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Book and Film Reviews

by Paul Kennedy, Random House, 2013, Hardcover, $30.00, 464 pages
Reviewed by
on Mar 17 2013 - 2:39pm
Reviewed by Jonathan D. Beard* Paul Kennedy has written a “big idea” book about how and why the Allies won World War II. He has done an excellent job of combining good writing, good use of sources, and good pacing to create a series of narratives that explain why various factors—the Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engine, the creation of the Seabees, microwave radar—were critical to the Anglo-American and Soviet victories over Nazi Germany and Japan. In each of the five sections of Engineers of...
Review Type: Book
An Operational Narrative by Valeriy Zamulin, Helion and Company, 2011, Hardback, $69.95, 664 pages
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Sep 4 2011 - 4:40pm
For armor enthusiasts few battles rank as high in terms of interest as the one fought in July of 1943 near the small Russian town of Prokhorovka; a struggle occurring during the Wehrmacht's summer offensive against the Soviet held Kursk bulge in German lines. In spite of this interest however, a considerable amount of misunderstanding continues to cloud the events that brought Nazi Germany's last great offensive in Eastern Europe to a close. Nevertheless, in Demolishing the Myth: The Tank...
Review Type: Book
Strategy, Combat, Myths, Deceptions by Alan D. Zimm, Casemate, 2011, Cloth, $32.95, 464 pages.
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 5:30pm
The December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that formerly brought the United States of America into World War II, has long attracted tremendous interest from historians and the American public alike. What's more, even today interest in the Pearl Harbor raid remains high. In the English speaking world alone dozens of books have been written on the subject. One would think that with such a huge body of work available, that there is not much left that is new to say. Nevertheless, Alan D...
Review Type: Book
The Encirclement and Breakout of a German Army in the East, 1944, by Niklas Zetterling & Anders Frankson, Casemate, 2008, Hardcover, $32.95, 320 pages.
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 5:26pm
Known to the Germans, and thus many in the Anglo-American speaking world, as the Battle at Tscherkassy (Cherkassy) and to the Red Army as the Korsun-Shevchenkovskii Operation; the January-February 1944 battle centered around the town of Korsun has long attracted tremendous interest from amateur and professional historians alike. Interest in the battle stems from a number of reasons not least of which, and as authors Niklas Zetterling and Anders Frankson amply demonstrate, because the fighting...
Review Type: Book
Hitler's Master Strategist, by Benoit Lemay, Casemate, 2010, Soft cover, $32.95, 528 pages.
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 5:22pm
Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1] There is little doubt that Erich von Manstein had one of the finest military minds of the Second World War. Among his accolades, include, perhaps most famously, his role in creating the plan that lead to the spectacular fall of France in 1940. In addition, came his exploits leading Army Group Don in February and March 1943; when his brilliant "backhand" counterstroke not only brought stability to the German Eastern Front, following the loss of...
Review Type: Book
The Life and Death of Germany's Last Super Battleship, by Niklas Zetterling & Michael Tamelander, Casemate, 2009, Hard cover, $32.95, 360 pages.
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 5:16pm
Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1] The story of the Tirpitz, as presented by military historians Niklas Zetterling and Michael Tamelander, is really a metaphor for the experiences endured by many of Germany's Second World War capital ships and the concomitant Allied efforts to destroy them. It is in this look at the struggle between Allied and German maritime assets in one of the Second World War's most hostile physical environments that helps elevate Zetterling's and Tamelander's work...
Review Type: Book
The Iron Men of Metz, Directed by Davidson Cole, Produced by Davidson Cole, Neal Gold, Adam Graham, John Digles, Ligia Popescu, Bruce Rosenzweig and Mary Kay Cook Traveller Jones Productions, 2009, $19.99
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 5:12pm
Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1] When one sits down to watch The Ninety-Fifth, The Iron Men of Metz it readily becomes evident this film is not your typical work on the Second World War. Superficially, it is about the U.S. 95th Infantry Division and The battle of Metz; the battle that defined this division's combat record fighting against the Axis forces in the European Theater of Operations during the Second World War. However, within the first minutes of this film, a film first aired...
Review Type: Film
The Red Army's Winter Offensive 1942-1943, by David M. Glantz, Helion & Company, 2009, Hardcover, $59.95 496 pages.
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 5:05pm
Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1] The war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union has received an uneven treatment from most popular historians. Perhaps no better example of this is in typical accounts of events taking place during the winter of 1942-1943. Most often, this period of the war in Eastern Europe is described strictly from the perspective of the German Sixth Army's collapse at Stalingrad. Then, in these accounts and almost as an afterthought, the Red Army ends up pushing a...
Review Type: Book
Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945 by Catherine Merridale, Metropolitan Books, 2006. Hardcover, $30.00, 480 pages
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 5:00pm
Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1] Catherine Merridale's Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945, is a fascinating and necessary look at men all too often reduced to a subhuman status by not only their Second World War foes but nearly fifty years of Cold War propaganda. What most grants Merridale's work its importance lies within what is sometimes forgotten about the Second World War; the reality Hitler and his National Socialist regime were dedicated to fighting a racial...
Review Type: Book
From Coalition to Collapse, by Richard Dinardo, University Press of Kansas, 2005. Hardcover, $34.95, 282 pages
Reviewed by
Steve Mercatante
on Aug 19 2011 - 4:54pm
Reviewed by Steven Douglas Mercatante [1] Richard Dinardo's Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse (Modern War Studies) fills an invaluable niche in the literature currently available on the Second World War's European Theater. In particular, Dinardo has focused on Germany's relationship with Finland, Hungary, Italy and Romania; producing a concise but revealing analysis into the numerous problems that derailed the Axis coalition. In Germany and the Axis Powers Dinardo has...
Review Type: Book

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