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The 25 Essential World War II Sites: European Theater. The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide to Battlefields, Monuments and Museums (second edition)

by Chuck Thompson, Greenline Publications, San Francisco, 2007, $19.95.

Expanded from its 2004 first edition, Chuck Thompson’s survey covers an impressive amount of ground. Although he summarizes the significance of each of his chosen subjects, including the American nerve center of Washington, D.C., and three essential Russian centers—Moscow, Volgograd (Stalingrad) and Kursk— Thompson’s stated concern is primarily the traveler, not the historian. Both are well served by the variety of chosen sites within each of the principal geographic locations. For those whose interest strays farther afield, Chapter 25 is devoted to “Auxiliary Sites,” such diverse but no less noteworthy points of interest as Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House; Finland’s modest monuments to its two wars with the Soviet Union; the North African settings of Erwin Rommel’s desert campaigns; Malta’s museums; and Warsaw’s memorials to its battles, two uprisings and notorious concentration camps.

Within the 25 categories are 500 points of interest, making this a useful, compact guide to any veteran or scholar wishing to revisit the conflict’s hallowed ground anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.


Originally published in the December 2007 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here