Lest We Forget:
   World War II













Suggested Books
For sale in association with amazon.com

I own all of these books, and I can honestly recommend them as very worthwhile investments. The books are listed in alphabetical order by author's name, not in any sort of rank. Even if you don't buy these, check them out from the library, all of them are excellent! I have many other books that I can recommend, so if you have a specific area of interest, e-mail me and I will do my best to point you towards what I feel are your best options.

Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa
Col. Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Ret.)

An excellent account of the Battle of Tarawa, the first test of America's amphibious assult doctrine in the Pacific.

D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II
Stephen E. Ambrose

Without question the best account of the Normandy Invasion. Covers every aspect of the invasion in detail, with the emphasis placed on the enlisted men and non coms who did the fighting.

Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army From the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany
Stephen E. Ambrose

Picks up where D-Day left off. Once again, excellent. Great on the Battle of Normandy, the Rhine, etc., with superb insight to the American fighting man.

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
Stephen E. Ambrose

Compelling story of the 506th from inception to war's end. Made me decide to do my senior thesis on airborne infantry in ETO. Excellent.

Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944
Stephen E. Ambrose

Recounting of British paratroopers seizing and holding an inland bridge vital to the success of Overlord. As with all of Ambrose's works, very compelling and informative.

American Heritage New History of World War II
Stephen E. Ambrose, ed.

Solid general history loaded with excellent photographs and information.


A Blood-Dimmed Tide: The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It
Gerald Astor

Great account of the Bulge, from the big picture to individuals.


Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris
John Keegan

The definitive account of the Battle of Normandy.
Side Note: Finally an author who gives Polish forces credit where it is due!

A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge
Charles B. MacDonald

Exhaustively researched coverage of the entire Battle of the Bulge. Very detailed to the point that it can become hard to follow. Read it twice, or take notes along the way, and this is one of, if not the best Bulge book around.

The Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War
Samuel Eliot Morison

By the author of the amazing 12 volume history of the U.S. Navy in WW II, this book brings his expertise and insight to a more affordable and manageable setting.

At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor
Gordon W. Prange, et. al.

The definitive account of the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the attack itself, its aftermath, and the effects it had on the Pacific War.

Miracle at Midway
Gordon W. Prange, et. al.

Sequel to At Dawn We Slept, a great two-sided account of the turning point in the war in the Pacific.

The SS: Alibi of a Nation
Gerald Reitlinger

For some reason, it is hard to find good books devoted solely to the history and operations of the SS. If you're searching for one, here it is.

A Bridge Too Far
Cornelius Ryan

The best book I have ever read. Intensely moving, mind-boggling, and incredibly informative. If you are at all interested in WW II, you need to read this book.

"I know of no other work in the literature of World War II as moving, as awesome, and as accurate in its portrayal of human courage." --General James M. Gavin

The Last Battle
Cornelius Ryan

A great account of the final battle in the European Theater of WW II, delving beyond the military issues of the Battle of Berlin to the hardships the German people faced and overcame.

The Longest Day
Conelius Ryan

While not as good as Ambrose's D-Day account, it is an excellent supplement to it. Ambrose and Ryan together provide an excelent picture of D-Day from the grunts to the generals.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
William L. Shirer

The best, most in-depth account of the origins of Hitler, National Socialism, and their eventual destruction at the hands of the Allies.

Skorzeny's Special Missions: The Memoirs of 'The Most Dangerous Man in Europe'
Otto Skorzeny

Autobiography of the man who started out as an engineer and became Hitler's commando ace. Great source for info on his rescue of Mussolini and his famous "Skorzeny Brigade" during the Bulge.

Maus I & II
Art Spiegelman

Graphic novel provides insight and information on the Holocaust, what it was like to be in the camps, and the long-term effects on the survivors.


Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs by Albert Speer
Albert Speer

Candid memoirs written by Speer while serving his 20-year sentence for war crimes. Provides a view of the operations of the Reich, its leaders, and how the horrors of WW II were allowed to happen.

The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II
Chris Bishop, ed.

With the exception of two oversights (the omission of the Bf 109 and the Ju 52), an excellent source for information on over 1,500 weapons systems including tanks, small arms, warplanes, artillery, ships, and submarines. Very inexpensive for what it provides. (note: this title is located at barnesandnoble.com)

Copyright © 1994-2005 Stephen Payne