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rasmussen81
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Last Citadel Fri, 03 July 2009 23:31
As many of you know, I'm a teacher in Oregon, USA. For the last 3 years I've been teaching 3rd grade but next year I'm moving up and I'll be teaching a class of about thirty-two 5th grade students. Some of the students I'll have in my class were in my Memoir '44 History Club and will continue enjoying the game throughout the year.

Being a teacher, I have a much-needed vacation every year when I can recuperate, relax, and recharge before the craziness of anther year. I'm enjoying my summer vacation, and to celebrate I dug out some of the World War II books I haven't had time to read.

I just finished an excellent World War II novel called "Last Citadel" by David L. Robbins. Being a novel, the characters and plot are made up, but Robbins did a wonderful job of creating an interesting story set against the backdrop of Operation Citadel - the battle of Kursk.

If anyone is interested, I would highly recommend "Last Citadel" to any Memoir '44 fan! See if your local library has it, or check out the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Citadel-Novel-Battle-Kursk/dp/055 3583123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246656459&am p;sr=1-1

Now that I'm finished with my book, I'm looking for another good one to read. Anyone have a suggestion? Rolling Eyes I do have some reading to do in preparation for teaching a new grade next year, but I would enjoy another fun book to read! Cool
      
yangtze
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 00:03
"With Rommel in the Desert" is a great read. Factual memoirs of Rommel's driver, but very well written.

Or Erhard Raus' eastern front memoirs, perhaps? Another well written, exciting read.

Currently I'm reading Anthony Beevor's latest D-Day Smile
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 00:47
yangtze wrote on Fri, 03 July 2009 23:03

Currently I'm reading Anthony Beevor's latest D-Day Smile


Pah, I've got to wait until my birthday in early August to read that one! Sad


      
rasmussen81
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 01:37
yangtze wrote on Fri, 03 July 2009 15:03

"With Rommel in the Desert" is a great read. Factual memoirs of Rommel's driver, but very well written.

Or Erhard Raus' eastern front memoirs, perhaps? Another well written, exciting read.

Currently I'm reading Anthony Beevor's latest D-Day Smile


Thanks Yangtze, I'll have to keep my eye out for those titles. I guess David L. Robbins has a few other books out about World War II that I might also look for. "Scorched Earth", "The End of War", "War of the Rats", "Souls to Keep", and "Liberation Road".

"War of the Rats" sounds interesting because I believe it's about the fighting in North Africa and I'm always curious about that. "Liberation Road" is about the efforts to liberate France, which would be interesting to read while I play through the Normandy Campaign. Very Happy
      
rasmussen81
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 01:45
rasmussen81 wrote on Fri, 03 July 2009 16:37


"War of the Rats" sounds interesting because I believe it's about the fighting in North Africa and I'm always curious about that.


Scratch that. I just looked up "War of the Rats" on Amazon and it's about Russia again. You can read the first chapter online and it's about Vasily Zaitsev around Stalingrad! Twisted Evil

Take a look:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/055358135X/ref=s9_simz_gw_s 0_p14_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_r d_r=12ZDMK32DFB09DP202KZ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=4709386 31&pf_rd_i=507846
      
yangtze
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 08:32
I'll do that!

I've never read any of Robbins stuff, I'll be looking him up, but if you like novels with an accurate historical background you might also try the Leo Kessler stuff. The author's real name was Charles Whiting who saw action with a British armoured recce regiment through Belgium to Germany in 44/5.

Also I find Sven Hassel's books to be a great read. He's a Dane who claims to have served on all fronts except N. Africa during WW2 with a German penal battalion amongst other formations, and to have been wounded several times. His books are well written and based on historical events, but are fictionalised. He writes from the first person, because he was there, but he's rarely the main character, and all of his recurring characters are colourful.
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 08:35
yangtze wrote on Sat, 04 July 2009 07:32

...and all of his recurring characters are colourful.


You can say that again!! Laughing
      
Timmuilwijk
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 17:20
Hi,

I've just read Donald R. Burgett's series of his personal life in the 101st Airborne Division, having served in all operations from D-Day to the drive on Berchtesgaden. His account with maps is really interesting and it has inspired me to create some scenarios based on his stories.

Another one of my favorites is the Band of Brothers novel by Stephen E. Ambrose.

I am currently reading 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich' by William L. Shirer. It is more about the politics and the military steps Hitler undertook in his ascent of power ( I am currently reading in the period between the Munich Conference and the Invasion of Poland) but I thought that there would be some information about battles etc. as well. It is good for the background so that you get an idea of what strength the Third Reich possessed.

I will see if I have more suggestions in the future...

Tim
      
rasmussen81
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Re:Last Citadel Sat, 04 July 2009 18:21
Timmuilwijk wrote on Sat, 04 July 2009 08:20

Hi,

I've just read Donald R. Burgett's series of his personal life in the 101st Airborne Division, having served in all operations from D-Day to the drive on Berchtesgaden. His account with maps is really interesting and it has inspired me to create some scenarios based on his stories.


Thanks for the recommendations, Tim! Reading books about World War II often inspires me to create scenarios too. Smile

I discovered that "Last Citadel" covers battles that we have in the game already (Prokhorovka Overlord) and without even knowing it, I've created a battle that is really important in the book (Prokhorovka - Northern Sector). Near the end of "Last Citadel", Burgett describes the crazy battle that took place around the town of Prokhorovka!!

Here are the links to the two battles:
http://www.daysofwonder.com/memoir44/en/editor/view/?id=1367
http://www.daysofwonder.com/memoir44/en/editor/view/?id=4833

Keep up the reading, and keep the ideas coming!! Cool
      
50th
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Re:Last Citadel Sun, 05 July 2009 06:56
I am reading D-Day by Stephen Ambrose, just started it. I bought it at a used book sale for a dollar. Gotta love bargins!
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:Last Citadel Sun, 05 July 2009 11:14
I've just got Alan Clarke's The Fall of Crete to read just before my holiday there at the end of the month.

It's great visiting the actual battlefields whilst reading about them. I've done the same with holidays in Normabdy and Brittany. I knew my wife loved me when she agreed to come on the tour around the u-boat pens at Lorient! Very Happy

      
Timmuilwijk
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Re:Last Citadel Sun, 05 July 2009 13:29
50th wrote on Sun, 05 July 2009 06:56

I am reading D-Day by Stephen Ambrose, just started it. I bought it at a used book sale for a dollar. Gotta love bargins!



I have it too and it is very detailed, especially the part about the Airborne operations is fully described. The invasions of the beaches is also described with a style that keeps you at reading the book until you have reached the last page Very Happy

I also have World War II in photographs, which shows pictures of all the fronts in WWII some being famous and others being published for the first time (I believe). It is more background again but it gives an impression of how things looked like and of the development in equipment and tactics (new planes, better gear etc.)

I think that the novels and historical books are the most important items for creating a battle. However, I still can't find a good site with good detailed maps on WWII (Preferably every front) so does anyone know a good site for this?

Tim
      
LooneyLlama
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Re:Last Citadel Mon, 06 July 2009 23:48
Dear Rassmussen81,

I would like to recommend Antony Beevor's 'Stalingrad' and 'The Fall of Berlin'. He is a great historian who makes non-fiction come alive. These are two great books! Also Rick Atkinson's 'Army at Dawn' (North Africa) and 'The Day of Battle' (Sicily and Italy) are terrific reads. Sometimes it can be difficult to find readable non-fiction and that is why historical fiction is popular. I've got my share of losers in my library. I love history from all eras and if anyone would like a recommendation feel free to ask.

Eric (looneyllama is my son's moniker)

By the way, is 81 your high school or college graduation date?
      
rasmussen81
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Re:Last Citadel Tue, 07 July 2009 02:36
Thanks for the recommendations. I've heard of a few of those (I think I've seen them at book stores) so I might pick one up. I have a few boring books in my collection as well.

The 81 in my User Name is actually my birth year! Razz I graduated high school (in Kenya) in 2000, college (in Oregon) in 2004, and grad school (in Oregon but from a different college) in 2006.

Now I teach and I still have parents who ask if I'm old enough to be teaching their kids! Rolling Eyes
      
LooneyLlama
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Re:Last Citadel Tue, 07 July 2009 14:49
Yikes!!! I'm old enough to be your dad. It's nice to see young people interested in history. Keep making it come alive for your students. I've got a couple of more books for you. These read so well that you can't put them down. They are James Bradley's 'Flags of Our Fathers' and 'Flyboys'. These are two of the best books I've ever read. They both deal with the Pacific theater. You've probably seen the movie but the book is so much better. Take care.

Eric
      
ad79
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Re:Last Citadel Tue, 07 July 2009 22:38
Hi "Old man" Laughing sorry Embarassed Eric.
I have read "The Fall of Berlin" and it is a very good book. It has some disturbing accounts about the brutality on the Eastern front.
I also bought and started reading "Stalingrad" on monday(before you posted on this forum) and the parts I have read about Operation Barbarossa is well written.

      
thejughead
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Re:Last Citadel Wed, 08 July 2009 01:36
For Fiction, I would suggest Fatherland by Robert Harris.

http://www.amazon.com/Fatherland-Novel-Mortalis-Robert-Harri s/dp/0812977211/ref=pd_sim_b_2
      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:Last Citadel Wed, 08 July 2009 03:17
Wow -- a class of 32?!? Shocked

I'm a teacher, too (in Illinois) and the college classes I've taught have been capped at 25; this fall I start a new job at an academy where they're capped at 23...how do you remember all their names?

Back to the books:
A lot of good ones I recognize here, and I want to echo support for a few. Atkinson's books are excellent, great narrative history of the American (and Anglo-American) army in N Africa and Europe. I think the third and final part of the trilogy is due out next year. Beevor's Stalingrad is excellent, as is Ambrose's D-Day book.

For other history books, no list is complete without Cornelius Ryan -- either The Longest Day or A Bridge Too Far. Ambrose's Band of Brothers is great, too (especially if you liked the HBO mini-series). Toland's book on the Bulge is also a classic, and Guadalcanal by Richard Frank is a great look at the campaign for that island...written recently, too, I think.

If you enjoy memoirs, I'd also suggest David Webster's Parachute Infantry (Webster was a member of Easy Company, and a character in the HBO series, but unlike most other E Co memoirs, his was written BEFORE the mini-series), or With the Old Breed by Sledge (part of the new HBO series on the Pacific will be based on this book). And maybe the best WW2 memoir I've read is The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer; Sajer was a French teenager conscripted by the Germans and sent to fight on the Eastern Front. All three are powerful, grunt-level works.

I'm not much for historical fiction. If I dive into that, it's usually Michael Shaara's Killer Angels...but that's another war! Smile

Keep up the good work in the classroom!
      
Timmuilwijk
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Re:Last Citadel Wed, 08 July 2009 08:13
Indeed Cornelius Ryan must not be forgotten (still haven't got the time to read those as well Confused but I've seen both movies!)

The Longest Day and A Bridge too Far are really good movies to watch! Although they are quite old they still give you an idea of how it looked like!

Tim
      
TheMarshalUK
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Re:Last Citadel Wed, 08 July 2009 11:01
A sadly missed eccentric comic genius called Spike Milligan responsible for amongst other things the highly popular radio show "the Goons"(1951-1960) wrote an embelleished Autobiography about his time as a gunner during his WW2. The trilogy which extends to 7 books in total recalls his time in north africa and italy. The books are funny and sad filled with love and pathos and Spikes own eccentric outlook on life.

Ok so they are embellished accounts of his time spent serving during the war but im sure if you pick up the 1st book you will enjoy what is a very good read.

The 1st book is entitled Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall and sets the tone for the series. I appreciate his eccentric humour may not be for everyone but the naive charm he shows within the pages makes the books quite touching in parts though he uses his madcap style to pull the reader through the sadness

there is a good review of the series here http://www.amazon.com/Adolf-Hitler-Part-his-Downfall/dp/0140 035206/ref=pd_sim_b_5

should give you a good flavour of the whole series and i hope some of you get to read at least the 1st couple and enjoy them as much as i did,

[Updated on: Wed, 08 July 2009 11:05]

      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:Last Citadel Wed, 08 July 2009 20:47
TheMarshalUK wrote on Wed, 08 July 2009 10:01

The 1st book is entitled Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall and sets the tone for the series. I appreciate his eccentric humour may not be for everyone but the naive charm he shows within the pages makes the books quite touching in parts though he uses his madcap style to pull the reader through the sadness


The whole series is worth reading just for the "Hitlergrams"!! The world is a greyer place without Spike.

[Updated on: Wed, 08 July 2009 20:47]

      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:Last Citadel Thu, 09 July 2009 02:14
There's a real strong school of thought that says all autobiography/memoirs are "embellished," especially since human memory is so fallible and susceptible to suggestion...

How does Spike Milligan compare in style to say Kurt Vonnegut, whose Slaughterhouse V recollects some of the Battle of the Bulge and the firebombing of Dresden (in a crazy, postmodern way)?

I've been thinking about this thread (sorry - I teach English Razz ) and actually remembered a couple more books that are historical fiction (sort of). Black Rain by Ibuse Masuji is a real powerful telling of the dropping of the atomic bomb from a Japanese civilian's perspective. Also from the Japanese perspective is Shoehei Ooka's Fires on the Plain, recounting the final days in the battle for the Philippines. I taught both of these in a college course on the literature of WW2 and forgot all about them (until now) for this thread.
      
TheMarshalUK
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Re:Last Citadel Thu, 09 July 2009 13:41
OldBloodandGuts wrote on Thu, 09 July 2009 01:14


How does Spike Milligan compare in style to say Kurt Vonnegut, whose Slaughterhouse V recollects some of the Battle of the Bulge and the firebombing of Dresden (in a crazy, postmodern way)?


To sum up the style of Spike Milligan would be mission impossible. I add a link to wiki to try to give you a small flavour of who he was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spike_Milligan

The use of the word embellished is probably not well chosen, His Diary accounts, 1st of which was published in 1971 use the language of the soldier in the field and political correctness gives way to Spikes comedic view of the world. To many spikes unorthdox view of the world and comedic writing where in many ways the forerunner to "alternative comedy" and there is a strong arguement that says his many talents paved the way for Monty pythons flying circus and other alternate comedy that followed.

His diaries are abstract and cover the hard and at times sad world of a soldier serving in the field but his eccentric view points bring a naive charm to the hostility of war that always bring a smile to my lips

These books are based on his diaries and his humour brings them to life. Although not always PC by todays standards Spike was and will always hold a fond place in the hearts of the British with the 50's radio show the goons being one of his most fondly remembered collaborations. Spike will remain forever the father of eccentric British humour. At times controversial and not always in favour with the powers that be but never the less a Comedic Genius who served in north Africa in WW2 He suffered from manic depressive illness and sadly passed away in 2002.

Its with a tear in my Eye I suggested these humorous accounts as its just dawned on me they where 1st suggested to me by mother-in-Law whom sadly passed away on July the 4th just past. She served her time during the war in the womans air force over here in the UK

To Bette a loving friend to all
Sadly missed but never forgotten

[Updated on: Thu, 09 July 2009 18:29]

      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:Last Citadel Thu, 09 July 2009 20:26
Timmuilwijk wrote on Wed, 08 July 2009 07:13

The Longest Day and A Bridge too Far are really good movies to watch! Although they are quite old they still give you an idea of how it looked like!

Tim


Weren't they both largely shot on location?

      
Timmuilwijk
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Re:Last Citadel Thu, 09 July 2009 22:22
Yeah that's right, for example they used mansions near Arnhem albeit not the correct ones (but who cares?) but they are quite the same though. Indeed they filmed the right bridges etc. (This being the movie A Bridge Too Far)

Anyway nice films they are...

Tim
      
SlotraceDK
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Re:Last Citadel Fri, 10 July 2009 09:26
Timmuilwijk wrote on Thu, 09 July 2009 22:22

Yeah that's right, for example they used mansions near Arnhem albeit not the correct ones (but who cares?) but they are quite the same though. Indeed they filmed the right bridges etc. (This being the movie A Bridge Too Far)

Anyway nice films they are...

Tim


Just too bad they did have German tanks and halftracks! American tanks and halftracks dressed up as German spoils it for me.
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:Last Citadel Fri, 10 July 2009 09:40
The real stinker must be the Battle of the Bulge film. No authentic German armour and the final battle scenes were filmed in Spain - not much snow and forest there! I'm sure the film even carries an apology and "poetic licence" claim in the final credits!

Avoid. Laughing

      
nemesszili
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Re:Last Citadel Fri, 10 July 2009 15:50
I saw that film once. Yes, it doesn't uses German Heavy Armor, but it uses, I think, an M60 Patton as a King Tiger! I got no problem with this film, but was it so hard to find some German Armor after only 20 years? Or, at least, a replica? Anyway, I got no other problem with the film. Storyline is good, there are minor non-historic elements.

Overall, it's a good ol' days film. Worth watching it.
      
TheMarshalUK
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Re:Last Citadel Fri, 10 July 2009 17:27
I believe getting authentic German Armour has always been an issue. Watched a refit programme the other week and they where saying they had been lucky to get the Tiger they where working on virtually complete as it had gotten stuck in deep water with just the turret showing so the explosive device the tank crews used when abandoning there vehicle hadn't totally wrecked it, as the pressure of the water it sat in helped absorb the internal blast and allow the main body of the tank to remain intact.

[Updated on: Fri, 10 July 2009 17:27]

      
    
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