OK, How about the Historical Novels/Writers?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Feb 23, 2003.

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    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 426
    (5/7/01 9:48:55 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All OK, How about the Historical Novels/Writers?
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    I've read everything military by WEB Griffin, even if I can't figure out if it's because of his grasp of the military and History, or the fast and furious sex.

    Harold Coyne is the best for the action, and has ventured into similar Civil War and earlier.

    Clancy, believe it or not, I like better as a non-fiction writer...

    Just a few I like, how about you?



    Kdubya
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    Posts: 240
    (5/7/01 10:34:00 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: OK, How about the Historical Novels/Writers?
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    Now, Mike -

    You've finally come up with something I can get into while my fading memory is still intact enough to speak without mumbling!

    Am presently engrossed in a book titled "A War to be Won", co-authored by Williamson Murry and Allan R. Millett. It covers the political and military aspects of the 2nd World War in both Europe and Asia, from WWI thru the ending of WWII. This is my nighttime reading prior to dropping off to sleep - been at it for over a month and am about 2/3 thru it.

    So far, they have labeled McAuthor as a flamboyant actor with occassional flashes of military genius, Mark Clark as a stiff, self-centered egotist with little or no value of his troops lives, Bradley as a mean-minded, jealous and petty person - nothing like the "Soldier's General" portrayed so often. Said the only tactican in the US military in WWII was Patton, who had a grasp of terrain, logistics, firepower and ability to "read the enemy's mail". Even land on King and Nimitz in the Navy - give Halsey a thumbs up for aggressiveness, but a rasberry for not dropping his heavy hitters in the Leyte area prior to chasing the decoy flattops with his own.

    Has a few choice comments on the British field commanders (Montgomery in peticular) and the RAF's Bomber Harris.

    Only good things for the Italian and CBI theaters was the tying down of enemy troops that could have been used elsewhere. Also, they kept the Russians going when both the Italian and Western Front invasions took place, letting Uncle Joe know he could throw more stuff at the Germans, who were having to recall chewed up units for reorganizing and filling the gaps in France and Italy.

    They sorta let the chips fall where appropiate - seem to have researched well and have valid comments, in my opinion.




    Keep off the Ridgeline!!

    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 174
    (5/8/01 6:54:56 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del books
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    Kdubya, sounds great. Thing is, I don't like reading books where I agree with almost everything.

    For (early) US History: Kenneth Roberts.

    Xracer
    Moderator
    Posts: 239
    (5/8/01 8:46:25 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: books
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    Kenneth Roberts, Stephen Crane, Dan Gallery, Martin Cadin (sic?), Charles B. MacDonald, Samuel Elliot Morrison.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 433
    (5/8/01 9:05:11 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: books
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    Martin Caidin is good, but ya notice every plane book he writes he calls it the best "fighter of the war?" The "Ragged Rugged Warriors" is a great book.

    I kinda intended this for novels in the same vein as the movies, but what the hey, it's not like I (we) stay on topic anyway!

    WORST Historian? SLA Marshall. Actually, somebody who sits in a bar behind the lines, never hears a shot fired in anger, makes up most of his facts, and becomes noted as the "Army's Historian" before he gets caught deserves SOME kind of respect...

    The best? IMHO John Keegan - Crappy writer with the dry British wit, and run on sentences, but REALLY a great military thinker. His recent book on American Battlefields is a great one, every student of American History should read it...every major battlefield in America visited, and the battle analyzed through the eyes of a BRITISH military historian, one of the world's best, is eye opening.

    And the books that got me started as a kid...ANYTHING by C.B. Colby...

    And the Book I got for Xmas in the 70s from a sister, Coggins "Campaign for Guadalcanal." That and his "Arms and Equipment of the Civil War" are benchmarks.

    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 175
    (5/8/01 10:28:57 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del current worst
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    non-fiction writer? Robert Leckie. He wrote a book on the CW called "None Died in Vain" (like hell). I started marking off the errors (errors, not just dubious opinions) and was only a third through before I ran out of wallspace.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 436
    (5/8/01 11:31:52 am)
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    Leckie wrote "Guadalcanal Diary," didn't he?

    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 176
    (5/8/01 1:07:48 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del No likee Leckie
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    No, that was Richard Tregaskis, along with the Marines as a correspondent. Seems to me Leckie did write a book on the South Pacific, but I haven't seen it.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 449
    (5/11/01 10:46:11 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: No likee Leckie
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    Yeah, I know I read a book by Leckie a long time ago, and it was about the Marines, I BELIEVE the 'canal, but could be later...

    You're right about Tregaskis, I forgot, it will come to me though...

    Damn, I'll have to hit the 'brary tomorrow, it's killing me...

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 510
    (5/17/01 10:10:05 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: No likee Leckie
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    "Strong Men Armed." THAT was the one by Leckie I read long ago as a kid. I can't remember if I liked it, but then again, I probably didn't know better back then. I even thought Old S.L.A. was good back then...

    Oh yeah, how can we forget Stephen Ambrose? One of the good ones...as good or better than Keegan...

    EVERYTHING by Nofi and Dunnigan makes good reading too...the "Dirty Little Secrets" stuff. I just got out "DLS of WWII" to reread today. That's good stuff.

    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 189
    (5/18/01 7:44:01 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del back on the novelists
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    A lot of novels came out after the War, but most of them were by amateur warriors with a point to prove. Some of these turned out good ones, ie Shaw, Mailer; some bad ones: I can't forgive Michener for his unspoken assumption in Tales of the South Pacific that officers are congenitally superior to enlisted men. The only one who started out with an idea of what it was about is James Jones. Believe me, The Thin Red Line reads a lot better than it views.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 517
    (5/18/01 9:34:23 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: back on the novelists
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    Confessions of a war novel reader....

    (1) I REALLY didn't like "The Naked and the Dead."

    (2.)Every two-bit WWII novel, (and some good ones, I'll allow) that seems to HAVE TO HAVE some reference on the back cover or the flaps to TNATD...i.e., "As Good As...," "The Next...," "Not since( )has there been a novel like...,"...

    ...I throw down like a bad hot potato!!!



    Xracer
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    Posts: 288
    (5/18/01 8:11:34 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: back on the novelists
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    I've never cared much for "military" novels......I much prefer the first-person accounts....like John B. MacDonald's "Company Commander" or the hysterically funny stuff by Dan Gallery, but I also enjoyed historical accounts like "A Torch To The Enemy", "Lucky Forward", "The Last Days of Hitler", etc.

    WyomingSwede
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    Posts: 25
    (5/25/01 7:32:00 am)
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    I am weighing in a little late on this subject...but I really get into the Allan Eckert series about the settling of this continent.Stephen Ambrose and both Shaara's I enjoy also. regards swede
    Wyoming Swede

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 641
    (5/25/01 10:39:20 pm)
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    Yeah, Swede, we can't forget Eckert. I remember moving to Southern Ohio and picking up "The Frontiersman" for the first time, I think I didn't put it down 'til I was done. It's still a thrill to live, work, and drive through this same area. In fact, I crossed the Spla-lay-wathip-ee at Point Pleasant again this morning!

    I have yet to take in any of the dramatizations of his work like "Tecumseh" and "Blue-Jacket" that they put on every year, but I plan to someday.

    His style is fantastic...true history that reads like a novel...

    obelix2
    Member
    Posts: 206
    (5/26/01 8:13:37 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Knowing nothing about a subject
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    can be a real asset in enjoyment of a writer. When I read Fletcher Pratt's Ordeal by Fire (history of the CW) long ago, I liked it for its vivid style and strong opinions. Coming back to it later, knowing more, I found myself reading with an altogether different attitude.

    I wonder if it may be the same with S.L.A. Marshall. I haven't read it in years, but The River and the Gauntlet struck me at the time as an impressive account of the disintegration of 8th Army in November 1950. But I didn't know much about the subject. Before going back to the book, I'd like to get Polish' opinion on it.

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
    Posts: 651
    (5/26/01 6:27:01 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Knowing nothing about a subject
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    Rereading old SLA is fun, especially keeping in mind he is accused now of making up a lot of his facts and "personal interviews."

    I can't remember the name of his last one I read, a Unit history from Korea, but I remember taking it with a large "grain of salt," because his credibility is shot. Every fact you read you wonder...

    Which is a shame, not EVERYTHING he wrote can be fake, but how do you know????

    I guess the harder you push to be known as the "official" historian of the Army, the harder you fall if you are a fraud.
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