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Few escapades of the Second World War have captured the public's imagination more than the successful abduction of German General Kreipe from enemy-occupied Crete in 1944. It was an operation instigated and daringly executed by two British SOE officers - Patrick Leigh Fermor and William (Billy) Stanley Moss. The war didn't stop for Billy Moss after this operation though, and it is his continuing story that is told here. He reflects movingly on what it means to fight and deal in death, how the success of operations behind enemy lines in a foreign country is dependent on the goodwill of local inhabitants, and, surprisingly, on moments of high humour that punctuate the turmoil of war. War of Shadows is a book in three parts - each displaying differing aspects of World War II and its eventual conclusion, and all told with that tell-tale blend of poignancy and humour so characteristic of the time.
The 100-foot promontory known as Pointe du Hoc -- where six big German guns were ensconced -- was the number one target of the heavy U.S. and British warships poised in the English Channel on D-Day morning. Facing arguably the toughest task to befall U.S. forces during the war, the brave men of the Army 2nd Ranger Battalion boldly took control of the fortified cliff and set in motion the liberation of Europe.
Based upon recently released documents, here is the first in-depth, anecdotal remembrance of these fearless Army Rangers. Acclaimed author and historian Douglas Brinkley deftly moves between events four decades apart to tell two riveting stories: the making of Ronald Reagan's historic 1984 speeches about the storming of the Normandy coast and the actual heroic event that inspired them and helped to end the Second World War.
Shortly after Custer's defeat in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Colonel Nelson A. Miles and his Fifth Infantry launched several significant campaigns to destroy the Lakota-Northern Cheyenne coalition in the Yellowstone River basin. Miles's expeditions involved relentless pursuit and attack throughout the winter months, culminating in the Lame Deer Fight of May 1877, the last major engagement of the Great Sioux War.
"Yellowstone Command" is the first detailed account of the harrowing 1876-1877 campaigns. Drawing from Indian testimonies and many previously untapped sources, Jerome A. Greene reconstructs the ambitious battles of Colonel Miles and his foot soldiers. This paperback edition of "Yellowstone Command" features a new preface by the author.
The first heroes of the air. Rewriting the rules of military engagement and changing the course of modern history as a result, the pioneering airmen of the First World War took incredible risks to perform their vital contribution to the war effort. Fighter Heroes of WWI is a narrative history that conveys the perils of early flight, the thrills of being airborne, and the horrors of war in the air at a time when pilots carried little defensive armament and no parachutes. The men who joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1914 were the original heroes of flying, treading into unknown territory, and paving the way for later aerial combat. They became icons for the soldiers in the trenches, and a stark contrast to the thousands on the ground fighting faceless thousands as men fought aircraft to aircraft and man to man - for the first time the air became a battlefield of its own. The war changed flying forever. In 1914 aircraft were a questionable technology, used for only basic reconnaissance. But by 1918, hastened by the terrible war, aircraft were understood to be the future of modern warfare. The Wright brothers' achievements of a mere ten years earlier and Bleriot's crossing of the Channel just a few years before the war seemed a distant memory as aircraft became killing machines - the war becoming the ancestor of the fearsome air wars of later years. The stories reveal the feelings of those who defended the trenches from above and witnessed the war from a completely different perspective -the men who were the first fighter heroes of the air.
In this unique history of the "Lost Battalion" of World War I, Alan D. Gaff tells for the first time the story of the 77th Division from the perspective of the soldiers in the ranks.
On October 2, 1918, Maj. Charles W. Whittlesey led the 77th Division in a successful attack on German defenses in the Argonne Forest of northeastern France. His unit, comprised of men of a wide mix of ethnic backgrounds from New York City and the western states, was not a battalion nor was it ever "lost," but once a newspaper editor applied the term "lost battalion" to the episode, it stuck.
Gaff draws from new, unimpeachable sources--such as sworn testimony by soldiers who survived the ordeal--to correct the myths and legends and to reveal what really happened in the Argonne Forest during early October 1918.
Oppressive conditions, a thankless task, a theater of war long forgotten and barely even known at the time-nonetheless, as Rails of War demonstrates, without James Harry Hantzis and his fellow soldiers of the 721st Railway Operating Battalion, the Allied forces would have been defeated in the China-Burma-India conflict in World War II. Steven James Hantzis's father served alongside other GI railroaders in overcoming danger, disease, fire, and monsoons to move the weight of war in the China-Burma-India theater. Torn from their predictable working-class lives, the men of the 721st journeyed fifteen thousand miles to Bengal, India to do the impossible: build, maintain, and manage seven hundred miles of track through the most inhospitable environment imaginable. This remarkable story of the extraordinary men of the 721st includes the harrowing adventures of the Flying Tigers and Merrill's Marauders, the Siege of Myitkyina, detailed descriptions of grueling jungle operations, and much more as they move an entire army to win the war.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, North and South quickly saw the need to develop the latest technology in naval warfare, the ironclad ship. After a year-long scramble to finish first, in a race filled with intrigue and second guessing, blundering and genius, the two ships -- the Monitor and the Merrimack -- after a four-hour battle, ended the three-thousand-year tradition of wooden men-of-war and ushered in "the reign of iron."
In the first major work on the subject in thirty-five years, novelist, historian, and tall-ship sailor James L. Nelson, acclaimed author of the Brethren of the Coast trilogy, brilliantly recounts the story of these magnificent ships, the men who built and fought them, and the extraordinary battle that made them legend.
This gripping autobiography is at once a heart-pounding adventure story, a moving recollection of a larger-than-life father, and an important account of the Czech resistance. Radomir Luza's father was a revered army general when the Nazis stormed into Czechoslovakia. After his father went underground to avoid arrest and torture, the nineteen-year-old Radomir spent weeks in a Gestapo prison. Upon his release, he joined his father in hiding. General Luza became the military commander of the Czech resistance, while Radomir secretly helped organize the country's largest resistance network. Luza's narrative makes palpable the terror of being constantly hunted and nearly snared by betrayals and Gestapo raids. The Hitler Kiss is a portrait of courage, tenderness, optimism, and sheer survival.
Based on ten years of research, Santanu Das's India, Empire, and First World War Culture: Writings, Images, and Songs recovers the sensuous experience of combatants, non-combatants and civilians from undivided India in the 1914-1918 conflict and their socio-cultural, visual, and literary worlds. Around 1.5 million Indians were recruited, of whom over a million served abroad. Das draws on a variety of fresh, unusual sources - objects, images, rumours, streetpamphlets, letters, diaries, sound-recordings, folksongs, testimonies, poetry, essays, and fiction - to produce the first cultural and literary history, moving from recruitment tactics in villages through sepoy traces and feelings in battlefields, hospitals, and POW camps to post-war reflections on Europe and empire. Combining archival excavation in different countries across several continents with investigative readings of Gandhi, Kipling, Iqbal, Naidu, Nazrul, Tagore, and Anand, this imaginative study opens up the worlds of sepoys and labourers, men and women, nationalists, artists, and intellectuals, trying to make sense of home and the world in times of war.
'A lyrical, engrossing and essential read' - Sathnam Sanghera 'A superbly nuanced reclamation of history and family secrets' - Brian Van Reet, author of Spoils What does it mean to be on the wrong side of history? Svenja O'Donnell's beautiful, aloof grandmother Inge never spoke about the past. All her family knew was that she had grown up in a city that no longer exists on any map: Koenigsberg in East Prussia, a footnote in history, a place that almost no one has heard of today. But when Svenja impulsively visits this windswept Baltic city, something unlocks in Inge and, finally, she begins to tell her story. It begins in the secret jazz bars of Hitler's Berlin. It is a story of passionate first love, betrayal, terror, flight, starvation and violence. As Svenja teases out the threads of her grandmother's life, retracing her steps all over Europe, she realises that there is suffering here on a scale that she had never dreamt of. And finally, she uncovers a desperately tragic secret that her grandmother has been keeping for sixty years. Inge's War listens to the voices that are often missing from our historical narrative - those of women caught up on the wrong side of history. It is a book about memory and heritage that interrogates the legacy passed down by those who survive. It also poses the questions: who do we allow to tell their story? What do we mean by family? And what will we do in order to survive?
The aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was preparing to launch attacks into North Vietnam when one of its jets accidentally fired a rocket into an aircraft occupied by pilot John McCain. A huge fire ensued, and McCain barely escaped before a 1,000-pound bomb on his plane exploded, causing a chain reaction with other bombs on surrounding planes. The crew struggled for days to extinguish the fires, but, in the end, the tragedy took the lives of 134 men. For thirty-five years, the terrible loss of life has been blamed on the sailors themselves, but this meticulously documented history shows that they were truly the victims and heroes.
Featuring hundreds of black-and-white illustrations of marksmanship medals, prizes, and badges, plus a special full-color section, this encyclopedia of U.S. Army shooting awards and training program rewards is a must-have for military historians and collectors. In "Marksmanship in the U.S. Army," William K. Emerson details weapons training from the 1850s to the present, gathering this information for the first time in a single volume.
Emerson highlights the philosophies behind army marksmanship and documents the awards, prizes, and badges bestowed upon the War Department's most elite shooters, artillerymen, and swordsmen. Proficiency training discussed in this book includes the use of sabers, cannons, sea mines, bayonets, tank weapons, aerial gunnery, bombs, and other weapons. Emerson integrates discussion of the criteria, people, and rationale behind each award into this historical account.
Emerson's emphasis on national rifle and pistol matches, the history of selected army and NRA trophies, and significant players in the army's weapons training development enhances the comprehensive appeal of the latest contribution to military history by this experienced author.
View the Table of Contents. Read the Preface.
"This fascinating account, told in relentless detail, deserves a wide readership."--"Choice"
International Acclaim: "Thomas has written a quite enchanting
book, magnificently researched, and cleverly and wittily presented.
. . . I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Quite
"[This] book is mesmerizing and is an unputdownable and
brilliantly researched page-turner. An important and riveting study
in social history."
"Donald Thomas has chronicled one of the last untold stories of
the war, and he does so with scholarship as well as humor."
"Beautifully written, utterly compelling: almost without fault
in every respect."
While the Second World War produced numerous acts of self-sacrifice, it also made many people rich. The criminal activities of the British underworld that extended from the civilian population right through to the armed forces constitute one of the great untold stories of the war. The Blitz of 1940 may have made a nation of heroes, but in the shadows the shelter gangs and looters prowled.
Acclaimed author Donald Thomas draws on extensive archival material for these tales of profiteering. He retells how between 1940 and 1941 a Liverpool ship repairer cheated the government of the modern equivalent of $30 million, while $120 million a month was looted from relief supplies at the port of Trieste. Professional gangs raided British government offices for ration books, and underground presses counterfeited gasoline and clothing coupons by the tens of thousands. Illegal food supplies threatened the nation'shealth--a consignment of black market sausages in Hackney contained tuberculous meat, while the industrial alcohol, or "hooch," served to pilots in London's West End clubs could produce blindness and brain damage.
The Enemy Within also recounts colossal theft within the army. Vehicles would arrive at front line railheads stripped of tools, spare parts, and removable components, and whole consignments of cigarettes and razor blades disappeared.
In addition to these stories, The Enemy Within includes revealing photos of known law-breakers, victims, and illegal transactions. The facts Thomas uncovers are often so preposterous that in a novel they would seem unbelievable. These are the extraordinary and often absurd stories of less-than-heroic Britons.
Throughout the author's life in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) his father was a member of the Northern Rhodesia Police and the author sets about recording various incidents in the life of a youngster growing up on the numerous towns and police stations at which his father served. The family moved to Southern Rhodesia in 1964. Finalizing his secondary schooling at Chaplin school, Gwelo, Rhodesia, in 1965, the author joined the British South Africa Police (BSAP) in March 1966 and elected to go into the district branch of the force. The author traces his career from a young patrol officer, through the various ranks and district police stations on which he served, to his retirement in August 1981 as a superintendent, in what was then Zimbabwe. He highlights the typical lifestyle associated with a district `copper', including anecdotes from the Bush War that was raging. Apart from the lighter side of the book- hitting an elephant at Makuti at 1 a.m. in a Mini Moke; realizing five minutes before presenting his men on parade to the officer commanding, at an annual inspection, that he had left his trousers at home; attending an internal disciplinary hearing as the accused for being drunk off duty where the presiding officer commented that the author's main defence witness appeared more drunk than the author and dismissed the case-there are some more serious chapters involving terrorist incidents, some of which are captured on an original station incident log which the author has included in the book.
It remains the most audacious spy plot in American history-a bold and extremely dangerous operation to invade Russia, defeat the Red Army, and mount a coup in Moscow against Soviet dictator Vladimir Ilich Lenin. After that, leaders in Washington, Paris, and London aimed to install their own Allied-friendly dictator in Moscow as a means to get Russia back into the war effort against Germany. The Lenin Plot had the "entire approval" of President Woodrow Wilson. As he ordered a military invasion of Russia, he gave the American ambassador, the U.S. Consul General in Moscow, and other State Department operatives a free hand to pursue their covert action against Lenin. The result was thousands of deaths, both military and civilian, on both sides. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the true beginning of the Cold War, The Lenin Plot tells the shocking story of this untold episode in American history in fascinating and striking detail.
The most complete portrait ever drawn of the complex emotional connection between two of history’s towering leaders
On retirement from an unusual military career Howard Leedham settled in the USA with his American wife and successfully flew executive jets until...He was recruited in 2003 by the US State Department's Airwing (which operates an international fleet of aircraft engaged in counter-terrorism and anti-narcotics operations). Despite being British, the author had the unusual skills they required. Howard's specific brief was to activate a fleet of anti-terrorist helicopters given to the Pakistan armed forces but which had been embargoed and never properly used. This was easier said than done. Howard had to win over opposition from inside the State Department and in particular from their Islamabad Embassy, and also dispel the suspicions of the Pakistani Armed Forces. The helicopters were released and brought up to the high standard of mechanical and operational maintenance required - no mean achievement in itself. Despite finding doors closed to senior Pakistani officers and being constantly told that the appropriate general was much too busy to see him, Howard made his mark by offering to stand outside the general's toilet door and tell him about his plans! This tactic worked, he had his meeting (not in the toilet) and he was given command of twenty-five Pathan soldiers to train in Special Forces tactics and helicopter skills. Next he had to win his soldiers' confidence. Howard did this with great success and he was given a further 25 Pathans. They became an amazingly loyal team and the book describes in detail several very successful discreet operations; and the occasional failure or withdrawn patrol - often because of leaked information. Howard had to do all this while under great personal threat. How could he tell who was a friend and who was a foe - even among his own troops? His ultimate success in anti-terrorist operations can be measured by two factors: o The US State Department, with Congressional and Embassy approval, allocated more helicopters. o His farewell party in a desert tent for just his Pathans and his helicopter crews had over 1,500 soldiers guarding the perimeter. All this came at a personal price - on completing his mission Howard's marriage broke up and he was nearly killed by a bomb on a subsequent visit to Islamabad.
Between 1950 and 1955, thousands of veterans from the notorious German-led, Ukrainian 14th Waffen-SS Galicia Division emigrated to North America with the full consent of the governments despite immigration regulations in force at the time that forbade entry to all who served in any branch of the SS. The Jewish community fought a brief, but futile, battle to persuade those governments to deny them entry, denouncing them as a "sinister legion" of "bloodthirsty murderers"--war criminals who had engaged in the mass murder of thousands of innocent civilians.
On the other hand, a well-organized body of Division supporters insisted there was nothing "sinister" or "murderous" about the young men who had volunteered to serve in its ranks. They declared them exceptional soldiers who obeyed the international rules of war, praised them for being dedicated soldiers who harbored no hatred for Jews, guarded no concentration camps, and committed no crimes against humanity.
At issue then was the nature of the Division and its war record. Were they "pure soldiers" as many of their supporters contended, or were they, to use Daniel Goldhagen's phrase, among Hitler's willing executioners?
"Pure Soldiers or Bloodthirsty Murderers "traces the 14th Waffen-SS Galicia Division's fortunes from its formation in April 1943, to its surrender to the British in May 1946, from immigrant farm workers in Britain, Canada and the USA, to Cold War CIA assassins. Along the way, it attempts to shed some light on this acrimonious dispute that has continued to the present day.
Sol Littman is former Canadian Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, author of "War Criminal on Trial," founding editor of "The Canadian Jewish News," the First Director of B'nai Brith Canada's "League for Human Rights," and also served with the Anti-Defamation League in the United States.
Drawing on the War Cabinet papers, other government documents, private diaries, newspaper accounts, and memoirs,Never Surrender tells the story of summer of 1940, the summer of the 'Supreme Question' of whether or not the British were to surrender to the impending threat of Hitler's invasion. The events, individuals, and institutions that influenced the War Cabinet's deliberations offer a panoramic view of the summer of 1940. Impressive in scope but attentive to detail, Kelly takes readers from the battlefield to Parliament, to the government ministries, to the British high command, to the desperate Anglo-French conference in Paris and London, to the American embassy in London, and to life with the ordinary Britons. Bringing vividly to life one of the most heroic moments of the twentieth century and intimately portraying some of its largest players - Churchill, Lord Halifax, FDR, Joe Kennedy, Hitler, Stalin and others - Never Surrenderis a character-driven narrative of a crucial period in World War II history and the men and women who shaped it.
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