Today, June 6, marks the 67th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion in Normandy, France. Approximately 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, launching the invasion of German-occupied western Europe. Still regarded as the largest seaborne invasion in military history, the Battle of Normandy is popularly believed to have signaled the “beginning of the end” for Nazi Germany.
The University Press of Kentucky is proud to publish, in conjunction with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) the American Warriors Series and the Battles & Campaigns Series. Below, a collection of our favorite World War II titles:
Normandy to Victory: The War Diary of General Courtney H. Hodges & The First U.S. Army
The war diary of General Courtney Hicks Hodges begins on June 2, 1944, as Hodges and the U.S. First Army prepare for Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France. Hodges’ aides, Major William C. Sylvan and Captain Francis G. Smith Jr., recorded daily entries, which Hodges reviewed and approved. The diary chronicles Hodges’s ascent to Commanding General in August 1944, as well as his viewpoints on strategy and the enemy, and follows Hodges and the First Army through savage European combat until the German surrender in May 1945. Edited and extensively annotated by John T. Greenwood, Normandy to Victory makes a classic military document widely available to the general public for the first time.
“…Greenwood…has meticulously annotated and documented the diary, enabling readers to gain important insights into both the war and Hodges command style and leadership. Long needed, this is a vitally important work for understanding the war in the West in 1944-45.”–Choice
Beetle: The Life of General Walter Bedell Smith
A valued adviser and trusted insider in the highest echelon of U.S. military and political leaders, General Walter Bedell Smith began his public service career of more than forty years at age sixteen, when he joined the Indiana National Guard. His bulldog tenacity earned him an opportunity to work with General George C. Marshall in 1941, playing an essential role in forming the offices of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff; and after his appointment as chief of staff to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1942, Smith took a central part in planning and orchestrating the major Allied operations of World War II in Europe. Among his many duties, Smith negotiated and signed the surrenders of the Italian and German armed forces on May 7, 1945. Meticulously researched and long overdue, Beetle sheds new light on Eisenhower as supreme commander and the campaigns in North Africa, Italy, and Europe. Beetle is the fascinating history of a soldier, diplomat, and intelligence chief who played a central role in many decisions that altered mid-twentieth-century American history.
“There have been countless biographies of the generals of World War II, and many are excellent. This biography of Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s chief of staff, is one of the best.”–Antony Beevor, Wall Street Journal
In the winter of 1944–1945, Hitler sought to divide Allied forces in the heavily forested Ardennes region of Luxembourg and Belgium. He deployed more than 400,000 troops in one of the last major German offensives of the war, which became known as the Battle of the Bulge, in a desperate attempt to regain the strategic initiative in the West. Hitler’s effort failed for a variety of reasons, but many historians assert that Lieutenant General George S. Patton Jr.’s Third Army was ultimately responsible for securing Allied victory. Although Patton has assumed a larger-than-life reputation for his leadership in the years since World War II, scholars have paid little attention to his generalship in the Ardennes following the relief of Bastogne. In Advance and Destroy, Captain John Nelson Rickard explores the commander’s operational performance during the entire Ardennes campaign, through his “estimate of the situation,” the U.S. Army’s doctrinal approach to problem-solving. Patton’s day-by-day situational understanding of the Battle of the Bulge, as revealed through ULTRA intelligence and the influence of the other Allied generals on his decision-making, gives readers an in-depth, critical analysis of Patton’s overall effectiveness, measured in terms of mission accomplishment, his ability to gain and hold ground, and a cost-benefit analysis of his operations relative to the lives of his soldiers.
“Rickard’s scholarship is impeccable. His presentation and mastery of the material is equally effective.”–Carlo D’Este, author of Patton: A Genius for War
Other Military Titles We Think You’ll Enjoy:
World War II submariners rarely experienced anything as exhilarating or horrifying as the surface gun attack. Between the ocean floor and the rolling whitecaps above, submarines patrolled a dark abyss in a fusion of silence, shadows, and steel, firing around eleven thousand torpedoes, sinking Japanese men-of-war and more than one thousand merchant ships. But the anonymity and simplicity of the stealthy torpedo attack hid the savagery of warfare—a stark difference from the brutality of the surface gun maneuver. As the submarine shot through the surface of the water, confined sailors scrambled through the hatches armed with large-caliber guns and met the enemy face-to-face. Surface and Destroy: The Submarine Gun War in the Pacific reveals the nature of submarine warfare in the Pacific Ocean during World War II and investigates the challenges of facing the enemy on the surface.
“Once again, Professor Sturma has presented a detailed study of a facet of World War II history that has so far received very little attention. His well-researched and very readable work makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of submarine warfare in the Pacific.”–Don Keith, author of War Beneath the Waves: A True Story of Courage and Leadership Aboard a World War II Submarine
On June 22, 1941, Germany launched the greatest land assault in history on the Soviet Union, an attack that Adolf Hitler deemed crucial to ensure German economic and political survival. As the key theater of the war for the Germans, the eastern front consumed enormous levels of resources and accounted for 75 percent of all German casualties. Despite the significance of this campaign to Germany and to the war as a whole, few English-language publications of the last thirty-five years have addressed these pivotal events. In Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East, Stephen G. Fritz bridges the gap in scholarship by incorporating historical research from the last several decades into an accessible, comprehensive, and coherent narrative.
“Stephen Fritz has made a major statement. There are many books dealing with military operations in the East and many others that highlight the atrocities, the murders, and the Holocaust. Not until now has a single volume attempted to incorporate both, seeking the nexus between military operations and mass murder. The result is as complete a history of the German-Soviet war as one could desire, and it is an achievement that is likely to be unequaled for some time to come.”–Robert M. Citino, author of The Death of the Wehrmacht: The Campaigns of 1942
Europe endured such incessant political discord throughout the twentieth century that some historians refer to the period’s conflicts as the Long War. During the Balkan wars of 1912–1913, regional fighting in southeastern Europe ignited conflict across the continent that continued through both world wars and the Cold War. In Consumed by War: European Conflict in the 20th Century, Richard C. Hall illuminates the complex diplomatic and military struggles of a region whose instability, rooted in a nineteenth-century nationalistic fervor, provided a catalyst for the political events that ensued. From the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 to the incarceration of Radovan Karadzic in 2008, this narrative history appeals to general readers and scholars interested in a fresh interpretation of a complicated and brutal era.
“Hall combines fast-paced narrative and perspective analysis to make a case for a common thread in the series of wars that dominated and shaped twentieth century Europe. From the Great War through World War II and the Cold War, nationalism and ideology kept settlements fragile and peace elusive. The long conflict eventually facilitated the development of European unity and identity. But the price was bitterly high, and some bills remain outstanding.”–Dennis Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century