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Lieutenant Commander Takashige Egusa was one of the Imperial Japanese Navy's most skillful and influential dive-bomber pilots. He led an attack force against Pearl Harbor, calmly circling his special flame-red Aichi dive bomber before selecting his target. Assaults on the deadly gun batteries of Wake Island followed, as well as air support for the invasion of Ambon. Badly burned at Midway, Egusa return to duty, only to be killed on his final mission. As one Japanese officer said, He was the 'God of Dive-Bombing. Fully placed in historical context and backed by a wealth of detail from archives, family records, photographs, and memories of contemporaries, this full story of Egusa's bravery, leadership qualities and illustrious career come to life.
'Powerful . . . there is rage in his ink. McKay's book grips by its passion and originality. Some 25,000 people perished in the firestorm that raged through the city. I have never seen it better described' Max Hastings, Sunday Times In February 1945 the Allies obliterated Dresden, the 'Florence of the Elbe'. Explosive bombs weighing over 1,000 lbs fell every seven and a half seconds and an estimated 25,000 people were killed. Was Dresden a legitimate military target or was the bombing a last act of atavistic mass murder in a war already won? From the history of the city to the attack itself, conveyed in a minute-by-minute account from the first of the flares to the flames reaching almost a mile high - the wind so searingly hot that the lungs of those in its path were instantly scorched - through the eerie period of reconstruction, bestselling author Sinclair McKay creates a vast canvas and brings it alive with touching human detail. Along the way we encounter, among many others across the city, a Jewish woman who thought the English bombs had been sent from heaven, novelist Kurt Vonnegut who wrote that the smouldering landscape was like walking on the surface of the moon, and 15-year-old Winfried Bielss, who, having spent the evening ushering refugees, wanted to get home to his stamp collection. He was not to know that there was not enough time. Impeccably researched and deeply moving, McKay uses never-before-seen sources to relate the untold stories of civilians and vividly conveys the texture of contemporary life. Dresden is invoked as a byword for the illimitable cruelties of war, but with the distance of time, it is now possible to approach this subject with a much clearer gaze, and with a keener interest in the sorts of lives that ordinary people lived and lost, or tried to rebuild. Writing with warmth and colour about morality in war, the instinct for survival, the gravity of mass destruction and the manipulation of memory, this is a master historian at work. 'Churchill said that if bombing cities was justified, it was always repugnant. Sinclair McKay has written a shrewd, humane and balanced account of this most controversial target of the Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign, the ferocious consequence of the scourge of Nazism' Allan Mallinson, author of Fight to the Finish 'Beautifully-crafted, elegiac, compelling - Dresden delivers with a dark intensity and incisive compassion rarely equalled. Authentic and authoritative, a masterpiece of its genre' Damien Lewis, author of Zero Six Bravo 'Compelling . . . Sinclair McKay brings a dark subject vividly to life' Keith Lowe, author of Savage Continent 'This is a brilliantly clear, and fair, account of one of the most notorious and destructive raids in the history aerial warfare. From planning to execution, the story is told by crucial participants - and the victims who suffered so cruelly on the ground from the attack itself and its aftermath' Robert Fox, author of We Were There
Histories of the Unexpected not only presents a new way of thinking about the past, but also reveals the world around us as never before. Traditionally, World War II has been understood in a straightforward way but the period really comes alive if you take an unexpected approach to its history. Yes, battles, bombs and bravery all have a fascinating history... but so too do handkerchiefs, furniture, Mozart, insects, blood, mothers, suicide, darkness, cancer and puppets! Each of these subjects is equally fascinating in its own right, and each sheds new light on the traditional subjects and themes that we think we know so well.
In Fighting Churchill, Appeasing Hitler Adrian Phillips presents a radical new view of the British policy of appeasement in the late 1930s. No one doubts that appeasement failed, but Phillips shows that it caused active harm - even sabotaging Britain's preparations for war. He goes far further than previous historians in identifying the individuals responsible for a catalogue of miscalculations, deviousness and moral surrender that made the Second World War inevitable, and highlights the alternative policies that might have prevented it. Phillips outlines how Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his chief advisor, Sir Horace Wilson, formed a fatally inept two-man foreign-policy machine that was immune to any objective examination, criticism or assessment - ruthlessly manipulating the media to support appeasement while batting aside policies advocated by Winston Churchill, the most vocal opponent of appeasement. Churchill understood that Hitler was the implacable enemy of peace - and Britain - but Chamberlain and Wilson were terrified that any display of firmness would provoke him. For the first time, Phillips brings to light how Wilson and Churchill had been enemies since an incident early in their careers, and how, eventually, opposing Churchill became an end in itself. Featuring new revelations about the personalities involved and the shameful manipulations and betrayals that went into appeasement, including an attempt to buy Hitler off with a ruthless colonialist deal in Africa, Fighting Churchill, Appeasing Hitler shines a compelling and original light on one of the darkest hours in British diplomatic history.
Operation Chastise, the audacious RAF bombing raid that struck at the heart of industrial Germany on the 17th May 1943, brought catastrophic damage to the three dams that served the Ruhr Valley. Water and electricity supplies were disrupted in a key area of the manufacture of Germany's war munitions, and the consequences were disastrous. The German war effort was set back substantially, the Allies celebrated, and Dr. Barnes Wallis became a national hero as the designer of the famed 'bouncing bomb' that inflicted such damage. Considered from an Allied perspective, the Dambuster Raid was a triumphant success, not only of British engineering but also of pilot endeavour. View it from the German perspective however, and an entirely new story emerges. That is precisely what we have here. In this image-heavy publication, Helmuth Euler explores all facets of the operation in fascinating detail, offering a host of illuminating insights into this much-studied event of twentieth century history.
A compelling history of Blitzkrieg: the 'lightning war' by which Hitler and his generals overwhelmed the Allied armies in Western Europe. 'Blitzkrieg' begins with a chilling portrait of Hitler's rise to power in pre-war Germany, setting the stage for the outbreak of the Second World War and his conquests of Poland and Norway. This riveting history sets out clearly the tactical thinking behind Blitzkrieg and focuses an expert's eye on the materiel - pre-eminently the Panzer tank - that made it possible. Concluding with a compelling account of the campaigns that drove the German armies through the Low Countries and into France, Deighton reveals the Fuhrer's 'fatal flaw', which made possible the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk. 'Blitzkrieg' is the story of Hitler's triumph and Europe's darkest hour. Few writers have understood it as well as Deighton - an ex-RAF pilot - and perhaps none has been able to describe it so tellingly.
Operation Vengeance is colorful, intimate, eye-popping history, delivered at a breakneck pace. I loved it. -Lynn Vincent The New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot delivers an electrifying narrative account of the top-secret U.S. mission to kill Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese commander who masterminded Pearl Harbor. In 1943, the United States military began to plan one of the most dramatic secret missions of World War II. Its code name was Operation Vengeance. Naval Intelligence had intercepted the itinerary of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, whose stealth attack on Pearl Harbor precipitated America's entry into the war. Harvard-educated, Yamamoto was a close confidant of Emperor Hirohito and a brilliant tactician who epitomized Japanese military might. On April 18th, the U.S. discovered, he would travel to Rabaul in the South Pacific to visit Japanese troops, then fly to the Japanese airfield at Balalale, 400 miles to the southeast. Set into motion, the Americans' plan was one of the most tactically difficult operations of the war. To avoid detection, U.S. pilots had to embark on a circuitous, 1,000-mile odyssey that would test not only their skills but the physical integrity of their planes. The timing was also crucial: the slightest miscalculation, even by a few minutes--or a delay on the famously punctual Yamamoto's end--meant the entire plan would collapse, endangering American lives. But if these remarkable pilots succeeded, they could help turn the tide of the war--and greatly boost Allied morale. Informed by deep archival research and his experience as a decorated combat pilot, Operation Vengeance focuses on the mission's pilots and recreates the moment-by-moment drama they experienced in the air. Hampton recreates this epic event in thrilling detail, and provides groundbreaking evidence about what really happened that day. Operation Vengeance includes 30 black-and-white images. --Library Journal
'Many books claim to tell an "unknown" story of the Second World War. Few of them actually do. Forgotten Bastards is a rare exception . . . This is gripping history' Duncan Weldon, Prospect A riveting story of World War II from the author of Chernobyl, winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction In November 1943, with the outcome of the Second World War hanging in the balance, the Allies needed a new plan. The Americans' audacious suggestion to the Soviets was to open a second air front, with the US Air Force establishing bases in Soviet-controlled territory. Despite Stalin's obvious reservations about the presence of foreign troops in Russia, he was persuaded. Operation Baseball and then Frantic were initiated in early 1944 as B-17 Superfortresses were flown from bases in Italy to the Poltova region in today's Ukraine. Award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy tells the gripping, little-known story of this encounter between American and Soviet soldiers and how their collaboration quickly fell apart, mirroring the transition from the Grand Alliance to the Cold War. Soviet secret policemen watched over the Americans, shadowing their every move. A catastrophic air raid by the Germans revealed the limitations of Soviet air defences. As their initial enthusiasm turned into disappointment, the American soldiers started calling themselves the Forgotten Bastards of Ukraine. Ultimately, no common purpose could overcome their cultural and political differences. Drawing on newly opened Russian archives as well as CIA records, Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front offers a riveting bottom-up history of one of the Second World War's most unlikely alliances.
The F4U Corsair, designed by Vought and produced by that firm, as well as, Goodyear and Brewster Aeronautical Corporation, would not only rack up an impressive 11:1 kill ratio against its foes in WWII, but go on to serve through the Korean War as well. The iconic inverted gull wing of the aircraft, along with its distinctive whistling sound made the Corsair unmistakable to friend and foe alike. The Corsair was remarkable not only in serving the US Navy and Marine Corps in two wars, but also remaining in production through 1952. The Corsair was also the mount of some of the nation's most distinguished aces, including Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, Ken Walsh, and Tom Blackburn. Through carefully researched photos, many of which have never before been published and which are reproduced in remarkable clarity, the history and details of this iconic aircraft are revealed. Part of the Legends of Warfare series.
The biography of a Wisconsin immigrant. Raised in a Germany being awakened by the stirring voice of Adolf Hitler -- Manfred Donath went on to serve in his army. After defeat, he struggled under Communism and eventually fled to America. Through this book the life story of a soldier of the Reich turned patriotic American comes to life.
Fascinated by the Battle of Britain from an early age, as a young man Dilip Sarkar realised that recording and sharing the Few's memories was of paramount importance. At the time, back in the mid-1980s, membership of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association was well populated and the then Honorary Secretary, the now late Wing Commander Pat Hancock DFC, OBE, supported Dilip's research by forwarding letters to individual pilots of interest. Those members of the Few included a wide-range of personalities, from famous airmen like Group Captain Peter Townsend and Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley-Milling, to the also rans', as Battle of Britain Hurricane pilot Peter Fox famously described himself and peers. Indeed, it was Peter's also rans' that were of the greatest interest to Dilip, who recognised that whilst many famous and distinguished pilots had either published personal memoirs or had biographies written about them, lesser-lights had no platform to record and share their experiences. This Dilip became dedicated to resolving. For many years, Dilip enjoyed prolific correspondence with the Few. These letters - hundreds of them - now represent a unique primary source, confirming the incredibly close relationship the author enjoyed with his heroes and high esteem in which they likewise held him. Over the years, Dilip's published work has enormously benefited from his unique knowledge of the people involved through this very personal association, the memories collated providing his books a real human' touch. As the Few sadly fade away, it is only now that the significance of Dilip's correspondence, industry and archive arising are becoming truly apparent. In _Letters From The Few_, Dilip shares with us, for the first time, a small selection of his correspondence with Battle of Britain fighter pilots, providing us an inspirational insight into the immeasurable value of this research and personalities involved.
On December 15, 1944, Maj. Alton Glenn Miller, commanding officer of the Army Air Force Band (Special), boarded a plane in England bound for France with Lt. Col. Norman Francis Baessell. Somewhere over the English Channel the plane vanished. No trace of the aircraft or its occupants has ever been found. To this day Miller, Baessell, and the pilot, John Robert Stuart Morgan, are classified as missing in action. Weaving together cultural and military history, Glenn Miller Declassified tells the story of the musical legend Miller and his military career as commanding officer of the Army Air Force Band during World War II. After a brief assignment to the Army Specialist Corps, Miller was assigned to the Army Air Forces Training Command and soon thereafter to Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, in the UK. Later that year Miller and his band were to be transferred to Paris to expand the Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme, but Miller never made it. Miller's disappearance resulted in numerous conspiracy theories, especially since much of the information surrounding his military service had been classified, restricted, or, in some cases, lost. Dennis M. Spragg has gained unprecedented access to the Miller family archives as well as military and government documents to lay such theories to rest and to demonstrate the lasting legacy and importance of Miller's life, career, and service to his country.
World War I was a brutal war that left more than 9 million dead. Millions more were wounded and lost their homes. The two sides-the Allied Powers and Central Powers-cut secret deals to get countries to join their side. They unleashed secret weapons, employed spies, and relied on the element of surprise itself to wage terrible battles. Secrets of World War I reveals little-known stories of the people, weapons, and battles that have affected the maps on our walls and the allegiances in our hearts.
World War II was the most destructive war in history. Millions upon millions of people died, including innocent civilians. Both sides-the Allies and Axis Powers-pursued secret plans, tactics, and weapons to destroy each other resulting in horrors on a scale never before seen. Secrets of World War II reveals little-known stories of the people, weapons, and battles that have affected the maps on our walls and the allegiances in our hearts.
Even in the harsh conditions of total war, food is much more than a daily necessity, however scarce-it is social glue and an identity marker, a form of power and a weapon of war. This collection examines the significance of food and hunger in Germany's turbulent twentieth century. Food-centered perspectives and experiences "from below" reveal the social, cultural and political consequences of three conflicts that defined the twentieth century: the First and Second World Wars and the ensuing global Cold War. Emerging and established scholars examine the analytical salience of food in the context of twentieth-century Germany while pushing conventional temporal frameworks and disciplinary boundaries. Together, these chapters interrogate the ways in which deeper studies of food culture in Germany can shed new light on old wars.
This book recounts a little-known history of the estimated 2,000 babies born to black GIs and white British women in the second world war. The African-American press named these children 'brown babies'; the British called them 'half-castes'. Black GIs, in this segregated army, were forbidden to marry their white girl-friends. Nearly half of the children were given up to children's homes but few were adopted, thought 'too hard to place'. There has been minimal study of these children and the difficulties they faced, such as racism in a (then) very white Britain, lack of family or a clear identity. The book will present the stories of over fifty of these children, their stories contextualised in terms of government policy and attitudes of the time. Accessibly written, with stories both heart-breaking and uplifting, the book is illustrated throughout with photographs. -- .
The two decades between the first and second world wars saw the emergence of nuclear physics as the dominant field of experimental and theoretical physics, owing to the work of an international cast of gifted physicists. Prominent among them were Ernest Rutherford, George Gamow, the husband and wife team of Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton, Gregory Breit and Eugene Wigner, Lise Meitner and Otto Robert Frisch, the brash Ernest Lawrence, the prodigious Enrico Fermi, and the incomparable Niels Bohr. Their experimental and theoretical work arose from a quest to understand nuclear phenomena; it was not motivated by a desire to find a practical application for nuclear energy. In this sense, these physicists lived in an 'Age of Innocence'. They did not, however, live in isolation. Their research reflected their idiosyncratic personalities; it was shaped by the physical and intellectual environments of the countries and institutions in which they worked. It was also buffeted by the political upheavals after the Great War: the punitive postwar treaties, the runaway inflation in Germany and Austria, the Great Depression, and the intellectual migration from Germany and later from Austria and Italy. Their pioneering experimental and theoretical achievements in the interwar period therefore are set within their personal, institutional, and political contexts. Both domains and their mutual influences are conveyed by quotations from autobiographies, biographies, recollections, interviews, correspondence, and other writings of physicists and historians.
The battle for Stalingrad has been studied and recalled in exhaustive detail ever since the Red Army trapped the German 6th Army in the ruined city in 1942. Graphic first-hand accounts of the fighting have been published by soldiers of all ranks on both sides, so we have today an extraordinarily precise picture of the grim experience of the struggle from the individual's viewpoint. But most of these accounts finish at the end of the battle, with columns of tens of thousands of German soldiers disappearing into Soviet captivity. Their fate is rarely described. That is why Adelbert Holl's harrowing and vivid memoir of his seven-year ordeal as a prisoner in the Soviet camps is such an important record as well as an absorbing story.
Before Winston Churchill made history, he made news. To a great extent, the news made him too. If it was his own efforts that made him a hero, it was the media that made him a celebrity - and it has been considerably responsible for perpetuating his memory and shaping his reputation in the years since his death. Churchill first made his name via writing and journalism in the years before 1900, the money he earned helping to support his political career (at a time when MPs did not get salaries). Journalistic activities were also important to him later, as he struggled in the interwar years to find the wherewithal to run and maintain Chartwell, his country house in Kent. Moreover, not only was journalism an important aspect of Churchill's political persona, but he himself was a news-obsessive throughout his life. The story of Churchill and the news is, on one level, a tale of tight deadlines, off-the-record briefings and smoke-filled newsrooms, of wartime summits that were turned into stage-managed global media events, and of often tense interactions with journalists and powerful press proprietors, such as Lords Northcliffe, Rothermere, and Beaverbrook. Uncovering the symbiotic relationship between Churchill's political life and his media life, and the ways in which these were connected to his personal life, Richard Toye asks if there was a 'public Churchill' whose image was at odds with the behind-the-scenes reality, or whether, in fact, his private and public selves became seamlessly blended as he adjusted to living in the constant glare of the media spotlight. On a wider level, this is also the story of a rapidly evolving media and news culture in the first half of the twentieth century, and of what the contemporary reporting of Churchill's life (including by himself) can tell us about the development of this culture, over a period spanning from the Victorian era through to the space age.
Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader - fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to debate political issues - and yet he commanded enormous support. So how was it possible that Hitler became such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the important question at the core of Laurence Rees' new book. The Holocaust, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the outbreak of the Second World War - all these cataclysmic events and more can be laid at Hitler's door. Hitler was a war criminal arguably without precedent in the history of the world. Yet, as many who knew him confirm, Hitler was still able to exert a powerful influence over the people who encountered him. In this fascinating book to accompany his new BBC series, the acclaimed historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler's appeal, and reveals the role Hitler's supposed 'charisma' played in his success. Rees' previous work has explored the inner workings of the Nazi state in The Nazis: A Warning from History and the crimes they committed in Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution. The Charisma of Adolf Hitler is a natural culmination of twenty years of writing and research on the Third Reich, and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.
Soon after the end of World War II, a majority of the nearly 7 million Japanese civilians and serviceman who had been posted overseas returned home. Heeding the call to rebuild, these veterans helped remake Japan and enjoyed popularized accounts of their service. For those who took longer to be repatriated, such as the POWs detained in labor camps in Siberia and the fighters who spent years hiding in the jungles of islands in the South Pacific, returning home was more difficult. Their nation had moved on without them and resented the reminder of a humiliating, traumatizing defeat. Homecomings tells the story of these late-returning Japanese soldiers and their struggle to adapt to a newly peaceful and prosperous society. Some were more successful than others, but they all charted a common cultural terrain, one profoundly shaped by media representations of the earlier returnees. Japan had come to redefine its nationhood through these popular images. Yoshikuni Igarashi explores what Japanese society accepted and rejected, complicating the definition of a postwar consensus and prolonging the experience of war for both Japanese soldiers and the nation. He throws the postwar narrative of Japan's recovery into question, exposing the deeper, subtler damage done to a country that only belatedly faced the implications of its loss.
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