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Donald Miller, a professor of history at Lafayette College, is the author of three books on World War II, most recently Masters of the Air (2006). His book The Story of World War II (2002) was the inspiration for the recent History Channel series WWII in HD; he also contributed to the upcoming HBO series The Pacific.

On to Westward: The Battles of Saipan and Iwo Jima
Robert Sherrod (1945)

“An unacknowledged classic; Sherrod is as good as Ernie Pyle on the life of the common soldier and vastly superior on big strategic matters.”


With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
E. B. Sledge (1981)

“Perhaps the most powerful account of the agony of combat ever written. Sledge, a marine and a doctor’s son, hated war but wrote about it with unsurpassed passion and moral insight.”


Serenade to the Big Bird
Bert Stiles (1947)

“A searing account of the emotional trauma of air combat; Stiles flew 35 missions as a B-17 copilot with the Eighth Air Force before transferring to a fighter squadron, and was killed in action in November 1944. Had he lived, he would have been a major American writer.”


Foot Soldier: A Combat Infantryman’s War in Europe
Roscoe C. Blunt Jr. (2001)

“This book stands nearly alone in its unsparing account of atrocities committed by soldiers on both sides. Yet Blunt, who became a crime reporter after the war, knows true evil when he sees it, and describes SS brutality in blood-chilling detail. The week I read his book I had trouble sleeping at night.”


“I read fiction in my spare moments and am currently revisiting John Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom novels, which are wonderfully evocative of the Pennsylvania town I grew up in.”