Rob Citino’s Reading List

By Robert M. Citino
1/30/2012 • Dwight Eisenhower, World War II Reviews

The Blitzkrieg Legend
The 1940 Campaign in the West
Karl-Heinz Frieser (2005)

“The author was an officer in the German Bundeswehr, and this was the first serious primary source analysis of the great German victory over France in 1940. The maps alone are worth the price of the book.”

Eisenhower’s Lieutenants
The Campaigns of France and Germany, 1944–45
Russell F. Weigley (1981)

“As if writing The American Way of War wasn’t enough to put him in the Hall of Fame, the dean of U.S. military historians decided to take on the greatest single campaign in our military history: the 1944 fighting in the European Theater. Research, analysis, narrative—it is all splendid.”

Brazen Chariots
An Account of Tank Warfare in the Western Desert, November–December 1941
Robert Crisp (1961)

“Want to know what it was like to drive a tiny M3 light tank in the Desert War, knowing full well that you have almost no chance of surviving a meeting with your German counterpart? If so, Crisp is your man—a British tanker with a sharp eye, a lot of grit, and an almost postmodern sardonic edge.”

Guadalcanal Diary
Richard Tregaskis (1943)
“OK, point of personal privilege: My dad, John D. Citino, fought on Guadalcanal, and when I was a kid he suggested to me that I might want to read this book. It changed my life, and I was only seven at the time. Tregaskis was what we now call an embedded reporter. He hit the beaches on ‘the Canal’ with the Marines, shared their joys and miseries, and wrote this unforgettable book.”

Beyond the War
“When I venture outside World War II, I try to venture far outside. My favorite non-World War II military history of all time is, hands down, David Chandler’s The Campaigns of Napoleon. Chandler not only understands the science of writing a campaign history, he understands the art. His description of Marshal Murat’s great cavalry charge at Eylau still stirs my blood. But if I really need to get away, it’s a simple call: J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. It has it all—a struggle against an evil overlord, a fumbling coalition of the willing that barely gets its act together in time, and nail-biting tension throughout. There are even screaming dive-bombers (the dreaded Nazgûl). Come to think of it, maybe I’m not drifting all that far from World War II, after all (although Tolkien always denied writing any sort of allegory).”

Rob Citino is Professor of History at the University of North Texas. He is the author of nine books, including the award-winning Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm, The German Way of War, and the forthcoming The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943. His blog Front & Center appears on the World War II magazine website.

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