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  • Lance Williams
    replied
    I would give the slightest edge to Keegen for his historical accuracy and his readability. With that being said, Ambrose's and Churchill's works are just as essential for a complete understanding of the conflict. Ambrose for his ability to put you in the shoes of the man in the field and Churchill for his prospective as the only leader of a major combatant to write anything about the conflict (plus Winston was a truly fine wordsmith).

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by Duncan
    Yeah. I think Churchill is widely read. Just not by you and me. That's why I would stick to Ambrose as most influencial. Patton read Churchill a lot and thought very highly of him. I value Patton's opinion more than my own.

    Oh yeah, I know I know. Don what his name is Spanish lit, not English.
    IN the sound-byte age, those multi-volume tomes do not get read. Agree, with you, Ambrose probably, for better or worse, reaches a wider readership--particularly in non-academics.

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  • Duncan
    replied
    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong
    I thought we were talking about the influence of a historian vice the efficacy of his history(to use your above analogy). To have influence one would have to be read, and for wider influence, one would have to be read widely.
    Yeah. I think Churchill is widely read. Just not by you and me. That's why I would stick to Ambrose as most influencial. Patton read Churchill a lot and thought very highly of him. I value Patton's opinion more than my own.

    Oh yeah, I know I know. Don what his name is Spanish lit, not English.
    Last edited by Duncan; 21 Jun 06, 11:23.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by Duncan

    I also don't count myself as peer review. If you and I read the series will that make Churchill a better historian? I have an unread copy of Don Quixote. I am told by people who study literature proffesionally that it is an excellent and important book regardless of my participation.
    I thought we were talking about the influence of a historian vice the efficacy of his history(to use your above analogy). To have influence one would have to be read, and for wider influence, one would have to be read widely.

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  • Duncan
    replied
    Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong
    Like you, my copy sits on the shelf unread--how much influence is that?
    I read it a long while ago. It's waiting for re-reading. I actually need to buy a less worn set and it's missing a book. In fact, I'll order a new set today.

    I also don't count myself as peer review. If you and I read the series will that make Churchill a better historian? I have an unread copy of Don Quixote. I am told by people who study literature proffesionally that it is an excellent and important book regardless of my participation.

    The reason I get enthused about Churchill is because he is not a passive writer. He created history and then put it to paper. Perhaps this makes him less objective. Yes, it does. But there is great passion in his writing and a viewpoint that only someone in his position is capable of giving.
    Last edited by Duncan; 21 Jun 06, 08:49.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by Duncan
    I would like to recind my previous vote. Here I am looking over top of my computer at my 'to read' shelf. And there is the man's name right in front of me. The man who said, "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." None other than Winston Churchill. He was Prime Minister of a pivotal nation during WWII. He was one of three most important Allied leaders at the time. Patton's reading list, released by his widow, includes, 'Anything by Winston Churchill.' And his series on WWII won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953.

    Yup, he's the one.
    Like you, my copy sits on the shelf unread--how much influence is that?
    Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 21 Jun 06, 07:59.

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  • Duncan
    replied
    I would like to recind my previous vote. Here I am looking over top of my computer at my 'to read' shelf. And there is the man's name right in front of me. The man who said, "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." None other than Winston Churchill. He was Prime Minister of a pivotal nation during WWII. He was one of three most important Allied leaders at the time. Patton's reading list, released by his widow, includes, 'Anything by Winston Churchill.' And his series on WWII won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953.

    Yup, he's the one.

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  • dhuffjr
    replied
    I'd have to list Gordon Rottman as well. Lots of Osprey books published. His latest that I have was on LSTs. Great book with lots of stuff I never knew. His geography book on the Pacific theatre is a great resource as well. I want to pick that up along with his USMC WWII oob book but at 120 each I've not taken the plunge yet.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by Duncan

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Keegan or Beevor yet.
    Keegan is a great read, but I did not consider him a WWII historian. He's more universal and gained his notoriety with The Face of Battle in the narrow historical genre of "men in battle"--he has his place with Siborne, du Picq, and Spiller.

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  • Freightshaker
    replied
    Originally posted by Duncan
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Keegan or Beevor yet.
    Ooops, Keegan's history of WW1 is top notch

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  • Duncan
    replied
    Most influencial I think is Ambrose. I have heard conflicting stories about his acuracy and ability to creatively fill in gaps. However, he has produced some exceptionally readable history. This has brought the history of WWII to people who may not have been exposed to it otherwise. Let's face it, a lot of history is dry unless you have a passion for it. Ambrose is informative, readable, entertaining, and accessable to non-historians.

    I would like to call either Ted Barris or Mark Zuehlke are my favourite historians. But I can't. Ted Barris makes some good reads. But he really doesn't teach you much about the history. You get a good 'soldier's view' but not much else. Mark Zuehlke is readable and educational. He brings forward a lot of topics that aren't covered in other books, such as Ortona and the Liri Valley. However, I have heard from a few people that his assesment of the equipment available is flawed. Both are still well worth reading though.

    Which leaves me with J.L. Granatstein and Desmond Morton, for their book Canada and the Two World Wars. My reason is because they go beyond simply covering battles. They talk quite well about the political, economic, and cultural effects on and influences of the war.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Keegan or Beevor yet.

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  • Freightshaker
    replied
    I like John Ellis and Len Deighton. David Glantz is great for reference but he can be a rather dry read. Ambrose is good to read but he lacks accuracy at times.

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  • Creeping Death
    replied
    Dr Atwater

    Since he is the only guy I have ever met and exchanged emails with I have to say Dr Atwater. Not only is he a historian he also has a chance to play with so many cool guns, tanks and other weapons.
    Ambrose seemed great and did so much for the Veterans he deserves a vote as well.

    CD

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  • Colonel Sennef
    replied
    Eagle against the Sun

    Ronald Spector, author of 'Eagle against the Sun' for the War in the Pacific; because he is unique in his conciseness with which he pictures the conflict and writes in a way you cannot put him down. This is clearly a work of love and of high academic level written as a page turner. IMO an unbeatable combination!
    I discovered that even John Keegan, whom I hold in high esteem, used Spector a little bit more than he should have where he felt he was on thin ice, i.e. when describing the Pacific War while writing his 'Second World War'. In Keegan's own words 'no higher praise than imitation'.

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  • dhuffjr
    replied
    I've been reading through the "History of United States Naval Operations in World War Two" series (15 volumes ) by Samuel Eliot Morison. Good stuff. I'd put him in my favorite list.

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