Book Recommendations?

Discuss the Victory at Sea range of naval games.

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Sgt. Brassones
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Book Recommendations?

Postby Sgt. Brassones » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:22 am

Could you naval war grognards post some good books here? I've found these that look pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/Chronology-War-Se ... F8&s=books

and:
http://www.amazon.com/History-United-St ... 50?ie=UTF8

I don't intend to buy the whole 15 volume set of the second link(tempting though) just a few volumes.

Thanks guys.
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Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby Jellicoe » Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:42 am

Sgt. Brassones wrote:Could you naval war grognards post some good books here? I've found these that look pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/Chronology-War-Se ... F8&s=books

and:
http://www.amazon.com/History-United-St ... 50?ie=UTF8

I don't intend to buy the whole 15 volume set of the second link(tempting though) just a few volumes.

Thanks guys.

What exactly are you interested in? Overviews? Particular campaigns? Technical stuff? Any nation in particular - I guess the US?

If you want a chronology with just the raw facts of what went on then there is no better book for WWII than Rohwer’s Chronology.

Morison’s Naval Operations are ok, but maybe not the best place to start. Yes, they contain a lot of detail, maybe a bit too much, and they have nice maps etc… But they are the official histories which means they are kind of skewed, a little dry and they are dated. They don’t cover much of the intelligence side of the war , both in European and Pacific waters which if you know anything about it makes it an unsatisfactory read. So much more good material has been published over the last 50 years, esp. on certain episodes in the Pacific that a lot of what is in those books has been qualified. For example, if you want something on Midway best go to Parshall and Tully’s, Shattered Sword from last year as it does correct so many previous assumptions of the battle. You can’t really go wrong getting a few of the Naval Operations volumes, but you can do a lot better.

You can go for the reprints though which at $10 a volume make the exercise a little cheaper. And they look good on a book shelf if that’s a criteria.
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Postby Eisho » Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:32 am

Morison's books are definitely lacking in details that have arisen since their publication; mainly first hand accounts by the lower ranking soldiers and perspectives from the Japanese side.

That said, any particular volume does offer a good introduction to the period under study. You'll most definitely be able to pick them up as used book as well.

I can't really recommend a single authoritative volume on the Pacific War. If you just want introductory information then check out Wikipedia for free.

If you're interested in a particular battle in the Pacific then the latter releases tend to be better as they more use of eyewitness accounts and Japanese source material.

Hope that helps a bit.

Cheers,

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Postby Sgt. Brassones » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:27 pm

I was looking at Shattered Sword, I think I'll get that one now. I'm mostly interested in battle accounts and an overview. Tech details I can get anywhere.
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Postby Jellicoe » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:40 pm

Sgt. Brassones wrote:I was looking at Shattered Sword, I think I'll get that one now. I'm mostly interested in battle accounts and an overview. Tech details I can get anywhere.
If you want a readable, general book on the Pacific take a look at R. Spector's, Eagle against the Sun: The American War with Japan. That's a good starting point.
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Postby DM » Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:09 pm

I'd recommend Shattered Sword to anyone interested in Midway and carrier operations. Also Rohwer and Hummelche's "Chronology of the War at Sea" for details of ships involved in operations throughout WW2. IIRC by chum Eric Grove wrote one, if not both volumes of the Ian Allen "Sea Battles in Close Up" which are good general overviews of some of the main surface actions of WW2.

Greene and Massignani's "The Naval War in tne Mediterranean" is also essential reading - probably the best book on Med based naval warfare ever!
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Postby Slightly Norse John » Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:17 pm

Dan van der Vat's 'The Atlantic Campaign' and 'The Pacific Campaign' are good overviews- being Dutch, he doesn't have that much of an axe to grind.
Correlli Barnett's 'Engage the Enemy More Closely' is a comprehensive history of the Royal Navy in the second world war, and very strange in tone it is too- he is positively angry about the mistakes made that allowed the British empire to decline and fall, and takes them apart at some length. Morison's histories do contain, to my taste, a fair amount of backslapping, as much a celebration of the USN as an analysis; Barnett's do it very seldom, and when they do as often as not he has a dagger in his hand.
John Toland's 'The Rising Sun' does a very good and very level- headed job of dissecting the causes of the Pacific war, he gets satisfactorily deep under the skin of the Japanese leadership.
Churchill wrote history too, and it's a valuable source, as much for the mistakes and misinterpretations he made as for the facts. He is very persuasive, and it's easy to take what he says as fact; it is necessary to beware of his eloquence.
Another memoir I would very highly recommend but at the same time advise caution of is 'Ten years and Twenty Days', Doenitz's book. It's written at least in part to clear his own name, and he does a very good job of masquerading as the saltwater- blooded professional, conveniently forgetting just how much of a Nazi fanatic he actually was.
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Postby Jellicoe » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:45 pm

Slightly Norse John wrote: Correlli Barnett's 'Engage the Enemy More Closely' is a comprehensive history of the Royal Navy in the second world war, and very strange in tone it is too- he is positively angry about the mistakes made that allowed the British empire to decline and fall, and takes them apart at some length.
That’s because he is a declineist historian and has an axe to grid with the Navy. It’s the only single volume like that of the RN in WWII so there is not much choice
Slightly Norse John wrote: Another memoir I would very highly recommend but at the same time advise caution of is 'Ten years and Twenty Days', Doenitz's book. It's written at least in part to clear his own name, and he does a very good job of masquerading as the saltwater- blooded professional, conveniently forgetting just how much of a Nazi fanatic he actually was.
Doenitz’s memoirs are so self-preserving and distorting of the facts that it deserves particular care. In fact a lot is blatantly wrong.
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Postby Slightly Norse John » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:43 am

There are others- there's an abridged single volume version of Roskill, for instance. It's a bit bald but it does as a tour d'horizon.
I'm not sure what 'declinist' means; if that means he believes in the collapse of British power, well...yes. It did. I find that conclusion sort of unavoidable, myself. He certainly doesn't celebrate it.
I don't believe he has a particular axe to grind; the Navy got some things right and some things wrong, and he is brutal in pointing out which was which, that's all. It's just his style, he does the same for the Army, the Air Force, and British industry in general. He is a revisionist, which in this case means he believes we did rather better in the first world war, and rather worse in the second, than we like to remember.

I don't think you can fault Doenitz on facts. That is one aspect where he denies nothing and sheds a great deal of light on what actually happened, what was supposed to happen, what nearly happened, etc. Factually, he's sound. It's interpretations that need to be taken with a large grain of salt. Compare his account of visiting a recently returned U- boat with Werner's or Hirschfeld's of his visiting them.
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Postby Locutus9956 » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:19 pm

War. It's FAN-tastic!
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Postby DM » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:56 pm

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Postby Chernobyl » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:02 pm

for more contemporary fiction, I've always loved red storm rising...!

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Postby DM » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:40 am

RSR also has the distinction of being based (IIRC) on a wargaming campaign (the author is also the creator of the "Harpoon" modern naval rules)
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Postby Jellicoe » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:55 am

DM wrote:RSR also has the distinction of being based (IIRC) on a wargaming campaign (the author is also the creator of the "Harpoon" modern naval rules)
Yes, I wonder how many other best selling novels have the distinction of having scenes being tested and playable in a wargame.
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Postby Wulf Corbett » Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:32 pm

Jellicoe wrote:Yes, I wonder how many other best selling novels have the distinction of having scenes being tested and playable in a wargame.
The Dragonlance chronicles?

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Postby Jellicoe » Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:11 pm

Wulf Corbett wrote:
Jellicoe wrote:Yes, I wonder how many other best selling novels have the distinction of having scenes being tested and playable in a wargame.
The Dragonlance chronicles?

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I really don't know :)
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Re: Book Recommendations?

Postby BuShips » Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:10 pm

Sgt. Brassones wrote:I don't intend to buy the whole 15 volume set of the second link(tempting though) just a few volumes.

Thanks guys.
Why not? I did ! lol. It was many many years ago, but even though it is a bit dated from a 1950's perspective, it has a good readable flow to it and is a good reference to the many battles of the Pacific theater (yes, it includes the Atlantic, too, heh). I have Shattered Sword, but have not read it yet. I really like having the Japanese perspective and the equal access to the differing sides perspectives of tactics and events. Morison tried to do this, but he didn't have access to information that is only now coming to light. I'll agree heartily with DM's suggestion of Conway's as a reference to the ship classes, but it's a book of ship stats and not of events so you know what you're getting. Jane's is OK for a look at what they knew at the time, but is full of inaccuracies. A glaring example is stating that the Yamato class as basically the tonnage and armament of the US Iowa (nope, not even close, but's that's called a "good-kept secret", see?) :wink: . The Japanese literally kept a net over the building of the ship and its sister Musashi. Great bit of trivia, that is btw. A 400 ton camouflage net that dried up the source for fishing nets in Japan that year. The allied intelligence community only had rumors of a Japanese super-ship, so the Jane's 1945 edition basically shows a "Japanese Iowa". The silhouettes in Janes though are interesting to look at, as these were what ships at sea used for recognition of what was seen on the horizon. As far as a specific battle story to read, I can eagerly recommend "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" as a book of a battle "beyond any rational belief" or Hollywood script but is nonetheless a true story of "David and Goliath". Heck, it makes David look like he had a good chance before you even knew he got lucky :wink: . The Morison volumes to probably focus on for USN battles that are "meaty" with actions would probably be "Struggle for Guadalcanal" and "Leyte". These books have some real naval brawls, as Guadalcanal was a six-month fight that saw both sides throw everything they had (considering all of the other distractions!) at each other, with hundreds of ships going to the bottom. It includes ground actions, which are both stirring and tragic to read about. The story of Guadalcanal is a good lesson to show anyone of the tragedy of what war does to men and to their machines. It's History with a capital "H", guys. Leyte was a larger naval fight than even Jutland was.
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Postby Sgt. Brassones » Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:11 am

Well because it's $240 for one thing. Do you have any idea how many little ships I could get for that? On another note, I received my copy of Shattered Sword from Amazon today and read the first chapter while perched on the throne. This is going to be a great read. Now if I could only get the circulation back in my legs... :D
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Postby BuShips » Wed Nov 01, 2006 4:34 am

Sgt. Brassones wrote:Well because it's $240 for one thing. Do you have any idea how many little ships I could get for that? On another note, I received my copy of Shattered Sword from Amazon today and read the first chapter while perched on the throne. This is going to be a great read. Now if I could only get the circulation back in my legs... :D
I'm fairly confident if you did a bit of searching you'd get a deal. Even though I've had the set for quite some time, I recently bought those two volumes additionally to have at my store. I paid around $12 incl. s&h. each. Really, you don't need the entire set, but there is a different way to go for an additional idea. A condensed version I believe was distilled from the 15 vol. reference. I think it was "The Two Ocean War", by the same Samuel Eliot Morison (of course). --- Ah, I just went and Googled it, and it's not a condensation. It's a rewrite, done in 1963. Powells Books online has 2 copies left at $7.95... cheap enough? :wink:
---
Book News Annotation:
**** A paper edition of Morison's rewrite (not a condensation) of his classic 15-volume History of the United States operations in World War II (cited in BCL3). The cloth edition was published in 1963. A fine scholar, Morison possesses a good deal of poet: of the glorious 4th of June, 1942 at the Battle of Midway he writes that the carrier Kaga "sank hissing into a 2600-fathom deep". A great history elegantly written.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?i ... 16583529-0

As to your previous comment, for added "special effects" while you were reading you really missed an opportunity, I'd say. You see, there was a small lever you could have depressed a few additional times while reading for some added turbulent water sounds... :wink:
©2002 Thomas Schmid, with permission. Visit http://www.3dhistory.de/.
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Postby Jellicoe » Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:04 am

Sgt. Brassones wrote:Well because it's $240 for one thing. Do you have any idea how many little ships I could get for that? On another note, I received my copy of Shattered Sword from Amazon today and read the first chapter while perched on the throne. This is going to be a great read. Now if I could only get the circulation back in my legs... :D
Good to hear that you are enjoying it. It is an increadibly informative book and very readable. Have fun.

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