100 books like Those Angry Days

By Lynne Olson,

Here are 100 books that Those Angry Days fans have personally recommended if you like Those Angry Days. 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 A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor: Betrayal, Blame and a Family’s Quest For Justice

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Who am I?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Admiral Husband Kimmel, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was stationed in Honolulu in 1941 (and planning to play golf with Army Lieutenant General Walter Short, commander of US military installations, in the early morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941). In response to the outcry in the United States after the Pearl Harbor attack, Kimmel was relieved of his command and publicly accused of dereliction of duty because American forces were so ill-prepared for the Japanese attack. In this well-researched book, Summers and Swan conclude that military commanders in Washington and elsewhere failed to share intelligence information with Kimmel (and Short) and that Kimmel’s dismissal was nothing more than an attempt to find a scapegoat.

By Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the seventy-fifth anniversary, the authors of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Eleventh Day unravel the mysteries of Pearl Harbor to expose the scapegoating of the admiral who was in command the day 2,000 Americans died, report on the continuing struggle to restore his lost honor-and clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming. The Japanese onslaught on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 devastated Americans and precipitated entry into World War II. In the aftermath, Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of negligence and dereliction of…


Book cover of At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Who am I?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Gordon Prange spent more than three decades in the research and writing of this book, first as the chief historian for General Douglas MacArthur during the occupation of Japan and then as a history professor at the University of Maryland. He used his position to interview many Japanese officials – both military and civilian – who were engaged in the planning and execution of the attack at Pearl Harbor. The book was a landmark achievement in addressing the planning of the attack, the attack itself, and the subsequent investigations in the US about how and why American forces were so unprepared. Sadly, Prange died in 1980, only months before the book was published.

By Gordon W. Prange,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked At Dawn We Slept as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revisit the definitive book on Pearl Harbor in advance of the 78th anniversary (December 7, 2019) of the "date which will live in infamy"

At 7:53 a.m., December 7, 1941, America's national consciousness and confidence were rocked as the first wave of Japanese warplanes took aim at the U.S. Naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. As intense and absorbing as a suspense novel, At Dawn We Slept is the unparalleled and exhaustive account of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is widely regarded as the definitive assessment of the events surrounding one of the most daring and brilliant naval…


Book cover of Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision

Valarie J. Anderson Author Of Pearl Harbor's Final Warning

From my list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor.

Who am I?

In 2013, I found a red suitcase under my mother’s guestroom bedroom filled with letters and radiograms. I shipped it home, combined its contents with her brother’s papers, and my family’s Pearl Harbor story emerged but questions remained. Seven years later, after a lot of research which included the books I’ve listed for your consideration, and the help of many people, I was able to answer the question of why Pearl Harbor was taken by surprise. I also unpacked my family’s story, long-buried for fear of prosecution. My book shows the civilian Pearl Harbor story as it weaves its way through the world of cryptology, spies, and 1941 radio technology

Valarie's book list on real people struggling to understand Pearl Harbor

Valarie J. Anderson Why did Valarie love this book?

Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision is the baseline for researchers interested in the story of early cryptology and why the surprise attack happened at Pearl Harbor. She reveals who knew what, when, and exposes the disasters reaped by hubris and uncoordinated intelligence often quoting original communiques and cables.

By Roberta Wohlstetter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For decades the controversy has raged: Was the Pearl Harbor disaster a result of criminal negligence by military officers in the Pacific theater? Was it, as some have claimed, a deliberate plot by the President in Washington?

It seems unlikely that a country could have so many warnings pointing to the danger, and yet be so unprepared for the event itself. American intelligence could read top-secret Japanese codes and the U.S. was therefore in a posistion to transmit vital information to American commanders throughout the world. Most of the time Washington was able to predict both Japan's diplomatic moves and…


Book cover of Tojo and the Coming of the War

Lew Paper Author Of In the Cauldron: Terror, Tension, and the American Ambassador's Struggle to Avoid Pearl Harbor

From my list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack.

Who am I?

I'm a lawyer (Harvard Law School) who loves to write. My books reflect my eclectic interests. I've written nonfiction books about John Kennedy’s presidency, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, CBS Founder William S. Paley, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pearl Harbor. Each of my nonfiction books tries to focus on something with respect to a particular person or event that had not been addressed in detail in any other book. I've also written a thriller (Deadly Risks) which revolves around JFK’s assassination and can be likened to John Grisham’s book, The Pelican Brief.

Lew's book list on why America was unprepared for Pearl Harbor attack

Lew Paper Why did Lew love this book?

Tojo Hideki, a general in Japan’s army, became the country’s Prime Minister in October 1941, was still at the helm when the Pearl Harbor attack occurred on December 7, 1941, and remained in power until 1944. Although Tojo was later vilified as a war criminal, he did take to heart Emperor Hirohito’s request in October 1941 that he explore ways to avoid war with the United States – but soon convinced the Emperor that there was no alternative to war. Butow, a professor of US-Japanese relations at the University of Washington, shows how Tojo rose to power in Japan’s convoluted system of government, how the decision to proceed with the Pearl Harbor attack unfolded, and how that decision affected Tojo.

Book cover of The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency

Christopher J. Fettweis Author Of The Pursuit of Dominance: 2000 Years of Superpower Grand Strategy

From my list on unconventional stories on US national security.

Who am I?

I’m a political scientist who specializes in US foreign policy. I’ve been interested in war and peace – and avoiding the former – for as long as I can remember. More than anything else, I wish I could convince Americans of how safe they are, relatively speaking, and how safe they can remain if only we make wise decisions moving forward. The future is brighter than we think.

Christopher's book list on unconventional stories on US national security

Christopher J. Fettweis Why did Christopher love this book?

In this book, the closest thing we have to a traditional work of national security on this list, the brilliant (and funny) iconoclast John Mueller asks a simple question: Why don’t more people realize just how stupid war is?

Why, for instance, as Greek soldiers loaded into boats to attack Troy because of a kidnapping, did no one comment on the sheer stupidity of the whole operation? Mueller reviews the history of this stupidity and recommends that his country give more consideration to steering clear of them in the future.

All wars the United States fights are, to use the common parlance, “wars of choice.” We always have the option to not engage, a choice that would usually leave us better off.

By John Mueller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It could be said that American foreign policy since 1945 has been one long miscue; most international threats - including during the Cold War - have been substantially exaggerated. The result has been agony and bloviation, unnecessary and costly military interventions that have mostly failed. A policy of complacency and appeasement likely would have worked better. In this highly readable book, John Mueller argues with wisdom and wit rather than ideology and hyperbole that aversion to international war has had considerable consequences. There has seldom been significant danger of major war. Nuclear weapons, international institutions, and America's super power role…


Book cover of Our Man in New York: The British Plot to Bring America into the Second World War

Robert Hutton Author Of Agent Jack: The True Story of Mi5's Secret Nazi Hunter

From my list on secret wartime histories around WW2.

Who am I?

Robert Hutton is the author of Agent Jack, the previously untold tale of the surprisingly large number of British people who tried to help Hitler win World War 2. He spent a decade and a half following British prime ministers around the world for Bloomberg and now writes parliamentary sketches for The Critic while researching intelligence history.

Robert's book list on secret wartime histories around WW2

Robert Hutton Why did Robert love this book?

I have a vivid memory of opening the file on Britain’s efforts to bring America into the war, declassified only recently, and being astonished at the things that had gone on. Hemming’s book tells this amazing story and raises the ethical question of whether Britain’s end – defeating Hitler – was justified by its means – spreading fake news in the US and even interfering in its politics.

By Henry Hemming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Man in New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A revelatory and wholly fascinating work of history. Superbly researched and written with gripping fluency, this lost secret of World War II espionage finally has its expert chronicler."
- WILLIAM BOYD

'Gripping and intoxicating, it unfolds like the best screenplay.'
NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE

The gripping story of a propaganda campaign like no other: the covert British operation to manipulate American public opinion and bring the US into the Second World War.

When William Stephenson - "our man in New York" - arrived in the United States towards the end of June 1940 with instructions from the head of MI6 to 'organise'…


Book cover of Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship

Peter Shinkle Author Of Uniting America: How FDR and Henry Stimson Brought Democrats and Republicans Together to Win World War II

From my list on American leaders who broke the rules during WWII.

Who am I?

I have been shocked in recent years by the bitter partisanship in America, and by how our politics have turned into a sort of sports grudge match – my team versus yours, no matter what – with very little interest in seeking the truth or working for the national good. So when I discovered a number of years ago that Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt built an alliance with Republicans that led the country to victory in World War II, I immediately set out to understand how such an extraordinary bipartisan alliance could take place – and whether America might do such a thing again. Uniting America provides an answer.

Peter's book list on American leaders who broke the rules during WWII

Peter Shinkle Why did Peter love this book?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, cast together by the rising tide of fascism, became allies to fight their common enemy.

Their politics, however, in some ways stood in sharp contrast. FDR was a liberal Democrat who believed in using the levers of government to help those thrown out of work by the Great Depression. Churchill was a Conservative who had fought many a battle against Britain’s liberals.

Yet the two men broke the rules of rigid adherence to any party. 

As Jon Meacham puts it in his masterful Franklin and Winston, “Churchill changed parties from Conservative to Liberal and back again, and the vicissitudes of his views did not surprise those closest to him.” As for FDR, who built an alliance with prominent Republicans during the war, one associate pointed to the “flexibility of the Roosevelt mind.”

By Jon Meacham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The most complete portrait ever drawn of the complex emotional connection between two of history’s towering leaders

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were the greatest leaders of “the Greatest Generation.” In Franklin and Winston, Jon Meacham explores the fascinating relationship between the two men who piloted the free world to victory in World War II. It was a crucial friendship, and a unique one—a president and a prime minister spending enormous amounts of time together (113 days during the war) and exchanging nearly two thousand messages. Amid cocktails, cigarettes, and cigars, they met, often secretly, in…


Book cover of Rome and the Enemy: Imperial Strategy in the Principate

Laurence W. Marvin Author Of The Occitan War: A Military and Political History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1209–1218

From my list on premodern western warfare.

Who am I?

From my earliest memories I’ve always been interested in military history, and as a young man I served in the U.S. Navy on a nuclear submarine. As an ardent bibliophile, my home and office overflows with books. As a professor, for the past 25 years I’ve been fortunate enough to teach a broad survey on western military history, which gives me the opportunity to experiment with many books for my own and the students’ enjoyment. The books on this list are perennial favorites of the traditional-age undergraduates (18-22) I teach, but will appeal to any reader interested in premodern military history. 

Laurence's book list on premodern western warfare

Laurence W. Marvin Why did Laurence love this book?

Mattern’s book is as much about Roman attitudes and mindset as it is about warfare. 

Even though planning and implementing “strategy” is sometimes seen as a modern thing, clearly the Romans had one, though, as Mattern phrases it, was more akin to our stereotypes of the mafia: Rome wanted respect more than anything, and went to great lengths to ensure it received it. The Romans and their empire had an incredibly long memory, and they didn’t forget slights.

When a people or country dissed the Romans in some way, Rome came after them, even if doing so took decades.  

By Susan P. Mattern,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How did the Romans build and maintain one of the most powerful and stable empires in the history of the world? This book draws on the literature, especially the historiography, composed by the members of the elite who conducted Roman foreign affairs. From this evidence, Susan P. Mattern reevaluates the roots, motivations, and goals of Roman imperial foreign policy especially as that policy related to warfare. In a major reinterpretation of the sources, Rome and the Enemy shows that concepts of national honor, fierce competition for status, and revenge drove Roman foreign policy, and though different from the highly rationalizing…


Book cover of Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy

Robert Vitalis Author Of Oilcraft: The Myths of Scarcity and Security That Haunt U.S. Energy Policy

From my list on crazy things we believe on oil and world politics.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated with the relationship between the United States and the Middle East since my freshman year at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where I began as a commuter, stuck in gasoline lines, during the “energy crisis” in the fall of 1973, and where I was among the first SUNY students to study abroad in Egypt after the United States resumed diplomatic relations. I wrote my dissertation on Egypt’s economic development (When Capitalists Collide: Business Conflict and the End of Empire in Egypt, 1995) and have been teaching and writing about U.S. involvement in the region for 35 years.

Robert's book list on crazy things we believe on oil and world politics

Robert Vitalis Why did Robert love this book?

Barry Posen is a civilian expert in U.S. defense issues at MIT. This book influenced lots of foreign policy experts who have come around to accept the argument of Restraint that the United States ought to radically reduce its military commitments abroad, notably in the Persian Gulf. The book is a key source for my own because Posen shows why the U.S. military presence there has no real effect on the security of oil supply, threats to which are routinely and wildly exaggerated. Posen believes, therefore, that something like “prestige” or acting like a superpower because it can, better explains that expansive and wasteful military posture. 

By Barry R. Posen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The United States, Barry R. Posen argues in Restraint, has grown incapable of moderating its ambitions in international politics. Since the collapse of Soviet power, it has pursued a grand strategy that he calls "liberal hegemony," one that Posen sees as unnecessary, counterproductive, costly, and wasteful. Written for policymakers and observers alike, Restraint explains precisely why this grand strategy works poorly and then provides a carefully designed alternative grand strategy and an associated military strategy and force structure. In contrast to the failures and unexpected problems that have stemmed from America's consistent overreaching, Posen makes an urgent argument for restraint…


Book cover of Stilwell and the American Experience in China: 1911-1945

Don Glickstein Author Of After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence

From my list on political biographies that are well written.

Who am I?

I grew up in Massachusetts, which produced four presidents and untold presidential candidates including Mitt Romney, Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, and Gov. William Butler, who ran in 1884. My first career was as a newspaper reporter and editor, and I worked for papers in Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, and Washington state. I’ve dabbled in politics myself, working as a campaign press secretary for the late Washington Gov. Booth Gardner. Newspapers gave me an abiding hatred for adverbs, the passive voice, and bias in word selection. (No, historians shouldn’t use “patriot” in describing the Revolution’s American rebels, because loyalists and Indian nations were just as patriotic in their own minds.)

Don's book list on political biographies that are well written

Don Glickstein Why did Don love this book?

General “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, the American liaison to Chiang Kai-Shek’s China during World War II, was the opposite of a politician. Blunt, profane, disrespectful, and sarcastic—he called Chiang the “peanut”—Stilwell was incapable of being politic, which makes Tuchman’s book the ultimate political biography. Like many great biographers, including three of the five authors on this list, Tuchman came to history from journalism or publishing, not from academia, something she felt was an asset in helping her write in a style that produced both a Pulitzer and best sellers.

By Barbara W. Tuchman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Stilwell and the American Experience in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell, the general who was the American commander in the China-Burma-India theatre of World War II, had a deep love of China. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman, combines a fascinating narrative of America's relationship with China from the fall of the Manchu Dynasty through to the rise of Mao Tse-Tung with an intimate biography of Vinegar Joe. Stilwell loved China deeply, spoke its languages and understood its people as few Westerners have. Tuchman traces his life from his first visit during the 1911 Revolution through the Second World War to his confrontation with…


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