Books: What are you currently reading?

Ric of The LBC

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Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II

Pretty good. He does have a second-hand account that sounds a lot like the ending of Fury. Written in 2003 so before the movie.


Review: In a down-to-earth style, Death Traps tells the compelling story of one mans assignment to the famous 3rd Armored Division that spearheaded the American advance from Normandy into Germany. Cooper served as an ordnance officer with the forward elements and was responsible for coordinating the recovery and repair of damaged American tanks. This was a dangerous job that often required him to travel alone through enemy territory, and the author recalls his service with pride, downplaying his role in the vast effort that kept the American forces well equipped and supplied. . . . [Readers] will be left with an indelible impression of the importance of the support troops and how dependent combat forces were on them.
Library Journal
 

Von Kar

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Caen Controversy and the somewhat more political Invasion 1944 were must-reads while playing all Pegasus Bridge’s scenarios in a row …

Got me completely hooked on the Normandy Campaign again and after finishing Hill 112 I embarked on the superb Eisenhower’s Lieutenants for a broad view of the US Army in the ETO 1944-1945.
 

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Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II

Pretty good. He does have a second-hand account that sounds a lot like the ending of Fury. Written in 2003 so before the movie.


Review: In a down-to-earth style, Death Traps tells the compelling story of one mans assignment to the famous 3rd Armored Division that spearheaded the American advance from Normandy into Germany. Cooper served as an ordnance officer with the forward elements and was responsible for coordinating the recovery and repair of damaged American tanks. This was a dangerous job that often required him to travel alone through enemy territory, and the author recalls his service with pride, downplaying his role in the vast effort that kept the American forces well equipped and supplied. . . . [Readers] will be left with an indelible impression of the importance of the support troops and how dependent combat forces were on them.
Library Journal
I recall seeing an interview with someone who sounds very much like Mr. Cooper. That gentleman was responsible for recovering AFVs. I can't remember much about it except he was in Normandy and spoke of untrained replacements being assigned to tanks. I think that was in the interview. Memory is a bit hazy.🤔
 

Ric of The LBC

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I recall seeing an interview with someone who sounds very much like Mr. Cooper. That gentleman was responsible for recovering AFVs. I can't remember much about it except he was in Normandy and spoke of untrained replacements being assigned to tanks. I think that was in the interview. Memory is a bit hazy.🤔
Probably the same guy as he does speak about this. They clean and disinfect after removing the bodies and parts. A quick paint job, a new crew then back to the front.
 

Actionjick

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Probably the same guy as he does speak about this. They clean and disinfect after removing the bodies and parts. A quick paint job, a new crew then back to the front.
Yes that sounds very familiar. Will see if the library has it. Thanks!
 

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A high recommend to Richard B. Frank's latest Tower of Skulls. I think it makes Frank a kind of David Glantz for the Chinese role in the Asia-Pacific War of 1937-45. Like Downfall its using newly available and digested Chinese sources.
Its striking the comparisons that can be made between Germany's Eastern Front and China as Japan's "Western Front". Like Western lack of appreciation for the Soviet sacrifice this gets at the same with regard to Chinese - as in 7 million dead by Pearl Harbor.
Up to 1939 now and getting into Khalkin Gol, about a 1/5th through. This will be a trilogy for the Asia-Pacific to go with Atkinson's on the ETO. Not taking anything from Toll's trilogy which I haven't read.

A link to a MacArthur Memorial Talk on the book Tower of Skulls - talk does a good job of key points straight out of the book.

Frank is as good a speaker as he is a writer.

Another one I picked up to read, but not started yet from watching TIK youtube channel: Oil & The Great Powers, Britain & Germany, 1914-1945, Anand Topriani - basically his doctoral thesis turned into a book. Curiosity aroused from starting to learn War in the East 2 - how good is their logistics model on Germany's fuel situation basically.

Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics . . .
 

KhandidGamera

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Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II

Pretty good. He does have a second-hand account that sounds a lot like the ending of Fury. Written in 2003 so before the movie.


Review: In a down-to-earth style, Death Traps tells the compelling story of one mans assignment to the famous 3rd Armored Division that spearheaded the American advance from Normandy into Germany. Cooper served as an ordnance officer with the forward elements and was responsible for coordinating the recovery and repair of damaged American tanks. This was a dangerous job that often required him to travel alone through enemy territory, and the author recalls his service with pride, downplaying his role in the vast effort that kept the American forces well equipped and supplied. . . . [Readers] will be left with an indelible impression of the importance of the support troops and how dependent combat forces were on them.
Library Journal
What I found interesting about that book was the point he may have not intended - - just how robust the maintenance support was for a U.S. Armor Division. Also, that Shermans from the German perspective were like being in a zombie movie - if you don't shoot them in the head they are not dead (if they aren't burning wrecks), so your buried in production getting to the front AND the resurrections, while at the same time losing possession of the battlefield so you can't recover your fragile, broken down Panthers or they might not get to the front in the first place, breaking down on the way. Zaloga's works and that Chieftain video for me have somewhat spiked the idea of "Shermans were horrible".
 

Yuri0352

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A high recommend to Richard B. Frank's latest Tower of Skulls. I think it makes Frank a kind of David Glantz for the Chinese role in the Asia-Pacific War of 1937-45. Like Downfall its using newly available and digested Chinese sources.
Totally agree... although I regard Frank as a far more engaging and 'readable' writer than Glantz.
Tower of Skulls is probably the most interesting and informative WWII history volume which I have read in the past year. I am excited to read the other upcoming volumes in Frank's Pacific War series. Frank's previous book on Guadalcanal was the definitive account IMO.
 

KhandidGamera

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Totally agree... although I regard Frank as a far more engaging and 'readable' writer than Glantz.
Tower of Skulls is probably the most interesting and informative WWII history volume which I have read in the past year. I am excited to read the other upcoming volumes in Frank's Pacific War series. Frank's previous book on Guadalcanal was the definitive account IMO.
Funny story that might support your point on Glantz - watching one of his presentations (which was impromptu) he spends most of his time throwing up maps and graphics and saying something like - "you probably can't read this, but . . . " His book maps could use some work too, there's a bit of My Eyes Glaze Over (MEGO) in his accounts, things can get blurred together. I had the old 2005 When Titan's Clashed and now am reading the new updated/expanded 2015 version.

So far I put Tower of Skulls up there (along with Downfall) as one of the most important books I've ever read as you can draw a bright red line from the impact of its events then to where we are today - and in the talk Frank even says that's part of his purpose. He explains some things that John King Fairbank's New History of China (which I thought was very good) doesn't even touch that's crucial - the cultural disintegration effect of the mass refugee movements, reframing of the state's role in people's mind from what was traditional, and the atomization of people uncoupled from their families - all of which has impact from 1949 onwards.

Had come across this in the last year about the late war Japanese offensive in China, that cued my interest for TOS and it discusses what I'm sure Frank will get to and even alludes to now - by 1944-45 after 7-8 years of war (Russia endures 4 years) China is a very shattered country. Another on Stillwell - similar to Frank's conclusions on him, but Frank explains why he got such a pass.
 

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Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II

Pretty good. He does have a second-hand account that sounds a lot like the ending of Fury. Written in 2003 so before the movie.


Review: In a down-to-earth style, Death Traps tells the compelling story of one mans assignment to the famous 3rd Armored Division that spearheaded the American advance from Normandy into Germany. Cooper served as an ordnance officer with the forward elements and was responsible for coordinating the recovery and repair of damaged American tanks. This was a dangerous job that often required him to travel alone through enemy territory, and the author recalls his service with pride, downplaying his role in the vast effort that kept the American forces well equipped and supplied. . . . [Readers] will be left with an indelible impression of the importance of the support troops and how dependent combat forces were on them.
Library Journal
Picked this up today and about 25 pages into it. Pretty interesting so far. This is the gentleman from the interview I remembered.
 

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Have 2 books I'm reading on my tablet that I keep swapping between, A Time for Trumpets (Battle of the Bulge) and Waterloo Campaign of 1815 Volume 1.
 

Thomas Marshall

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Totally agree... although I regard Frank as a far more engaging and 'readable' writer than Glantz.
Tower of Skulls is probably the most interesting and informative WWII history volume which I have read in the past year. I am excited to read the other upcoming volumes in Frank's Pacific War series. Frank's previous book on Guadalcanal was the definitive account IMO.
AMEN (re: Tower of Skulls)!!
 

Tuomo

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the cultural disintegration effect of the mass refugee movements, reframing of the state's role in people's mind from what was traditional, and the atomization of people uncoupled from their families -
I just got done reading through that section and I thought the point he was making was just the opposite - that the mass refugee movements and the government stepping up to handle/track them actually served to shake up the old region/clan-based sense of identity and help introduce a concept of the "nation" that had just never been there on that scale before. And the Japanese atrocities also helped frame an "us vs them" mindset that seemed to surprise observers.

Maybe I misunderstood what the book said or what I think you're saying. Or both :)
 

KhandidGamera

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I just got done reading through that section and I thought the point he was making was just the opposite - that the mass refugee movements and the government stepping up to handle/track them actually served to shake up the old region/clan-based sense of identity and help introduce a concept of the "nation" that had just never been there on that scale before. And the Japanese atrocities also helped frame an "us vs them" mindset that seemed to surprise observers.

Maybe I misunderstood what the book said or what I think you're saying. Or both :)
I got your first part too - you really can get why the PLAN is pretty important for China today, but what he also said it separated people from the people they knew. Part of my take on the book is also based on reinforcement from several talks I've listened to by Frank that are up on Youtube - he's a very clear and organized speaker too. What I'm saying is something he points out in the talks is the tragedy of leaving kids and old people behind in the refugee process breaks up traditional personal connections and scrambles everything and mixes it. The atomization of people is key to how later the big social experiments can happen more easily when the communists come to power as people are more on their own - as I'm understanding it. My impressions (like that better than opinion, because it acknowledges better "how much do I really know - not much") are also informed by John King Fairbank's New History of China and how he broke down what the communists achieved - they simply got out and into the countryside and replaced traditional authority structures with new ones. The focus of the Chinese communists on the countryside and the peasants verses the Soviet focus on the worker proletariat in cities King maintains is a key to friction explaining divides later between the Soviet Union and Mao's China - why they weren't best buddies. However big Fairbank was in knowledge of China, my memory of his book is that it glossed over what happened and Frank clearly explains it in detail.

From the video on Operation Ichigo (Frank references these folks too in at least one of the videos and in TOS) there are couple more books I have on my shopping list - they are new information books also:
Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-1945, Rana Mitter
China at War: Triumph and Tragedy in the Emergence of the New China 1937-1952, Hans van de Ven
 

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More TOS - about 2/3 through. These last few chapters have been kinda trying, IMO, as the author seems to want to make the point that there was serious hesitancy in the Japanese government about going to war with the US. And yet, time and again, Japan and the US were clearly talking past each other in their proposals and counter proposals. Almost like they took a red pen and scrawled "NOT" inside each other's sentences, just so they could report back to their leaders that they were still negotiating, yep.

Feels like much ado about nothing - the underlying truth seemingly being that the IJA and IJN wanted war and no amount of trepidation about the folly of taking on America was going to impact that. So I could have done without the drama about a peace lobby that never stood a chance.

What has surprised me is the willingness among some IJA commanders to do whatever they wanted, even in opposition to Tokyo's policies, their own superiors' commands, or even the Emporer's desires. Never heard of that kind of thing before. But it jibes with the idea that the IJA was just ultimately uncontrolled.

Last bit of carping - at the end of ch 11 the author reflects on Japan's momentous folly in attacking the US. And he says, "The underlying cause of all of this measureless folly was China...". Um, no, that seems to be trying too hard to reinforce some thesis on China. IMO, the underlying cause was centered more on Japanese martial culture, and I would have liked to read more about how such a seemingly monolithic culture venerating the Emporer could have fractured so badly that they basically let their rapaciousness run wild and drag the country into conflict with, as the author said, the world's most populous country, the world's biggest Empire, and the world's strongest economic power.
 

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Probably the same guy as he does speak about this. They clean and disinfect after removing the bodies and parts. A quick paint job, a new crew then back to the front.
Very much enjoying this so far. I like books on all levels but particularly enjoy this viewpoint.
Loved the story of the soldier with the duffel bag. So very much the military.
Throw in a puppy and what more do you want?

Good stuff. Thanks for a great recommendation.🤗
 

Ric of The LBC

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Very much enjoying this so far. I like books on all levels but particularly enjoy this viewpoint.
Loved the story of the soldier with the duffel bag. So very much the military.
Throw in a puppy and what more do you want?

Good stuff. Thanks for a great recommendation.🤗
He is no fan of Patton. Basically accuses him of needlessly getting GIs killed because he did not support prioritizing production of the Pershing tank over the M4.
 

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Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II

Pretty good. He does have a second-hand account that sounds a lot like the ending of Fury. Written in 2003 so before the movie.


Review: In a down-to-earth style, Death Traps tells the compelling story of one mans assignment to the famous 3rd Armored Division that spearheaded the American advance from Normandy into Germany. Cooper served as an ordnance officer with the forward elements and was responsible for coordinating the recovery and repair of damaged American tanks. This was a dangerous job that often required him to travel alone through enemy territory, and the author recalls his service with pride, downplaying his role in the vast effort that kept the American forces well equipped and supplied. . . . [Readers] will be left with an indelible impression of the importance of the support troops and how dependent combat forces were on them.
Library Journal
Just finished reading the " Fury " account. It does seem extremely similar to the movie. I wonder if that was the inspiration for the film, or at least that portion of it.

The young tanker's name was not given in the book. It would be interesting to find that out and whether he received the honors his courageous action deserved.
 

Ric of The LBC

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Just finished reading the " Fury " account. It does seem extremely similar to the movie. I wonder if that was the inspiration for the film, or at least that portion of it.

The young tanker's name was not given in the book. It would be interesting to find that out and whether he received the honors his courageous action deserved.
Seems so: Is Fury a True Story? Did the Events in the Film Really Happen in World War 2? (thecinemaholic.com)

"Moreover, another inspiration for the movie is reported to be taken from a memoir titled ‘Death Traps: The Survival of an American Armored Division in World War II’ by Belton Y. Cooper. "
 

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