I have been impressed with the detail yet readability of historian Sir Max Hasting's work. His writing of 20th Century military history has been superb. I am teaching a college course on the Korean War and have reread both Fehrenbach (This Kind of War) and Halberstam (The Coldest Winter) as well as Hastings (The Korean War). This time I used my Audible unabridged versions of all three books.
Hasting's book relies heavily on personal stories presented earlier by Fehrenbach (who was in the Korean War) and presents little research or new material except more detail on some of the British units involved. His book is basically a critique of how the Brits (Hastings) would have run the war and what was wrong with all things American in Korea. The narrator sounds like a condescending British Seargeant Major reading to the members of the club. The book contains several errors, small points to be sure, but is not up to the work standards that the fine historian Sir Max Hastings normally upholds. Both Fehrenbach and Halberstam are better choices for both content and reading enjoyment.
This is an extremely readable overview of the Soviet-Nazi War from 1941-43. It provides an excellent overview of the pivotal tank battle of Kursk in July 1943. This is an excellent book to get started reading (or listening to) the immensity of the "Great Patriotic War". The book is not intended to be a detailed reference on the Battle of Kursk but it conveys the awesome size of the involvement. If you are searching detail on Prokoravka-Kursk then go to Zamulin's "Myths Uncovered" but for an overall understanding of the battle and its impact on the war, I highly recommend this book.
Berg is an outstanding biographer. I chose this book because I enjoyed his "Lindbergh". I was not disappointed. This should be required reading for young adults...and the rest of us as well. It is that well done in every respect.
Wilson is arguably one of five American Presidents who had the most impact on subsequent generations. Berg traces Wilson's academic development (warts and all) and how he went from being President of Princeton to President of the US in two years without ever really becoming a "politician".. Wilson faced a time of rapid world change with an astounding view of the future. His policies were what eventually led to the American position of superpower. He was overcome during his lifetime by the inertia of empire stabilized world politics but the things he did not get finished came to fruition under FDR and Truman. This was a man (with "feet of clay") who had a vision that the world needed but took another war to realize.
I recommend this book without reservation to any reader who wants a better understanding of World War I in the Middle East. The Lawrence movie is only a small part of the adventures of five young intellectuals who had much to do with shaping the subsequent conflicts of the land once oil became the world currency..
Anderson deals with the underlying concerns of the European combatants of WWI in how they are going to grab the emerging area with all its potential riches and the nationalistic and cultural conflicts of the area.
The performance was good and did not add undue theatrics to the reading. He read the book well and left it at that.
This is modern history that few people have studied. Enlightenment is my feeling from reading it. This is a well written tale that was hard to put down.
I am planning to require the reading of this book in a college level class I will be teaching next spring.
The technical presentation of the military operations was well done. The author tells the story of a platoon of Marine misfits in Viet Nam and spends all the time dealing with the problems that turned the public against the military: drugs, antisocial behavior, racism , careerism to name a few.. As a military retiree of that period until 1995, I find this is a textbook of what we spent 20 years trying to eliminate. It is like wallowing in the sewer.in the name of realism.
Berg's Wilson or Atkinson's "Day of Battle"
The performance was a bit "overdone" but basically OK. The dialog is third grade level vocabulary sprinkled with "Fuck" used as every possible part of speech. I love Hemmingway and even like Derek Robinson writing of war but this is not war, this becomes an abomination to those of us who served..
NO!!! The author didn't really tell us anything in this one.
Only reason I listened to the entire book is because I was amazed at how bad it was.
I bought this book on a lark because I am teaching a course on the Presidency in the 20th Century. The book turned out to be quite well done for what it is and provided insight into the private life of JFK. It is not tawdry or titillating in its approach to a delicate relationship and its effect on a 19 year old intern. The book says volumes about how the Presidency of the US is all about power. The author was perceptive of a situation which she knew would get her nowhere in the end. Her silence for the intervening years was admirable and the inside history, particularly during the Cuban Missile Crisis and assassination were interesting in understanding the JFK era.
George Bush did a nice job of writing his autobiography which should be titled "I Really Am A Nice Guy Who is Married to an Angel". The gravity and repercussions of the decisions described goes far beyond the banal explanations of this book. The superficial spin applied to war against terror does not present any real "lessons learned" about poor planning, inadequate preparation and poor choices of staffers. Surprisingly, Bush does not address the incompetence of many his "chosen" who forced his decisions by poor staff work.. The best part where Bush seemed in his element was the story of his involvement with the Texas Rangers. I was disappointed in the book but the audio presentation was quite good.
The writing style may leave something to be desired but the content is most important to any student of WWII -Europe history. Doubler brings out the nitty-gritty of problems in the US training system, the replacement system and almost every other aspect of fighting modern war circa 1942. Only the artillery had their act together. From there he describes how we learned by doing and describes the pitfalls along the way. The content of this book is what makes it excellent. It could have been titled "How We Learned to Fight - the Hard Way"
This book, originally published in 1963 ,is THE classic by which other Korean War histories may be measured. The author was a battalion commander in Korea and had the connections to get outstanding personal interest stories of his living contemporaries. He provides an unbiased telling of a story that Americans may want to forget but he makes a clear differentiation between the American military of 1945 and that of 1950. He deals with problems of funding neglect by Congress and training shortfalls by leadership of the American military after World War II. Fehrenbach deals with the campaigns as one who has been there. His insight into the politics of coalition warfare is excellent. If you want to read ONE book about Korea, this is it. It has detail, insight and intrigue which were all a part of the time.
David Halberstam's final book is a jewel. It is extremely readable (or listenable) and presents an unbiased approach to the Korean War. His research provides some post -iron curtain
details not in the Fehrenbach classic which was written in 1963. This book is mandatory reading, or listening, in my advanced classes on Korea. It communicates with those seeking an answer to "why is Korea 'The Forgotten War'".
This book tells of the travails of the UN forces in Korea in 1950. There is little here that is not in the Fehrenbach classic "This Kind of War" which deals with the war in its entirety. This book lacks focus if you are familiar with the basic plot, counterplot and subplot (MacArthur). It spends far more time with the Marines than with the details of what happened to Army 1st Cav, 2d, 24th and 25th Div and practically nothing on the ROK. Ex-Marines will like this book a lot.
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