The Best Recent Books On WW2 In Europe

By Jeremy Black

The Books I Picked & Why

Sicily '43: The First Assault on Fortress Europe

By James Holland

Sicily '43: The First Assault on Fortress Europe

Why this book?

Holland is a talented scholar who has honed his skill in providing excellent campaign-level accounts of the war. Thus, among much else, his books include Fortress Malta (2003), The Battle of Britain (2010), Burma ’44 (2016), Normandy ’44 (2019), and this excellent study of the Anglo-American invasion of Sicily in 1943. Holland is particularly good at capturing the grittiness of war, and at adding the perspective of individual combatants without being trapped by it. Reads very well and provides a superb campaign-level account that is also tactically adroit.


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Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45

By Peter Caddick-Adams

Snow and Steel: The Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45

Why this book?

Much of what I have said about James Holland can also be said of his friend Peter Caddick-Adams, whose first-rate works include Monte Cassino. Ten Armies in Hell (2012), Sand and Steel: A New History of D-Day (2019), and this, by far the best book on the last major German offensive. Adroit at capturing the German perspective, Caddick-Adams is also very good on the American response. A lengthy read, but worth it.


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First to Fight: The Polish War 1939

By Roger Moorhouse

First to Fight: The Polish War 1939

Why this book?

A Major scholar of the period, Moorhouse is particularly instructive for his ability to capture the Eastern European perspective. The Polish war of 1939 has generally been underplayed in the literature, and it is particularly valuable therefore to see this well-researched account.


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Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe

By John Buckley

Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe

Why this book?

Already a published expert on air power, armour, and the Normandy campaign, Buckley went on to produce a well-considered and ably researched evaluation of the British army in 1944-5, one that rescued it from the deeply-flawed criticism by Max Hastings of its relative effectiveness.


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The Red Army and the Second World War

By Alexander Hill

The Red Army and the Second World War

Why this book?

The Eastern Front has not always attracted the most readable scholarship, while two of the major works by British writers are by those who cannot read Russian. Hill is a welcome relief. His scholarship is impeccable and his book is readable. An important contribution.


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