Fall Forum:
Military Historians and their books on World War II

[NOTE: Selected Bibliographies included below.]

Carl Boyd

Craig M. Cameron

Learn how ODU's military historians came to write these books the topics, the research, the problems, the solutions. Gain some insight into the literature of World War II.

Join Friends of the Library and Phi Alpha Theta, the History honorary, to commemorate the end of World War II and meet the authors!

November 16, 1995
4 - 6 p.m.
River Room, Webb Center
Refreshments Served

Selected Bibliography
Second World War Readings 
for the ODU Friends of the Library

Carl Boyd

Adams, Michael C. C. The Best War Ever: America and World War II. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

This account demonstrates that while nostalgia drives Americans to depict World War II as a golden age of cultural development, in fact it was like any other war: violent, uncertain, costly, and opportunity for the display of the best -- and the worst -- of human behavior.

Cook, Haruko Taya and Theodore F. Cook. Japan at War: An Oral History. New York: The New Press, 1992.

This is a wonderful book that describes the feelings of ordinary Japanese people during the war.

Evans, David C., ed. and trans. The Japanese Navy in World War II, 2nd ed. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1986.

The key contributors to this insightful anthology of articles are Japanese naval officers, many of whom served in the Imperial Navy during the Pacific War.

Gilbert, Martin. The Second World War: A Complete History. New York: Henry Holt, 1989.

"Martin Gilbert exhausts the vocabulary of admiration. So much laborious research, so much historical erudition, so much narrative stamina -- all this can hardly be overpraised." --The London Times

Jacobsen, H. A., and J. Rohwer, Ed. Decisive Battles of World War II: The German View. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1965.

Each German essay in this 500-page volume is a detailed, exhaustive military analysis of its subject, the strategy, tactics, and action of the battle in question; each is accompanied by a survey of the politico-military circumstances surrounding the battle.

Prange, Gordon W., with Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon. At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. New York: Penguin Books, 1981 (and its sequel, Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986).

These tomes present a rounded view of the minds and actions of all the major Japanese and American participants. The authors' verdict: the successful Japanese attack was made possible by American mistakes in judgment and preparation. The authors reject, however, the revisionist theory that places blame on President Roosevelt.

Loewenheim, Francis L., Harold D. Langley, and Manfred Jonas, ed. Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Wartime Correspondence. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1975.

This is a very good selection of messages that capture the essence of the fascinating partnership between two preeminent Allied leaders who also had sparkling personalities.

Saburo Ienaga. The Pacific War, 1931-1945: A Critical Perspective of Japan's Role in World War II. New York: Pantheon, c. 1978.

"The Pacific War provides knowledge of what went on in Japan and in the conquered territories during World War II in elaborate and sometimes terrifying detail." --New York Times Book Review.

Ugaki, Matome. Fading Victory: The Diary of Admiral Matome Ugaki, 1941-1945, trans. Masataka Chihaya. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991.

This diary gives us insights into the decision-making process at the highest levels of the Japanese navy during the Second World War. Ugaki was chief of staff of the Combined Fleet in 1941 until he was seriously wounded when he and Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto were shot down by American planes over Bougainville Island in April 1943. In August 1945 Ugaki flew his plane in a final kamikaze assault.

Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

This new study is the first general history of the war to be based both on the existing literature and on extensive work in British, American, and German archives. Weinberg's craftsmanship and insights are masterful; however, the Japanese role in the war is not fully developed.


Selected Bibliography
Second World War Readings 
for the ODU Friends of the Library

Craig M. Cameron

 Bartov, Omer. Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

This revisionist history helps explain the barbarization of the Eastern Front and the deliberate participation of the German Army in the conduct of genocidal war.

Berube, Allan. .n Coming Out under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two. New York: Free Press, 1990.

The first and best full-length treatment of the reasons behind the military ban on gays explores the origins, implementation, and implications of this policy.

Dower, John W. War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York: Pantheon, 1986.

This prize-winning book examines the manipulation of cultural hatreds in both the United States and Japan and its effects on the conduct of the Pacific War.

Frank, Richard B. Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle. New York: Random House, 1990.

This is an example of a basic battle history, but it is the best scholarly one-volume account yet written on the subject, and notably by a non-academic.

Iriye, Akira. Power and Culture: The Japanese-American War, 1941-1945. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.

This comparative study began the modern trend among scholars, like Dower, to focus on larger cultural issues and conflicts; close similarities in goals of the United States and Japan fostered the quick and successful reintegration of Japan into the international community.

Roeder, George H., Jr. The Censored War: American Visual Experience during World War Two. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

By examining photographs that were cut by censors, the author analyzes graphic and symbolic details of the war experience and why they were deliberately edited from the public record.

Ryan, Cornelius. The Longest Day: June 6, 1944. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1959.

While this is of limited value to scholars today, this narrative history still stands as one of the best examples of traditional story telling with an emphasis on relating the human experience of the battle.

Sherry, Michael S. The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

This prize-winning history of American strategic bombing offers insights into technology and the destructive impulses in American culture and their effects on policy.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor's Tale. Vol. 1, My Father Bleeds History. Vol. 2, And Where My Troubles Began. New York: Pantheon, 1986.

This is a deliberate fudge as a history selection; Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon biography of his father's experiences in the Holocaust and after is also about survivor's guilt in the contemporary United States and a search for meaningful expression of the pain.

Terkel, Studs. "The Good War". New York: Pantheon, 1984.

An oral history at the hands of a master, this book provides a panoramic view of the American war effort from a broad range of perspectives and experiences.