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Second World War

See below for a selection of the latest books from Second World War category. Presented with a red border are the Second World War books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Second World War books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!

Can You Beat Churchill?

Can You Beat Churchill?

Author: Michael A. Barnhart Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/06/2021

How do you get students to engage in a historical episode or era? How do you bring the immediacy and contingency of history to life? Michael A. Barnhart shares the secret to his award-winning success in the classroom with Can You Beat Churchill?, which encourages role-playing for immersive teaching and learning. Combating the declining enrollment in humanities classes, this innovative approach reminds us how critical learning skills are transmitted to students: by reactivating their curiosity and problem-solving abilities. Barnhart provides advice and procedures, both for the use of off-the-shelf commercial simulations and for the instructor who wishes to custom design a simulation from scratch. These reenactments allow students to step into the past, requiring them to think and act in ways historical figures might have. Students must make crucial or dramatic decisions, though these decisions need not align with the historical record. In doing so, they learn, through action and strategic consideration, the impact of real individuals and groups of people on the course of history. There is a quiet revolution underway in how history is taught to undergraduates. Can You Beat Churchill? hopes to make it a noisy one.

The Medic

The Medic

Author: Claire E. Swedberg Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/06/2021

Henry Chamberlain was one of the longest-term prisoners of war in World War II. Taken prisoner in the American surrender at Bataan in April 1942, he remained in Japanese captivity until September 1945. During three and a half years of imprisonment, as a medic he was a unique and unfortunate witness to the horrors and terrors the Japanese inflicted on their prisoners during the Bataan Death March and at the notorious Cabanatuan prison camp, where for two years he tended to the sick and wounded, all too often without medicine. In October 1944 the Japanese put Chamberlain on a hell ship to forced labor in sugar cane fields in Formosa (now Taiwan) and again, in January 1945, to a Mitsubishi lead and copper mine in Japan. U.S. military forces reached the camp in September 1945, liberating Chamberlain and his fellow soldiers. Chamberlain's is a story of excruciating hardship, abiding endurance, and transcendent courage, and writer Claire Swedberg tells it beautifully, with great style and deep pathos, from Chamberlain's fraught Depression-era boyhood in Nebraska, through his World War II captivity, to his return to Japan in 2018. Like Adam Makos's Spearhead and Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, this is the account of one man fighting for and with his fellow soldiers against the forces of war in the twentieth-century.

Barbarossa Through German Eyes

Barbarossa Through German Eyes

Author: Jonathan Trigg Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/06/2021

Spring 1941 - the Third Reich triumphant! Having taken over Germany in 1933, Hitler launched a series of lightning campaigns across Europe that crushed Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, the Low Countries and then the Balkans. Only Great Britain had withstood the Nazis, but even it was battered and bruised and close to defeat. Then, on 22 June 1941 - in the most momentous decision of the war - the Nazi dictator turned East and flung his victorious armies into the vastness of the Soviet Union. Having signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler back in 1939, Stalin was taken completely by surprise by the German attack. Hitler's Wehrmacht - buoyed by years of untrammelled success and led by some of the greatest commanders Nazi Germany had to offer - crashed across the border and sent the Red Army reeling. The German plan was simple and its scale staggering; over three million men, armed with over three thousand panzers, the same number of aircraft, more than seven thousand guns and carried by over six hundred thousand vehicles and even more horses, would be joined by over half a million soldiers from allied countries, and together they would destroy the largest army in the world while advancing a thousand miles to the very borders of Asiatic Russia. There they would halt and what remained of the Soviet Union and the communist faith that spawned it would wither and die. In the newly conquered lebensraum, Hitler and the Nazis would then commence the biggest mass human extermination programme in history. Barbarossa was huge, but it was fought by men; and on the German side in particular, it would be fought by junior officers and simple soldiers as the Wehrmacht tried to win the war once and for all.

Can You Beat Churchill?

Can You Beat Churchill?

Author: Michael A. Barnhart Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/06/2021

How do you get students to engage in a historical episode or era? How do you bring the immediacy and contingency of history to life? Michael A. Barnhart shares the secret to his award-winning success in the classroom with Can You Beat Churchill?, which encourages role-playing for immersive teaching and learning. Combating the declining enrollment in humanities classes, this innovative approach reminds us how critical learning skills are transmitted to students: by reactivating their curiosity and problem-solving abilities. Barnhart provides advice and procedures, both for the use of off-the-shelf commercial simulations and for the instructor who wishes to custom design a simulation from scratch. These reenactments allow students to step into the past, requiring them to think and act in ways historical figures might have. Students must make crucial or dramatic decisions, though these decisions need not align with the historical record. In doing so, they learn, through action and strategic consideration, the impact of real individuals and groups of people on the course of history. There is a quiet revolution underway in how history is taught to undergraduates. Can You Beat Churchill? hopes to make it a noisy one.

The Last Fighter Pilot

The Last Fighter Pilot

Author: Don Brown, Capt. Jerry Yellin Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/06/2021

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

Author: Michael Jones Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Summer, 1939. The remarkable events that occurred between the Nazi-Soviet pact and the German army's eventual invasion of Poland on 1 September were neither foreseeable nor inevitable. Gathering Storm is the riveting new account of this most precarious and fraught race against time. In a countdown covering the ten days from the aftermath of the Nazi-Soviet pact on 24 August 1939 to the outbreak of war on 3 September, Mike Jones' thrilling narrative uses a wide range of source material - many completely new - to provide a fresh, global retelling of events, anchored by the deteriorating relations between Britain and Germany.

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

Author: Michael Jones Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Summer, 1939. The remarkable events that occurred between the Nazi-Soviet pact and the German army's eventual invasion of Poland on 1 September were neither foreseeable nor inevitable. Gathering Storm is the riveting new account of this most precarious and fraught race against time. In a countdown covering the ten days from the aftermath of the Nazi-Soviet pact on 24 August 1939 to the outbreak of war on 3 September, Mike Jones' gripping narrative uses a wide range of source material - many completely new - to provide a fresh, global retelling of events, anchored by the deteriorating relations between Britain and Germany. Penetrating the halls of power during the slide towards catastrophe, The Gathering Storm is a stunning new depiction of Prime Minister Chamberlain's Downing Street in this moment of crisis, the manoeuvrings of the Foreign Secretary Viscount Halifax, President Franklin Roosevelt, King Leopold of Belgium, King Emmanuel of Italy, as well as the opposing machinations of Hitler, Ribbentrop, Hess, Goering and Mussolini - and of course the stark voices of Chamberlain and Churchill.

Sicily '43

Sicily '43

Author: James Holland Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/06/2021

'James Holland is the best of the new generation of WW2 historians.' Sebastian Faulks This is the story of the biggest seaborne landing in history. Codenamed Operation HUSKY, the assault on Sicily on 10 July 1943 remains the largest amphibious invasion ever mounted. That day, over 160,000 Allied troops were dropped from the sky or came ashore to begin the fight for Europe. The subsequent thirty-eight-day Battle for Sicily was one of the most dramatic of the entire war, involving daring raids by special forces, deals with the Mafia, attacks across mosquito-infested plains and perilous assaults up almost sheer faces of rock and scree. Made worse by virulent disease and extreme heat, the Allies also had to fight their way across an island of unforgiving landscape and limited infrastructure against a German foe who would not give up. Victory would signal the beginning of the end of the War in the West. From here on, the noose began to tighten around the neck of Nazi Germany. The coalition between the United States and Britain finally came of age. And it was a crucial dry run for Operation OVERLORD, the invasion of Normandy on D-Day a year later.

The War Beat, Europe

The War Beat, Europe

From the North African desert to the bloody stalemate in Italy, from the London blitz to the D-Day beaches, a group of highly courageous and extremely talented American journalists reported the war against Nazi Germany for a grateful audience. Based on a wealth of previously untapped primary sources, War Beat, Europe provides the first comprehensive account of what these reporters witnessed, what they were allowed to publish, and how their reports shaped the home front's perception of some of the most pivotal battles in American history. In a dramatic and fast-paced narrative, Steven Casey takes readers from the inner councils of government, where Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Marshall held clear views about how much blood and gore Americans could stomach, to the command centers in London, Algiers, Naples, and Paris, where many reporters were stuck with the dreary task of reporting the war by communique. At the heart of this book is the epic journey of reporters like Wes Gallagher and Don Whitehead of the Associated Press, Drew Middleton of the New York Times, Bill Stoneman of the Chicago Daily News, and John Thompson of the Chicago Tribune; of columnists like Ernie Pyle and Hal Boyle; and of photographers like Margaret Bourke-White and Robert Capa. These men and women risked their lives on countless occasions to get their dispatches and their images back home. In providing coverage of war in an open society, they also balanced the weighty responsibility of adhering to censorship regulations while working to sell newspapers and maintaining American support for the war. These reporters were driven by a combination of ambition, patriotism, and belief in the cause. War Beat, Europe shows how they earned their reputation as America's golden generation of journalists and wrote the first draft of World War II history for posterity.

Defiant

Defiant

Author: Robert Verkaik Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/06/2021

'Robert Verkaik makes a revisionist case for an unsung aircraft, the Boulton Paul Defiant. This two-seat gun-turret fighter is, argues Verkaik, the forgotten fighter of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain; the effectiveness as well as the courage of its crews is overlooked in standard accounts. To advance his case, he notes that a Defiant squadron still holds the record for the number of enemy aircraft shot down in a single day, with a claimed figure of 38' Times 'Robert Verkaik tells the story of the Battle of Britain's unlikeliest hero with verve and phenomenal grasp of detail. He brings the Defiant fighter back into focus as an important part of the victorious RAF in the hour of its greatest trial' Mark Urban 'Meticulously researched and rich in human and social as well as military interest, Defiant fills a crucial gap in our understanding of that most perilous time' David Kynaston, author of Austerity Britain 'Firmly establishes the aircraft's role in those crucial aerial battles of 1940 and elevates the brave aircrews who fought and died in their forgotten Defiants, to rank alongside their comrades in the better remembered Hurricanes and Spitfires.' David Fairhead, director of Spitfire 'Verkaik is an excellent guide, making his case with a restrained passion, taking us through the inter-war rearmament before cataloguing the muddled thinking, the political infighting, the inter-service and personality rivalries. His research was clearly a labour of love, leaving no Whitehall paper or airman's letter unturned in his search for the truth, and he never forgets the human dimension behind the losses' Simon Humphreys, Mail on Sunday, five stars 'Defiant is both a stirring testament to the courage of the men who flew them and a welcome new examination of one of the Second World War's most famous conflicts' Alexander Larman, Observer Praise for Jihadi John: 'An exemplary account . . . The book's most important contribution is to highlight the difficulties faced by the intelligence services . . . a first-class primer on Muslim extremism in Britain.' Max Hastings, Sunday Times Praise for Posh Boys: 'The latest in the series of powerful books on the divisions in modern Britain, and will take its place on many bookshelves beside Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race and Owen Jones's Chavs.' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times 'Inspired, committed, careful and kind.' Danny Dorling, author of Inequality and the 1% In this startling new perspective on the Battle of Britain, Robert Verkaik reveals the surprising truth about the battle's forgotten fighter, the Boulton Paul Defiant. The crucial role played by the Spitfire and the Hurricane has been exhaustively recorded, but, to date, next to nothing has been written about the third British fighter which took part in the battle. By writing from the unique perspective of the pilots who flew the Defiant and their air-gunners, Verkaik helps to set the record straight. The Air Staff regarded the Defiant as a state-of-the-art bomber destroyer and wanted to equip a third of all Fighter Command squadrons with this new plane. But the head of Fighter Command, Hugh Dowding, had other ideas and went to war with Whitehall over its plan to saddle him with hundreds of 'obsolete' turret fighters. Then at Dunkirk, a Defiant squadron scored a huge success against the Luftwaffe by shooting down more German planes in one day than any other RAF unit before or since. Fighter Command, enthusiastically urged on by the Air Ministry, now committed its third fighter to the coming air battle over southern England. In the desperate dogfights of the battle, Defiants shot down both German bombers and fighters but suffered heavy losses too - one squadron was almost wiped out when it was ambushed by a superior force of Messerschmitt 109s. On 30 August 1940 all Defiant squadrons were withdrawn from the front line. The families of the Defiant air crews believed that their husbands, brothers and sons had died in vain, but the truth is that their vital contribution to the battle over Dunkirk and their role in the Battle of Britain has been all but erased from the official history. The story of the Defiant has not been allowed to mar the glorious victory won by the Spitfire and the Hurricane. But Verkaik has uncovered new records, including top-secret memos written by Hugh Dowding and his deputy Keith Park as well as correspondence with the Air Staff, combat and squadron reports, pilot logs and recordings of the last interviews with Defiant crews. He has also succeeded in tracing relatives of Defiant pilots and gunners to tell the story of the Battle of Britain as it has never been told before. He reveals how the myths which have grown up around the Defiant mask some inconvenient truths.

The SS Officer's Armchair

The SS Officer's Armchair

Author: Daniel Lee Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/06/2021

It began with an armchair. It began with the surprise discovery of a stash of personal documents covered in swastikas sewn into its cushion. The SS Officer's Armchair is the story of what happened next, as Daniel Lee follows the trail of cold calls, documents, coincidences and family secrets, to uncover the life of one Dr Robert Griesinger from Stuttgart. Who was he? What had his life been - and how had it ended? Lee reveals the strange life of a man whose ambition propelled him to become part of the Nazi machinery of terror. He discovers his unexpected ancestral roots, untold stories of SS life and family fragmentation. As Lee delves deeper, Griesinger's responsibility as an active participant in Nazi crimes becomes clearer. Dr Robert Griesinger's name is not infamous. But to understand the inner workings of the Third Reich, we need to know not just its leaders, but the ordinary Nazis who made up its ranks. Revealing how Griesinger's choices reverberate into present-day Germany, and among descendants of perpetrators, Lee raises potent questions about blame, manipulation and responsibility. A historical detective story and a gripping account of one historian's hunt for answers, The SS Officer's Armchair is at once a unique addition to our understanding of Nazi Germany and a chilling reminder of how such regimes are made not by monsters, but by ordinary people.

Blood, Tears and Folly

Blood, Tears and Folly

Author: Len Deighton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Drawing on the author's deep understanding of military life and the strengths and frailties of politicians and generals, this is a myth-puncturing analysis of the advent of the Second World War. Blood, Tears and Folly offers a sweeping and compelling historical analysis of six theatres of war: the Battle of the Atlantic, Hitler's conquest of western Europe, the war in the Mediterranean, the battle for the skies, Operation Barbarossa and the German assault on Russia, and the entry of Japan into a truly global war. This is the period during which the Allied powers were brought to the very brink of defeat. Deighton offers an unflinching account of the political machinations, the strategy and tactics, the weapons and the men on both sides who created a world of terror and millions of dead, of the Holocaust, and of nuclear devastation.