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I'd like to read a good history book about the second world war. I'm thinking about something rather generic, to refresh and somewhat deepen my knowledge about it.
There are so many books on this topic on the market that it's really hard to make a choice.
What are your favorites?
In the excellent chapter by chapter selective shortlist of "Further Reading" at the end of the book, Mawdsley recommends two general histories; namely A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War by Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett, and A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II by Gerhard L. Weinberg, which he acknowledges as "being especially good on diplomacy and intelligence," albeit "hard to navigate" given its size.
On the "important 'total war' concept", Mawdsely recommends The Shadows of Total War: Europe, East Asia, and the United States, 1919-1939 edited by Roger Chickering and Stig Forster, and A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937-1945 edited by Roger Chickering et. al. (I own this second volume, and I can attest to its excellence).
Edit: I see you can access the Introduction and Further Reading sections via the Amazon preview feature. Worth a browse, even if you don't read the book.
To get an overall sense of what was going on, I used Teach Yourself the Second World War. I don't recommend it for what you want as it isn't a good read. However, if you find yourself lost in whatever you do pick, this is a good secondary text to fill out the context.
Second World War, by Andrew Roberts. One of UK's great historians, Mr Roberts has created a riveting, detailed history with a broad scope. Having lived through it, thought I knew quite a bit about this war, but every paragraph reveals something new and is the result of comprehensive, discerning research. A real page turner.
You should check out one of our authors, Cathryn Prince (www.cathrynprince.com). She is working on a new work focusing on an untold aspect of WW2, a naval story. Her blog will feature updates about this WIP (work in progress) in the coming months. Her other books might interest you too, all focus on some aspect of American history.
Carlo D'este is also top-notch...especially for reading on the war in Italy.
I agree with an earlier writer on Rick Atkinson...very thorough as well...and I anxiously await his 3rd in the Liberation Trilogy.
As for Stephen Ambrose, be careful...he is not a well-balanced writer...any author who could completely gloss over Canada's role in D-Day has to have his motivations questioned...much to jingoistic for my taste!
Hope you enjoy!
2000 men flew to PLoesti to destroy the germans Oil Refineries and only half came back.
You can also chek out SGT Macs military blogs. His main bent is WWII book.
1989 Keegan, The Second World War
1989, Gilbert, The Second World War
2010 Corrigan, The Second World War
2011 Hastings, Inferno
I much prefer Hastings. Keegan is of course good on the battles.
D-Days in the Pacific by Donald Miller
Flyboys by James Bradley
Inferno: The World at War 1939-1945 by Max Hastings.
Low Level Mission by Leon Wolff
Ploesti by Dugan & Stewart
Stilwell and the American Experience in China by Tuchman
The Burma Road by Donavan Webster
The Second World War: A Military History by Corrigan
The Second World War: A Complete History by Gilbert
The Second World War by Keegan
The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War, by Andrew Roberts
The War, An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns
And these authors (the first mentioned with caution):
Stephen E. Ambrose
Sir Max Hastings