Friends of the Old Dominion University Library

Michael Sherry

Michael S. Sherry is a professor of history at Northwestern University. His research and writing focuses on the role played by military force and strategy in American foreign policy. His book, The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon, won the 1988 Bancroft Prize in American history. Sherry is a frequent contributor of articles and reviews to history journals and comments frequently in the media on the history, politics, and culture of war in the modern world.  

Event Summary
Wednesday, February 25. 8:00 p.m.
Mills Godwin, Jr. Building Auditorium

President’s History Lecture: "In the Shadow of World War II"

Thursday, February 26. 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

University Bookstore, Webb Center

Book signing by Michael Sherry

Sponsored by:

Friends of the Old Dominion University Library


Barnes and Noble, the University Bookstore, is dedicating a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of Michael Sherry’s books to the Friends of the Old Dominion University Library.

Michael Sherry’s Recommended Reading List for World War Two

Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1983. One of the many excellent biographies of wartime leaders.

John W. Dower, War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York: Pantheon, 1986. A subtle explanation of why the Pacific War was so brutal.

Paul Fussell, Doing Battle: the making of a skeptic. Boston: Little, Brown, 1996. Among many fine combat memoirs, one of the most brief and caustic.

Karal Ann Marling and John Wetenhall, Iwo Jima: Monuments, Memories, and the American Hero. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991. A fascinating, critical history of how Americans fought over and kept changing a central symbol of the war.

William O’Neill, A Democracy at War: America’s Fight at Home and Abroad in World War II. New York: Free Press, 1993. Excellent history and one of the few big accounts to incorporate women and minorities.

Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won. London, 1995; New York: Norton, 1996. Even while the war raged, overviews of it began appearing; this is one of the newest, best, and briefest, by a distinguished British historian.

George H. Roeder, The Censored War: American Visual Experience during World War Two. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993. A marvelous slice of the war’s visual record and a fascinating explanation of how Americans were shielded from much of it.

Robert Sherrod, Tarawa. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1944 (and many later editions). Surprisingly frank wartime combat reporting — one of the best in that genre — on a grim Pacific island battle.

William M. Tuttle, Jr., "Daddy’s Gone to War": The Second World War in the Lives of America’s Children. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Scholarship that will also stir the memories of those who served during the war, knew others who did, or grew up amid it.

J. Samuel Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and Use of the Atomic Bombs Against Japan. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1997. The best, newest, and most balanced brief book on this subject, covering both 1945 and debates up to our own time.

Books by Michael Sherry in the Old Dominion University Library


In the Shadow of War: The United States since the 1930s. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
Call #: E743.S53 1995.

Preparing for the Next War: American Plans for Postwar Defense, 1945-45. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. Call #: UA23.S47 1977.

The Rise of American Air Power: the Creation of Armageddon. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.
Call #: UG633.S457 1987.

Michael Sherry’s Recommended Reading List for Twentieth Century History

Stephen Ambrose, Nixon. 3 vols. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987-1991. One of many books that reveal the vitality of the seemingly old-fashioned genre of political and presidential history.

George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1990-1940. New York: Basic, 1994. A pathbreaking book far broader in scope, argument, and influence than its title might indicate.

Barbara Ehrenreich, The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment. New York: Anchor Doubleday, 1983. An early feminist critique of modern America, and still one of the smartest and most accessible.

John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. A fresh version of debatable arguments that draws on new Soviet sources and shows that scholars can still celebrate America’s role in this century’s struggles.

James Goodman, Stories of Scottsboro. New York: Random House, 1994. A gripping open-minded inquiry into a celebrated controversy about race.

Donald Katz, Home Fires: an intimate portrait of one middle-class family in postwar America. New York: Aaron Asher, 1992. A sprawling tale of ambition, disintegration, and reconciliation, and one of the best of the history-through-one-family genre.

James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (The Oxford History of the United States). New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 1997 Bancroft Prize-winner, and a different take on much of the history covered by Sherry.

Richard Polenberg, One Nation Divisible: Class, Race and Ethnicity in the United States Since 1938. New York: , 1980. An older interpretation with remarkable staying power.

Michael S. Sherry, In the Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. A survey focused on the role of war in modern American history.

Marilyn Young, The Vietnam Wars: 1945-1990. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. One of the many fine general histories, but especially well grounded in the Asian side of the story.