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Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned The Tide in the Second World War

Reviewed by Jonathan D. Beard*

Paul Kennedy has written a “big idea” book about how and why the Allies won World War II. He has done an excellent job of combining good writing, good use of sources, and good pacing to create a series of narratives that explain why various factors—the Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engine, the creation of the Seabees, microwave radar—were critical to the Anglo-American and Soviet victories over Nazi Germany and Japan. In each of the five sections of Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned The Tide in the Second World War, he emphasizes the people,

Demolishing the Myth, The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka Kursk, July 1943

For armor enthusiasts few battles rank as high in terms of interest as the one fought in July of 1943 near the small Russian town of Prokhorovka; a struggle occurring during the Wehrmacht's summer offensive against the Soviet held Kursk bulge in German lines. In spite of this interest however, a considerable amount of misunderstanding continues to cloud the events that brought Nazi Germany's last great offensive in Eastern Europe to a close.

Nevertheless, in
Demolishing the Myth: The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka, Kursk, July 1943: An Operational Narrative Valeriy Zamulin has painstakingly

Attack on Pearl Harbor

The December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that formerly brought the United States of America into World War II, has long attracted tremendous interest from historians and the American public alike.

What's more, even today interest in the Pearl Harbor raid remains high. In the English speaking world alone dozens of books have been written on the subject. One would think that with such a huge body of work available, that there is not much left that is new to say. Nevertheless, Alan D.

The Korsun Pocket

Known to the Germans, and thus many in the Anglo-American speaking world, as the Battle at Tscherkassy (Cherkassy) and to the Red Army as the Korsun-Shevchenkovskii Operation; the January-February 1944 battle centered around the town of Korsun has long attracted tremendous interest from amateur and professional historians alike.

Interest in the battle stems from a number of reasons not least of which, and as authors Niklas Zetterling and Anders Frankson amply demonstrate, because the fighting around Korsun marked one of the rare late war large scale operational level engagements whereby the

Erich von Manstein

Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1]

There is little doubt that Erich von Manstein had one of the finest military minds of the Second World War. Among his accolades, include, perhaps most famously, his role in creating the plan that lead to the spectacular fall of France in 1940. In addition, came his exploits leading Army Group Don in February and March 1943; when his brilliant "backhand" counterstroke not only brought stability to the German Eastern Front, following the loss of Stalingrad, but also forced the surging Red Army back on to its heels.

As well as his genius as an

Tirpitz

Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1]

The story of the
Tirpitz, as presented by military historians Niklas Zetterling and Michael Tamelander, is really a metaphor for the experiences endured by many of Germany's Second World War capital ships and the concomitant Allied efforts to destroy them. It is in this look at the struggle between Allied and German maritime assets in one of the Second World War's most hostile physical environments that helps elevate Zetterling's and Tamelander's work on the Tirpitz to more than just another look at one of the Third Reich's largest surface combatants

After Stalingrad

Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1]

The war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union has received an uneven treatment from most popular historians. Perhaps no better example of this is in typical accounts of events taking place during the winter of 1942-1943. Most often, this period of the war in Eastern Europe is described strictly from the perspective of the German Sixth Army's collapse at Stalingrad.

Ivan's War

Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1]

Catherine Merridale's
Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945, is a fascinating and necessary look at men all too often reduced to a subhuman status by not only their Second World War foes but nearly fifty years of Cold War propaganda. What most grants Merridale's work its importance lies within what is sometimes forgotten about the Second World War; the reality Hitler and his National Socialist regime were dedicated to fighting a racial war against only the Jew but also against the Slav - humans Hitler referred to as untermenschen

Germany and the Axis Powers

Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1]

Richard Dinardo's
Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse (Modern War Studies) fills an invaluable niche in the literature currently available on the Second World War's European Theater. In particular, Dinardo has focused on Germany's relationship with Finland, Hungary, Italy and Romania; producing a concise but revealing analysis into the numerous problems that derailed the Axis coalition.

In
Germany and the Axis Powers Dinardo has produced a book not only examining how dysfunctional the Axis alliance really was but, more importantly,

Erich Raeder

Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1]

Keith Bird's
Erich Raeder: Admiral of the Third Reich breaks new ground in exploring one of the pivotal personalities involved in the war at sea during World War II. Remarkably, in the sixty plus years since the War ended no one has produced a complete biographical treatment of German Grand Admiral Erich Raeder. Bird's work fills this gaping hole in the historical narrative and focuses on not just Raeder, but more importantly his stewardship of the German Navy during the critical years of 1928-1943. In Erich Raeder: Admiral of the Third Reich Bird has

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