Biographies

Discussion in 'Non-fiction' started by RabidAlien, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I am a sucker for personal stories from WWII (and am starting to look into WWI as well), so I thought I'd share a couple, one I finished recently, and one I'm currently reading.

    The last book I finished was "Patton: A Genius For War" by Carlo D'Este. EXCELLENT book! Everything a reader could ask for in a biography: interviews with surviving family members, quotes (or entire reproductions) of personal letters and diary entries, even a few snippets from his foes and from battle records. The book reads, quite literally, as if you are there hovering over Patton's shoulder, beginning with his ancestors in the Civil War all the way through his untimely death...no embarrassing or rude detail was omitted. And with Patton, there were plenty of those. :lol: I found it very hard to put this book down.
    http://www.amazon.com/Patton-Genius...=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1280284438&sr=1-3

    I'm currently reading "Knight's Cross: A Life of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel" by David Fraser. This book is the antithesis of the Patton book in every way...not only were they opposites on the battlefield, but I find it difficult to really enjoy this book, which is hard for me, since Rommel is probably one of my favorite figures of WW2. There are very few, if any, clips from personal letters or diaries, personal quotes, interviews with subordinates/superiors or anything. There was even a chapter or two devoted to Hitler and his policies, with perhaps one sentence that mentioned Rommel. Basically, its a birds-eye-view of Rommel's life and career, with not a whole lot of detail spent on the inter-war period. With a book this thick, and about this particular subject, I was very much hoping for another "Patton" perspective, something that really got up close and personal with the man. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of information, but it reads really dry. Of course, I'm reading this one immediately after reading the Patton book, so my expectations may be a bit higher than normal, but....I can't help but feel slightly....let down, I guess. I'm not regretting the purchase, just not thrilled.
    http://www.amazon.com/Knights-Cross...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1280284481&sr=1-1


    Anyone else reading/have read a biography that you just have to share with the world, its so frikkin good?
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That's about the only Patton book I have not read, but I have to agree with you on the Knight's Cross.
     
  3. hub

    hub Member

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    I finished that book on Patton as well, it took me a couple of goes to get past the family history,but once I did I couldn't put it down.
    I think it was a far account of a fascinating man, sad to finish it!

    Mike
     
  4. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    I finished reading the Blond Knight Of Germany about Erich Hartmann not to long ago. A very good book, lots of info in it. Very intresting seeing the war basically through his eyes.


    I have just finished reading a book, and to me it was so good, that I am half way through it again (im weird like that I guess). It is called Iron Coffins by Herbert Werner. It basically tells about the U-boat war through his eyes. Oberleutnant zur See Herbert A. Werner - German U-boat Commanders of WWII - uboat.net It is very intresting in reading the book cause he had so many friends that he went to school with, but never heard from them again cause their boats were sunk. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a liking to U-Boats.
     
  5. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Thanks for that, Beau...I've got that one on my "to be read" shelf, too. Lookin forward to it, especially after finishing "Galloping Ghost" recently!
     
  6. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Okay, I just finished "Knights Cross"....well, sorta. The end of my book went from page 544 straight to page 577, had a bunch of blank pages, then repeated pages 577 onwards, all references. So I never really got to finish the book. For a general overview of a man's life, I hate to say that this was one of the worst I'd ever read. It was like watching Band of Brothers on DVD with a guy who really wasn't into the movie and kept hitting the fast-forward button. There was absolutely NO discussion on the last day of his life, just a phone call to say "two generals will be by to visit you tomorrow." Then some sort of rambling on "what did Rommel actually know" (regarding Valkyrie). During the Afrika Corps days, the author very rarely mentions the Americans, except to say that they were green troops and ran at Kasserine Pass, and Montgomery saved the day (again). Patton is mentioned once, as leading the fake army set up to convince German High Command that the Normandy invasion was just the feint and prevent reinforcements from arriving in time. Being proud of your own country's heroes is understandable (the author is British), but to completely ignore and denigrate the efforts and accomplishments of others (any time the Americans did anything of note, it was written as "the Allies")? I'm sorry to say, but I found myself falling asleep (literally), wondering when the book was going to end, and having several internal discussions with the voices in my head to try to convince myself not to quit the book in the middle...."Rommel is worth the effort" was what I kept telling myself. I will never buy another book by this author (David Fraser), and have consigned the book to my 'sell to Half-Price Books' junk pile. To my knowledge, its the first WW2 book that I have sold back.
     
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