory J. W. Urwin (Naval Institute Press, 2010). The Japanese conquest of the tiny U. S. Wake Island garrison of Marines and civilian construction workers on December 23, 1941 was only the beginning of the defenders’ ordeal. Their survival in captivity is a testament to the men’s character and courage.

Racing the Sunrise: Reinforcing America’s Pacific Outposts, 1941-1942 by Glen Williford (Naval Institute Press, 2010). Although the U. S. lost the race to reinforce Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s beleaguered American and Filipino soldiers before they could be overwhelmed by the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the effort proved vital in creating the bases and forces that fueled the victorious Allied counteroffensives.

War Stories: World War II Firsthand. The Pacific. Volume One: Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal by Jay Wertz (Weider History Group, 2010). This first volume in a planned 10-volume series published by Weider History Group should be at the very top of your “must buy” holiday book shopping list. Author Wertz has gathered a truly outstanding collection of veterans’ accounts of the real war as they fought it.



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