Being there . . . away from the battlefields, dead and dying, evil and destruction, in the warmth and safety of a living room armchair, dog at the feet, cat near the elbow, relishing one-of-a-kind military reading . . .

Emerging as a tiny, but leading independent publishing company of nonfiction titles for the academic and general markets, it has distinguished itself both nationally and internationally with daring biographies, themes and topics, often rejected by larger publishing houses due to perceived low profitability. McFarland publishes more than 350 new titles per year in print and eBook formats with some 7,000 works available on an amazing wide range of subjects other than war, the main one introducing then focusing upon popular culture. Military buffs of the various, or all, the nation’s wars would do well to stay abreast of McFarland’s expansion plans, widening title lists, and latest publications by subscribing to the company’s monthly newsletter. Or, visit and browse the full catalog online, McFarlandBooks.Com, for expanded book descriptions, review quotes, and author biographies.

                                     Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi

       Apropos, consider a mere six of November’s and December’s new released several dozen.

“Japan’s Spy At Pearl Harbor – Memoir of an Imperial Navy Secret Agent”, by Takeo Toshikawa, Foreword by translated by Andrew Mitchell. Four Parts, 48 chapters, in 299 pages, $35 sc.

His reporting during the nine months preceding 7:55am, December 7, 1941, helped pave the way for Japan’s dastardly attack. His memoirs, published in English for the first time, present a riveting spy account of the weeks, month, and hours leading up to the first drones of aircraft over Pearl and Honolulu. A major personal confession, a memoir that demands being read, is a rare Japanese spy’s eyewitness view of the intense bombing up close as any enemy could get.

“Allied Looting in World War II – Thefts of Art, Manuscripts, Stamps, and Jewelry In Europe”, by Kenneth D. Alford, Foreword by Sidney Kirkpatrick. Six Parts, 36 chapters, in 278 pages, $35 sc.

No, can’t be! Only the Germans have long been recognized as the only criminals who looted. But, in some cases, the Americans and British outrivaled the SA and SS in stripping the wealth and artistic treasures of conquered nations. This historical text reveals the extent some high officials and ordinary troops in the Allied forces eagerly imitated the enemy. The book’s American author, Ken Alford, is an internationally recognized authority on the subject, daring to report the truth. A very valuable addition to WWII literature.

“Survival at Stalag IVB – Soldiers and Airmen Remember Germany’s Largest POW Camp of World War II”, by Tony Vercoe. Fourteen chapters, 202 pages, $29.95 sc. Germany was home to 54 Allied prisoner-of-war camps, the largest being Stalag IVB. There, as in each of the other 53, Poles, French, Belgians, British, Dutch, Russians, and Americans fought to survive while Germany and her troops, in obvious defeat, were equaled demoralized and starving. Tony Vercoe, too, was uncertain if he would make it. His chronicle, unusually detailed, evokes the realities of his life within, his personal sanity, and the will to escape. Especially vivid are the camp’s final months and the prisoners’ deliverance. Be there and see that Stalag IVB was no Stalag 17 with William Holden, sound and healthy, leading a parade of escapees. Tony Vercoe is the author of “Yesterday’s Dreams”, a more definitive memoir of his World War II experiences.

“Bound for Theresienstadt – Love, Loss, and Resistance in a Nazi Concentration Camp”, by Vera Schiff, Foreword by E. Randol Schoenberg. Eight chapters, 207 pages, $29.95sc.  Presented in a two-fold format, this book features the poignant stories of individuals who were transported to Theresienstadt as related by author Vera Schiff whose entire family were sent there in 1942. Unusual in her literary method, the pages replete with terror, horrifying human tragedy, and, for most readers today, tears of sadness. Following each narrative, Vera engages in wide-ranging discussions with ethics professor, Jeff McLaughlin, regarding the Theresienstadt events within the broader political, religious, and cultural context of what is today the Czech Republic.

“A Century in Uniforms – Military Women in American Films”, by Stacey Fowler and Deborah A. Deacon. Eight chapters, 218 pages, $45 sc.  A true delight the WWII enthusiast will hardly believe is a subject unworthy of pursuing, let alone reading about when there is so much more to read about on other military matters. Wrong! If you enjoy being immersed in good war stories, good war movies can’t be far behind. This thoroughly enjoyable read will never again allow your consciousness to ignore what women in the service are wearing while watching feature-length war films, fiction or non-fiction. The co-authors, both solid, reputable authorities on the subject, offer an unusual but stunning decade by decade examination of portrayals of women’s wear in the military. They explore the full range of genres American military women portrayed, respecting their realistic styles, forms, and purposes. “A Century in Uniform” is yet another major contribution to the WWII literature.

And, for the least appreciated WWII meeting of the Second World War, “The Cairo Conference of 1943 – Roosevelt, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, and Madame Chiang”, by Ronald Ian Heiferman.

Thirteen chapters, 199 pages $29.95 sc. For five days in November 1943, the above four met to discuss the future strategies in the China-Burma-India Theater and plans for the ultimate defeat of Japan. This book, with brilliant, easy-to-absorb, narration informs the uninitiated of the events leading up to the conference, the potential consequences of each idea discussed, debated, and decisions reached, but, most important of all, the understandings and misunderstandings resulting from that secret summit. McFarland is proud to inform that Heiferman’s study is the only book-length treatment on the subject examining the impact the conference had on the course of the war in Asia and post-war Sino-Western relations.

“The OSS In World War ALBANIA”, by Peter Lucas, is so special it will be presented in the coming week.

In short, friend, fellow reader, and patron of the finest war literature on WWII, this reviewer who specializes in finding good books about subjects hitherto rejected, ignored, and thus unknown, especially by writers soon-to-be acclaimed, will continue to forward the legacies of  publishers’ who feel the same way. For now, five of America’s best military are being focused upon, Casemate, Schiffer, Osprey, McFarland, and Naval Institute Press. Whole private, personal libraries can be built and sourced from their collections. And, my scouring of the military lists of university presses to see what they offer hasn’t even begun!

So, read, reader, read! From McFarland alone, 1,594 books to go, if your purchase and read these six. Once tiny, the company has grown significant, and now mighty by signaling inspiration, courage, resoluteness, adventure, and love from its growing treasury of titles. You can imagine what the other four publishers are also doing, as well.

 

My job is to introduce their most worthy. I will never, ever, spit on a fledgling author’s sincere effort, since I know how hard it is to write well.

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