100 books like Destructive Creation

By Mark R. Wilson,

Here are 100 books that Destructive Creation fans have personally recommended if you like Destructive Creation. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II

Jennifer Mittelstadt Author Of Rise of the Military Welfare State

From my list on military, war, and society in 20th century US.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never thought I’d become a historian of the US military. Like most Americans raised in the era of the All-Volunteer Force, I grew up with no close personal connections to the US military. Yet its symbols, metaphors, and power flooded my life, from movies to games to politics. Every encounter with a memoir, an operational history, a biography, or a government study offered a new understanding of how the US military came to play such a vital role in US society, and how US society in turn shaped practices and people in the military. These five histories did more than any others to shape my understanding of the military’s relationship to American society in the twentieth century.

Jennifer's book list on military, war, and society in 20th century US

Jennifer Mittelstadt Why did Jennifer love this book?

A classic work of war and society by a brilliant scholar of the gay experience during World War II. This deeply researched, lively book tells the personal stories of the gay men and women who were swept into military service in the 1940s. Berube documents how wartime induction put the military at the forefront of defining concepts of homosexuality at mid-century, and he describes the ambiguities and ambivalences that wartime service produced, both for the military and for gay service personnel. While the war brought hundreds of thousands of queer young people together and allowed them chances to create a vibrant new gay life, the military also grew increasingly repressive about homosexuality and instituted policies and practices to diagnose, disparage, and discharge gay men and women.

By Allan Bérubé,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coming Out Under Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During World War II, as the United States called on its citizens to serve in unprecedented numbers, the presence of gay Americans in the armed forces increasingly conflicted with the expanding antihomosexual policies and procedures of the military. In Coming Out Under Fire , Allan Berube examines in depth and detail these social and political confrontation--not as a story of how the military victimized homosexuals, but as a story of how a dynamic power relationship developed between gay citizens and their government, transforming them both. Drawing on GIs' wartime letters, extensive interviews with gay veterans, and declassified military documents, Berube…


Book cover of Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era

Jennifer Mittelstadt Author Of Rise of the Military Welfare State

From my list on military, war, and society in 20th century US.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never thought I’d become a historian of the US military. Like most Americans raised in the era of the All-Volunteer Force, I grew up with no close personal connections to the US military. Yet its symbols, metaphors, and power flooded my life, from movies to games to politics. Every encounter with a memoir, an operational history, a biography, or a government study offered a new understanding of how the US military came to play such a vital role in US society, and how US society in turn shaped practices and people in the military. These five histories did more than any others to shape my understanding of the military’s relationship to American society in the twentieth century.

Jennifer's book list on military, war, and society in 20th century US

Jennifer Mittelstadt Why did Jennifer love this book?

Torchbearers is a pathbreaking history of the fight for American democracy during World War I, told from the perspective of African American servicemen who joined, fought, and returned from battle. Already engaged in conflict over civil rights in the US, African Americans took seriously the call to “make the world safe for democracy.” Through writing, activism, and organizing, they linked their domestic fight to the foreign fight against democracy’s enemies. Perhaps no other group in the US, Williams shows, was poised to engage the very biggest questions that animated the war – questions of citizenship, rights, freedom, and empire – as were African Americans. And their wartime service, he shows, was the crucible for the long freedom movement that followed.  

By Chad L. Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Torchbearers of Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April 2, 1917, Woodrow Wilson thrust the United States into World War I by declaring, ""The world must be made safe for democracy."" For the 380,000 African American soldiers who fought and labored in the global conflict, these words carried life or death meaning. Relating stories bridging the war and postwar years, spanning the streets of Chicago and the streets of Harlem, from the battlefields of the American South to the battlefields of the Western Front, Chad L. Williams reveals the central role of African American soldiers in World War I and how they, along with race activists and…


Book cover of The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines

Beth Bailey Author Of An Army Afire: How the US Army Confronted Its Racial Crisis in the Vietnam Era

From my list on unexpected histories of the US military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my career as a historian of gender and sexuality, but in what I sometimes describe as a mid-career crisis I became a historian of the US Army. I love doing research in archives, piecing together the scraps of stories and conversations into a broader whole, figuring out how people made sense of the world they lived in. The books I write make arguments that I hope will be useful to other historians and to military leaders, but I also want people to enjoy reading them. 

Beth's book list on unexpected histories of the US military

Beth Bailey Why did Beth love this book?

Kara Vuic gives us the story of young women who went to war—not those in the uniforms of military service, but those who were sent to help boost morale of the men who fought and to remind them of the homes they’d left behind.

She’s keenly aware of the complications and contradictions in the roles the women were expected to fulfill, and of the emotional toll of their work, but she also offers us a sense of their spirit of adventure and a glimpse of the more intimate aspects of 20th century US wars.

By Kara Dixon Vuic,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girls Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the intrepid young women who volunteered to help and entertain American servicemen fighting overseas, from World War I through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The emotional toll of war can be as debilitating to soldiers as hunger, disease, and injury. Beginning in World War I, in an effort to boost soldiers' morale and remind them of the stakes of victory, the American military formalized a recreation program that sent respectable young women and famous entertainers overseas.

Kara Dixon Vuic builds her narrative around the young women from across the United States, many of whom had never…


Book cover of Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century

Jennifer Mittelstadt Author Of Rise of the Military Welfare State

From my list on military, war, and society in 20th century US.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never thought I’d become a historian of the US military. Like most Americans raised in the era of the All-Volunteer Force, I grew up with no close personal connections to the US military. Yet its symbols, metaphors, and power flooded my life, from movies to games to politics. Every encounter with a memoir, an operational history, a biography, or a government study offered a new understanding of how the US military came to play such a vital role in US society, and how US society in turn shaped practices and people in the military. These five histories did more than any others to shape my understanding of the military’s relationship to American society in the twentieth century.

Jennifer's book list on military, war, and society in 20th century US

Jennifer Mittelstadt Why did Jennifer love this book?

When I picked up Homefront, I couldn’t put it down. A study of perhaps the most iconic military community in the US, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Homefront brings a reader as close to everyday life in a military town as they can get without being there. Lutz burrows into Fayetteville and Fort Bragg, and pries open their histories and cultures. She offers glimpses into military subculture, the militarization of American infrastructure, the tensions surrounding town-and-installation relations. More than any other book, Homefront sensitized me to the complexities of twentieth-century US military culture and its deep influence on American people, places, and ideas. 

By Catherine A. Lutz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Homefront as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A look at Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to Fort Bragg, that poses the question,'Are we all military dependents?'

Fayetteville has earned the nicknames of Fatalville and Fayettenam. Unusual and not-sounusual features of the town include gross income inequalities, an extraordinarily high incidence of venereal disease, miles and miles of strip malls, and a history of racial violence. Through interviews with residents and historical research, Catherine Lutz immerses herself in the life of the town to discover how it has supported the military for over a century. From secret training operations that use civilians as mock enemies and allies to the…


Book cover of Growing American Rubber: Strategic Plants and the Politics of National Security

Alexander J. Field Author Of The Economic Consequences of U.S. Mobilization for the Second World War

From my list on U.S. mobilization for World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scholar, I take pleasure in developing novel interpretations and arguments and persuading colleagues and readers of their merits. Over the past two decades, I’ve advanced a new macroeconomic narrative for the United States. In earlier publications, I argued that the Depression years were the most technologically progressive of the twentieth century. Behind the backdrop of double-digit unemployment, potential output grew rapidly, an increase that helped enable the country to produce prodigious amounts of WWII armaments. It also, I maintain, established most of the supply side foundations for the golden age (1948-73). The conventional wisdom tends instead to credit U.S. postwar economic dominance to experience manufacturing military durables. 

Alexander's book list on U.S. mobilization for World War II

Alexander J. Field Why did Alexander love this book?

Natural rubber was the one strategic material for which the United States had effectively no domestic sourcing. In February 1942, the Japanese overran Singapore, and shortly thereafter seized control of all the rubber exporting sites in Southeast Asia, effectively depriving the U.S. of more than 95 percent of its supply. 

The effects of the U.S. rubber famine on the U.S. economy and its military capability were dire. Much attention has been given to the U.S. development of a synthetic rubber industry, much less to the search for plant-based alternatives to Hevea brasiliensis as a source of latex.

Finlay’s narrative provides a fascinating and informative discussion of these efforts.

By Mark R. Finlay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Growing American Rubber as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company

Alexander J. Field Author Of The Economic Consequences of U.S. Mobilization for the Second World War

From my list on U.S. mobilization for World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scholar, I take pleasure in developing novel interpretations and arguments and persuading colleagues and readers of their merits. Over the past two decades, I’ve advanced a new macroeconomic narrative for the United States. In earlier publications, I argued that the Depression years were the most technologically progressive of the twentieth century. Behind the backdrop of double-digit unemployment, potential output grew rapidly, an increase that helped enable the country to produce prodigious amounts of WWII armaments. It also, I maintain, established most of the supply side foundations for the golden age (1948-73). The conventional wisdom tends instead to credit U.S. postwar economic dominance to experience manufacturing military durables. 

Alexander's book list on U.S. mobilization for World War II

Alexander J. Field Why did Alexander love this book?

Iconic images of the Willow Run plant, built by the U.S. government but operated by Ford, have probably done more than anything else to cement in the minds of scholars and the public the standard narratives about mobilization for the Second World War.

In fact, Willow Run was a questionable success, employing at its peak barely 40 percent of the headcount for which it was designed. It eventually relied extensively on subcontracting, which Ford had intended to avoid. And, because Ford insisted on freezing designs for substantial periods, Willow Run B-24s had to be flown to government modification centers before they could be used in combat.

As late as 1943, the Truman Committee was threatening to transfer the plant to another contractor because Ford’s performance had been so abysmal. But if Ford’s record as a builder of bombers was mixed, there is no question that the company operated a world-class…

By David L. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Public Image of Henry Ford as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of War, Economy and Society, 1939-1945

Alexander J. Field Author Of The Economic Consequences of U.S. Mobilization for the Second World War

From my list on U.S. mobilization for World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scholar, I take pleasure in developing novel interpretations and arguments and persuading colleagues and readers of their merits. Over the past two decades, I’ve advanced a new macroeconomic narrative for the United States. In earlier publications, I argued that the Depression years were the most technologically progressive of the twentieth century. Behind the backdrop of double-digit unemployment, potential output grew rapidly, an increase that helped enable the country to produce prodigious amounts of WWII armaments. It also, I maintain, established most of the supply side foundations for the golden age (1948-73). The conventional wisdom tends instead to credit U.S. postwar economic dominance to experience manufacturing military durables. 

Alexander's book list on U.S. mobilization for World War II

Alexander J. Field Why did Alexander love this book?

This is a classic book on economic mobilization for the Second World War.

The range of Milward’s scholarship is impressive, he has thought deeply about important questions, and he is not afraid to take positions on controversial issues.

It’s relatively weaker on U.S. mobilization, accepting much of the received wisdom, and acknowledges the scarcity of available materials for the Soviet Union and Italy at the time he wrote. But it is useful in putting the U.S. effort in context, and particularly helpful in providing comparative details on the British and German efforts. 

Book cover of Warship Builders: An Industrial History of U.S. Naval Shipbuilding 1922-1945

Alexander J. Field Author Of The Economic Consequences of U.S. Mobilization for the Second World War

From my list on U.S. mobilization for World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a scholar, I take pleasure in developing novel interpretations and arguments and persuading colleagues and readers of their merits. Over the past two decades, I’ve advanced a new macroeconomic narrative for the United States. In earlier publications, I argued that the Depression years were the most technologically progressive of the twentieth century. Behind the backdrop of double-digit unemployment, potential output grew rapidly, an increase that helped enable the country to produce prodigious amounts of WWII armaments. It also, I maintain, established most of the supply side foundations for the golden age (1948-73). The conventional wisdom tends instead to credit U.S. postwar economic dominance to experience manufacturing military durables. 

Alexander's book list on U.S. mobilization for World War II

Alexander J. Field Why did Alexander love this book?

The historiography of the Second World War is littered with stylized facts which are either wrong or only partly true. 

One is that the U.S. economy was almost completely demilitarized during the 1930s. This is largely true insofar as ground and air forces are concerned. It was not true for the Navy. As a former undersecretary of the Navy Roosevelt had a soft spot for sea power. So did important leaders in the legislature. 

The two Vinson-Trammel Acts passed in the 1930s allowed the US to build up to treaty limits. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, U.S. naval power ranked only slightly behind that of the Royal Navy, and ahead of the Japanese (although not in the Pacific).

Moreover, the U.S. possessed an industrial infrastructure and an experienced workforce in both government and private shipyards that was capable of rapidly building multiple ships. Heinrich provides an excellent…

By Thomas Heinrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Warship Builders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

Iwan W. Morgan Author Of FDR: Transforming the Presidency and Renewing America

From my list on why FDR was the greatest American president.

Why am I passionate about this?

I consider FDR the greatest of all presidents for leading America with distinction in the domestic crisis of the Great Depression and the foreign crisis of World War 2 and creating the modern presidency that survives today in the essential form he established. I have written books on Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan during fifty years as a US history professor in UK universities. I always intended to write a book about how FDR reinvented the presidency that these Republicans inherited, something I finally did in ‘retirement’. My five chosen books explain the challenging times he faced and the leadership skills he displayed in meeting them.     

Iwan's book list on why FDR was the greatest American president

Iwan W. Morgan Why did Iwan love this book?

This Pulitzer Prize-winning study is the best single-volume history of America in the Age of FDR.  Meticulously researched, ambitiously conceived, and vividly written, it crafts superb portraits of the presidencies of Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Kennedy offers a balanced assessment of FDR’s New Deal, concluding that his reforms enhanced the socio-economic security of millions of Americans despite their overall failure in the 1930s to achieve economic recovery, which would only come about through the crucible of war in the early 1940s. However, the real heroes of the book are the American people for their resilience and resolve in the face of the Great Depression and World War 2, the two greatest challenges the United States faced in the twentieth century.  

By David M. Kennedy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Freedom from Fear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. Freedom from Fear tells the story of how Americans endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities.

The Depression was both a disaster and an opportunity. As David Kennedy vividly demonstrates, the economic crisis of the 1930s was far more than a simple reaction to the alleged excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before 1929, America's unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, wastefullly consuming capital and inflicting untold misery…


Book cover of Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage

Patrick W. O'Bryon Author Of Corridor of Darkness

From my list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich.

Why am I passionate about this?

While a graduate student and then an army interpreter in Germany, I listened to reminiscences from both Third Reich military veterans and former French resistance fighters. Their tales picked up where my father's stories of pre-war European life always ended, and my fascination with this history knew no bounds. On occasion I would conceal my American identity and mentally play the spy as I traversed Europe solo. A dozen years later upon the death of my father, I learned from my mother his great secret: he had concealed his wartime life as an American spy inside the Reich. His private journals telling of bravery and intrigue inspire each of my novels.

Patrick's book list on espionage and resistance in Hitler's Third Reich

Patrick W. O'Bryon Why did Patrick love this book?

If you love reading the history of World War II espionage, Persico brings to life behind-the-scenes maneuvers that took America from an unwieldy group of intelligence-gathering organizations to the formidable Office of Strategic Services under Wild Bill Donovan. While examining all theaters of World War II rather than just the Third Reich, the author provides excellent insights into the specific challenges encountered in Hitler's realm. I particularly enjoyed learning how Roosevelt balanced the information coming from many sources and integrated that knowledge into an intelligent plan of action.

By Joseph E. Persico,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roosevelt's Secret War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite all that has already been written on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Persico has uncovered a hitherto overlooked dimension of FDR's wartime leadership: his involvement in intelligence and espionage operations.

Roosevelt's Secret War is crowded with remarkable revelations:
-FDR wanted to bomb Tokyo before Pearl Harbor
-A defector from Hitler's inner circle reported directly to the Oval Office
-Roosevelt knew before any other world leader of Hitler's plan to invade Russia
-Roosevelt and Churchill concealed a disaster costing hundreds of British soldiers' lives in order to protect Ultra, the British codebreaking secret
-An unwitting Japanese diplomat provided the President with…


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