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odanny (Peoria, Illinois)

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Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945. (with a New Preface)
Soldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945. (with a New Preface)
von Charles W. Jr. Sydnor
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 23,80

4.0 von 5 Sternen A Good Look at this Unit..., 11. Juli 2000
This is a book that deals almost exclusively with the SSTK, (Which is an acronym for SS, Totenkopf) a unit which was personally molded by Sepp Dietrich, and the result is an interesting, often behind the scenes look of how this unit had to go to great lengths at its inception to "acquire" transportation, weapons, ammunition, and most importantly, respect as a fighting unit. Dietrich was a master of indoctrination, and developed an intense training program for his troops, often rejecting conscripts and volunteers alike (at the beginning of the war) as they did not meet his "racial or ideological" standards. He often used individuals, enlisted and officer, as examples of his Draconian punishments, and then saw the offending behavior dry up almost immediately.
While the book does mention a few examples of the crack Waffen SS fighting spirit on the Eastern Front, and mentions one example of an atrocity in France in 1940, this book spends most of its time on the development of the division, and its constant manuvering for supplies and replacements devasated by battle. I would not recommend this book to those looking for specific and vivid examples of SSTK battles and atrocities, as these have been somewhat glossed over and molded into a comprehensive overview of the interservice rivalries, development, training and ultimate retreat and surrender in the Balkans, and there is precious little information on this units ultimate fate after surrender. (Did any return from the Gulags?)
But, if the evolution of this crack fighting force interests you, then this is an absolute must read.


A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War: Fighting the Second World War, 1937-1945
A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War: Fighting the Second World War, 1937-1945
von Williamson Murray
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen a comprehensive and thorough analysis....., 5. Juli 2000
"A War to be Won" is a well written and researched novel that offers a complete analysis of both the Pacific and European theaters. It offers some refreshingly sharp rebukes of tactical decisions made by various generals, and from previous readings, I tend to strongly agree with the authors. For example, the vain and pretentious Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who the authors failed to metion was nicknamed "Dugout Doug" by his frontline troops for his failure to leave his sheltered underground quarters during the seige of Luzon and Bataan, is given no quarter. To quote the authors, "When he was good, he was very good, and when he was bad, he was horrid." (page 185) His ill conceived conquest of Manila, coincided to his 65th birthday, was but a string of blunders by MacArthur, but his brilliant success also does not go unnoticed. The authors also make note of the most productive U.S. General in Europe, "Old Blood and Guts - (His Guts, our Blood)" Gen. George Patton. His hard driving style was really just a variation of the German "Blitzkrieg", but highly effective, and unfortunately not a trait shared by other cautious American Generals. This is repeatedly demonstrated by the authors. It is also interesting to note that the Author's mention of superior Generalship of the Axis, such as Field Marshal Manstein and Guderian, to name a few brilliant German tacticians, and General Yamashita, the "Tiger of Malay" who refused to committ suicide, as he knew his imminent execution might save his soldiers lives. He was indeed executed, and it is intersting to note he was much more concerned with sparing his soldiers blood than MacArthur seemed to be in the spilling of those under his command. This book moves along quite rapidly, and only becomes more engrossing as you get further involved in the compelling story of a world gone mad. For a better written and more personal look at this War, I strongly recommend "A History of the Twentieth Century, Vol.Two: 1933-1951" by Martin Gilbert. It is superbly written and researched, and is a more personal view of this entire war, with less emphasis on unit designations and troop counts. At over 900 pages, it is so well written I have read it twice. It also contains over 40 maps, but I am taking nothing away from "A War to be Won" Provacative and factual, this novel is a must read for the serious student and casual reader alike. Highly recommended.


Flags of Our Fathers
Flags of Our Fathers
von James Bradley
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 19,60

5.0 von 5 Sternen A look behind the famous photo....., 6. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Flags of Our Fathers (Gebundene Ausgabe)
James Bradley, the son of one of the six flagraisers on Mt. Suribachi, has written a beautiful novel on the childhoods, training, combat and post-war lives of the flagraisers who were not killed on Iwo Jima. It is truly a poignant book, and repeatedly made me wonder "what if" when considering so many lives that were cut short. The battle of Iwo Jima was the bloodiest of the Pacific. It was supposed to take 3 to 4 days. It took 36 days of savage combat against 22,000 crack Japanese soldiers who were defending what was considered "The Homelands" for the first time in the war. They were all dug in, some as deep as seven stories, into the volcanic earth, and the U.S. Marines landed to fight an unseen enemy. This was the only battle of the Pacific that saw Marine casualties outnumber those of the Japanese. The defenders brought in their best mining engineers, quarry specialists and labor battalions. Tunnels connected everything, and all had ventilation and most had electricity. They had multiple entrances to avoid entrapment. One hospital could treat over 400 men, with beds carved into the rock. A cunning and suicidally brave enemy awaited the Marines. The training these Marines went through took place on the Big Island of Hawaii, on a base dubbed "Camp Tarawa". They spent a year getting ready for this battle, which shows the foresight the Marine leaders had. The rest of the book details the brutal fighting, and the post war lives of the surviving Marines. Finally, after reading this, I now understand why so many of these men just would not talk about their experiences. And it was the author's father, a humble man who as a Navy Corpsman repeatedly risked his life to save wounded Marines, it was his story indeed that spelled out the silence of these great men. Ask yourself, after reading this book, if those of us in the year 2000 could put it on the line like Americans did in the 1940's. Better yet, thank a Veteran that we don't have to.


A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)
von Bill Bryson
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen My Personal Favorite...., 25. Mai 2000
This is the kind of book that you want to give as a gift to everyone you consider close, because it is such a joy to read, and you are certain others will enjoy it just as much. Never have I read a book that was not only this funny, but that perfectly transposed an excellent history lesson on the the East Coast, from Georgia to Maine. You will find yourself laughing from the very beginning, when the author describes the preparation (or lack of) his buddy Katz, whom he hadn't spoken to for years, and who was out of work and decided to join him when he caught wind of the upcoming trek. They start from the southern most portion, as most "Thru-Hikers" do (those who do it end to end) and it happens to be the coldest Feb. day in northern Georgia history, with snow and ice awaiting their departure, and Katz not wanting to leave the warm lodge and hot pancakes as he schmoozes with the waitress. The rest is an informative, entertaining and laugh out loud journey as Bryson and Katz discover not only how much work this trudge is going to be, but also explore the quirks of fellow hikers and the peculiarities of towns that border the trail, while the author never loses sight of the evolution of this beautiful area, from the plague which has almost wiped out the mighty American Chestnut that once covered the land, to a fire in an underground mine in Pennsylvania that still burns out of control since it started in the 80's and forced the evacuation of the town, which still has vacant homes and fire hydrants on empty streets. This book is much more than a look at the Appalachian Trail. This is a book about America.


This is Berlin: Radio Broadcasts 1938-1940
This is Berlin: Radio Broadcasts 1938-1940
von William Shirer
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 25,78

3.0 von 5 Sternen Workmanlike and Dry...., 24. April 2000
If you are looking for an insiders view at the daily workings of the Nazi Party, look elsewhere. This book just simply does not do justice to the immense writing talents of William Shirer, best known for "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". The main reason this book comes up short is that it contains actual reports that Shirer filed from September of 1938 till he eventually could no longer tolerate Nazi censorship and left the country in September of 1940. Shirer had to tailor his writing style accordingly, due to the inevitable Nazi censorship, and what we are left with are uneventful reports that Shirer files from blacked out and food-rationed Berlin, often relying on newspaper reports from sources as the "Lokal Anzeiger", Goebels hand-picked Nazi mouthpiece, which of course is anything but impartial. While there are many examples of what day to day life is like for the average German, there is scant information on the Nazi war machine until well after page 300 of a 423 page book. This book has taken me longer to read than almost any other novel of it's size, and to be honest I would of given up on it, but once the German invasion of France and the British retreat at Dunkirk began, if only on the strength of the subject you are left with 100 pages of reading from June to September of 1940 that certainly improves. There are some notable revelations, like the brave and tenacious defense of their homeland by the Belgians, which won the public admiration of the Nazis and even compelled Hitler to make mention of it to King Leopold, who wisely capitulated rather than see Brussels bombed into another Warsaw. But overall, it's a novel that reads like a dated High School history book, and due to its nature as actual dispatches from the time, it is hard to place any blame on the author.


With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
von Eugene B. Sledge
  Taschenbuch

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The best account of Hell on Earth..., 13. Februar 2000
E.B. Sledge has written a first hand account of the island hopping campaign against Japan with the flair of a historian and the brutal reality of one who was there. This theater differed so much from the battle against Germany, and Sledge does a wonderful job of relating the hellish aspects of these battles, while showing the day to day operations of Marines against not only a fierce and deadly-cunning enemy, but also how the tropics, with it's intense heat, disease and lack of cover contributed considerable casualties themselves. This book graphically recalls the almost inhumane suffering of the Marines against a completely committed and suicidal enemy, and the enormous sacrifices these men had to make, without ever once straying into a patriotic and flag waving history lesson. His descriptions are vivid and unforgettable, such as when he trudged up a hill and saw what remained of a dead Japanese machine-gunner. "He sat bolt upright in the firing position behind the breech of his machine gun. Even in death his eyes stared widely along the gun sights. Despite the vacant look of his dilated pupils, I couldn't believe he was dead. Cold chills ran along my spine. Gooseflesh tickled my back. It seemed as though he was looking through me to all eternity, that at any instant he would raise his hands, which rested in a relaxed manner on his thighs, grip the handles on the breech, and press the thumb trigger. But he would rot, and the brass slugs would corrode. Neither he nor his ammo could do any more for the emporer." This is but one of many excellent descriptions of battlefield hell. Maggot covered corpses bloating in the sun, hand to hand fighting with special night infiltration squads, even a column of soldiers who charge at port arms across 300 yards of open field in a suicidal display of bravery, it's all here. This book will not disappoint.


Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943
Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943
von Antony Beevor
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Fantastic Book!, 10. Februar 2000
This is, quite simply, one of the finest novels I have ever read. The author chillingly describes the horiffic conditions faced by both the Russians and the 6th Army, and this book occupied my thoughts for weeks afterwards like no other book has ever done. Mr. Beevor is masterful in his description, weaving facts with personal accounts that puts the reader in the trenches. His access to previously closed Russian files on this brutal battle has allowed the author to write the finest story ever on Stalingrad. His story on Winrich Behr (who by the way is still alive today) I have found to be as unforgettable as the rest of the book. He vividly describes how the desperate situation has convinced the top leadership in encircled Stalingrad to fly out Capt. Behr, proud in his black SS Panzer uniform with Knights Cross. Behr is flown to see Hitler, to explain how a breakout from the Kessel must proceed immediately. Behr is warned on how Hitler tries to overwhelm his guests with the "overall" picture, and how his vast knowledge leaves little room for compromise. Behr is prepared when Hitler steps to the map, and shocked when Hitler quits talking and is attentive while Behr further protests the utter hopelessness of fighting on. Field Marshall Keitel, Hitlers sycophantic lackey, angrily shakes his fist at Behr when Hitler looks away, and then Hitler returns to the map, and produces phantom divisions to rescue the trapped 6th Army. It is then when Behr realizes the war is over. The only other book that compares to this in the horrors of battle is "The Forgotten Soldier" the story on a soldier in the Das Reich SS division who sees destrucion and death on the Eastern front, but this autobiography is not nearly as well written. I have read this book twice, and will enjoy it many more times. Superb.


The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
von Slavomir Rawicz
  Taschenbuch

4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A good yarn..., 8. Februar 2000
This book starts with crisp, vivid detail and the author gives a startling view of Soviet imprisonment and a fascinating account of his 3 week train ride to a gulag. But after a brief period of confinement, the escape takes on something of a familiar pattern which stretches the limits of credibility. While still a good book, I ask you, even when pushed to your absoulute limits, if you could walk across Siberia in the winter, the Gobi desert in the Summer, and climb the Himalya's in the winter, all while being ill-equipped and averaging 30 miles a day for 4000 miles. No way. Everyone truly wants to beleive what is simply an unbelievable tale. And then to throw in a sighting of the Yeti, I think 'ole Slavomir is laughing all the way to the bank.


A Stillness at Appomattox: The Army of the Potomac Trilogy
A Stillness at Appomattox: The Army of the Potomac Trilogy
von Bruce Catton
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,30

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Classic, 27. Januar 2000
Quite simply, this is the best novel ever written on the U.S. Civil War. No other author has been able to mesh the savagery of battle with the tedium of forced marches on wet, muddy roads. While chronicling only the final year of the war, Catton brilliantly explores the Confederacy in its futile attempt at a last stand in Virginia. He vividly describes the march of the Northern juggernaut as it rolls towards a bloody victory, while never losing sight of the personal, individual struggles taking place, blending it all together and even finding room for a lighthearted moment or two, such as when a group of Union soldiers were startled one night by a Rebel soldier, probably in his 50's, who walked through a swamp, cursing all the way, sat down at their fire and proceeded to rant about the ignorance of the Confederacy while his false teeth kept falling out, all to the uproarious laughter of his new found captors. This is masterful writing, and deservedly won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. A very special book, and an American literary treasure.


History of the Twentieth Century, A, Vol II: Volume Two: 1933-1951 (History of the 20th Century II)
History of the Twentieth Century, A, Vol II: Volume Two: 1933-1951 (History of the 20th Century II)
von Martin Gilbert
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen If you truly appreciate good writing..., 28. Dezember 1999
Then you must buy this book! I have read extensively on WWII, and this book is the most complete and definitive I have read to date. Martin does a masterful job of presenting the facts in a personal way, without getting bogged down in dry detail. He does an excellent job of putting a name and a face beside his content. The research was absoulutely exhaustive, and the manner in which he uses names instead of just numbers and cold statistics is superb. The overall picture of a world gone mad is tightly woven into individual experiences, and the result is a comprehensive overview that shows the incredible sacrifices of so many. Being English, the author does tend to Lionize Churchill, but his contributions to the war may be largely unknown to many. He was indeed a man of great foresight, and accurately predicted what so many politicians in the U.K. either were unwilling to admit, or simply failed to comprehend. This book is a must read for any WWII historian.


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