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 The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

William Shirer (1960)

“The best one-volume history of Hitler’s Germany, his political and military ambitions, and, ultimately, his end. Shirer’s experience as a reporter in Germany during the 1930s adds extra authority to this monumental work.”

Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour

Lynne Olson (2010)

“Olson illuminates the important roles played by John Gilbert Winant, United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, and Averell Harriman and Harry Hopkins as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s emissaries to Winston Churchill. Without surrendering their loyalties or citizenship, all three became invaluable advisers to both Churchill and FDR.”

The Liberation Trilogy: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943; The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944; and The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe,1944-1945

Rick Atkinson (2002, 2007, 2013)

“Atkinson’s epic is the work of a journalist/historian with the pen of a great novelist. The battles for North Africa and Italy and from Normandy to Berlin are enduring lessons in the chaos of war on a large scale and its unrelenting pain, up close and personal.”

Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign, 1941-1945

Evan Thomas (2006)

“Too often, the European Theater overshadows the Pacific War, but Thomas reminds us with literary eloquence of the sea’s monumental role as a battlefield in his account of the last great naval battle between Japanese and American fleets at Leyte Gulf.”

As he and Tom Brokaw were covering an event honoring the 50th anniversary of D-Day, Tim Russert asked his NBC News colleague his thoughts on the veterans present. “I think this is the greatest generation any society has ever produced,” Brokaw replied. In 1998 he published The Greatest Generation, a homage to Americans who came of age amid war. Brokaw, who anchored the NBC Nightly News for 21 years, was born in 1940 and spent his childhood on an army base in Igloo, South Dakota. “I could name a dozen more World War II books but this is a good start for anyone interested in the greatest event in the history of mankind,” says the newsman, who is a special correspondent for NBC News.


Originally published in the October 2014 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.