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Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: volcs0
Date: May 15, 2011 07:15PM
My son wants to learn more about WWII. He has read and been exposed to lots of Holocaust literature, but he wants to learn more about the politics, battles, fighting, etc. He has enjoyed watching WWII related fare such as Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan, and this has whetted his appetite for more. I'd like to get some either non-fiction or historical fiction to support this curiosity. I myself have not read any of this literature, but I'm sure others here have. I'm looking for books accessible to the average teenager.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: DP
Date: May 15, 2011 07:35PM
The WWII in HD series from History Channel is quite interesting as it's the first I've seen that showed the really grim part of war as how truly horrible it can be. There was footage I had never seen before. May be worth a look.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: May 15, 2011 08:03PM
What age? When I was a lad of 14 or 15 I really enjoyed the Navy-setting historical fiction by Robb White: Run Silent Run Deep, Up Periscope, Torpedo Run.

A step up in historical precision might be the Time-Life book series. Profusely illustrated and cheap as dirt at any church rummage sale, thrift store, or Half.com.

Donald Miller has a relatively new, accessible comprehensive history: The Story of World War II.

A couple of interesting sideways approaches into the subject: Wright, What They Didn't Teach You About World War II, or Dunnigan and Nofi, Dirty Little Secrets of World War II. I'm also always intrigued by how it affected ordinary people on the home front, as in Lingeman, Don't You Know There's a War On?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2011 08:21PM by Mr Downtown.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 15, 2011 08:05PM
I just read the Maus series. Its in comic book format but its a serious work of art /literature. It won a Pulitzer.



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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: Racer X
Date: May 15, 2011 08:09PM
The HBO miniseries "The Pacific" just got released on DVD. Based on 3 books, one of which I thoroughly enjoyed as a teenager. It was by EB Sledge "With The Old Breed" It was used as source material for the Ken Burns PBS documentary "The War" as well. Another of the 3 was also by EB Sledge.

There was a line of books by Bantam, called the Bantam War Book series. All aspects of WW II. "With The Old Breed" was one, "Horrido" was another, WW II german pilots, written by a German ace.

Check on Half.com for cheap copies to won.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2011 08:09PM by Racer X.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: May 15, 2011 08:16PM
SAS: With the Maquis.
MacArthurs Undercover War
And
The Great Raid on Cabanatuan (sp?)

All good WWII non-fictions.

If he gets into WWI at all, I'd suggest The Last Cruise of the Emden. Great story about a German cruiser in the Pacific and their battles, and eventually the escape of some of the crew across Arabia after the ship is sunk. Hell of a story from an out of the ordinary perspective.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: volcs0
Date: May 15, 2011 08:24PM
Thanks. Keep them coming. I will order a few from Az tonight.

He's 12 1/2 but has matured early. His reading isn't necessarily the strongest though.

Of all my kids, he taken the most interest in war history - but it has been a peripheral interest...evidenced in the movies and TV shows he watches (lots of History Channel) and video games he plays (Call of Duty). Now, whenever we watch any show with artillery in it, he can just name the guns - mostly from the games I think. He's not the most interested reader, so I'd like to foster this if I can.

Thanks again for the recommendations. I'll keep checking this thread.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 15, 2011 08:26PM
The Longest Day (Cornelius Ryan)
Stephen Ambrose's books about the Airborne... They all seem to be similar.. Band of Brothers will be most familar to him.
If he has ancestors who were affected by the war, try and find relevant histories.

And, if you think he is mature enough and has a sufficient sense of humor, Heller's Catch -22, which is mostly a vietnam era story set in WWII.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: lemmingboy
Date: May 15, 2011 08:35PM
1942 by Winston Groom

One of the best general overviews of the War i've come across. Since it is the same author of "Forrest Gump" it is incredibly readable.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: May 15, 2011 08:36PM
A Bridge Too Far, also by Cornelius Ryan.

[www.amazon.com]

Flags of Our Fathers is another one worth suggesting.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: Spock
Date: May 15, 2011 08:43PM
Winston Churchill - Second World War.

[www.amazon.com]



Comedy Central: Best news channel that isn't a news channel.

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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: May 15, 2011 08:56PM
Studs Terkel: The Good War.



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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: tronnei
Date: May 15, 2011 09:05PM
Quote
Spock
Winston Churchill - Second World War.

I good read, but too much for a 12-year-old.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: MGS_forgot_password
Date: May 15, 2011 09:17PM
The Winston Churchill books were too much for me when I read them in my 20's.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: Mike Johnson
Date: May 15, 2011 09:39PM
Quote
Uncle Wig
Studs Terkel: The Good War.

That would the top of my list.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: IronMac
Date: May 15, 2011 10:02PM
I am going to chime in that the Churchill books may be too tough for a 12-yr with weak reading skills. I read about 4-5 of the Churchill books when I was about 10-11 and it was pretty tough slogging but who can forget the running around like beheaded chickens of the French that Churchill found before Dunkirk? hehehe...funny but sad..

As for The Pacific, it's better than the HBO series.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: May 15, 2011 10:09PM
I teach history to high school students and advise Middle School students as well. One of the finest overview books for someone that age is Reader's Digest Illustrated Story of WW2. It covers all aspects of the war in all theaters. It offers both personal and strategic aspects of the war. This is an old book (1969) but is available through Amazon for under $10. This is the book I handed to my own son when he showed an interest. It is also the the book that I believe fostered my own interest in history.

Many of the other books already mentioned here are terrific but limited in scope to individual stories or battles. He needs to have a wide overview of the war before focusing down small portions.

I would also suggest one of the many oral histories that are available. It will give him a newfound respect for the elderly men he sees everyday. Tom Brokow's "The Greatest Generation" would be one such book.

As you son gains insight into the Second World War, he can then expand his study in both directions. There is a legitimate argument to be made that WW2 was just a delayed continuation of WW1. Gaining a working understanding of WW1 will let him see the root causes of WW2. Likewise the ending battles of WW2 were the opening salvo of the cold war. As he begins to see how history is interconnected, it will lead him to a greater understanding of the current world.

I applaud you for encouraging your son's interest. He is a lucky child.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2011 10:11PM by Ombligo.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: kurtzie
Date: May 16, 2011 12:00AM
The Great Escape.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: flareslow
Date: May 16, 2011 08:42AM
The Ghost Soldiers, by Hampton Sides. The Bataan Death March and forerunners of the Army Special Forces.

For some good historical fiction,
Wouk's Winds of War, and War and Remembrance
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: 3d
Date: May 16, 2011 09:21AM
Something with lotsa pictures.
[www.amazon.com]

WWII: The Definitve Visual History
DK Publishing.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: JoeH
Date: May 16, 2011 11:09AM
Not a book, but the World at War series from the early '70's is available on DVD and Blu-ray in a restored version. Narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier it is considered one of the best video compilations on the war. Being done less than 30 years after the end of the war, they were able to interview many persons before they passed away. Currently it is an Amazon Gold Box Lightning Deal at $60 for the Blu-ray version for another hour.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: volcs0
Date: May 16, 2011 01:09PM
Quote
JoeH
Not a book, but the World at War series from the early '70's is available on DVD and Blu-ray in a restored version. Narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier it is considered one of the best video compilations on the war. Being done less than 30 years after the end of the war, they were able to interview many persons before they passed away. Currently it is an Amazon Gold Box Lightning Deal at $60 for the Blu-ray version for another hour.

Thanks... just missed it.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 16, 2011 03:08PM
Finally.. if you have the chance, talk to some actual WWII Vets. I had the honor to have a day's long chat with a gent who served in the European and Pacific Theaters... jumped with the Airborne, trained with the British SBS, served as Douglas MacArthur's aide de camp in the Philippines. Oh my GOD.. the stories he told.

Mrs. cbelt3 works in an assisted living home. I had the honor to sit outside with an elderly gent one day as a local airshow was doing flight operations with a B-24. He almost jumped out of his seat, stood arrow straight at Attention, listened for a moment, and said "It's OK, it's one of ours." I then learned of his experience as a bomber flight crewman in England.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: volcs0
Date: May 16, 2011 06:14PM
Thanks again everyone. I ordered a bunch.
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Re: Need recommendation for WWII books for my teenager
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: May 16, 2011 06:26PM
Quote
tronnei
Quote
Spock
Winston Churchill - Second World War.

I good read, but too much for a 12-year-old.

Presumptuous assumption. I read Helter Skelter when I was twelve (with my 6th grade teacher's blessing - he went to bat for me when the librarian balked at checking it out to me).



It is what it is.
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