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The classic account of the final offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich—newly in print for the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater, the last offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich, which devastated one of Europe’s historic capitals and brought the Nazi leviathan to its downfall. It was also one of the war’s bloodiest and most pivotal moments, whose outcome would play a part in determining the complexion of international politics for decades to come.

The Last Battle

The Last Battle

The unexpected arrival of Soviet troops at the end of January 1945 at the ancient fortress and garrison town of Küstrin came as a tremendous shock to the German High Command—the Soviets were now only 50 miles from Berlin itself. The Red Army needed the vital road and rail bridges passing through Küstrin for their forthcoming assault on the capital, but flooding and their own high command’s strategic blunders resulted in a sixty-day siege by two Soviet armies which totally destroyed the town. The delay in the Soviet advance also gave the Germans time to consolidate the defenses shielding Berlin west of the Oder River. Despite Hitler’s orders to fight on to the last bullet, the Küstrin garrison commander and 1,000 of the defenders managed a dramatic breakout to the German lines.

Operation Berlin, the Soviet offensive launched on 16 April, 1945, by Marshals Zhukov and Koniev, isolated the German Ninth Army and tens of thousands of refugees in the Spreewald ‘pocket’, south-east of Berlin. Stalin ordered its encirclement and destruction and his subordinates, eager to win the race to the Reichstag, pushed General Busse’s 9th Army into a tiny area east of the village of Halbe. To escape the Spreewald pocket, the remains of 9th Army had to pass through Halbe, where barricades constructed by both sides formed formidable obstacles and the converging Soviet forces subjected the area to heavy artillery fire. By the time 9th Army eventually escaped the Soviet pincers, it had suffered 40,000 killed and 60,000 taken prisoner. Teenaged refugees recount their experiences alongside Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS veterans attempting to maintain military discipline amid the chaos and carnage of headlong retreat. While army commanders strive to extricate their decimated units, demoralised soldiers change into civilian clothing and take to the woods.

Relating the story day by day, Tony Le Tissier shows the impact of total war upon soldier and civilian alike, illuminating the unfolding of great and terrible events with the recollections of participants.

[Contain tables.]

Genre: Non-fiction

How did top Red Army commanders see the assault on Berlin in 1945 – what was their experience of the last, terrible battle of the Second World War in Europe? Personal accounts by the most famous generals involved – Zhukov, Koniev and Chuikov – have been published in English, but the recollections of their principal subordinates haven’t been available in the west before, and it is their role in the final Soviet offensive that is the focus of Tony Le Tissier’s fascinating book. These were the officers who were responsible for the execution of the Red Army’s plan for the assault, in immediate touch with the troops on the front line of the advance. They saw most clearly where the operation succeeded and where it failed. Their recollections, publication of which was long banned in the Soviet Union, throw a new light on the course of battle and on the inner workings of the Red Army command in the final phase of the conflict.

On September 8, 1941, eleven weeks after Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, his brutal surprise attack on the Soviet Union, Leningrad was surrounded. The siege was not lifted for two and a half years, by which time some three quarters of a million Leningraders had died of starvation.

Anna Reid’s is a gripping, authoritative narrative history of this dramatic moment in the twentieth century, interwoven with indelible personal accounts of daily siege life drawn from diarists on both sides. They reveal the Nazis’ deliberate decision to starve Leningrad into surrender and Hitler’s messianic miscalculation, the incompetence and cruelty of the Soviet war leadership, the horrors experienced by soldiers on the front lines, and, above all, the terrible details of life in the blockaded city: the relentless search for food and water; the withering of emotions and family ties; looting, murder, and cannibalism—and at the same time, extraordinary bravery and self-sacrifice.

Stripping away decades of Soviet propaganda, and drawing on newly available diaries and government records, also tackles a raft of unanswered questions: Was the size of the death toll as much the fault of Stalin as of Hitler? Why didn’t the Germans capture the city? Why didn’t it collapse into anarchy? What decided who lived and who died? Impressive in its originality and literary style, gives voice to the dead and will rival Anthony Beevor’s classic in its impact.

Genre: Adventures

Воспоминания одного из самых известных офицеров США эпохи колонизации Запада.На английском языке

From the air, the Pacific island of Iwo Jima looks like a large, gray pork chop. Its strategic location, midway between the U.S. B-29 airfields on the Marianas Islands and the Japanese home islands meant that it had to be seized no matter what the cost. On February 19, 1945, the invasion of Iwo Jima was launched. It became the greatest battle fought by the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. From it came the most famous image of the war, the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi. When it ended a month later, the Marines had suffered 20,000 casualties—almost 5,000 men killed in action. And an astonishing twenty-six Marines were awarded America's highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor.

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In October 1942, a panzer officer wrote ‘Stalingrad is no longer a town… Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure’. The battle for Stalingrad became the focus of Hitler and Stalin’s determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierce hand-to-hand fighting in each room of each building, was brutally destructive to both armies. But the eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, was the first defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline. An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery, obsession, carnage and the nature of war itself, Stalingrad will act as a testament to the vital role of the soviet war effort.

Hitler made two fundamental and crippling mistakes during the Second World War: The first was his whimsical belief that the United Kingdom would eventually become his ally, which delayed his decision to launch a major invasion of Britain, whose army was unprepared for the force of blitzkrieg warfare. The second was the ill-conceived Operation Barbarossa—an invasion of Russia that was supposed to take the German army to the gates of Moscow. Antony Beevor’s thoughtfully researched compendium recalls this epic struggle for Stalingrad. No one, least of all the Germans, could foretell the deep well of Soviet resolve that would become the foundation of the Red Army; Russia, the Germans believed, would fall as swiftly as France and Poland. The ill-prepared Nazi forces were trapped in a bloody war of attrition against the Russian behemoth, which held them in the pit of Stalingrad for nearly two years. Beevor points out that the Russians were by no means ready for the war either, making their stand even more remarkable; Soviet intelligence spent as much time spying on its own forces—in fear of desertion, treachery, and incompetence—as they did on the Nazis. Due attention is also given to the points of view of the soldiers and generals of both forces, from the sickening battles to life in the gulags.

Many believe Stalingrad to be the turning point of the war. The Nazi war machine proved to be fallible as it spread itself too thin for a cause that was born more from arrogance than practicality. The Germans never recovered, and its weakened defenses were no match for the Allied invasion of 1944. We know little of what took place in Stalingrad or its overall significance, leading Beevor to humbly admit that “[t]he Battle of Stalingrad remains such an ideologically charged and symbolically important subject that the last word will not be heard for many years.” This is true. But this gripping account should become the standard work against which all others should measure themselves.

This gripping account of Germany's notorious campaign combines sophisticated use of previously published firsthand accounts in German and Russian along with newly available Soviet archival sources and caches of letters from the front. For Beevor (Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949), the 1942 German offensive was a gamble that reflected Hitler's growing ascendancy over his military subordinates. The wide-open mobile operations that took the 6th Army into Stalingrad were nevertheless so successful that Soviet authorities insisted they could be explained only by treason. (Over 13,000 Soviet soldiers were formally executed during the battle for Stalingrad alone.) Combat in Stalingrad, however, deprived the Germans of their principal force multipliers of initiative and flexibility. The close-gripped fighting brought men to the limits of endurance, then kept them there. Beevor juxtaposes the grotesque with the mundane, demonstrating the routines that men on both sides developed to cope with an environment that brought them to the edge of madness. The end began when German army commander Friedrich von Paulus refused to prepare for the counterattack everyone knew was coming. An encircled 6th Army could neither be supplied by air nor fight its way out of the pocket unsupported. Fewer than 10,000 of Stalingrad's survivors ever saw Germany again. For the Soviet Union, the victory became a symbol not of a government, but of a people. The men and women who died in the city's rubble could have had worse epitaphs than this sympathetic treatment. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg. History Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate selection; foreign sales to the U.K., Germany and Russia.

Amazon.com ReviewFrom Publishers Weekly

From critically acclaimed world historian, Antony Beevor, this is the first major account in more than twenty years to cover the whole invasion from June 6, 1944, right up to the liberation of Paris on August 25. It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian, and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. More French civilians were killed by Allied bombing and shelling than British civilians were by the Luftwaffe.

The Allied fleet attempted by far the largest amphibious assault ever, and what followed was a battle as savage as anything seen on the Eastern Front. Casualties mounted on both sides, as did the tensions between the principal commanders. Even the joys of liberation had their darker side. The war in northern France marked not just a generation, but the whole of the postwar world, profoundly influencing relations between America and Europe. Beevor draws upon his research in more than thirty archives in six countries, going back to original accounts, interviews conducted by combat historians just after the action, and many diaries and letters donated to museums and archives in recent years.

D-Day will surely be hailed as the consummate account of the Normandy invasion and the ferocious offensive that led to the liberation of Paris.

In 1968, a small, dilapidated American spy ship set out on a dangerous mission: to pinpoint military radar stations along the coast of North Korea. Packed with advanced electronic-surveillance equipment and classified intelligence documents, the USS was poorly armed and lacked backup by air or sea. Its crew, led by a charismatic, hard-drinking ex-submarine officer named Pete Bucher, was made up mostly of untested sailors in their teens and twenties.

On a frigid January morning while eavesdropping near the port of Wonsan, the was challenged by a North Korean gunboat. When Bucher tried to escape, his ship was quickly surrounded by more patrol boats, shelled and machine-gunned, and forced to surrender. One American was killed and ten wounded, and Bucher and his young crew were taken prisoner by one of the world’s most aggressive and erratic totalitarian regimes.

Less than forty-eight hours before the ’s capture, North Korean commandos had nearly succeeded in assassinating South Korea’s president in downtown Seoul. Together, the two explosive incidents pushed Cold War tensions toward a flashpoint as both North and South Korea girded for war—with fifty thousand American soldiers caught between them. President Lyndon Johnson rushed U.S. combat ships and aircraft to reinforce South Korea, while secretly trying to negotiate a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Act of WarAct of War

Genre: Non-fiction

“…a well-wrought ground level view of daily life in hell.”

“…compiled with attention to details. The reader will feel as though he is alongside Lubbeck as he calls fire missions on the enemy during his three years of service.”

This is the remarkable story of a German soldier who fought throughout World War II, rising from conscript private to captain of a heavy weapons company on the Eastern Front.

William Lubbeck, age 19, was drafted into the Wehrmacht in August 1939. As a member of the 58th Infantry Division, he received his baptism of fire during the 1940 invasion of France. The following spring his division served on the left flank of Army Group North in Operation Barbarossa. After grueling marches amidst countless Russian bodies, burnt-out vehicles, and a great number of cheering Baltic civilians, Lubbeck’s unit entered the outskirts of Leningrad, making the deepest penetration of any German formation.

The Germans suffered hardships the following winter as they fought both Russian counterattacks and the brutal cold. The 58th Division was thrown back and forth across the front of Army Group North, from Novgorod to Demyansk, at one point fighting back Russian attacks on the ice of Lake Ilmen.

A soldier who preferred to be close to the action, Lubbeck served as forward observer for his company, dueling with Russian snipers, partisans and full-scale assaults alike. His worries were not confined to his own safety, however, as news arrived of disasters in Germany, including the destruction of Hamburg where his girlfriend served as an Army nurse.

In September 1943, Lubbeck earned the Iron Cross and was assigned to officers’ training school in Dresden. By the time he returned to Russia, Army Group North was in full-scale retreat. Now commanding his former heavy weapons company, Lubbeck alternated sharp counterattacks with inexorable withdrawal to Memel on the Baltic. In April 1945 his company was nearly obliterated, but in the last scramble from East Prussia, he was able to evacuate on a newly minted German destroyer.

After his release from British captivity, Lubbeck immigrated to the United States where he raised a successful family. With the assistance of David B. Hurt, he has drawn on his wartime notes and letters, Soldatbuch, regimental history and personal memories to recount his frontline experience, including rare firsthand accounts of both triumph and disaster.

Genre: Prose

Two madmen, Hitler and Stalin, engaged in a death struggle that would determine the course of history at staggering cost of human life. Craig has written the definitive book on one of the most terrible battles ever fought. With 24 pages of photos.

The bloodiest battle in the history of warfare, Stalingrad was perhaps the single most important engagement of World War II. A major loss for the Axis powers, the battle for Stalingrad signaled the beginning of the end for the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler.

During the five years William Craig spent researching the battle for Stalingrad, he traveled extensively on three continents, studying documents and interviewing hundreds of survivors, both military and civilian. This unique account is their story, and the stories of the nearly two million men and women who lost their lives.

Review

This special fiftieth anniversary edition of the classic history of the Korean War is a dramatic and hard-hitting account of the conflict written from the perspective of those who fought it. Partly drawn from official records, operations journals, and histories, it is based largely on the compelling personal narratives of the small-unit commanders and their troops. Unlike any other work on the Korean War, it provides both a clear panoramic overview and a sharply drawn "you were there" account of American troops in fierce combat against the North Korean and Chinese communist invaders. As Americans and North Koreans continue to face each other across the 38th Parallel,  commemorates the past and offers vital lessons for the future.

More than 70 years after it was first published, this book is still one of the all-time classics on the art of military marksmanship, and is required reading at the U.S. Marine Corps Sniper School. The author grew up learning to shoot in the backwoods of Indiana, and went on to compete nationally as a sharpshooter. When World War I broke out in Europe, he was so eager to fight that he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Wounded seven times and finally invalided home after nearly two years on the front lines, he was an enthusiastic soldier and a superb sniper, with over 100 confirmed kills. His story of his time in the trenches includes frequent lessons on the mindset, the tactics, and the weapons of sniping, and has much hard-won advice about personal survival on the battlefield. It stands out as one of the best first-person accounts of World War I.

Genre: Non-fiction

This is the story of a special breed of warrior, the fighter-bomber pilot; the story of valiant men who flew the F-105 Thunderchief ‘Thud’ Fighter-Bomber over the hostile skies of North Vietnam.

The book is based on Broughton’s tour of duty between September 1966 and June 1967 as Vice Commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The narrative is anecdotal in nature, a commentary of his observations of persons, aircraft, and events during his tour, more or less chronologically, but without dated references. Few individuals are identified by other than first or nicknames, but Broughton develops most as characters through descriptions of their career backgrounds. Broughton’s accounts of missions “up north” were enhanced in both accuracy and verisimilitude by verbatim transcriptions of radio transmissions he recorded using a small tape recorder mounted in the cockpit of his aircraft.

In Broughton is highly critical of the U.S. command structure directing air operations against North Vietnam. He blames micromanagement by the highest levels in Washington down to the Thirteenth Air Force, a command echelon based in the Philippines, for losses of men and aircraft that he characterizes as “astronomical” and “worthless”. He is particularly critical, however, of the “bomber mentality” management by generals who came up through the Strategic Air Command and then occupied key command slots in the war, which was being fought by pilots of the Tactical Air Command.

The book came about when, at the completion of his tour of duty, Broughton and two of his pilots were court martialed by the USAF for allegedly conspiring to violate the rules of engagement regarding U.S. air operations. Although acquitted of the most serious charges, Broughton, who had been personally relieved of duty by Pacific Air Forcescommander Gen. John D. Ryan, was subsequently transferred to an obscure post in the Pentagon, allegedly as a vendetta because his punishment was so slight. Required by office protocol to work only two or three days a month, he used both his extra time and his bitterness at the Air Force to compose Thud Ridge while he awaited approval of an application to appeal of his conviction to the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records.

After his conviction was overturned and expunged from his record because of “undue command influence”, Broughton retired from the Air Force in August 1968 and had the memoir published by J.B. Lippincott. The book appeared soon after as a Bantam paperback, with reprint editions in 1985, 2002, and 2006.

The Tank Killers

The Tank Killers

The story continues with the invasion of Italy and finally that of Fortress Europe on 6 June 1944. By now, the brass had decreed that half the force would convert to towed guns, a decision that dogged the affected crews through the end of the war. The TD men encountered increasingly lethal enemies, ever more dangerous panzers that were often vulnerable only to their guns while American tank crews watched in frustration as their rounds bounced harmlessly off the thick German armor. They fought under incredibly diverse conditions that demanded constant modification of tactics. Their equipment became ever more deadly. By VE day, the tank destroyer battalions had achieved impressive records, generally with kill/loss rates heavily in their favor. Yet the Army after the war concluded that the concept of a separate TD arm was so fundamentally flawed that not a single battalion existed after November 1946.

The Tank Killers

On 17th May 1943 nearly 350 million tonnes of water crashed into the valleys of the Ruhr, when the Lancasters of 617 Squadron breached the giant Moehne and Eder Dams with colossal ‘blockbuster’ bombs. “The Dam Busters” is the story of that raid and the squadron who carried it through. It tells how they took out the V3 rocket weapon and destroyed the “Tirpitz” in a Norwegian fjord. Again and again, the crews of 617 Squadron Bomber Command used their flying skills, their tremendous courage and Barnes Wallis’ highly accurate bombs to deal devastating blows to Nazi Germany. This story is one of the classics of the Second World War, a massive bestseller that became a film.

Genre: Non-fiction

“I died in Vietnam, but I didn’t even know it,” said a young Vietnam vet on the Today Show one morning in 1978, shocking viewers across the country. Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange—the first book ever written on the effects of Agent Orange—tells this young vet’s story and that of hundreds of thousands of other former American servicemen. During the war, the US sprayed an estimated 12 million gallons of Agent Orange on Vietnam, in order to defoliate close to 5 million acres of its land. “Had anyone predicted that millions of human beings exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin would get sick and die,” scholar Fred A. Wilcox writes in the new introduction to his seminal book, “their warnings would have been dismissed as sci-fi fantasy or apocalyptic nonsense.” Told in a gripping and compassionate narrative style that travels from the war in Vietnam to the war at home, and through portraits of many of the affected survivors, their families, and the doctors and scientists whose clinical experience and research gave the lie to the government whitewash, Waiting for an Army to Die tells a story that, thirty years later, continues to create new twists and turns for Americans still waiting for justice and an honest account of what happened to them. Vietnam has chosen August 10—the day that the US began spraying Agent Orange on Vietnam—as Agent Orange Day, to commemorate all its citizens who were affected by the deadly chemical. The new second edition of Waiting for an Army to Die will be released upon the third anniversary of this day, in honor of all those whose families have suffered, and continue to suffer, from this tragedy.

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From Review

First published in 1983, this volume received wide praise and made ALA’s most notable list; it was “highly recommended” by LJ’s reviewer (LJ 7/83). Despite that, it went quickly out of print. This paper edition contains the original text plus a new introduction by the author, who discusses the class action suit brought against the government by Vietnam veterans suffering from their wartime exposure to the herbicide. With America’s newfound willingness to talk about Vietnam, this book should see a lot of use.

— MRCopyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

“My bible on the issue of Agent Orange.”

—Tom Hayden

“This is a sad and frightening book, and it should not be disregarded.”

—Tracy Kidder, author of The Soul of a New Machine and Mountains Beyond Mountains

“It is impossible to read this book without feeling outrage and despair, for the story of Agent Orange is a tragedy that affects not only Vietnam veterans, but all Americans and their offspring.”

—The Saturday Review

In April 1992, a handful of young physicians, not one of them a surgeon, was trapped along with 50,000 men, women, and children in the embattled enclave of Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina. There the doctors faced the most intense professional, ethical, and personal predicaments of their lives.

Drawing on extensive interviews, documents, and recorded materials she collected over four and a half years, doctor and journalist Sheri Fink tells the harrowing—and ultimately enlightening—story of these physicians and the three who try to help them: an idealistic internist from Doctors without Borders, who hopes that interposition of international aid workers will help prevent a massacre; an aspiring Bosnian surgeon willing to walk through minefields to reach the civilian wounded; and a Serb doctor on the opposite side of the front line with the army that is intent on destroying his former colleagues.

With limited resources and a makeshift hospital overflowing with patients, how can these doctors decide who to save and who to let die? Will their duty to treat patients come into conflict with their own struggle to survive? And are there times when medical and humanitarian aid ironically prolong war and human suffering rather than helping to relieve it?

Genre: Non-fiction

“A harrowing story. A worthy supplement to the reports of Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel.”

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“This is a fascinating story of survival against the worst of odds.”

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A searing, brutal account of a French teenager’s survival in Auschwitz… and a major addition to Holocaust literature.

In 1943, 18-year-old Pierre Berg picked the wrong time to visit a friend’s house—at the same time as the Gestapo. He was thrown into the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. But through a mixture of savvy and chance, he managed to survive… and ultimately got out alive. “As far as I’m concerned,” says Berg, “it was all shithouse luck, which is to say—inelegantly—that I kept landing on the right side of the randomness of life.

“Such begins the first memoir of a French gentile Holocaust survivor published in the U.S. Originally penned shortly after the war when memories were still fresh, recounts Berg’s constant struggle in the camps, escaping death countless times while enduring inhumane conditions, exhaustive labor, and near starvation. The book takes readers through Berg’s time in Auschwitz, his hair’s breadth avoidance of Allied bombing raids, his harrowing “death march” out of Auschwitz to Dora, a slave labor camp (only to be placed in another forced labor camp manufacturing the Nazis’ V1 & V2 rockets), and his eventual daring escape in the middle of a pitched battle between Nazi and Red Army forces.Utterly frank and tinged with irony, irreverence and gallows humour, ranks in importance among the work of fellow survivors Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi. As we quickly approach the day when there will be no living eyewitnesses to the Nazi’s “Final Solution,” Berg’s memoir stands as a searing reminder of how the Holocaust affected us all.

Genre: Non-fiction

Chil Rajchman, a Polish Jew, was arrested with his younger sister in 1942 and sent to Treblinka, a death camp where more than 750,000 were murdered before it was abandoned by German soldiers. His sister was sent to the gas chambers, but Rajchman escaped execution, working for ten months under incessant threats and beatings as a barber, a clothes-sorter, a corpse-carrier, a puller of teeth from those same bodies. In August 1943, there was an uprising at the camp, and Rajchman was among the handful of men who managed to escape. In 1945, he set down this account, a plain, unembellished and exact record of the raw horror he endured every day. This unique testimony, which has remained in the sole possession of his family ever since, has never before been published in English. For its description of unspeakably cruelty, Treblinka is a memoir that will not be superseded.

In addition to Rajchman’s account, this volume will include the complete text of Vasily Grossman’s “The Hell of Treblinka”, one of the first descriptions of a Nazi extermination camp; a powerful and harrowing piece of journalism written only weeks after the camp was dissolved.

Genre: Non-fiction

Nothing prepares a man for war and Private Charles Waite, of the Queen’s Royal Regiment, was ill-prepared when his convoy took a wrong turning near Abbeville and met 400 German soldiers and half a dozen tanks. “The day I was captured, I had a rifle but no ammunition.” He lost his freedom that day in may 1940 and didn’t regain it until April 1945 when he was rescued by Americans near Berlin, having walked 1,600 kms from East Prussia.

Silent for seventy years, Charles writes about his five lost years: the terrible things he saw and suffered; his forced work in a stone quarry and on farms; his period in solitary confinement for sabotage; and his long journey home in one of the worst winters on record, across the frozen river Elbe, to Berlin and liberation. His story is also about friendship, of physical and mental resilience and of compassion for everyone who suffered.

Part of that story includes the terrible Long March, or Black March, when 80,000 British POWs were forced to trek through a vicious winter westwards across Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany as the Soviets approached. Thousands died. There are simply no memoirs of that terrible trek—except this one.

One of America’s most distinguished military historians offers the definitive account of the greatest tank battle of World War II—an epic clash of machines and men that matched the indomitable will of the Soviet Red Army against the awesome might of the Nazi Wehrmacht.

While the Battle of Kursk has long captivated World War II aficionados, it has been unjustly overlooked by historians. Drawing on the masses of new information made available by the opening of the Russian military archives, Dennis Showalter at last corrects that error. This battle was the critical turning point on World War II’s Eastern Front. In the aftermath of the Red Army’s brutal repulse of the Germans at Stalingrad, the stakes could not have been higher. More than three million men and eight thousand tanks met in the heart of the Soviet Union, some four hundred miles south of Moscow, in an encounter that both sides knew would reshape the war. The adversaries were at the peak of their respective powers. On both sides, the generals and the dictators they served were in agreement on where, why, and how to fight. The result was a furious death grapple between two of history’s most formidable fighting forces—a battle that might possibly have been the greatest of all time.

In Showalter re-creates every aspect of this dramatic struggle. He offers expert perspective on strategy and tactics at the highest levels, from the halls of power in Moscow and Berlin to the battlefield command posts on both sides. But it is the author’s exploration of the human dimension of armored combat that truly distinguishes this book. In the classic tradition of John Keegan’s Showalter’s narrative crackles with insight into the unique dynamics of tank warfare—its effect on men’s minds as well as their bodies. Scrupulously researched, exhaustively documented, and vividly illustrated, this book is a chilling testament to man’s ability to build and to destroy.

When the dust settled, the field at Kursk was nothing more than a wasteland of steel carcasses, dead soldiers, and smoking debris. The Soviet victory ended German hopes of restoring their position on the Eastern Front, and put the Red Army on the road to Berlin. presents readers with what will likely be the authoritative study of Kursk for decades to come.

Genre: Non-fiction

In the final months of the Second World War in 1945, the German Army was in full retreat on both its Western and Eastern Fronts. British and American troops were poised to cross the River Rhine in the west, while in the East the vast Soviet war machine was steam-rolling the soldiers of the Third Reich back towards the capital, Berlin. Even in retreat, the German Army was still a force to be reckoned with and vigorously defended every last bridge, castle, town and village against the massive Russian onslaught.

Tony Le Tissier has interviewed a wide range of former German Army and SS soldiers to provide ten vivid first-hand accounts of the fighting retreat that, for one soldier, ended in Hitler’s Chancellery building in the ruins of Berlin in April 1945. The dramatic descriptions of combat are contrasted with insights into the human dimensions of these desperate battles, reminding the reader that many of the German soldiers whose stories we read shared similar values to the average British ‘Tommy’ or the American GI and were not all crazed Nazis.

Illustrated with photographs of the main characters and specially commissioned maps identifying the location and course of the battles, is a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in the final days of the Second World War.