The list author says: "Here is a list of books about World War II, mostly non-fiction, that you may or may not have heard of, but are well worth taking a look at. Some of them may have only been published in limited numbers, some of them may have been well known at one time but not now, and some are obscure but informative and/or entertaining. They're in no particular order."
"An excellent book written by a tanker who fought on the Allied side during Operation Crusader. Before the battle, they were equipped with M-3 Stuart light tanks, and the author gives a good depiction of fighting with a Stuart. The author also wrote an account of his experiences fighting in Greece in 1941 entitled "Gods Were Neutral: Story of the Greek Campaign, 1941"."
"An outstanding work of fiction by a former Wehrmacht soldier about the eastern front when the Russians have gained the upper hand and are slowly pushing the Germans back, bloody step by bloody step. It describes what life at the front was like, as well as showing the senselessness of war. As an aside, there is also a epic movie of the same name, based on the book, starring James Colburn."
"A rare view into the Japanese side of the war in the Pacific. The author commanded a destroyer in most of the war's major naval actions, and was known in Japan as the Unsinkable Captain. He provides an insider¬ís look into the workings of the Japanese Navy and criticizes the inflexibility of its policies and commanders. The book is filled with first person battle perspectives."
"Memoir of an Italian Sergeant Major in an elite Italian Alpine (mountain) division. This short book details Rigoni's experiences in Russia as part of Mussolini's Eigth Army in the Soviet Union during the the retreat from the River Don as a result of the Russian counteroffensive during the winter of 1942-43."
"A classic retelling of Bomber Command's attack on Nuremburg on 30/31 March 1944. Due to extremely bad luck and poor decisions on the British side, the Germans inflicted severe casualites on Bomber Command during the raid, and it probably marked the German Night Fighter Command's high water mark during the war. Well written and compelling."
"One of the most extensively researched and detailed, yet readable military history books I've ever read. It deals with just one part of the fighting in Stalingrad ... the battle For the Barrikady Gun Factory from November 1942 until the German surrender in late January/early February from both sides. It's pricy but worth every penny."
"During early 1944, the Soviets attempted to create a second Stalingrad by biting off a German salient. This outstanding book covers the fighting from both sides as the Germans desperately attempted to break out of the encirclement. A near-perfect example of how a military history book should be written."
"A book in the Osprey Campaign series about the the fighting for and siege of Sevastopol. As opposed to some of the more detailed and lengthy books I've recommended above, this is a great example of how a short, sharp overview and analyis should be written, and covers a largely overlooked battle on the eastern front."
"A good memoir written about one soldier's part toward the end of British Campaign in Burma. It contains a great deal of detail of the conditions of the front, as well as a lot of obsevations about his section mates, all of which are entertaining and informative. It is also refreshingly politically uncorrect, which is true to the era."
"Like Cross of Iron, this is also a work of fiction. In this case, it was written by a well-known Russian war correspondent. While the book mainly focuses on the Battle for Stalingrad, it has many plotlines taking place all across Europe. With some justification, it has been called one of the great Russian novels of the 20th Century."
"Although written nearly 40 years ago, it's a true classic and is still the best account of Operation Market Garden. Mr Cornelius interviewed many of the participants of the battle, and writes in an engaging, informative style. The author also wrote two other classics ... The Longest Day (about D-Day) and The Last Battle (about the fall of Berlin). The movie based on this book is also very good."
"Signal was the German's propaganda magazine to the rest of the world, and was published in over 20 languages. Slightly similar in format and content to Life Magazine, this compilation of pictures and articles shows the somewhat subtle attempts by Germany to influence other nations and conquered territories."
""Hitler & His Generals" is a collection of the surviving verbatim transcripts of Hitler's military conferences from the end of 1942 through April 1945. While often bland and somewhat boring, it literally gives you an inside look at how Hitler ran his war and occasional insights into his beliefs. Be warned, this book is not for the novice."
"Sicily was the second-largest amphibious operation in history, and the first real test of military compatibility of the British and Americans. Although an Allied victory, the author points out the many Allied mistakes and failures that allowed the Germans to pull off their own ¬ďDunkirk¬Ē. This German escape tainted the victory and cost the Allies dearly in the fighting to come in Italy."
"This book takes a look at how the German economy functioned ... and didn't function ... before and during WWII. It explains the strategic logic behind many of Germany's actions during the period: the invasion of France, the treaty with the Soviets, Barbarossa, the concentration camps, etc, and shows that the Germans were usually making logical (from their perspective) economic decisions."
"Describes the brutal, barbarous treatment of the Western Allied POWs by the Japanese. One-third of the 140,000 POWs captured by the Japanese did not survive captivity. This book is a well-reasarched account that goes into great detail on the hellish camps and atrocities, and includes many personal stories from the POWs."
"Chuikov led the 62nd Army at Stalingrad, whose mission was to defend the city at all costs. Although heavily communist in tone, this is probably the best book on the battle of Stalingrad from the Soviet side by a key participant. While some of his facts about the German side are exaggerated and Soviet losses perhaps understated, his memoir has withstood scrutiny from Western historians."
"Along with "Scorched Earth", this is a classic history of the Eastern Front, although slightly biased toward the German side. Written over 40 years ago, it still holds up well today. I include the book partly for sentimental reasons, as it was one of the first books I read about the Eastern Front, and it really opened my eyes toward that titanic struggle."
"This book deals with Operation Mars, Zhukov's attempt to pinch off the German 9th Army in the Rhzev salient in November-December 1942. Surprisingly, the well-known Operation Uranus counterattack at Stalingrad was actually a strategic deception for this offensive. However, the attack was a complete and bloody failure, and was suppressed until recently. This book is not for the novice."
"This truly classic book tells of Mr. Reid¬ís escapes from German POW camps and attempts to get out of Germany during World War II from his initial capture until he finally succeeded in October 1942. Initially published in 1952, British audiences are more familiar with the book than American ones, as Mr Reid was a British officer. The story is extremely well and humorously told."
"Discusses in great detail the impact the Luftwaffe had on the initial successes and ultimate failure of Operation Blue, the German offensive on the eastern front in 1942. Added greatly to my knowledge of what happened and why the offensive failed."
"Written by an American psychologist with unrestricted access to the German defendants during the first Nuremberg trial in 1945/46. The author, as a result of extensive conversations, shows the German leadership as ordinary men who were corrupted by great power into committing or permitting unspeakable horrors. Most works on the trial extensively quote this book, with good reason."
"The memoirs of Japanese fighter pilot Saburo Sakai. He was Japan's greatest surviving air ace of World War II, with around 64 victories. He enlisted in the Japanese Navy in 1933 as a 16 year old, was selected to train as a pilot in 1937, and was in action in China and the Pacific until being severely wounded at Guadalcanal in August 1942. A very good book by a superb pilot."
"Controversial book that posits Germany would have beaten the Soviet Union in 1941 if, in August 1941, Army Group Center had attacked Moscow rather than being shifted south to Kiev. Regardless of whether one agrees with Stolfi's interpetations and conclusions, it's an interesting analysis of German capabilities and options in 1941."
"Probably the best single volume covering Luftwaffe aircraft before and during WW II. Includes virtually every German operational aircraft and their variants, competing prototypes from other companies, and experimental models. Full of b/w photos, descriptions of how the aircraft came to be, technical data, and operational usage. Although first published in 1972, it's still relevant."