|Recommended WWII Reading|
Ambrose, Stephen Citizen Soldiers This bestseller from 1997 is divided into two distinct portions: a chronological account of the European war from DDay to the Bulge, and a topical account of life in the European theater. Chapters 7, 8, & 9 cover the Ardennes Campaign and Part III, “Life in the ETO” describes troop conditions in excellent detail.
Cavanagh, William C. A Tour of the Bulge Battlefield. Mr Cavanaugh is well known to both Bulge vets and European historians and has written the definitive guide to visiting the Bulge sites. The book includes photos, step-by-step commentary, and accurate directions. The only criticism is that this excellent book does not cover much action south or east of Diekirch.
Cole, Hugh, from the Office of the Chief of Military History, United States Army. United States Army in World War II: The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge. A detailed military history based on official US and German documents and interviews with military participants. This book is a volume of the official US Army history series of WWII, sometimes known as “the green books” from the color of their original binding. It is surprisingly readable but most helpful for definitive clarification of reports from other resources
Fussell, Paul. Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War. An engaging analysis of the emotional impact of WWII on civilian and military participants. Fussell picks apart the euphemisms, myths, and false hopes that helped the world cope with a global war. Well-written and thought-provoking in spite of the stuffy title.
Fussell, Paul. The Boys’s Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945. An unsentimental account of soldiering in the European Theater of Operations. This 2003 well-reviewed and respected book balances the sentimental style of Stephen Ambrose, and addresses horrific topics that most authors avoid.
Goolrick, William, and Tanner, Ogden, ed. Battle of the Bulge (World War II Time-Life Series). An interesting, easy to read overview with excellent maps and photos. This book (and the rest of the Time/Life series) is designed for “history newbies” and emphasizes the ironies and human side of the conflict – not a bad thing, but beware this is not a detailed source. Accounts in this text occasionally conflict with other sources. This book is the best resource for a quick “big picture” prior to visiting a new area. The chapter on Bastogne is especially concise and well-written.
Hastings, Max. Armageddon: The Battle for Germany. An exceptional overview of the Allied effort to take Germany, highly readable and controversial. This book was well reviewed and researched but has been criticized for its blunt account of US failures in leadership and execution.
McDonald, Charles B. Company Commander. A classic memoir of on-the-ground leadership, required reading for infantry officers since the time it was written.
McDonald, Charles B. A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of The Battle of the Bulge. A detailed and comprehensive account of the Bulge. This text is useful for additional information on specific topics of personal interest.
Pallud, Jean The Battle of the Bulge: Then and Now. This large, expensive book is well worth the price with extensive photographs, analyses, and unusual info on the German side. Though pricey, many pieces of information in this book are not found in other texts and the photos are amazing. The only complaint is it tends to “jump around” so a basic knowledge of the battle is helpful before delving into this one.
Parker, Danny. Battle of the Bulge, New Edition, 2004. A well-written readable overview of the entire battle, with more info on the German side than in most accounts. This book covers both sides unusually well and includes helpful charts and tables (equivalent rank, temperatures, etc. ) missing in many accounts. Though it covers the same ground, this account is more readable than A Time for Trumpets.
Toland, John. Battle: The Story of the Bulge. A readable book by an excellent historian which covers the battle in an hour-by-hour format. Toland interviewed over a thousand participants with the cooperation of the US Army and Air Force and the 1959 book includes multiple first-person accounts from the ground. This one doesn’t receive much publicity any more but it’s a good one.
Wilson, George. If You Survive. A blunt, highly readable memoir by a 22nd Infantry Lieutenant who fought in the Southern Shoulder. Takes only a few hours to read.