After last Friday’s post about the Pritzker Military Library’s symposium, On War, I got a challenging e-mail from a reader, asking me for the titles of definitive histories for World War I, World War II and Vietnam.*
My first response was “danged if I know.” My second response was doubt that there is a definitive history for either world war because of their sheer scope. I finally decided that if I couldn’t give him definitive histories, I could at least give him important ones.
Members of my favorite on-line military history group made several useful suggestions:
• Phillip Davidson’s Vietnam at War
• John Keegan’s The First World War
• Barbara Tuchman’s wonderful The Guns of August***
• Gerhard Weinberg’s A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II
From my reading in the last two years, I’d add Antony Beevor’s The Second World War and Peter Englund’s The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War.
I ask you, dear readers: What books would you add to the list? Are there any here that you disagree with violently?
*Another reader who regularly asks me hard questions took a totally different angle and suggested I read James Juhnke’s The Missing Peace: The Search for Nonviolent Alternatives in United States History.**
**I have the smartest, toughest readers anywhere!
***I want to be Barbara Tuchman when I grow up.