Author: Andrew Roberts
Publisher: Penguin UK
Masters and Commanders describes how four titanic figures shaped the grand strategy of the West during the Second World War. Each was exceptionally tough-willed and strong minded, and each was certain that he knew best how to win the war. Yet each knew that he had to win at least two of the others over in order to get his strategy adopted. The book traces the mutual suspicion and admiration, the rebuffs and the charm, the often explosive disagreements and wary reconciliations which resulted.
Author: Andrew Roberts
How far did personality affect the grand strategy of the Second World War? Award-winning historian Andrew Roberts lays bare the four political masters and military commanders of the Western Allies - Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, General George C. Marshall and Lord Alanbrooke - between Pearl Harbour and VE-Day, coming to a number of startling conclusions. Employing verbatim accounts of Churchill's War Cabinet meetings never before reporduced in book form, as well as using the private papers of sixty-seven contemporaries of the four men, the inside story is told of the great war wartime conferences, explaining why and how the Allies attacked when and where they did. The two masters (Churchill and Roosevelt) and two commanders (Marshall and Alanbrooke) were strong-willed and tough-minded and each was certain that he knew best how to win the war. Yet in order to get their strategies adopted, each needed to persuade at least two of the other three, and certainly not be so outmanouvered that he ever found himself in a minority of one. Roberts reveals the dynamic behind the collective decisions upon which the lives of millions ultimately depended.
Author: Neill Lochery
Lisbon had a pivotal role in the history of World War II, though not a gun was fired there. The only European city in which both the Allies and the Axis power operated openly, it was temporary home to much of Europe's exiled royalty, over one million refugees seeking passage to the U.S., and a host of spies, secret police, captains of industry, bankers, prominent Jews, writers and artists, escaped POWs, and black marketeers. An operations officer writing in 1944 described the daily scene at Lisbon's airport as being like the movie “Casablanca,” times twenty. In this riveting narrative, renowned historian Neill Lochery draws on his relationships with high-level Portuguese contacts, access to records recently uncovered from Portuguese secret police and banking archives, and other unpublished documents to offer a revelatory portrait of the War's back stage. And he tells the story of how Portugal, a relatively poor European country trying frantically to remain neutral amidst extraordinary pressures, survived the war not only physically intact but significantly wealthier. The country's emergence as a prosperous European Union nation would be financed in part, it turns out, by a cache of Nazi gold.
Author: Andrew Boyd
This new work tells the compelling story of how the Royal Navy secured the strategic space from Egypt in the west to Australasia in the East through the first half of the Second World War; it explains why this contribution, made while Russia's fate remained in the balance and before American economic power took effect, was so critical. Without it the war would certainly have lasted longer and decisive victory might have proved impossible. After the protection of the Atlantic lifeline, this was surely the Royal Navy's finest achievement, the linchpin of victory. The book moves authoritatively between grand strategy, intelligence, accounts of specific operations, and technical assessment of ships and weapons. It challenges established perceptions of Royal Navy capability and will change the way we think about Britains role and contribution in the first half of the war. The Navy of 1939 was stronger than usually suggested and British intelligence did not fail against Japan. Nor was the Royal Navy outmatched by Japan, coming very close to a British Midway off Ceylon in 1942. And it was the Admiralty, demonstrating a reckless disregard for risks, that caused the loss of Force Z in 1941. The book also lays stress on the key part played by the American relationship in Britains Eastern naval strategy. Superbly researched and elegantly written, this new book adds a hugely important dimension to our understanding of the war in the East and will become required reading.
Author: Joseph E. Persico
Publisher: Random House
All American presidents are commanders in chief by law. Few perform as such in practice. In Roosevelt’s Centurions, distinguished historian Joseph E. Persico reveals how, during World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt seized the levers of wartime power like no president since Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Declaring himself “Dr. Win-the-War,” FDR assumed the role of strategist in chief, and, though surrounded by star-studded generals and admirals, he made clear who was running the war. FDR was a hands-on war leader, involving himself in everything from choosing bomber targets to planning naval convoys to the design of landing craft. Persico explores whether his strategic decisions, including his insistence on the Axis powers’ unconditional surrender, helped end or may have prolonged the war. Taking us inside the Allied war councils, the author reveals how the president brokered strategy with contentious allies, particularly the iron-willed Winston Churchill; rallied morale on the home front; and handpicked a team of proud, sometimes prickly warriors who, he believed, could fight a global war. Persico’s history offers indelible portraits of the outsize figures who roused the “sleeping giant” that defeated the Axis war machine: the dutiful yet independent-minded George C. Marshall, charged with rebuilding an army whose troops trained with broomsticks for rifles, eggs for hand grenades; Dwight Eisenhower, an unassuming Kansan elevated from obscurity to command of the greatest fighting force ever assembled; the vainglorious Douglas MacArthur; and the bizarre battlefield genius George S. Patton. Here too are less widely celebrated military leaders whose contributions were just as critical: the irascible, dictatorial navy chief, Ernest King; the acerbic army advisor in China, “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell; and Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, who zealously preached the gospel of modern air power. The Roosevelt who emerges from these pages is a wartime chess master guiding America’s armed forces to a victory that was anything but foreordained. What are the qualities we look for in a commander in chief? In an era of renewed conflict, when Americans are again confronting the questions that FDR faced—about the nature and exercise of global power—Roosevelt’s Centurions is a timely and revealing examination of what it takes to be a wartime leader in a freewheeling, complicated, and tumultuous democracy. Praise for Roosevelt’s Centurions “FDR’s centurions were my heroes and guides. Now Joe Persico has written the best account of those leaders I've ever read.”—Colin L. Powell “Benefiting from his years of studying Franklin Roosevelt and his times, Joseph Persico has brought us a briskly paced story with much wisdom and new insights on FDR, his military liege men, World War II, and political and military leadership.”—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789–1989 “Long wars demand long books, but these are 550 pages of lively prose by a good writer who knows his subject. . . . A fine, straightforward politics-and-great-men history.”—Kirkus Reviews “Persico makes a persuasive case that FDR was clearly in charge of the most important decisions of the American war plan.”—The Washington Times From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Andrew Roberts
A controversial account of the Churchill years by a bestselling historian. This highly praised book by the Wolfson History Prize-winning author of SALISBURY tackles six aspects of Churchilliana and uncovers a plethora of disturbing facts about wartime and post-war Britain. His revelations include: - The case for the impeachment of Lord Mountbatten - The Nazi sympathies of Sir Arthur Bryant, hitherto considered a ¿patriotic historian¿ - The British establishment¿s doubt about Churchill¿s role after Dunkirk - The appeasement of the trade unions in Churchill¿s Indian summer - The inside story of black immigration in the early 1950s - The anti-Churchill stance adopted by the Royal Family in 1940
Author: Carlo D'Este
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
"An excellent book . . . D'Este's masterly account comes into its own." —The Washington Post Book World Born into hardscrabble poverty in rural Kansas, the son of stern pacifists, Dwight David Eisenhower graduated from high school more likely to teach history than to make it. Casting new light on this profound evolution, Eisenhower chronicles the unlikely, dramatic rise of the supreme Allied commander. With full access to private papers and letters, Carlo D'Este has exposed for the first time the untold myths that have surrounded Eisenhower and his family for over fifty years, and identified the complex and contradictory character behind Ike's famous grin and air of calm self-assurance. Unlike other biographies of the general, Eisenhower captures the true Ike, from his youth to the pinnacle of his career and afterward.
Author: Benoit Lemay
A selection of the Military Book Club To many close students of World War II, von Manstein is already considered to be the greatest commander of the war, if not the entire 20th century. He devised the plan that conquered France in 1940, thence led an infantry corps in that campaign; at the head of a panzer corps he reached the gates of Leningrad in 1941, then took command of 11th Army and conquered Sevastopol and the Crimea. After destroying another Soviet army in the north, he was given command of the ad hoc Army Group Don to retrieve the German calamity at Stalingrad, whereupon he launched a counteroffensive that, against all odds, restored the German front. Afterward he commanded Army Group South, nearly crushing the Soviets at Kursk, and then skillfully resisted their relentless attacks, as he traded territory for coherence in the East. Though an undoubtedly brilliant military leader—whose achievements, considering the forces at his disposal, cast those of Patton, Rommel, MacArthur, and Montgomery in the pale—surprisingly little is known about Manstein himself, save for his own memoir and the accolades of his contemporaries. In this book we finally have a full portrait of the man, including his campaigns, and an analysis of what precisely kept a genius such as Manstein harnessed to such a dark cause. A great military figure, but a man who lacked a razor-sharp political sense, Manstein was very much representative of the Germano-Prussian military caste of his time. Though Hitler was uneasy about the influence he had gained throughout the German Army, Manstein ultimately declined to join any clandestine plots against his Führer, believing they would simply cause chaos, the one thing he abhorred. Even though he constantly opposed Hitler on operational details, he considered it a point of loyalty to simply stand with the German state, in whatever form. It is thus through Manstein foremost that the attitudes of other high-ranking officers who fought during the Second World War, particularly on the Eastern Front, can be illuminated. Manstein sought only to serve Germany and was a military man, not a politician. Though not bereft of personal opinions, his primary allegiances were, first, to Deutschland, and second, to the soldiers under his command, who had been committed against an enemy many times their strength. With his grasp of strategy, tactics, and combined arms technology, he proved more than worthy of their confidence. This book is a must-read for all those who wish to understand Germany’s primary effort in World War II, as well as its greatest commander.
Author: Barry Strauss
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Analyzes the leadership and strategies of three forefront military leaders from the ancient world, offers insight into the purposes behind their conflicts, and shows what today's leaders can glean from their successes and failures.
Author: Bevin Alexander
Publisher: Broadway Books
Most of us rally around the glory of the Allies' victory over the Nazis in World War II. The story is often told of how the good fight was won by an astonishing array of manpower and stunning tactics. However, what is often overlooked is how the intersection between Adolf Hitler's influential personality and his military strategy was critical in causing Germany to lose the war. With an acute eye for detail and his use of clear prose, acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander goes beyond counterfactual "What if?" history and explores for the first time just how close the Allies were to losing the war. Using beautifully detailed, newly designed maps, How Hitler Could Have Won World War II exquisitely illustrates the important battles and how certain key movements and mistakes by Germany were crucial in determining the war's outcome. Alexander's harrowing study shows how only minor tactical changes in Hitler's military approach could have changed the world we live in today. How Hitler Could Have Won World War II untangles some of the war's most confounding strategic questions, such as: Why didn't the Nazis concentrate their enormous military power on the only three beaches upon which the Allies could launch their attack into Europe? Why did the terrifying German panzers, on the brink of driving the British army into the sea in May 1940, halt their advance and allow the British to regroup and evacuate at Dunkirk? With the chance to cut off the Soviet lifeline of oil, and therefore any hope of Allied victory from the east, why did Hitler insist on dividing and weakening his army, which ultimately led to the horrible battle of Stalingrad? Ultimately, Alexander probes deeply into the crucial intersection between Hitler's psyche and military strategy and how his paranoia fatally overwhelmed his acute political shrewdness to answer the most terrifying question: Just how close were the Nazis to victory? Why did Hitler insist on terror bombing London in the late summer of 1940, when the German air force was on the verge of destroying all of the RAF sector stations, England's last defense? With the opportunity to drive the British out of Egypt and the Suez Canal and occupy all of the Middle East, therefore opening a Nazi door to the vast oil resources of the region, why did Hitler fail to move in just a few panzer divisions to handle such an easy but crucial maneuver? On the verge of a last monumental effort and concentration of German power to seize Moscow and end Stalin's grip over the Eastern front, why did the Nazis divert their strength to bring about the far less important surrender of Kiev, thereby destroying any chance of ever conquering the Soviets? From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Mungo Melvin
Publisher: Hachette UK
The first proper biography of Germany's most controversial military hero. The story of the military genius Field Marshal Erich von Manstein chronicles the misguided generation of German generals in the Second World War who claimed they fought for Germany, not for Hitler and National Socialism. The polished, urbane von Manstein was no uncouth Nazi. He persuaded the British writer Liddell Hart to assist in organising his defence during his war crimes trial at Hamburg in 1949. Sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment, he was released after three and then advised the West German government in raising its new army in the 1950s. Manstein was the mastermind who created the plan for the 1940 blitzkrieg that overran France in just six weeks. He played a key role in the invasion of Russia and conquered the Crimea, but failed to rescue the doomed Sixth Army at Stalingrad, his most controversial campaign. Three months after the inevitable failure there, he inflicted a massive defeat on the Red Army at Kharkov in a brilliantly designed counter-attack: a battle that has been studied in military academies ever since. Major-General Mungo Melvin speaks good German and knows Germany well. He has been assisted by the Manstein family, has delved deeply into the military archives and studied many of Manstein's battlefields close at hand. His book is much more than a biography of an extraordinary soldier: it describes the dilemmas encountered on operations and highlights the enduring tensions between senior military commanders and their political leaders in the prosecution of strategy. In Germany today, Manstein has become a symbol of the moral corruption of the Wehrmacht, whose commanders' actions enabled Hitler to prosecute a devastating war of conquest and perpetrate the Holocaust. This book reveals the true story of Hitler and his greatest general.
Author: Jonathan W. Jordan
From New York Times bestselling author Jonathan W. Jordan—author of Brothers, Rivals, Victors—comes the intimate true story of President Franklin Roosevelt’s inner circle of military leadership, the team of rivals who shaped World War II and America. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States was wakened from its slumber of isolationism. To help him steer the nation through the coming war, President Franklin Roosevelt turned to the greatest “team of rivals” since the days of Lincoln: Secretary of War Henry Stimson, Admiral Ernest J. King, and General George C. Marshall. Together, these four men led the nation through history’s most devastating conflict and ushered in a new era of unprecedented American influence, all while forced to overcome the profound personal and political differences which divided them. A startling and intimate reassessment of U.S. leadership during World War II, American Warlords is a remarkable glimpse behind the curtain of presidential power. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Donald A. Davis
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
This is the story of the fighter mission that changed World War II. It is the true story of the man behind Pearl Harbor---Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto---and the courageous young American fliers who flew the million-to-one suicide mission that shot him down. Yamamoto was a cigar-smoking, poker-playing, English-speaking, Harvard-educated expert on America, and that intimate knowledge served him well as architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For the next sixteen months, this military genius, beloved by the Japanese people, lived up to his prediction that he would run wild in the Pacific Ocean. He was unable, however, to deal the fatal blow needed to knock America out of the war, and the shaken United States began its march to victory on the bloody island of Guadalcanal. Donald A. Davis meticulously tracks Yamamoto's eventual rendezvous with death. After American code-breakers learned that the admiral would be vulnerable for a few hours, a desperate attempt was launched to bring him down. What was essentially a suicide mission fell to a handful of colorful and expendable U.S. Army pilots from Guadalcanal's battered "Cactus Air Force": - Mississippian John Mitchell, after flunking the West Point entrance exam, entered the army as a buck private. Though not a "natural" as an aviator, he eventually became the highest-scoring army ace on Guadalcanal and the leader of the Yamamoto attack. - Rex Barber grew up in the Oregon countryside and was the oldest surviving son in a tightly knit churchgoing family. A few weeks shy of his college graduation in 1940, the quiet Barber enlisted in the U.S. Army. - "I'm going to be President of the United States," Tom Lanphier once told a friend. Lanphier was the son of a legendary fighter squadron commander and a dazzling storyteller. He viewed his chance at hero status as the start of a promising political career. - December 7, 1941, found Besby Holmes on a Pearl Harbor airstrip, firing his .45 handgun at Japanese fighters. He couldn't get airborne in time to make a serious difference, but his chance would come. - Tall and darkly handsome, Ray Hine used the call sign "Heathcliffe" because he resembled the brooding hero of Wuthering Heights. He was transferred to Guadalcanal just in time to participate in the Yamamoto mission---a mission from which he would never return. Davis paints unforgettable personal portraits of men in combat and unravels a military mystery that has been covered up at the highest levels of government since the end of the war.
Author: Joseph E. Persico
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
A timely reexamination of FDR's personal involvement in World War II offers insights into his considerable achievements as a war leader and strategist who hand-picked those who would direct America's armed forces, providing coverage of the leadership qualities of both the 32nd President and his military commanders. (This book was previously featured in Forecast. 20,000 first printing.