U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-06-2020, 08:31 AM
 
3,107 posts, read 6,659,571 times
Reputation: 6034

Advertisements

A recent family genealogy project has piqued my interest in Great Britain during and after WWII (OK - fine, I admit it, the Netflix series The Crown has also added to my curiosity).

Amazon and my local library have offered me so many books that I don't really know where to start.

I'm looking for a book recommendation that focuses on Great Britain during this time period, though understand of course that any book about a World War should have a more broad scope as well.

Could someone suggest a good starting point?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-06-2020, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Texas
37,058 posts, read 20,465,009 times
Reputation: 22755
Memoirs of the Second World War by Winston Churchill
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-06-2020, 04:55 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
15,267 posts, read 9,418,226 times
Reputation: 21947
Winter of The World is well researched fiction, written by Ken Follett. Follett also wrote Pillars of The Earth, Fall of Giants and many others.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007FEFLTO...ng=UTF8&btkr=1


Curiosity Stream has a series called Apocalypse WWII that is really good. There is a similar series about WWI which is just as good.
https://curiositystream.com/series/449/apocalypse-wwii
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-06-2020, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN -
6,287 posts, read 3,471,041 times
Reputation: 7771
If you'd prefer nonfiction, I'd recommend:
* The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
* Churchill: Walking with Destiny, by Andrew Roberts

For fiction, I'd recommend Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-07-2020, 10:56 AM
 
205 posts, read 37,657 times
Reputation: 294
For a military history, "And We Shall Shock Them" by David Fraser.
For great insight into military & political decisions at the highest level, "War Diaries 1939-1945" by FM Lord Alan Brooke.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-08-2020, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Roaring '20s
2,010 posts, read 543,955 times
Reputation: 7830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
Winter of The World is well researched fiction, written by Ken Follett. Follett also wrote Pillars of The Earth, Fall of Giants and many others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by newdixiegirl View Post
For fiction, I'd recommend Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
Ugh. No.

Just no.

This is the history forum. Why are we presuming an interest in World War II and a request for books about that conflict means fiction? Because World War II is merely a setting to the Ken Follett books mentioned.

Look, I have nothing against fiction. I write it. I read it. Nor against historical fiction specifically. There are many such works that I love. But we do not learn from them. We cannot learn from them, for the reason that we cannot know what is history and what is made up, invented, conjured from imagination unless we already are so fluent in the details of the historical backdrop that we know what is real and what is the author's imagination. In either case, we are learning nothing. And that's fine for entertainment. But not for learning.

Take The Eye of the Needle. It surely works as a thriller albeit a cliched one that requires far too much suspension of disbelief than its banal prose deserves. But it's historical nonsense. MI5 rolled up every last one of the Abwehr agents inserted into Britain. Part of this is because MI5 was (is) extremely good at what it does. But part of it is because the Abwehr was pretty bad at what it did. Yet one German agent somehow eludes capture and he's such an outlier that his martial skillset approaches that of Jason Bourne. Oh-- and he's not just a professional, he's got the panache of a Bond villain, routinely dispatching his enemies with a stiletto. He uses it to eliminate numerous would-be apprehenders. Somehow, the story manages to get far more ludicrous after that point. A remote island, a storm stranding the heroine there with the bad guy, a love triangle, a murder, and... the enemy is a softee and so he doesn't kill the heroine when he has the chance, so she - the heroine/housewife kills him - something MI5 and the British Army couldn't do. The epilogue (or merely the flash-forward ending - can't remember if it was actually parted off as an epilogue) is a total eye-roller.

And... it's fiction. The only history therein is incidental to the contrived story.

If one wants a light look at intelligence and counter-intelligence during the war, how about Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre? It's the story of how the British arranged for a dead body, decked out as a British officer, to wash up on a Spanish beach in 1943. On the body were subtle clues suggesting that the Allied invasion from North Africa that everyone on both sides knew was coming would be directed at Sardinia and Greece and not at Sicily, though there would be disinformation intended to dupe the Germans into thinking Sicily was the target. The Germans fell for it and were surprised when the Allies of course invaded Sicily.

Because... it's history.

You don't learn about The Civil War by reading Gone With the Wind, you don't learn about the Vietnam War by watching Apocalypse Now, and you don't learn about World War II by reading Ken Follett.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-09-2020, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Nashville, TN -
6,287 posts, read 3,471,041 times
Reputation: 7771
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2x3x29x41 View Post
Ugh. No.

Just no.

This is the history forum. Why are we presuming an interest in World War II and a request for books about that conflict means fiction? Because World War II is merely a setting to the Ken Follett books mentioned.

Look, I have nothing against fiction. I write it. I read it. Nor against historical fiction specifically. There are many such works that I love. But we do not learn from them. We cannot learn from them, for the reason that we cannot know what is history and what is made up, invented, conjured from imagination unless we already are so fluent in the details of the historical backdrop that we know what is real and what is the author's imagination. In either case, we are learning nothing. And that's fine for entertainment. But not for learning.

Take The Eye of the Needle. It surely works as a thriller albeit a cliched one that requires far too much suspension of disbelief than its banal prose deserves. But it's historical nonsense. MI5 rolled up every last one of the Abwehr agents inserted into Britain. Part of this is because MI5 was (is) extremely good at what it does. But part of it is because the Abwehr was pretty bad at what it did. Yet one German agent somehow eludes capture and he's such an outlier that his martial skillset approaches that of Jason Bourne. Oh-- and he's not just a professional, he's got the panache of a Bond villain, routinely dispatching his enemies with a stiletto. He uses it to eliminate numerous would-be apprehenders. Somehow, the story manages to get far more ludicrous after that point. A remote island, a storm stranding the heroine there with the bad guy, a love triangle, a murder, and... the enemy is a softee and so he doesn't kill the heroine when he has the chance, so she - the heroine/housewife kills him - something MI5 and the British Army couldn't do. The epilogue (or merely the flash-forward ending - can't remember if it was actually parted off as an epilogue) is a total eye-roller.

And... it's fiction. The only history therein is incidental to the contrived story.

If one wants a light look at intelligence and counter-intelligence during the war, how about Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre? It's the story of how the British arranged for a dead body, decked out as a British officer, to wash up on a Spanish beach in 1943. On the body were subtle clues suggesting that the Allied invasion from North Africa that everyone on both sides knew was coming would be directed at Sardinia and Greece and not at Sicily, though there would be disinformation intended to dupe the Germans into thinking Sicily was the target. The Germans fell for it and were surprised when the Allies of course invaded Sicily.

Because... it's history.

You don't learn about The Civil War by reading Gone With the Wind, you don't learn about the Vietnam War by watching Apocalypse Now, and you don't learn about World War II by reading Ken Follett.
Well. You sure told us.

I agree and disagree with your post. Yes, this is the history subforum; that's a valid point. I agree. I disagree that we can't learn about the world through fiction. We can through well-written, well-researched fiction. But, sometimes, you just want to read for entertainment, and that's perfectly okay.

Since he/she had enjoyed a TV series (which probably has at least some action, and also which isn't entirely accurate historically -- what TV show is?), a Follet novel is a fair recommendation.

I myself prefer nonfiction. But I'm also a librarian, and I've had years of experience working with patrons who want to read about a particular time period. They often want both nonfiction AND fiction titles, because they want materials talking about the period AND titles set in the time period. Some patrons want to read only fiction.

In this case, OP doesn't specify, and, even though, yes, this is the history subforum, we can only go by information given. OP can decide if he/she wants to read for informational purposes only.

Last edited by newdixiegirl; 02-09-2020 at 08:53 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-09-2020, 08:47 AM
Status: "Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite." (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
49,053 posts, read 39,253,845 times
Reputation: 70123
I haven't read The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, but I do have to give a shout out to him in general - I love his books!

I also recommend D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose.
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/b...by-sarah-rose/
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-09-2020, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Northern Appalachia
5,501 posts, read 6,744,780 times
Reputation: 6659
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinetreelover View Post
A recent family genealogy project has piqued my interest in Great Britain during and after WWII (OK - fine, I admit it, the Netflix series The Crown has also added to my curiosity).

Amazon and my local library have offered me so many books that I don't really know where to start.

I'm looking for a book recommendation that focuses on Great Britain during this time period, though understand of course that any book about a World War should have a more broad scope as well.

Could someone suggest a good starting point?

"Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War" seems to meet your criteria. It has excellent reviews on Amazon.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-09-2020, 11:19 PM
 
653 posts, read 413,238 times
Reputation: 2154
I have become over time more interested in the events and causes leading up to a war.
If you are interested in Great Britain and WWII, I recommend, "Appeasement" by Tim Bouverie. While reading it, you might pause and look up the people involved on the Internet (if you don't already know them) to put their stories in context.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

¬© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top