If you’re a Constant Visitor to this blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a long-time history buff and bibliophile. I have been reading since I was little, and I became interested in military history – primarily World War II – in 1969 at the age of six.
Although I might be misremembering things, the first time I read anything about World War II was when a relative – I don’t recall who, but it could have been my maternal grandfather – gave me a couple of old issues of the Spanish edition of Reader’s Digest from either 1959 or 1960. At the end of these issues were long excerpts from Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day, which at the time was the best known (and bestselling) book about the events of June 6, 1944 – the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
Of course, much of the stuff about strategy and tactics went over my six-year-old head, but even at that young age I had a good vocabulary and understood a lot of what I read. I quickly grasped that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were “the bad guys” and that the British, Canadians, French, and Americans were “the good guys.” And even though it wasn’t until later that I understood how evil the Nazis were, I was aware that even though war isn’t something to be glorified or wished for, some causes are worth fighting for.
Since 1969, I’ve read perhaps hundreds of books about World War II. Most of them, of course, I borrowed from the libraries of the schools I attended or from the Miami-Dade Public Library System. But I own a lot of non-fiction works by authors from various countries, mostly American or British, including:
- Stephen E. Ambrose
- John D. Hornfischer
- Antony Beevor
- Cornelius Ryan
- James Holland
- Rick Atkinson
- Max Hastings
Here is a short list of my favorite books about the Second World War, in no particular order:
- The Liberation Trilogy (An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943; The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944; The Guns at Last Light: The War in Northwest Europe, 1944-1945) – Rick Atkinson
- Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal – James D. Hornfischer
- D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II – Stephen E. Ambrose
- A Bridge Too Far – Cornelius Ryan
- Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle For France – James Holland
- Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944 – Antony Beevor
- The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour – James D. Hornfischer
- Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 – Max Hastings
- The Fleet at High Tide: America at War in the Pacific, 1944-1945 – James D. Hornfischer
- The Battle of Britain: Five Months that Changed History, May-October 1940 – James Holland
As I said, this is a short list. I have many more favorite books about World War II in my library. This will do for now.