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Richard Hargreaves "Author and German historian" (Portsmouth, England)
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The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45
The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45
by Nicholas Stargardt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Reich at war... but not as you know it..., 10 Sept. 2015
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An excellent, very readable study of Germany at war, but seen from below.

As a result, Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels et al are rather peripheral figures. In their place, ordinary Germans, at home, at the front.

The author has unearthed a vast collection of letters and diaries, published and unpublished, but rarely in English before, covering every facet of the German experience of WW2.

It should be on the shelf of anyone interested in Germany's role in the war


After Hitler: The Last Days of the Second World War in Europe
After Hitler: The Last Days of the Second World War in Europe
by Michael Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy addition to Endkampf literature, 18 Jan. 2015
"The surrender of Germany came not with a bang but a whimper," the Australian war correspondent Alan Moorehead wrote nearly 70 years ago.

It didn't. Nor did it end with Hitler's death, as Michael Jones describes in After Hitler, which covers the period from the Führer's suicide in his Berlin bunker until May 9th.

Hitler's death made Germany's surrender possible, but not immediate. And there was plenty of time for several thousand deaths on the Eastern Front especially before the guns finally fell silent.

If you're acquainted with the author's previous works, you'll know what to expect. The emphasis is on the (in)human story of men and women, great and ordinary, caught in the maelstrom of conflict.

For English-speaking readers, it'll be accounts of happenings on the Eastern Front which will probably be new to them: the fighting in Courland in northwest Larvia or the Prague uprising (where anti-Soviet Russian soldiers fought with the Czechs, against the Germans) for example.

I said of the author's previous book on the Russo-German conflict, Total War, that too much had been crammed into too few pages.

Here, however, it's bang on: a rich and bloody tapestry woven into 400 pages. It's a very worthy addition to the body of literature covering the death throes of the Third Reich and the end of WW2 in Europe.


Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front in 1914 (General Military)
Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front in 1914 (General Military)
by Prit Buttar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but..., 12 July 2014
... not as engaging as the author's previous two books, mainly due to a much smaller number of first-person accounts. Military history buffs and wargamers will no doubt be delighted, but it does rather lead some of the battles and engagements to be movements of brigades, divisions, corps and the like.

That observation aside, this plugs a huge gap in WW1 history - and it's particularly strong away from the battlefield in painting pictures of the commanders, their skills and, more often, their shortcomings.

Where books abound on every clash and skirmish in the West, the Eastern Front, with a few exceptions, is often an literary wilderness. This is the first of several volumes by the end of which the Eastern Front of WW1 should no longer be what Churchill called 'the Unknown War'.

There's some * very * impressive research that has gone into this - and some particularly obscure sources unearthed - which will mean Collision of Empires will become a standard volume on WW1 and the opening moves in the East. Importantly, this is not just a story of Tannenberg, or Russia vs Germany, rather Russia vs the Central Powers, ensuring a very comprehensive overview of battles and campaigns on a vast scale.

So a very worthy addition to Great War literature, but it might be a tad dry in places for the general reader.


Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II (General Military)
Between Giants: The Battle for the Baltics in World War II (General Military)
Price: £5.19

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of a campaign mostly overlooked, 28 May 2013
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This is a first-rate account of a campaign mostly neglected in the English language.

The author has not just tapped a myriad of English and German sources, published or otherwise, but also accounts from the Baltic nations in their native tongues which makes for wide-ranging coverage.

From the military viewpoint the book chiefly covers the 1941 campaign and the battles of 1944-45 with some excellent first-hand accounts provided. However, by far the most gripping - and harrowing - chapter is the account of the treatment of the Baltic's Jewish population after the Nazi occupation. There are some truly heartwrenching stories reproduced here.

Overall another excellent addition to WW2 from the author (whose Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944-45 (General Military) is another 'must buy').

The Kindle edition is an absolute bargain. At a fiver there's no excuse for not buying.


Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941
Operation Typhoon: Hitler's March on Moscow, October 1941
by David Stahel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £28.99

10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 1 Mar. 2013
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Another excellent volume from David Stahel who's doing for the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front what David Glantz has done for the Red Army.

Stahel has once again mined the German archives - not just the official documents, but also the letters and personal papers of ordinary Landsers, to produce one of the very best books on the Eastern Front in 1941.

No library of an Eastern Front student or buff should be without it.


The German Army on the Western Front 1915
The German Army on the Western Front 1915
by Jack Sheldon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The forgotten year - no longer forgotten, 29 July 2012
To most English readers, 1915 is probably the 'forgotten year' of WW1 - after the drama of the initial battles, before the 'set piece' offensives of Verdun, the Somme, Passchendaele and the 1918 battles.

But it was a year far from quiet on the Western Front as Jack Sheldon shows in the latest of his studies on the German Army in the Great War. As with its predecessors its crammed with vivid first-hand accounts from the ordinary ranks up to senior commanders, mixed with documents from the German archives and the author's own ever-perceptive prose.

English Great War enthusiasts will, of course, be particularly interested in the accounts of Neuve Chapelle, 2nd Ypres, Loos. By looking at these from 'the other side of the hill', we learn that Neuve Chapelle was a infernal experience for the Germans - "a Hell full of flame and fire" as one junior officer put it, while the defenders of Loos were particularly scathing in their assessment of the first major test of Kitchener's new army; the attackers "gave a somewhat diletanttish impression", said one German captain.

As for Ypres, some of the documents and accounts unearthed by the author on the use of gas are straight out of Goebbels book of propaganda tricks; on the day the Germans deployed gas at Ypres, its High Command repeatedly stressed it did not fire "shells whose sole purpose is the dispersal of poisonous gases".

The Ypres chapter's probably the most gripping - but for a WW1 buff the entire volume is a 'must' - as are the remaining books in the 'German Army...' series. After half a dozen of them I'm gradually becoming used to the rather awkward 'Ersatz Fraktur' typeface. And yet again, another huge gap in our knowledge of the Western Front has been plugged thanks to Jack Sheldon.


The End: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45 (Allen Lane History)
The End: Hitler's Germany, 1944-45 (Allen Lane History)
by Ian Kershaw
Edition: Hardcover

106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, insightful study of a nation's downfall, 2 Sept. 2011
There are countless books on the final months of Third Reich, but this isn't quite like any other that I've read on the subject (and I possess upwards of 300...).

The End is not narrative history - if you're after a Beevor or Hastings approach to the final ten months of the Nazi regime, look elsewhere. The End is a serious study of why Germany fought to the end - and the consequences for the nation in doing so, based on a lot of heavy research: there are pages and pages of references and source notes - the author's spent a lot of time in archives scattered around Germany.

The End focuses almost exclusively on what happened within the ever-diminishing domain of the Third Reich, as seen through the eyes of ordinary Germans and high ranking politicians and generals. There's an insightful look at Albert Speer's rather schizophrenic actions in 1944-45 and Sir Ian is critical of the Officer Corps for repeatedly failing to stand up to Hitler to bring the war to an end.

The End closes with Germany's surrender - unlike some recent studies of the country's fall which go on to look at the first few months of Germany under Allied rule. If you read this book alongside Bessel Germany 1945: From War to Peace and Noble Nazi Rule and the Soviet Offensive in Eastern Germany, 1944-1945: The Darkest Hour then you'll have as complete an overview of the demise of the Third Reich and the immediate aftermath as you could ask for.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2012 10:30 AM BST


Total War
Total War
by Michael Jones
Edition: Hardcover

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, harrowing but..., 26 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Total War (Hardcover)
... probably too much crammed into a single volume.

Total War picks up where the author's previous book, The Retreat, ended. But whereas the opening volume was a largely conventional account of the Battle for Moscow and subsequent fighting over the winter of 1941-42, the new work is not a typical history of the Eastern Front, rather an attempt to show the truly visceral nature of the life-or-death struggle between Nazis and the Soviets through the eyes of the combatants.

There are some particularly brutal accounts, almost all of them new to English readers, thanks to the author's interviews with and access to personal papers. It's also a timely reminder that this was a war of liberation as far as the Red Army was concerned: the accounts of the liberation of the death camps as the Soviet troops entered Poland, notably at Majdanek and Auschwitz. Nor does the book shy away from the atrocities committed by Soviet soldiers on German soil (or, for that matter, atrocities committed by German troops). The result is a very harrowing read.

The down side is that too much has been crammed into 300 pages - the book covers the period spring 1942-spring 1945 which often leaves the reader wanting more.

Overall a very good, if difficult, read. There's not much with which to compare it because it is an atypical account of the Eastern Front, but it does sit well alongside Merridale's Ivan's War. And it's another reminder that we've barely scratched the surface of the Eastern Front when it comes to books in English...


Normandiefront:  D-Day to St Lo Through German Eyes
Normandiefront: D-Day to St Lo Through German Eyes
by Vince Milano
Edition: Hardcover

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and very human study, 15 Jun. 2011
This is a very comprehensive account of 352 Infanterie Division which held the line at Omaha and was eventually crushed six weeks later at St Lo. Roughly half the book is devoted to the run-up to and fighting on D-Day, the rest of the volume is devoted to the battles inland.

It's copiously illustrated and packed with first-hand accounts which bring the men to life. There are also scores of images from private collections - most of them you won't have seen before.

If you're interested in D-Day/Omaha Beach/German Army/Normandy, it's a must and fills in one more piece of the important jigsaw of the men defending the beaches.


The German Army at Ypres 1914
The German Army at Ypres 1914
by Jack Sheldon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding piece of the WW1 German jigsaw, 21 Jan. 2011
No-one understands the day-to-day trials and tribulations of the German soldier on the Western Front in the Great War better than Jack Sheldon.

The German Army at Ypres 1914 adds to an already-impressive body of work and, for the first time in English, brings this key battle in the Race to the Sea to life 'from the other side of the hill'.

It's packed with extremely vivid first-hand accounts throughout (I doubt if any have seen the light of day in English before), plus useful maps which help you to follow the progress of the men cited.

What really got me, however, was the poem cited on the very last page; the sentiments within are not a million miles away from those expressed by British soldier-poets.

Should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in either the opening moves of the Great War or the German Army in WW1.


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