Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi
Never forget, gift-givers, that the history of the Second World War, which ended some 76 years ago, continues to captivate the current generation. To this very hour, the war’s enthusiasts continue to search for books of past events beyond colossal battles and epic victories that impacted the course of the war. Lesser-known military actions, their histories, and involved personalities, are always welcomed and read throughout with heartfelt appreciation.
With December 1st at our doorsteps, and the Christmas season well underway, friends of books may consider remembering their war-minded buffs, aficionados, and enthusiasts, or, perhaps, themselves, with the best reading of today’s hottest topic in World War II literature – – local clandestine activities and irregular partisan group operations throughout the German occupied territories of Europe resulting in inevitable in Nazi retaliation vengeance. Eye-witnessing the unquenchable resolve to defeat and destroy Hitler and his parasite flatterers is always intellectually, morally, and spiritually uplifting, especially when the accounts are impressively researched and movingly told.
Thus, five titles are highly recommended for purchase from Amazon, or the publisher indicated, Casemate Publishing and Pen & Sword Books
“NO MOON AS WITNESS – – MISSIONS OF THE SOE AND OSS IN WORLD WAR II”, by James Stejskal. Casemate Publishers: 186 pages; $29.95. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) and Office of Strategic Services (OSS) were created to “set Europe aflame”. Stejskal offers a spellbinding summary of successes and failures of SOE agents working alone or in small cells, always cooperating with local resistance groups in hard-hitting dangerous operations, often against befuddled Germans. The OSS operatives, meanwhile, established anti-Nazi resistance fighting groups across Europe, training and coordinating spies, smuggling them where needed most. Without question, “No Moon as Witness” is one of the most enthralling reads of the forthcoming 2022 year.
“WITH THE SAS – – ACROSS THE RHINE INTO THE HEART OF HITLER’S THIRD REICH”, by Ian Wellsted. Pen and Sword Books: 155 pages; $39.95. For those who read author Wellsted first-part memoir, “SAS: With the Maquis”, this story concludes with his career in the Special Air Services. His exploits deep in the cities, towns, and hinterlands of Germany are truly remarkable. Few such agents survived their assignments. In addition to being a well written personal account, one is mesmerized by the dual role he so astonishingly performed, thereby allowing him to survive his near daily encounters with the enemy. Highly recommended reading.
“SECRET DUTIES OF A SIGNALS INTERCEPTOR- – WORKING WITH BLETCHLEY PARK, THE SDS, AND OSS”, by Jenny Nater. Pen & Sword Books: 207 pages: $39.95. This is one of the 10 best memoirs of all 2021 – – and, of a true non-combatant heroine exemplar at that! For this reviewer, Jenny’s experiences as a bilingual wireless operator in the top-secret Special Duties Service (Y) at Dover throughout WW II are both refreshing and informational, thus his favorite of this past year. In addition to intercepting military traffic from German surface craft in the English Channel and reporting all back to Bletchley Park (X), she carried out important work for the war effort by striking up a series of wartime, home front, relationships, one, life-changing, notable with a Coastal Force Command lieutenant who was subsequently lost off the coast of Dover. The story of how their careers interrelated, both on land and at sea, make for a thrilling, sorrowful, and poignant reading. Highly, highly recommended.
“THE MILITARY LIFE AND TIMES OF GENERAL SIR MILES DEMPSEY – – MONTY’S ARMY COMMANDER”, by Peter Rostron. Pen & Sword Military: 214 pages; $29.95. One of the two-best military biographies of 2021, author Rostron’s study is a deeply sympathetic life story of an unjustly overlooked British officer. Long overlooked, this Commander of the British Second Army in the Normandy Invasion comes to life via Rostron’s superb narrative skill. In addition to drawing upon numerous primary sources which include previously unpublished accounts of working side by side with Army Group Commander Montgomery, as well Allied commanders, especially in the coordinated planning of D-Day, the author details Dempsy’s survival during his two. and a half year of bitter fighting as an infantry officer on the Western Front in World War I. The biography is profound, and, from page one to the book’s last, vividly presented as all solid, honest, intelligent reportage should be. Not only is it highly recommended because General Sir Miles Dempsy deserves recognition at last, but also because it finally fills a considerable gap in the literature of Allied World War II commanders.
“MEN OF ARMOR – – THE HISTORY OF B Company, 756TH TANK BATTALION IN WORLD WAR II”, by Jeff Danby. Casemate Publishers: 369 pages; $34.95. Simply put, a literary masterpiece of placing the enthusiastic reader where he wants to be while reading the amazing story of Company B – – right smack in the tanker’s driver seat. Up close and at the personal level, the reader is intrinsically involved in the tank’s constitution, nature, and essence. Especially gratifying is being privy to the emotions and personal insights of every member tank’s contingent in combat. As Victor Failmezger, author of “American Knights”, writes, “This may be the best U.S. armored unit history ever put together so long after the conflict.”