Hitler: eine Biographie (English title: Hitler)

Joachim Fest (1973)

“Fest spent nearly five years asking how a WWI veteran with a weird biography could lead a highly cultured nation into barbarism. His answer is this masterpiece. If you don’t want to read every book on Hitler this is a great choice.”

Das Boot (The Boat)

Lothar-Günther Buchheim (1973)

“We overuse ‘classic,’ but it fits this story of a U-boat in the Battle of the Atlantic: authenticity, adventure, tension, tragedy, an ideal desert-island pick.”

Anmerkungen zu Hitler (The Meaning of Hitler)

Sebastian Haffner (1978)

“Less extensive biography than elegant analysis, this remains the best-selling book on the subject in Germany, a fascinating read that expands the effort to solve the enigma of Adolf Hitler.”

Kampfkraft: Militärische Organisation und militärische Leistung der deutschen und amerikanischen Armee 1939–1945 (Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance 1939–1945)

Martin van Creveld (1982)

“A formidable comparison of two great fighting forces—complex, yet easily digested. Creveld is an iconoclast, but this benchmark book should be in any military history library.”

Panzer in Russland (Panzers in Russia)

Horst Scheibert (1970)

“This heirloom belonged to my granddad, who cherished it. Though modest in informational content, it includes 400 mostly rare photos of tanks in action on the Eastern Front 1941–1944.”

Aufschrei eines Frontschweines

Hans Konrad Keusgen (2012)

“This infantryman’s account of hell on the Eastern Front, the title of which could roughly be translated as A Grunt’s Outcry, takes no prisoners. No volume I have read more intimately conveys the feel of men in battle. This is the only book listed here not available in English—an incentive to learn German at last.”

Beyond the War

“I specialize in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially Napoleon. I find it fruitful to regard him and other figures, such as Hitler, as products of their environments who affected the lives of millions, yet felt the influence of their times. I am rooting at traces of World War II and Napoleon in Ireland, where I find much to study. Southwest Ireland, where I live, has a tradition of resisting the British; in 1798 Napoleon was to land troops here. Later the Germans had a similar idea and were unsuccessful in the same way.”

Maximilian R. H. Bunk, editor of the German military history magazine CLAUSEWITZ, holds a history degree from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He served in the Luftwaffe in 1996–97. During World War II most of the men in his family fought in the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front. One grandfather died in Operation Citadel; the other, a Panzergrenadier, survived the war. Bunk is completing Von Stalingrad in die Normandie, a book about a member of a wartime Railway Pioneer Regiment.


Originally published in the February 2013 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.