Book picks similar to
In Time of War by Pierce O'Donnell


history
non-fiction
military-history
politics

Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-Boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic


Ed Offley - 2011
    Sinking merchant ships with impunity, German U-boats threatened the lifeline between the United States and Britain, very nearly denying the Allies their springboard onto the European Continent--a loss that would have effectively cost the Allies the war.In Turning the Tide, author Ed Offley tells the gripping story of how, during a twelve-week period in the spring of 1943, a handful of battle-hardened American, British, and Canadian sailors turned the tide in the Atlantic. Using extensive archival research and interviews with key survivors, Offley places the reader at the heart of the most decisive maritime battle of World War II.

A Brief History of the Third Reich


Martyn Whittock - 2011
    A Brief History of the Third Reich tells the story of the men who rose to the fore in the dangerous days of the Weimar Republic. Circling around the cult personality generated by Adolf Hitler, the Nazis soon became a threat to the whole world. The book also gives a convincing and personality-driven overview of how ordinairy Germans became seduced by the dreams of a new world order.

Hitler


A.N. Wilson - 2012
     In this masterful account of Hitler’s life, biographer A.N. Wilson pulls back the curtain to reveal the man behind the mythic figure, shedding new light on Hitler’s personality, his desires, and his complex relationship with the German people.While Hitler maintained that his life had been characterized by “struggle” from its very beginnings, Wilson shows that the reality could not have been more different. Hitler grew up in middle-class comfort and, as a young man, lacked ambitions of any sort besides a vaguely bohemian desire to become an artist. And while the Hitlerian mythos holds that he forged his skills as a leader during the First World War, Wilson explains the truth: Hitler spent most of the war as an office boy miles from the front lines, and only received his cherished Iron Cross because of his slavishness to the officers he served. The army gave him a sense of purpose and brotherhood, however, which continued to inspire Hitler once the war ended.Hitler left the army with no skills, contacts, or money—and yet, within fourteen years, he would become chancellor of the German nation. Wilson describes the story of Hitler’s ascent as one of both opportunism and sheer political shrewdness. He possessed no real understanding of the workings of government but had a prodigious knack for public speaking, and found that a large number of Germans, despairing at their country’s recent defeat and terrified by the specter of international communism, were willing to listen to the right-wing fantasies that had taken root inside his head. Allying himself with the extremist German Workers’ Party (soon renamed the National Socialist Party), Hitler offered many Germans a seductive vision of how the country might raise itself back up and reclaim its rightful place at the center of world politics.Wilson shows that, although Hitler’s bid for power stalled at first, he soon gained traction with a German public starved for hope. Using his skills as a manipulator, Hitler found himself first at the head of the Nazi Party, then at the helm of the German nation. Wilson explores the forces that allowed Hitler to become Chancellor of Germany, and later to march Germany into total war. He examines Hitler’s increasingly virulent anti-Semitism and his decision to implement the Final Solution to exterminate European Jews, and he considers Hitler’s tactical successes - and failures - in World War II. Wilson also reveals a great deal about how Hitler’s personal life affected his time as Germany’s leader, from the lasting pain caused by the death of his mother and the suicide of his young niece to his poor health and addiction to the drugs prescribed by his doctor. As Wilson demonstrates, Hitler the Führer was not so different from Hitler the bohemian: lazy, moody, and hypersensitive, he ruled more through intimidation and the mystifying force of his personality than through any managerial skill or informed decision-making. His story - and that of Germany - is ultimately a cautionary tale. In a modern era enamored with progress, rationality, and modernity, it is often the darkest and most chaotic elements of society that prove the most seductive.Hitler’s unlikely rise to power and his uncanny ability to manipulate his fellow man resulted in the deaths of millions of Europeans and a horrific world war, yet despite his colossal role in world history, he remains mythologized and, as a result, misunderstood. In Hitler, A.N. Wilson limns this mysterious figure with great verve and acuity, showing that it was Hitler’s frightening normalcy - not some otherworldly evilness - that makes him so truly terrifying.

The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II


Patrick K. O'Donnell - 2008
    Their orders: link up with local partisans in the mountains and sabotage the well-guarded Brenner Pass, the crucial route through the Alps for the Nazi war machine. Without the supplies that travel this route, the German war effort in Italy will grind to a halt.Using thousands of recently declassified files, personal interviews, and private documents, including a behind-the-lines diary buried in a bottle, military historian Patrick K. O'Donnell has written a cinematic World War II adventure story. The unforgettable cast of characters includes the dashing and daring team leader; the romantic idealist who plans the operation; the seductive Italian countess who is also a double-agent; and the maniacal SS officer who will stop at nothing to kill the team and their partisan collaborators. The Brenner Assignment is also a World War II story that resonates today, revealing lessons for the war on terror and illustrating the complex nature of insurgency.Packed with action, suspense, intrigue, and even romance, this exciting true tale of survival and sabotage behind enemy lines is one of the greatest untold adventure stories of World War II.

The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler


John Lukacs - 1990
    "A masterful book—masterful in its portrayal of its protagonists, masterful in its overall understanding of the death-struggle in which they engaged, masterful, above all, in its vivid, suspenseful chronicling of the most momentous eighty days in the history of this century." —Geoffrey Ward "This is a marvelous book. John Lukacs has lucid, unsentimental insight into the mind and character of both Churchill and Hitler." —Conor Cruise O’Brien "A wonderful story wonderfully told." —George F. Will "It is salutary to be reminded in this powerful study how close Hitler came to winning in 1940. . . . An impressive study . . . [written] with elegance and panache." —Peter Stansky, New York Times "A master of narrative history on a par with Barbara Tuchman and Garrett Mattingly." —Kirkus Reviews

After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945


Ben Shephard - 2005
    But they also confronted a terrible challenge - inside the camp were some 60,000 people, suffering from typhus, starvation and dysentery, who would die unless they received immediate medical attention.After Daybreak is the story of the army stretcher-bearers and ambulance drivers, medical students and relief workers who attempted to save the inmates of Belsen - with the war still raging and only the most primitive drugs and facilities available.Drawing on their diaries and letters, Ben Shephard reconstructs events at Belsen in the spring of 1945 - from the first horror of its discovery, through the agonising process of trying to save the survivors. In doing so he addresses the question of whether we should regard the relief of the camp as an epic of medical heroism - as the British believed - or see the failure to plan for Belsen and the undoubted mistakes that were made there as further evidence of Allied indifference to the fate of Europe's Jews - as some historians now argue. The result is a powerful and dramatic narrative, full of extraordinary incidents and characters, and an important contribution to medical history.

44 Days: 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia


Michael Veitch - 2016
    This group of raw young recruits scrambled ceaselessly in their Kittyhawk fighters to an extraordinary and heroic battle, the story of which has been left largely untold.The recruits had almost nothing going for them against the Japanese war machine, except for one extraordinary leader named John Jackson, a balding, tubby Queenslander - at 35 possibly the oldest fighter pilot in the world - who said little, led from the front, and who had absolutely no sense of physical fear.Time and time again this brave group were hurled into battle, against all odds and logic, and succeeded in mauling a far superior enemy - whilst also fighting against the air force hierarchy. After relentless attack, the squadron was almost wiped out by the time relief came, having succeeded in their mission - but also paying a terrible price.Michael Veitch, actor, presenter and critically acclaimed author, brings to life the incredible exploits and tragic sacrifices of this courageous squadron of Australian heroes.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill's Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops


Damien Lewis - 2015
    To help defeat the seemingly unstoppable German war machine, Churchill called for the swift and secret development of a very special kind of military unit, the likes of which the world had never seen. Churchill commanded the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to recruit a team of survivalists, free-thinkers, misfits, and outright criminals--men with a wide variety of skill sets that together would enable them to operate purely on their own initiative deep behind enemy lines. And because they would flout the rules of war, these men were to be the SOE's first "deniable" operatives, and the first to be truly "licensed to kill." The very first of these "butcher-and-bolt" units--the innocuously named Maid Honour Force--was led by Gus March-Phillipps, a wild British eccentric of high birth, and an aristocratic, handsome, and bloodthirsty young Danish warrior, Anders Lassen. Amped up on amphetamines, these assorted renegades and sociopaths undertook the very first of Churchill's special operations--a top-secret, high-stakes mission to seize Nazi shipping in the far-distant port of Fernando Po, in West Africa. Though few of these early desperadoes survived WWII, they took part in a series of fascinating, daring missions that changed the course of the war. It was the first stirrings of the modern special-ops team, and all of the men involved would be declared war heroes when it was all over. Written by award-winning historian Damien Lewis, Churchill's Secret Warriors focuses on a dozen of these extraordinary men, weaving their stories of brotherhood, comradeship, and elite soldiering into a gripping narrative yarn, from the earliest missions to Anders Larssen's tragic death, just weeks before the end of the war.

Operation Eichmann: The Truth about the Pursuit, Capture and Trial


Zvi Aharoni - 1996
    Adolf Eichmann is already in this country under arrest and will shortly be brought to trial."Operation Eichmann, as the pursuit, capture, and trial of the notorious Nazi official was known, stunned the world. Its success was due largely to the unceasing efforts of one man, Zvi Aharoni, an experienced Mossad operative who was a skilled investigator and interrogator. He tracked Eichmann to Argentina, secured photographs that established his identity, and was a key player in the plot to kidnap the exiled war criminal and bring him to trial. Above all, as the sole person to interrogate "the architect of the Final Solution" after his capture, and the man who convinced Eichmann to admit his identity and face trial in Israel, Zvi Aharoni is the only one who knows firsthand what Eichmann actually said—a controversial subject often misrepresented in previous accounts.Now, for the first time in Aharoni's own words, comes the extraordinary true story behind one of history's most famous manhunts. Daring, dramatic, filled with episodes of breathtaking suspense and intrigue, Operation Eichmann is also a powerful chronicle of conscience and of the never-ending search for justice.All the intricate planning and preparation, the relentless pursuit of evidence, the constant need to justify time and expense are related with exacting detail. As events unfold, various political, personal, and philosophical issues come into play, focusing not only on a top secret mission, but on the priorities of individuals—as well as nations—during the Cold War era. The startling complicity of those who gave refuge to and provided safe passage for fleeing Nazi leaders reveals an expansive network of global proportions, while the seeming indifference of others is equally chilling. Adding to the tension is the emotional toll imposed on the participants, for whom the operation became a constant exploration of the theme of justice vs. revenge.A probing, deeply personal account of a real-life undertaking to rival the most breathless cloak-and-dagger fiction, Operation Eichmann is a powerful, compelling reading experience."Operation Eichmann has been covered by a wide range of 'literature.' However, in all the books written so far there have been certain constraints which have meant that the writers were not able to present a full and correct picture of what actually happened. There is no doubt that this book represents an objective and authentic addition to the tale of heroism that led to the capture of Eichmann and his standing trial in Israel. Without Zvi Aharoni and his friends, we would never have achieved what we did."

The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich: The SS Butcher of Prague


Callum A. MacDonald - 1989
    In 1941, at the height of the Nazi's seeming invincibility, the Czech government-in-exile launched a desperate operation to kill Heydrich. From the assassins' training in England to their Thermopylae-like last stand in the flooded crypt of a Prague church, and the Nazi's savage reprisals (including the obliteration of two villages), The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich brilliantly recounts one of World War II's most daring and tragic missions.

Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917 - 1947


Bruce Hoffman - 2015
    This groundbreaking book tells in riveting, previously unknown detail the story of how Britain, in the twilight of empire, struggled and ultimately failed to reconcile competing Arab and Jewish demands and uprisings. Bruce Hoffman, America’s leading expert on terrorism, shines new light on the bombing of the King David Hotel, the assassination of Lord Moyne in Cairo, the leadership of Menachem Begin, the life and death of Abraham Stern, and much else. Above all, Hoffman shows exactly how the underdog “anonymous soldiers” of Irgun and Lehi defeated the British and set in motion the chain of events that resulted in the creation of the formidable nation-state of Israel.This is a towering accomplishment of research and narrative, and a book that is essential to anyone wishing to understand not just the origins of modern-day Israel or the current situation in the Middle East, but also the methodology of terrorism. Drawing on previously untapped archival resources in London, Washington, D.C., and Jerusalem, Bruce Hoffman has written one of the most detailed and sustained accounts of a terrorist and counterterrorist campaign that may ever have been seen, and in doing so has cast light on one of the most decisive world events in recent history. This will be the definitive account of the struggle for Israel for years to come.

With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain


Michael Korda - 2009
    In the words of the Washington Post Book World, “With Wings Like Eagles is a skillful, absorbing, often moving contribution to the popular understanding of one of the few episodes in history … to deserve the description ‘heroic.’”

Hellstorm: The Death Of Nazi Germany, 1944-1947


Thomas Goodrich - 2010
    

Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain's Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940


John Kelly - 2015
    Everyone was on edge; civilization itself seemed imperiled. The Germans are marching. They have taken Poland, France, Holland, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia. They now menace Britain. Should Britain negotiate with Germany? The members of the War Cabinet bicker, yell, lose their control, and are divided. Churchill, leading the faction to fight, and Lord Halifax, cautioning that prudence is the way to survive, attempt to usurp one another by any means possible. Their country is on the line. And, in Never Surrender, we feel we are alongside these complex and imperfect men, determining the fate of the British Empire.Drawing on the War Cabinet papers, other government documents, private diaries, newspaper accounts, and memoirs, historian John Kelly tells the story of the summer of 1940—the months of the “Supreme Question” of whether or not the British were to surrender. Impressive in scope and 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. He brings to life one of the most heroic moments of the twentieth century and intimately portrays some of its largest players—Churchill, Lord Halifax, FDR, Joe Kennedy, Hitler, Stalin, and others. Never Surrender is a fabulous, grand narrative of a crucial period in World War II history and the men and women who shaped it.

Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler's Defeat


Giles Milton - 2017
    The guerrilla campaign that followed was every bit as extraordinary as the six men who directed it. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now, his talents were put to more devious use: he built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler's favorite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world's leading expert in silent killing, hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind enemy lines. Led by dapper Scotsman Colin Gubbins, these men—along with three others—formed a secret inner circle that, aided by a group of formidable ladies, single-handedly changed the course Second World War: a cohort hand-picked by Winston Churchill, whom he called his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.Giles Milton's Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do that is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.