100 books like Stumbling Colossus

By David M. Glantz,

Here are 100 books that Stumbling Colossus fans have personally recommended if you like Stumbling Colossus. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East

Gerhard Weinberg Author Of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

From my list on World War 2.

Who am I?

Gerhard Weinberg fled Germany at the end of 1938 and experienced the first year of World War II – including the beginning of the Blitz – in England. He completed his PhD after serving in the US Army of Occupation in Japan, researched the captured German documents, established the program for microfilming them, and after writing an analysis of the origins of World War II decided to prepare a book covering the war as a whole.

Gerhard's book list on World War 2

Gerhard Weinberg Why did Gerhard love this book?

The author provides an analysis of the initial stages of the fighting on the Eastern Front that effectively revises several of the prior generally accepted views of that critical portion of the war. Here is one book that extensively utilizes German sources without becoming enslaved by them as too many works appear to become.

By David Stahel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Operation Barbarossa and Germany's Defeat in the East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, began the largest and most costly campaign in military history. Its failure was a key turning point of the Second World War. The operation was planned as a Blitzkrieg to win Germany its Lebensraum in the east, and the summer of 1941 is well-known for the German army's unprecedented victories and advances. Yet the German Blitzkrieg depended almost entirely upon the motorised Panzer groups, particularly those of Army Group Centre. Using archival records, in this book David Stahel presents a history of Germany's summer campaign from the perspective of the two…


Book cover of Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War

Gerhard Weinberg Author Of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

From my list on World War 2.

Who am I?

Gerhard Weinberg fled Germany at the end of 1938 and experienced the first year of World War II – including the beginning of the Blitz – in England. He completed his PhD after serving in the US Army of Occupation in Japan, researched the captured German documents, established the program for microfilming them, and after writing an analysis of the origins of World War II decided to prepare a book covering the war as a whole.

Gerhard's book list on World War 2

Gerhard Weinberg Why did Gerhard love this book?

At last (2015) there is a balanced and carefully researched study of a central figure in the modern history of Japan and the war in the Pacific. The substantial utilization and integration of Japanese sources enhances the work but does not lead to any distortion of the real picture.

By Noriko Kawamura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This reexamination of the controversial role Emperor Hirohito played during the Pacific War gives particular attention to the question: If the emperor could not stop Japan from going to war with the Allied Powers in 1941, why was he able to play a crucial role in ending the war in 1945? Drawing on previously unavailable primary sources, Noriko Kawamura traces Hirohito's actions from the late 1920s to the end of the war, analyzing the role Hirohito played in Japan's expansion. Emperor Hirohito emerges as a conflicted man who struggled throughout the war to deal with the undefined powers bestowed upon…


Book cover of Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle

Barrett Tillman Author Of When the Shooting Stopped: August 1945

From my list on WWII aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific.

Who am I?

Like all Boomers, I grew up in the shadow of “The War.” My parents, relatives, and others participated in World War II to various extents; all were affected by it. Therefore, I absorbed the Pacific Theater early on. My father trained as a naval aviator, and among my early TV memories is the 1950s series Victory at Sea. My mother coaxed me early on, and an aunt was an English teacher, so I began learning to read before kindergarten. In retrospect, that gave me extra time to start absorbing the emerging literature. Much later I helped restore and flew WW II aircraft, leading to my first book.

Barrett's book list on WWII aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific

Barrett Tillman Why did Barrett love this book?

Today relatively few Americans have heard of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. 

Eighty years ago the odd name was front-page daily news, a six-month drama played out on land, sea, and air. From the Battle of Midway in June 1942, Guadalcanal was the only major campaign that America might have lost, ending in early 1943. In 750 literate, detailed, immaculately documented pages, Rich Frank created a history for the ages.

Serious Pacific students already know about Downfall, Frank’s 1945 study, and his current Asia-Pacific trilogy leading with the chilling title Tower of Skulls.

By Richard B. Frank,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Guadalcanal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Brilliant...an enormous work based on the most meticulous research."-LA Times Book Review

The battle at Guadalcanal-which began eight months to the day after Pearl Harbor-marked the first American offensive of World War II. It was a brutal six-month campaign that cost the lives of some 7,000 Americans and over 30,000 Japanese.

This volume, ten years in the writing, recounts the full story of the critical campaign for Guadalcanal and is based on first-time translations of official Japanese Defense Agency accounts and recently declassified U.S. radio intelligence, Guadalcanal recreates the battle-on land, at sea, and in the air-as never before: it…


Book cover of MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific

Gerhard Weinberg Author Of A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II

From my list on World War 2.

Who am I?

Gerhard Weinberg fled Germany at the end of 1938 and experienced the first year of World War II – including the beginning of the Blitz – in England. He completed his PhD after serving in the US Army of Occupation in Japan, researched the captured German documents, established the program for microfilming them, and after writing an analysis of the origins of World War II decided to prepare a book covering the war as a whole.

Gerhard's book list on World War 2

Gerhard Weinberg Why did Gerhard love this book?

In view of the numerous controversies and varied views of General MacArthur’s actions and policies in the Pacific War, it is great to have a balanced and very carefully researched and presented account of a commander who was in it from Japan’s attack on the United States to Japan’s surrender. While dealing fairly with some of the criticisms of the general, Borneman does note his repeated announcements of battles being ended when they were not as well as the hopeless incompetence of his intelligence chief.

By Walter R. Borneman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

World War II changed the course of history. Douglas MacArthur changed the course of World War II. MACARTHUR AT WAR will go deeper into this transformative period of his life than previous biographies, drilling into the military strategy that Walter R. Borneman is so skilled at conveying, and exploring how personality and ego translate into military successes and failures.

Architect of stunning triumphs and inexplicable defeats, General MacArthur is the most intriguing military leader of the twentieth century. There was never any middle ground with MacArthur. This in-depth study of the most critical period of his career shows how MacArthur's…


Book cover of The Red Army and the Second World War

Jeremy Black Author Of A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps

From my list on WW2 in Europe.

Who am I?

Jeremy Black is a prolific lecturer and writer, the author of over 100 books. Many concern aspects of eighteenth-century British, European, and American political, diplomatic and military history but he has also published on the history of the press, cartography, warfare, culture, and on the nature and uses of history itself.

Jeremy's book list on WW2 in Europe

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love 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.

By Alexander Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Red Army and the Second World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a definitive new account of the Soviet Union at war, Alexander Hill charts the development, successes and failures of the Red Army from the industrialisation of the Soviet Union in the late 1920s through to the end of the Great Patriotic War in May 1945. Setting military strategy and operations within a broader context that includes national mobilisation on a staggering scale, the book presents a comprehensive account of the origins and course of the war from the perspective of this key Allied power. Drawing on the latest archival research and a wealth of eyewitness testimony, Hill portrays the…


Book cover of The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin

David Bellos Author Of Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything

From my list on funniest stories ever translated into English.

Who am I?

It’s often said that humor can’t be translated. I’m a translator of more than thirty books, and I know that’s wrong! However, publishers rarely consider funny books for translation. I’ve made this list to point out to you all that some truly great books that are really funny have broken through the wall protecting English-language readers from the wit and humor of the rest of the world. I’m also a literature professor, and I’m keen to get people to understand that literature does not have to be boring. If Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, Kurt Vonnegut, or David Sedaris make you laugh, then so will Voltaire, Pekic, Hašek, Voinovich, and Gary!

David's book list on funniest stories ever translated into English

David Bellos Why did David love this book?

This is the first and probable the only truly comic novel to come out of the old USSR. Set in the army during World War II, it riffs unsparingly on the absurdities of Soviet life and takes digs at human follies of every kind. The most memorable chapter, which brings tears to my eyes just when I think about it, contains a recipe for homebrew vodka made from the commonest of human products. Don’t miss this one! You’ll not look at your garden the same way ever again. 

By Vladimir Voinovich, Richard Lourie (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ivan Chonkin is a simple, bumbling peasant who has been drafted into the Red Army. Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, he is sent to an obscure village with one week's ration of canned meat and orders to guard a downed plane. Apparently forgotten by his unit, Chonkin resumes his life as a peasant and passes the war peacefully tending the village postmistress's garden. Just after the German invasion, the secret police discover this mysterious soldier lurking behind the front line. Their pursuit of Chonkin and his determined resistance lead to wild skirmishes and slapstick encounters. Vladimir Voinovich's…


Book cover of When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler

Andrew Monaghan Author Of Russian Grand Strategy in the Era of Global Power Competition

From my list on Russia and why the Kremlin does what it's doing.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures. I started to learn Russian in 1998, and intrigued by the language, I began to study Russia more—delving into history and politics and then doing a PhD in Russian foreign policy. Ever since, trying to learn about and understand Russia has been my professional focus. Alongside books in Russian, these books are all to hand on my reference shelf, well-thumbed and marked up, as I try to write my own work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have! 

Andrew's book list on Russia and why the Kremlin does what it's doing

Andrew Monaghan Why did Andrew love this book?

The Great Patriotic War is central to Russian politics and thinking about international affairs today. It is important as a symbolic and political reference, but senior military figures often point to the war’s relevance to how Russia should think about war today. There are so many good books to read on this, but I think David Glantz is the doyen of Western historians of the Russian military, and this book is the ideal overview guide to understanding the trajectory and key features of the war: a concise but highly informative examination of one of the most catastrophic wars. Essential reading, I think, and shows why history is important to understanding where we are today.

By David M. Glantz, Jonathan M. House,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On first publication, this uncommonly concise and readable account of Soviet Russia's clash with Nazi Germany utterly changed our understanding of World War II on Germany's Eastern Front, immediately earning its place among top-shelf histories of the world war. Revised and updated to reflect recent Russian and Western scholarship on the subject, much of it the authors' own work, this new edition maintains the 1995 original's distinction as a crucial volume in the history of World War II and of the Soviet Union and the most informed and compelling perspective on one of the greatest military confrontations of all time.…


Book cover of All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945

Glyn Harper Author Of The Battle for North Africa: El Alamein and the Turning Point for World War II

From my list on Great WW2 books published after 2000.

Who am I?

Glyn Harper has been researching and writing military history for over forty years. He is the author of numerous best-selling books on military history and is also an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. A former army officer, Glyn is New Zealand’s only Professor of War Studies.

Glyn's book list on Great WW2 books published after 2000

Glyn Harper Why did Glyn love this book?

Max Hastings is the author of more than thirty books, many of them about the Second World War. All Hell Let Loose describes the Second World War in considerable detail but focuses on the human experience of what it was like to be a participant in this critical period of history. For its breadth, its power of expression, and penetrating analysis, this book is unsurpassed. There are many excellent single-volume studies of the Second World War, but I rate this as one of the very best.

By Max Hastings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Hell Let Loose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.

Reflecting Max Hastings's thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent.

The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who…


Book cover of Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945

Harold J. Goldberg Author Of D-Day in the Pacific: The Battle of Saipan

From my list on on World War II according to my students.

Who am I?

In 1974 I started my full-time teaching career at a small liberal arts college and realized how much I love teaching and discussing historical events with students. With Russian and Soviet history as my areas of specialization, expanding my course offerings to include World War II was a natural addition. My World War II class became extremely popular and led to demands that I take students to Europe to visit many of the places we discussed in class. Every summer for about ten years I led study-abroad trips to England, France, and Germany. Watching student reactions to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery made every trip worthwhile.

Harold's book list on on World War II according to my students

Harold J. Goldberg Why did Harold love this book?

Merridale uses archival material and interviews with Soviet war veterans to personalize the war on the Eastern Front. This work moves beyond the number of combatants and tanks to focus on real life at the frontlines. She talks about issues that help the reader “feel” the war: what did soldiers eat given the well-known shortages and privations throughout the USSR; how did soldiers get warm clothes and boots; how did they obtain ammunition and artillery shells and new guns despite the long supply lines; was stealing accepted in the army; what behaviors were tolerated and which ones were punished; how did hierarchy allow officers to get first choice of captured enemy equipment. She reveals how officers might not report all the dead in their unit so they would not lose the lost soldier’s food ration. While Alexander Werth’s Russia at War provides a sweeping view of Soviet organization, suffering, and…

By Catherine Merridale,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ivan's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful, groundbreaking narrative of the ordinary Russian soldier's experience of the worst war in history, based on newly revealed sources.

Of the thirty million who fought in the eastern front of World War II, eight million died, driven forward in suicidal charges, shattered by German shells and tanks. They were the men and women of the Red Army, a ragtag mass of soldiers who confronted Europe's most lethal fighting force and by 1945 had defeated it. Sixty years have passed since their epic triumph, but the heart and mind of Ivan -- as the ordinary Russian soldier was called…


Book cover of The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II

Sarah Percy Author Of Forgotten Warriors: The Long History of Women in Combat

From my list on women in combat.

Who am I?

I’m an academic, writer, and broadcaster, and I’ve always been fascinated by the big questions of who fights wars and why. A puzzle caught my eye: the only profession (short of maybe priest) where women were actively banned in the 1980s and as late as the 2010s, was combat. How could Western democracies ban women from an entire profession? This was especially odd, given that the plentiful historical evidence that women were perfectly capable of combat. So I wrote a book explaining how women in combat fit into the broader sweep of military history, and how the suppression and dismissal of their stories has had a profound social and cultural impact. 

Sarah's book list on women in combat

Sarah Percy Why did Sarah love this book?

If you didn’t know that between 800,000 and a million Soviet women fought in combat during World War II, this book will blow your mind.

Even for those aware of the history of Soviet female combatants – Soviet women fought in every imaginable military role, from fighter pilots to snipers to tank units – Alexievich’s astonishing oral history brings their stories to life. It’s especially profound to hear from the women themselves because after the war was over, women were told to never speak of their military service and got very little recognition for it.

By the time Alexievich recorded their stories, these women were getting old – and without her work many of these stories would have been lost. 

By Svetlana Alexievich, Larissa Volokhonsky (translator), Richard Pevear (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Unwomanly Face of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A must read' - Margaret Atwood

'It would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original' - Viv Groskop, Observer

Extraordinary stories from Soviet women who fought in the Second World War - from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

"Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? Their words and feelings? A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown... I want to write the history of that war. A women's history."

In the late…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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