Friday, January 09, 2009

Book Review (#1 of 2009)

No End Save Victory: Perspectives on World War II. Volumes 1 and 2 -- multiple authors
These books are a collection of essays by WWII historians like Stephen E. Ambrose. Some of the essays are extended excerpts from books by the authors and others are original essays highlighting some little-known or little-reported aspects about the war. If you're a history or WWII fan, I highly recommend these.

Among the most interesting are a re-printing of a diary of a Japanese kamikaze pilot who survived his attack and was captured. The profile of General Edwin P. King, who surrendered the largest U.S. force in history, was also great. A couple of the essays are from the little-reported viewpoints of the Japanese--kind of like Letters from Iwo Jima.

Volume 2 has an interesting essay about Operation Peppermint and the Allied fears that Nazi Germany had an atomic weapon. On D-Day several soldiers were assigned to discretely record radiation levels on the beach and observe any strange signs of radiation sickness. There was also a covert operation to destroy the Nazi's heavy water facility in Norway, and other operations to determine the extent of Germany's atomic knowledge. In Germany, Nazis inspected bomb craters with Geiger counters to see if the Allies were using atomic weapons.

There's also the story of a previously unknown Nazi landing in North America-- when Germany set up a weather station in Greenland.

Good stuff, five stars out of five. If you have to choose between one of the two sets, choose Volume 1.

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