MHQ Reviews: Notable Books, Winter 2014

11/12/2013 • MHQ Departments, MHQ Reviews

Also of Note

Dam Busters
The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the Devastating Raid to Smash the German Dams in 1943
by James Holland
(Atlantic Monthly, $28)
This exhaustive work fills in the gaps of the risky but successful Operation Chastise, a game changer for the Allies, who used water-bouncing cylindrical bombs to take out the German Ruhr Dams.

(Library of Congress)
(Library of Congress)

Don’t Hurry Me Down to Hades
The Civil War in the Words of Those Who Lived It
by Susannah J. Ural
(Osprey, $25.95)
The author highlights the social and cultural history of the American Civil War by link-ing new, rare accounts of families and ordinary citizens who witnessed the war with a compelling contextual analysis of the period.

Small Wars, Faraway Places
Global Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World, 1945–1965
by Michael Burleigh
(Viking, $36)
A close look at the forgotten wars that sprang up in the decades following World War II. Burleigh considers these “hot” wars, including campaigns in the Philippines, Congo, and Iran, that fell to the wayside of the larger Cold War–defining conflicts.

The Rocky Road to the Great War
The Evolution of Trench Warfare to 1914
by Nicholas Murray
(Potomac, $34.95)
Murray makes an in-depth scholarly examination of the progression of field fortifications leading up to World War I, correlating the changes in increased mechanization to the shift from above- to below-ground.

Pacific Blitzkrieg
World War II in the Central Pacific
by Sharon Tosi Lacey
(University of North Texas, $27.95)
Focusing on the unlikely union of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps during ground operations in the Central Pacific, Lacey’s well–researched volume pins the Americans’ success on the collaborating commanders’ planning, preparation, execution, and attention to minute detail.

Thank You for Your Service
by David Finkel
(Sarah Crichton, $26)
In the sequel to his acclaimed The Good Soldiers, Finkel shadows the lives of the men from the 2-16 Infantry Battalion again—this time on the home front. His heartfelt story delves into the psychological aftermath of modern-war soldiers when their deployments have ended.

Generals of the Army
Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Arnold, Bradley
edited by James H. Willbanks
(University Press of Kentucky, $35)
This excellent summary chronicles the careers of the five highest-ranked generals in U.S. Army history, connecting their success as five-star generals to their service at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Empire of Secrets
British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire
by Calder Walton
(Overlook, $35)
As the British Empire wound down in the decades after World War II, the British intelligence agency MI5 and the Colonial Office played major roles that have until recently been unknown. Now, following a massive spate of declassifications, the records and archives have surfaced and changed the history of that era.

by Peter R. Mansoor
(Yale, $28)
“Insider” is an overused and often underdeserved term in historical publishing. But that status is the key to the insights and values of this fresh account of the Iraq War’s most important campaign: Author Peter Mansoor served as executive officer to General David Petraeus, who first shaped the U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine and then took command of its implementation from 2007 to 2008.

World War II in Numbers
by Peter Doyle
(Firefly, $29.95)
Charts, graphs, maps, statistics, and other numbers are the elements of this “infographic” approach to delivering the facts of World War II. Doyle, a veteran historian of both world wars, here delivers a visual encyclopedia of answers to empirical questions about the scope and costs of the war.

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