This is a list of books we have used for research and/or read. For the books we have covered, we use the standard description of the book accepted by most sources then we give the book a rating and review if we have covered it extensively.
The rating system and review from the Historical Society are of our own opinions. We do not endorse any particular author unless stated.
Iron Cross Rating System:
- 5 Crosses – Excellent
- 4 Crosses – Good
- 3 Crosses – Average
- 2 Crosses – Poor
- 1 Cross – Terrible – Do Not Read
Album of the Damned: Snapshots From the Third Reich
by Paul Garson
The nearly 400 WWII photographs in this book were taken primarily by German soldiers; some by civilians; some by professionals embedded with the troops.
Consequently, many of them depict everyday life: jobs, weddings, dinners, musical and other social events—men and women at work and play as well as at war, a war that nearly consumed Europe.
The author acquired these photographs from some fifteen countries during a five-year research effort, reviewing more than 100,000 images from which he made his selection. He bid in auctions against museums and private collectors to create a WWII photo history unlike perhaps any other.
This book deserves one Iron Cross. I will give it one due to many people reading WW2 material have never seen pictures such as these from the personal collections of average German soldiers. But this book is all about trashing the reputation of the average German soldier and the police officer. This book mostly features pictures of German Heer (Army) and the Ordnungspolizei (Uniformed Police) in their daily routines. No pictures of the SS camp guards or Einsatzgruppen SS units which did most of the killing of Jews, etc. Of course, the Army and Waffen-SS did some killing initially on the Eastern Front, but large protests from German generals to Hitler made this come to an end. The Einsatzgruppen SS units did their dirty work once all the Wehrmacht units have moved on to the front lines.
The author will caption the pictures with awful titles (not all titles) then with mistaken and at times demeaning descriptions in which he does admit to this being only his opinion. From Cradle to Grave showing a picture of a baby wearing his dad’s officers cap, Trained for Pain, Calf Killers, Heartless Hunters showing a picture of German Army motorcyclists, Murder Practice, The Murder at the Desk showing Germans working in an office, etc. The pictures will show the ordinary soldiers life at play while not in combat, and the soldiers will be demeaned. Every 2-3 pages then he has a reading section that constantly reminds us of the Holocaust so the reader with considering every German soldier as being guilty. This is typical, pro-Jewish, pro-Holocaust guilter material to demean every German citizen of the Third Reich. This book has taken on good reviews from the Rolling Stone, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, etc. This trash would never sell or be welcomed to good reviews in Germany.
Barbarossa Unleashed -The German Blitzkrieg through Central Russia to the Gates of Moscow, June-December 1941
by Craig W.H. Luther
This book examines in unprecedented detail the advance of Germany’s Army Group Center through central Russia, toward Moscow, in the summer of 1941, followed by brief accounts of the Battle of Moscow and subsequent winter battles into early 1942. Based on hundreds of veterans accounts, archival documents, and exhaustive study of the pertinent primary and secondary literature, the book offers new insights into Operation Barbarossa, Adolf Hitler s attack on Soviet Russia in June 1941. While the book meticulously explores the experiences of the German soldier in Russia, in the cauldron battles along the Minsk-Smolensk-Moscow axis, it places their experiences squarely within the strategic and operational context of the Barbarossa campaign. Controversial subjects, such as the culpability of the German eastern armies in war crimes against the Russian people, are also examined in detail. This book is the most detailed account to date of virtually all aspects of the German soldier’s experiences in Russia in 1941. Writes eastern front historian David Stahel in his review of the book: “The combination of ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches makes Luther’s work a landmark study of Operation Barbarossa.” (War in History) The book was released in 2014.
The Battle of the Bulge 1944: Hitler’s Last Hope
by Robin Cross
In December 1944, the German Army launched an attack through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium that aimed to seize the port of Antwerp and cut the Allied supply lines, hoping to force the Western Allies either to delay their advance on Berlin or even agree to a peace settlement. The Battle of the Bulge is a comprehensive history of Hitler’s last offensive in the West, the failure of which undoubtedly hastened the end of World War II.
The book begins with a study of the background to the battle, and a description of events in the West leading up to the offensive, including the Allied landings in Normandy on D-Day and Operation Market Garden. The lack of Allied readiness for a surprise attack and the tactics used by Otto Skorzeny’s commandos are covered in depth.
After initial success, the Germans became bogged down in a siege of the crucial communications hub at Bastogne which was defended by the 101st Airborne Division and other scratch US forces. The book describes how the attack lost the vital momentum that was compounded when the weather cleared by the superiority of Allied airpower, and the final chapter discusses the far-reaching implications of the battle for the Germans and the Allies.
The book’s authoritative text is complemented with appendices with information on orders of battle, losses, and equipment.
A nice read on the Battle of the Bulge. It has extensive coverage of facts, but nothing new for the more expert readers in this area. The point of view is from the Allied perspective so there will be just basic facts on the German units and commanders.
Recounts the incredible six-week sweep by the Germans through Holland, Belgium, and France in the spring of 1940, illustrated with photographs and maps of the various battles.
Very nicely written book and well laid out with complete, detailed information on the campaign.
Blitzkrieg: The Unpublished Photographs 1939-1942
by Ian Baxter
A collection of photos from the early war years covering the German Wehrmacht. The book is full of mistakes in the captions. Please beware and don’t confuse the mistaken facts. As of late, many of the books on the subject are coming from modern authors of the last 10-15 years. In the last 12 books, I have covered and read this year from July till the end of 2018. Five are from British authors and full of mistakes. Not sure what is happening in Britain, but they need to get the facts better.
Eastern Front: The Unpublished Photographs 1941-1945
by Will Fowler
After securing the rights to this amazing Ukrainian state photo archive, the author traveled to Kiev with a translator, a bodyguard and several thousand used American dollar bills, the negotiated cost for the collection. According to Fowler, the risk of carrying that kind of cash – or 15 years’ salary to the average Kiev worker – through a city with a staggering crime rate was well worth it. This photographic record of the war on the Eastern Front is composed entirely of images taken and captioned by Red Army photographers. None of the images have previously been seen in the West. The result, which offers the perspectives of Soviet soldiers, as well as those of ordinary men, women, and children, is a visually stunning account covering every aspect of one of history’s bloodiest chapters and the epic battles waged in Stalingrad, Kursk, Kharkov, and Leningrad. Almost 30 million people died during the course of the four years of conflict during World War II. In the aftermath, the whole of Poland, European Russia, and Germany lay in ruins as a result of the fighting.
Three Iron Crosses only for this book due to the number of Russian photos versus German photos. It is overwhelmingly a book for the Russian photo collector versus the German. Beyond that, there is nothing too special about the information. Good for Eastern Front and some WW II readers.
The First Day on the Eastern Front – Germany Invades the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941
by Craig W.H. Luther
In the spirit of Martin Middlebrook’s classic First Day on the Somme, Craig Luther narrates the events of June 22, 1941, a day when German military might was at its peak and seemed as though it would easily conquer the Soviet Union, a day the common soldiers would remember for its tension and the frogs bellowing in the Polish marshlands. It was a day when the German blitzkrieg decimated Soviet command and control within hours and seemed like nothing would stop it from taking Moscow. Luther narrates June 22—one of the pivotal days of World War II—from high command down to the tanks and soldiers at the sharp end, covering strategy as well as tactics and the vivid personal stories of the men who crossed the border into the Soviet Union that fateful day, which is the Eastern Front in microcosm, representing the years of industrial-scale warfare that followed and the unremitting hostility of Germans and Soviets. In his endorsement of the book, Victor Davis Hanson writes: “Craig Luther’s [new book] continues his invaluable explorations of the disastrous German invasion of the Soviet Union, by focusing on the first day of Operation Barbarossa . . . A rich scholarly resource that historians of the Eastern Front will find invaluable.” The book will be released by Stackpole Books on 1 November 2018.
From War to Peace in 1945 Germany: A GI’s Experience
As an Official Army Photographer, “Mac” Fleming’s assignment was to take motion pictures of significant wartime events for the US Army. In the pouch intended to carry his first-aid kit on his belt, he instead carried a small personal camera, which he used to take pictures of the people and places that interested him, capturing in his field notes details of the life he observed. From these records, Fleming has assembled this absorbing private chronicle of war and peace. Assigned to the European Theater in February 1945, he filmed the action from the battle for the Remagen Bridge across the Rhine to the fighting in the Hartz Mountains, on to the linkup with the Russian forces at the Elbe River. After the armistice, Fleming helped document how the Allied Expeditionary Force established a military government in Germany to cope with masses of POWs, establish control of the country, deal with the atrocities committed by the German army, and help thousands of newly released slave laborers return home to Poland, France, and Russia. He also recorded how the army provided rest, recreation, and rehabilitation to the remaining US soldiers and sent them home by truck, train, and ship. Awaiting shipment home, Fleming explored postwar German town and country life and toured some famous castles and historic spots. The foreword by historian James H. Madison describes the important role of photography in war and the special contribution of Fleming’s photographic diary.
A nice photographic account of the last days of the war to after the war. One can see people, devastation, and how Germany looked in this time period. The only thing the book lacks is more photos. Most likely the author was unable to gain some of the photos he took back from U.S. authorities. Unless the author and publisher never used all the photos. It is too bad, but still an excellent look at this period of time.
Fortress Europe: The Atlantic Wall Guns
This book covers the wide variety of large caliber artillery used by the German Wehrmacht along northern France during World War II. Also explained and diagramed are the massive emplacements, as well as ammunition and fire-control devices.
An excellent reference material on all the technical details of the Atlantik wall guns. The book just lacks some through telling of the history of the guns from beginning to end.
German Insignia of World War II
by Chris Bishop and Adam Warner
Illustrated with hundreds of color and black and white photographs, this book is the definitive guide to the symbols, both military and civilian, of the Third Reich, which served to inspire Germany’s war effort in World War II.
Only 3 Iron Crosses for this book since it was a very misleading title. German Insignia should be changed to Third Reich or Nazi German Insignia of WW2. This book features tons of material on the Nazi insignia but barely touches anything on the Wehrmacht. Unfortunately, like most picture books it is poor for reference use since it does not cover every piece of insignia. More for the novice or average WW2 reader. It does have some good points with colorful, wonderful pictures and a nice amount of information.
German Uniforms of World War 2
by Andrew Mollo
A book detailing the uniforms of the German Armed Forces during the World War II era.
This is an older book from 1976 from an expert on uniforms of the Third Reich from the start of Hitler’s regime to the end of the war. It has details and many photographs to go with the details.
German World War II Reenacting: The Wehrmacht in Living History
by Scott Lee Thompson
This book takes the reader through a full-color look at the reenactment of the German military of WWII. Dedicated reenactors have gone to amazing lengths to recreate the Wehrmacht in action. Original tanks and half-tracks take to the field once more, alongside uniformed German soldiers. Everything from tanks to machine guns to can openers and cooking utensils is put to use to recreate not only authentic battles but also the more mundane aspects of wartime life, such as vehicle and weapons maintenance, sleeping, cooking, and trying to survive. The author has selected photos from WWII reenactments around the world, where reenactors have spent enormous amounts of time and money. Panzers thunder through the fields once more, planes of the Luftwaffe strike from the sky, and the German fighting men and women once more are thrown into an amazing array of scenarios.
An excellent book showing the re-enactors in many different scenes with everything from horses to panzers.
Germany 1945: From War to Peace
by Richard Bessel
1945 was the most pivotal year in Germany’s modern history. As World War II drew to a devastating and violent close, the German people were confronted simultaneously with making sense of the horrors just passed and finding the strength and hope to move forward and rebuild. Richard Bessel offers a provocative portrait of Germany’s emergence from catastrophe, and he astutely portrays the defeated nation’s own sense of victimhood after the war, despite the crimes it had perpetrated. Authoritative and dramatic, Germany 1945 is groundbreaking history that brilliantly explores the destruction and remarkable rebirth of Germany at the end of World War II. Ultimately, it is a success story; a story of life after death.
An Excellent book on telling Germany’s story after the war. It is well written and covers the worst of times for the German populace and Fatherland. It does cover the atrocities and rapes committed by the Allied occupation armies. This makes the book hard to digest in those chapters, but it is a story seldom told since the victors have written the history of World War II. The book does lack pictures to give the reader sights of the war-torn country after the war.
Im Westen nichts Neues – All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues) is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers’ extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front.
The novel was first published in November and December 1928 in the German newspaper Vossische Zeitung and in book form in late January 1929. The book and its sequel, The Road Back, were among the books banned and burned in Nazi Germany. It sold 2.5 million copies in 22 languages in its first eighteen months in print.
In 1930, the book was adapted as an Oscar-winning film of the same name, directed by Lewis Milestone.
Heinrich Himmler: A Photographic Chronicle of Hitler’s Reichsfuhrer-SS
Many books have been written about Heinrich Himmler and the SS though, strangely, no photographic study has ever been assembled. Contained within this volume are over 380 photographs of Himmler, illustrating his entire career – from a soldier during the First World War period through the years when he was the second most powerful man in Europe. At the zenith of the Third Reich, all of Germany was under the controlling influence of Himmler and the SS. This photo chronicle records the entire Third Reich period in the life and death of Heinrich Himmler.
Mainly a picture book as the title states but is full of detailed information. The book itself does a wonderful job covering information, but the large piece of information will be about other SS-Officers and figures. It will have photos, not of Himmler, but pf others giving their biographies. Granted it is nice to know these other figures, but as the title suggests please stick with the main subject for the readers. This is why they are reading this item.
Hitler’s Army: The Men, Machines, and Organization: 1939-1945
Hitler’s Army describes and analyzes every significant aspect of Germany’s WWII ground forces including their creation, organization, weapons, equipment, training, and tactics. This book also considers its conduct in battle and its strengths and weaknesses. Hitler’s Army is an essential reference, a balanced and indispensable aid for those wishing to understand how the vaunted, apparently unbeatable German army that went to war in 1939 just over five years later was consigned to total military defeat and the ignominy of unconditional surrender.
An excellent book covering the German Heer. Enough information to use it as a reference book covering the army. Lots of details.
The Hitler Conspiracies: Secrets and Lies Behind the Rise and Fall of the Nazi Party
by David Welch
This book examines the intrigues and “backstairs” deals that allowed Hitler and the Nazi Party to gain power in Germany in 1933, and the often bloody political infighting that ensued following National Socialism’s consolidation of power, such as the “Night of the Long Knives” in 1934. However, though Hitler strove to create a wholly centralized state, he did not silence all opposition. In Nazi Germany, there were some Germans – members of the pre-Hitler elite, religious leaders, students and workers – who were willing to conspire against the regime. This book covers all these anti-Nazi movements in full, thus building into a thought-provoking volume on the rise of the Nazis and the opposition to Hitler’s tyrannical regime.
We were hoping for something of a good read of new information within this book but were disappointed due to the misleading title. This book states below the main title ‘Secrets and lies behind the rise and fall of the Nazi Party.’ This is actually misleading since this book should be called ‘ The Rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party and the fight against them within Germany.’ The author does a great job of covering the facts of the rise of Hitler within the first two chapters then uses all the chapters after about the active and passive resistance against Nazi Germany. This book does not state anything most do not know about the rise of Nazism but does an excellent job of covering the resistance movement in Germany. It has some seldom known facts and information on the Resistance. This book we are giving three crosses due to how the title misleads and how we expect more from a professor writing a book. This is a book about the Resistance.
Hitler’s War: World War II as Portrayed by Signal, the International Nazi Propaganda Magazine
by Jeremy Harwood
Spying for the Fuhrer: Hitler’s Espionage Machine
by Christer Jorgensen
This full story of German espionage in World War II, illustrated with 150 black-and-white photographs, explores the rivalry between Nazi intelligence services. Includes Nazi counter-intelligence operations and examines the popular issues surrounding Nazi intelligence myths and mysteries. Written by an expert on World War II espionage.
Spying for the Fuhrer is the story of German intelligence agencies leading up to and during World War II. From the fledgling beginnings of the Nazi SA, or Stormtroopers grew an espionage machine to rival any in the world. The words SD, Abwehr, and Gestapo are some of the most evocative words associated with the war, and all these were German intelligence units. Tasked with suppressing internal unrest, planting agents abroad to gather intelligence or sabotage, the Third Reich’s espionage machinery had a long reach.
Spying for the Fuhrer is a detailed examination of all the varied facets of the Nazi intelligence apparatus, ranging from the dreaded Gestapo, the daring Brandenburg battalions through to the SD under the Central Security Service of the Reich. The book examines the history of each unit, its formation, the missions, and its importance in the war as a whole. It also explores the nature of the myths and mysteries that have grown up around the German intelligence agencies, with rumors of their activities still rife over 60 years after the defeat of the Third Reich. Similarly, it explores the rivalry rife throughout the intelligence community and analyzes the effect that this had in damaging Germany’s intelligence, especially the rivalry between Canaris, head of the Abwehr, and the SS intelligence service.
A very nice book about the espionage side of the Third Reich and the War. The book is a good reference is an area that is not well covered.
Stalingrad Day by Day
This is a chronological account of the battle that inflicted a heavy defeat on the German Wehrmacht. With the aid of full-color maps and first-hand accounts, the book explains how the Germans initially made vast territorial conquests during the opening phases of Operation Blue, their 1942 offensive in southern Russia. But then the Sixth Army was drawn into a war of attrition in the rubble of Stalingrad, where the mobility and firepower of the panzers counted for nothing.
A nice book on the coverage of the events leading up to the Battle of Stalingrad to the battle itself. It uses some personal accounts from the veterans involved in the battle. It does not have some of the details one is looking for at an advanced level of knowledge. It also is trying to stay within the framework of the ‘Day to Day’ series but does not do a great job of this. One would expect this of the title. This information would not be easy to come by since it would need first-hand accounts from the leaders to soldaten involved in the actual battle.