E for Escapes : #A to Z Challenge

E is for Escapes as I remember “Escapes from Prisoner of War camps” when I think of the letter “E” today. As a kid, I read as many books about the Second World War as I could. I particularly loved Paul Brickhill’s “Reach For The Sky” the story of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, the legless fighter hero of the Royal Air Force. I was totally impressed that even after he was shot down over France and taken prisoner by the Germans, he continued to harass them in ways he could as he believed it was the duty of every POW to do his best to escape. Bader couldn’t do much because of his disability in the actual digging of tunnels but he was vociferous in what was called “goon baiting.”

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“Deadly Skies”: Bernard T. Nolan

Who can write better about an air war than someone who has been there and seen it for himself? “The Deadly Skies: The Air War in Europe 1939-1945” is by Bernard Nolan who was a young co-pilot and later commander of B-24s and B-17s in the 8th Bomber Command of the USAF during the Second World War. This book, which covers the air wars in Europe from 1939 to 1945, is by a retired Lt. Col. in the USAF who flew 33 combat missions and is qualified to speak of the experiences air crew ( those in bombers, in particular) had in their long flights into far away Germany from bases in the UK. Continue reading ““Deadly Skies”: Bernard T. Nolan”

“No End Save Victory”: edited by Robert Cowley

I have read hundreds of books about the Second World War but “No End Save Victory: Perspectives of World War II” edited by Robert Cowley must rank as being one of the best. I had looked at this book several times and kept it back in its assigned shelf in the library I use, daunted by its size, (688 pages), but some weeks ago I decided to give it another shot, and am so glad I did so.

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“Plotting Hitler’s Death” by Joachim Fest

For most who have followed accounts of the Second World War, the only story that comes to mind when we talk about plots to kill Hitler revolve around Count Stauffenberg. I was delighted to come across this book, “Plotting Hitler’s Death” ( The German Resistance to Hitler) by Joachim Fest. The book translated into English by Bruce Little from the original, “Staatsstreich: Der lange Weg zum. 20. Juli”  was first published in Germany in 1994, almost 50 years after Stauffenberg’s attempt to kill Hitler on July 20, 1944.

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“Lost Victories” by Erich von Manstein

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I want to become a complete writer.

If you are a Second World War buff, like me, I am sure you would have read many biographies and autobiographies from the Generals, Admirals, and Air Chief Marshals who led the Allied troops to victory over the Axis forces.

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Authors I Admired: William L. Shirer

I am not sure which was the first book about the Second World War that I read as a kid. I rather suspect it was “Reach For The Sky” by Paul Brickhill, that enthralling story of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, the legless RAF fighter ace. This led me to read more and more books based on the Second World War and due to my interest in military history, I became a confirmed fan of stories about the War. I must add that I was reading them in India some 20 odd years after the war had ended with the total surrender of first Nazi Germany, and later of the Imperial Japan of those times. Continue reading “Authors I Admired: William L. Shirer”

What Caught My Fancy

In this post, I would like to share a few things that caught my fancy in the week gone by:

  • For World War II buffs, and I am a great one let me admit, here’s something which sounds very interesting. A story of Jews in the Second World War, not as you would imagine in Europe but in Shanghai of all the places. A thriller by Daniel Kalla called “The Far Side Of The Sky” is reviewed here in the Huffington Post by Julie A. Carlson. I was impressed by Kalla’s ability to manage to be a writer despite his demanding schedule as the department head of two teaching hospitals in Vancouver. Second, I learnt how fascinating it can be to choose a little known topic, like the Jews of Shanghai and write a book on this!
  • James Patterson needs no introduction. He earned $84 million last year according to Forbes magazine to make him the world highest earning author.I was interested to read how he is busy spending big bucks to develop a readership for the future! This article in Bloomberg News by Patrick Cole makes some new points on how an author who already has a huge readership world-wide is doing his bit to develop the habit of reading: amongst new readers, especially kids.