Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On the Reading Table

A quick update on my reading table reveals my continuing obsession with the Pacific War.  I've just finished The Twilight Warriors by Robert Gant which follows a group of "tail end Charlies."  The "tail end Charlies" are those guys that got into the war later than some others and often fly those tail end missions.  Gant focuses on the battle for Okinawa primarily and I was especially engrossed in the chapter on the sinking of the Yamoto.

I get on these tangents when I just immerse myself in whatever it is that has piqued my interest at the time.  It's probably the OCD in me.  I eventually wear myself out and move on to something else.  for a while I read everything about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson I could get my hands on, including John's diary and his letters with Abigail. 

At any rate, right now it's the Pacific War.  I even went and bought this wonderful atlas of World War II with maps and diagrams of hundreds of battles.  Steve's read a lot about the European theater and I guess my fascination with the Pacific now balances us out.  The stories of these young men, though, continue to amaze me; when you stop and think that many of them enlisted at 17 and 18 and were doing such heroic things, well, it's just amazing.  The memoirs is what has me engrossed right now rather than the overall histories.

I read Cutthroats; it's about a tank driver in the Pacific.  Author Robert Dick was in both Leyte and Okinawa.  It gave a different perspective than the primarily Marine accounts I'd read so far.

After I finished The Twilight Warriors I picked up Sledge's With the Old Breed again.  It's such a classic and now that I've read so much more than the first time I went through Eugene's book, I think I'll appreciate it even more.  After that, well, I guess it's back to Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  I've got a list of Pacific memoirs to get through and I might be ready to scope out new spring/summer reading.

One thing I'm NOT interested in?  Donald Rumsfeld's book.  Can't gin up the interest.

What are YOU reading?


Laurence L. said...

Here's one for your list--"The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire", Brian Crozier, Prima Pub. Forum

It's a long read, but once you start it and keep with it, you will start seeing a description parallels of what is being formed in the US. The author is a participant in this history, first as a member of foreign services and eventually becomes more deeply involved as an agent for the West.

You will likely make it required reading for your students.

edutcher said...

You may want to try, "New Guinea and the Marianas", by Samuel Elliot Morison, part of his History of the US Navy in WWII. It gives a good contrast between Nimitz' war in the Central Pacific and MacArthur's in the SW Pacific.

Another in the series that might interest you is, "Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier", and is about how MacArthur and Halsey worked together to isolate the big Japanese base at Rabaul.

For the most part, Morison is very even-handed in his writing and usually avoids the inter-service rivalries.

Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld's book found in Fantasy/Fiction section, along with whoever ghost-wrote W.'s "tome".

Anonymous said...

WTH, why dump on Rumsfeld's book, it may be the earliest & closest to true account of the idiocy of the US State Dept/Colin Powell in botching the early successes in deposition of Saddam. Free your mind of the trash left from the enemedia about those post 9/11 efforts! Don't be a tool!