The Unknown Warriors

WWII Books for Christmas

Here are some WWII book ideas for Christmas in no particular order. I prefer books on the war that are direct experiences. I'm not so keen on big tomes full of the authors opinions or acadamic military history type books and have no real interest in WWII fiction. I compiled the first one, and have read the last one. The ones in between are all ones I am looking forward to reading as time goes by.

 

THE UNKNOWN WARRIORS - Blatantly biased and totally partial choice! A quick mention for The Unknown Warriors. A compilation of letters from over 150 WWII veterans with their wartime memories and their thoughts on the UK today. It is straight from the horses mouth, exactly how they remember the war, how they adapted in the years following and how they found the country in the twilight of their lives. See home page for details.

 

Buy on Amazon HERE or the updated version via the homepage.

 

HITLER'S TABLE TALK - I have noticed that Mein Kampf is constantly in the WWII top books on Amazon (currently number 12 in the charts, as I type). However, I have read a few times that it is quite a labourious book. I have read that Hitler's Table Talk is a much more interesting read. Martin Bormann his private secretary compiled a book from notes copied down by adjutants who were at lunches and dinners hosted by Hitler, and its packed full of Hitler's opinions on a wide variety of subjects from art to science.

 

Buy on Amazon HERE

 

THE RAILWAY MAN (Eric Lomax) - Eric Lomax died age 93 just this October (2012) He wrote a bestselling book about his time in hell, otherwise known as being a Far East POW on the Burma railway. It is currently being made into a movie starring Colin Firth, but as with most films, it won't surpass the book. How can it when the book is the words direct from the man who experienced it. This book is already continuously popular ever since its publication, and with the film set to give it massive exposure, it will undoubtedly become one of the all time classics of WWII writing.

 

Buy on Amazon HERE

 

WITH THE OLD BREED (E.B Sledge) & HELMET FOR MY PILLOW (Robert Leckie) - Both of these WWII memoirs are of the experiences of U.S Marines that fought in the Pacific theatre of war against a fanatical Japanese enemy. The books were inspiration for the HBO series, The Pacific, which was a similar drama series to the well known Band of Brothers. They both give an insight into the experiences of servicemen that fought in a much less well known part of WWII, perhaps overshadowed by D-Day and similar to British servicemen that fought in Burma.

 

Buy With the Old Breed on Amaxon HERE

Buy Helmet for my Pillow on Amazon HERE

 

NELLA'S LAST WAR - THE SECOND WORLD WAR DIARIES OF HOUSEWIFE '49 (Mass Observation Archives) - Nella took part in the Mass Observation Surveys which aimed to record what every day people were thinking. She was a middle aged housewife in Barrow, and her diary gives a real insight into the lives of civillians in war time Britain. Winston Churchill said 'They also serve those who only stand and wait' refering to the women who would stand for hours in ration queues to get food for their families and Nella was one of these ordinary women he was refering to. The war wasn't all excitement and explosions. There was hardships, drudgery and boredom and some people didn't even see a shot being fired.

 

Buy on Amazon HERE

 

THE MITFORDS: LETTERS BETWEEN SIX SISTERS (Charlotte Mosley) I picked this book up whilst browsing in a bookshop a few years ago and I remember what stood out about it was next to the letters were symbols indicating which of the Aristocratic Mitford sisters had wrote it. A Hammer and Sickle, a Swatstika etc. There was six of them all brought up in the same family but totally different to each other, including Diana who was married to Oswald Moseley and interred under regulation 18b during the war. Unity who hung out with Hitler and shot herself on hearing England and Germany were at war, and another Jessica was a runaway Communist. The letters cover all their adult lives and as well as apparently being fascinating, funny in parts, sad in others they also represent in their own way what the wartime generation were like as a generation. Untainted by mass conumerism and media and shaped by the dramatic times they lived through they were often very outspoken, eccentric, highly literate, disciplined, independent, full of fun and mischief and loyal.

 

I don't know if I'd be very interested in the decades after the war, but I think the part covering the 1930s and WWII would be a very interesting read, and perhaps once you have read that part you might want to continue to see how their lives developed as they got older.

 

Buy on Amazon HERE

 

FIRST LIGHT - The memoirs of Geoffrey Wellum, who was a teenage Spitfire pilot during the Battle of Britain. I thought his descriptions of being in the cockpit alone were excellent and it gives a real insight to what the 'few' went through on a daily basis during those dramatic days of the summer in 1940.

 

Buy on Amazon HERE

 

 

 

The links above are to the printed versions, here are links to the Kindle versions, the only one missing is Nella's Last War. At the time of putting this article together there did not seem to be a Kindle version of it, although there is Kindle versions of her post war diaries. If you want to get a copy for your Kindle the publisher is Profile Books, and it might be worth checking as it could be that for some reason it was not listed or it could have been added since this page was created.

 

KINDLE VERSIONS