Second World War

  • ALMH
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    In this tale of courage and determination, David Guss looks back over the Second World War exploits of PoW Lt Alastair Cram.

    Cram was taken prisoner in North Africa in November 1941 but ended up living in 10 different camps and three Gestapo prisons. However, Cram was a serial escapee - and found his way to freedom no fewer than 21 times.

    Cram met David Stirling, the legendary founder of the SAS in Gavi (known as the 'Italian Colditz') and together they laid the groundwork for the 'Cistern Tunnel' escape - one of the most audacious and also little-known escape attempts of the entire War.
  • Our Uninvited Guests - Hardback - 9781471152535 - Julie Summers
    UNIN
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    Social historian Julie Summers looks over the period during the Second World War when thousands of families had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave everything they knew and start a new life in a location where Hitler's Luftwaffe could not reach them - and the role Britain's country houses had to play in this.

    Based on extensive research and interviews, Julie conveys the problems these families faced during the early years of the conflict and examines the locations that they were sent to. She also looks at the problems and social stigmas they had to face and overcome in each different area.

    This hardback shines a light on a previously untold story from the Second World War. It looks at how people from all walks of life found themselves in these most esteemed surroundings and how the juxtaposition of splendour and opulence was at odds with their temporary residents' needs.
  • WWII Military Collection - 5 Books - Collection - 9781407251004
    WWMC
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    From the Dambusters bombing raid to the story that inspired the classic film, The Great Escape, this collection is full of fascinating reads for anyone interested in military history.

    With five books to read through, it will provide hours of reading. The Battle for the Code is the story of how the German Enigma codes were broken (as seen in the Benedict Cumberbatch film The Imitation Game); Ill Met by Moonlight is an adventure story about how the Special Forces kidnapped the General of Crete; and The Great Escape is the story of a mass escape from a WWII German PoW camp.

    This collection also includes Wings on My Sleeve, test pilot Eric Brown's autobiography; and The Dambusters Raid, a definitive account of the most audacious bombing raid of the Second World War.
  • SPIG
    (1)
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    BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera reveals the story of MI14 and the Secret Pigeon Service during the Second World War for the first time in this compelling read.

    Using extensive original research and declassified documents, he reveals the inner workings of 'Columba' - an operation that saw 16,000 plucky homing pigeons dropped in an arc from Bourdeaux to Copenhagen in an effort to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation.

    The messages came flooding back from France, the Netherlands and Belgium - all written on tiny pieces of rice paper that has been tucked into canisters and tied to the legs of the birds - and these authentic missives ranged from the comic to the tragic and occasionally invaluable, giving the British Intelligence advance notice of German troop movements, weapons and more.

    Corera also looks at the people behind this mission, not many of whom were trained agents or experienced in spying. He focuses in particular on the Leopold Vindictive network, a small group of Belgian villagers - led by priest Joseph Raskin - who were always prepared to risk everything. This is a powerful and tragic tale of wartime espionage that looks at a quirky and quarrelsome band of spy masters and their unique operations.
  • TSWW
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    Written by nine eminent historians, this eye-opening book focuses on the men and women who lived and died during the Second World War.

    This tome draws on contemporary documentation, private writings and historical research to show what life was like for people ranging from soldiers to factory workers and civilians.

    This is an evocative and essential account of the period between 1939 and 1945 that changed the world forever.
  • CHLL
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    Leading Winston Churchill scholar Dr. Christopher Catherwood reveals what the former prime minister - a man often declared the greatest statesman to have ever lived - was like as a man in this painstakingly researched biography. It's packed with photographs and artefacts from the former PM's life.

    Drawing on archive interviews, artworks and personal notes for some of Churchill's most famous and inspiring wartime speeches, this book explores his hidden history in detail. From being homesick while at boarding school to his successes and failures (he disastrous Gallipoli campaign and his blind spot over India), it reveals him to be a powerful, colourful and remarkable character.

    This is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated in political history and those who have gained an interest in the politician after seeing John Lithgow in The Crown or Gary Oldman's Oscar-winning performance in The Darkest Hour.
  • FTEH
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    A companion to the brilliant Channel 4 series of the same name, The Freedom Trails: Escaping Hitler tells the incredible story of some of the brave individuals who managed to escape Nazi Germany.

    Over 5,000 British, Commonwealth and American servicemen made the journey over the Pyrenees, the Slovenian mountains and the Italian alps and many died en route. However, the brave men and women of the resistance still managed to defy the odds and keep the routes open.

    Among those you'll read about are Blondie Haslar, the leader of the Cockleshell Heroes, US airman Chuck Yaeger (whose story was retold in The Right Stuff) and Andree de Jongh, a young woman who risked her life to smuggle men through occupied France and survived being sent to two concentration camps.

    Based on in-depth research and interviews with survivors as well as his own experiences walking the trails, broadcaster and former Royal Marine Monty Halls book is dramatic and gripping from first page to last.
  • DFTR
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    Nicholas Rankin, the bestselling author of Churchill's Wizards, examines how Gibraltar - a lone outpost of the British Empire, riddled with tunnels, spies and secrets - managed to hold off attacks by land, sea and air to help the Allies win the Second World War.

    Two months before his death, Adolf Hitler realised where it had gone wrong - he failed to seize Gibraltar in 1940. A pillar of British sea power since 1704, the Rock of Gibraltar looked formidable but was also very vulnerable.

    Gibraltar was menaced on all sides by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Vichy France and Francoist Spain and had to let thousands of people cross its frontier to work every day - many of whom were eager to blow up its 25 miles of secret tunnels.

    Eventually in 1942, Gibraltar became US General Eisenhower's HQ for the invasion of North Africa and it was this campaign that led to the Allies' victory. This revelatory book features the likes of Haile Selassie, Anthony Burgess and General Sikorsi and sets Gibraltar in the wider context of the struggle against fascism. It also covers its role in the Spanish Civil War and its people's rise to independence.
  • URCH
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    Commemorating 50 years since the death of Winston Churchil, this is a unique illustrated biography for anyone interested in the history of Britain.

    It includes rare and previously unpublished images from the vaults of the Churchill Archive Centre and family pictures from the Broadwater collection. Written by historian Max Arthur, the book covers everything from Churchill's youth and early military career through to the First and Second World Wars and his post-war life.

    Endlessly fascinating, it includes timelines, speech drafts, telegrams and insights into Churchill's key influences, acquaintances and family.
  • TOAH
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    On 8 November, 1923, Adolf Hitler stormed into a beer hall in Munich, fired his pistol in the air and declared the start of a revolution.

    Seventeen hours later and he was on the run from the police, with his career seemingly in tatters. All that remained of his bold move was a trail of destruction... Written by historian David King, this is the true story of the monumental criminal proceeding that followed as Hitler and nine other suspects were charged with high treason.

    While reporters from all over the world came to witness the trial, things clicked into place for Hitler and he ended up hailing the fiasco of the beer hall putsch as a victory for the fledgling Nazi Party. This trial thrust Hitler into the limelight and provided him and set him on his journey to power.

    Using trial transcripts, police files and a host of sources, including 500 documents recently discovered from the Landsberg Prison record office, King's The Trial of Adolf Hitler explains how this failure of the justice system changed the world forever.
  • MSWW
    (1)
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    This informative book contains 150 maps that demonstrate how - and where - the Second World War was fought around the world.

    Published in association with the Imperial War Museums, it features everything from small-scale maps of country boundaries to large-scale maps of the key battles.

    Alongside the maps are photographs and expert commentary on the conflict that lasted from 1939-1945. There are also trench maps, maps from newspapers and key propaganda.
  • AGTJ
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    Robert Hutton tells the incredible story of Eric Roberts, the MI5 agent codenamed Jack King who helped flush out the Nazi sympathisers on British soil as part of Operation Fifth Column in June, 1940.

    Recruited into the world of espionage by Maxwell Knight, Roberts had the ability to make people trust him with their darkest secrets and received so many secrets from Nazi sympathisers who believed him to be a Gestapo officer...

    Drawing on newly declassified documents and private family archives, this book reveals just how close Britain was to succumbing to fascism during the Second World War - and how the actions of brave and brilliant people like Robert Hutton managed to avoid this.
  • MPWR
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    A very poignant and powerful book, Maps of War is a visual survey of how conflict was recorded and planned. It uses archive maps to reveal how warfare and documentation has changed through the centuries.

    Covering the history of military mapping, the book looks at beginning and what impact the invention of printing and introduction of gunpowder had. In the 17th century, military commanders and strategists started to document wars by way of illustration.

    In the 18th century, they started to use maps to chart progress. This chapter reflects the spread of European power and transoceanic conflict and focuses on the American war of Independence. The book then moves on to the 19th and 20th centuries, covering everything from the American Civil War to the World War, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars.
  • ARIJR
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    On 30th April 1945 Germany is in chaos...Russian troops have reached Berlin. All over the country, people are on the move - concentration camp survivors, Allied PoWs, escaping Nazis - and the civilian population is fast running out of food. The man who orchestrated this nightmare is in his bunker beneath the capital, saying his farewells. This is the gripping story of Hitler's final hours, as seen through the eyes of those who were with him in the bunker; those fighting in the streets of Germany; and those pacing the corridors of power in Washington, London and Moscow. It was a day of endings and beginnings when ordinary people were placed in extraordinary situations. 30th April 1945 was a day that millions had dreamed of, and millions had died for.
  • ASOSO
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    An extraordinary tale of the remarkable bond between one man and his dog during the Second World War. The two friends huddled close together, each of them the other's saving grace in a world gone to hell ...There was nothing terribly unusual about POWs suffering horribly at the hands of their Japanese captors. All across the Pacific theatre, Allied captives were experiencing similar punishment. But there was one thing unusual about this particular duo of prisoners. One of them was a dog. Flight technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, met in the most unlikely of places: a World War II internment camp. Judy was a fiercely loyal dog, with a keen sense for who was friend and who was foe, and the pair's relationship deepened throughout their captivity. When the prisoners suffered beatings, Judy would repeatedly risk her life to intervene. She survived bombings and other near-death experiences and became a beacon not only for Frank but for all the men, who saw in her survival a flicker of hope for their own. Using a wealth of new material including interviews with those who knew Frank and Judy, letters and firsthand accounts, Robert Weintraub expertly weaves a narrative of an unbreakable bond forged in the worst circumstances. Judy's devotion to the men she was interned with, including a host of characters from all around the world, from Australia to the UK, was so powerful that reports indicate she might have been the only dog spared in these camps - and their care for her helped keep them alive. At one point, deep in despair and starvation, Frank contemplated killing himself and the dog to prevent either from watching the other die. But both were rescued, and Judy spent the rest of her life with Frank. She became the war's only official canine POW, and after she died at the age of fourteen, Frank couldn't bring himself to ever have another dog. Their story of friendship and survival is one of the great sagas of World War II.
  • ASMUS
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    Without Churchill's inspiring leadership Britain could not have survived its darkest hour and repelled the Nazi menace. Without his wife Clementine, however, he might never have become Prime Minister. By his own admission, the Second World War would have been 'impossible without her'. Clementine was Winston's emotional rock and his most trusted confidante; not only was she involved in some of the most crucial decisions of war, but she exerted an influence over her husband and the Government that would appear scandalous to modern eyes. Yet her ability to charm Britain's allies and her humanitarian efforts on the Home Front earned her deep respect, both behind closed doors in Whitehall and among the population at large. That Clementine should become Britain's 'First Lady' was by no means pre-ordained. Born into impecunious aristocracy, her childhood was far from gilded. Her mother was a serial adulteress and gambler, who spent many years uprooting her children to escape the clutches of their erstwhile father, and by the time Clementine entered polite society she had become the target of cruel snobbery and rumours about her parentage. In Winston, however, she discovered a partner as emotionally insecure as herself, and in his career she found her mission. Her dedication to his cause may have had tragic consequences for their children, but theirs was a marriage that changed the course of history. Now, acclaimed biographer Sonia Purnell explores the peculiar dynamics of this fascinating union. From the personal and political upheavals of the Great War, through the Churchills' 'wilderness years' in the 1930s, to Clementine's desperate efforts to preserve her husband's health during the struggle against Hitler, Sonia presents the inspiring but often ignored story of one of the most important women in modern history.
  • Imperial War Museum's History Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9781471162497
    IWMH
    (1)
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    Published in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, this three-book collection brings together a fascinating and authoritative social history of the Second World War.

    A Prayer for Gallipoli covers the Great War from the point of view of a chaplain. Kenneth Best had no military training, so to fulfil his pastoral role, he had to get close to the front line and work with troops as they were under fire. As his empathy for the troops grew larger, he became more and more disgusted with their leaders. These diaries provide an insight into the horrific realities of trench warfare.

    The Secret History of the Blitz by Joshua Levine looks at the people that are not normally mentioned during accounts of the War - those spivs, outcasts and unsung heroes who were in the shadows; and D-Day to Victory features the diaries of a British tank commander as the war finally came to an end.

    All written using archive and primary sources, these are candid and compelling reads about the triumphs and tragedies of war.
  • Stanfords Travel Classics Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9781909612860
    SFTC
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    With books from Captain Joshua Slocum, Robert Louis Stevenson and Edith Wharton, this collection features some of the finest historical travel writing of all time.

    Edith Wharton, the author of The Age of Innocence, travelled to Morocco in the final days of the First World War. A time before guidebooks, she recorded her encounters with the country's people, traditions and ceremonies and described the mosques, palaces and ruins she visited in In Morocco. Very observant and brimming with passion, her work will transport you to another era.

    Captain Joshua Slocum sailed the world for over 35 years and embarked on the first solo circumnavigation of the globe. For more than three years, he battled stormy seas, attacks from raiders and loneliness and in Sailing Alone Around the World, he documented it all. Travels with a Donkey in Cevennes is Robert Louis Stevenson's humorous and heart-warming memoirs of a walking trip (with a donley named Modestine) he took in his early 20s.

    This is an eye-opening collection for people interested in travel, history and classic authors.
  • World War Miscellanies Set - 2 Books - Collection - 9781849537117
    WWMS
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    If you've ever wondered who fired the first British shot of the First World War, how low the Dambusters flew or just how many ships were sunk at Pearl Harbor, these two books will provide the answers.

    Compiled and written by Norman Ferguson, the miscellanies tell the stories of the battles, aircraft, weapons, soldiers, heroes and enemies of both world wars, while also presenting these tales in accessible, bite-sized chunks. Among the events covered in the First World War are the downing of the Red Baron and the first WWI soldier to receive the Victoria Cross...

    The book based around the Second World War tells the stories of the Battle of Britain, the Siege of Leningrad, the horrors of the Holocaust and the D-Day landings... Compelling throughout, the books also contain a startling number of facts and figures to dip into.
  • BOJIG
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    The holocaust will remain a stain on the history of mankind in perpetuity, long after the recollection of many of the perpetrators has faded. Some names will remain, however, indelibly printed in the records and the memories of future generations. Adolf Hitler's political protestations against certain sections of twentieth-century European society developed into national policy once he achieved his grip on power. His vision of a Europe free of these `undesirables' almost became a reality. In Heinrich Himmler, he had a loyal servant, only too willing to sell his soul to the Devil to please his master. Himmler's SS organisation was the ideal tool to execute Hitler's plans, and what better administrator than the intelligent and obedient ex-naval officer who directed the Reich security police? From an early age, Reinhard Heydrich was determined to succeed at every challenge he encountered. An ambitious sportsman, a loving family man, and a ruthless executive, Heydrich possessed all the qualities necessary to carry out Hitler's policy in Himmler's name. This book illustrates the life of the architect of genocide, his background, his upbringing, his family, and his career, which developed into engineering one of the greatest crimes in history.
  • AQXSB
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    An Honorary Citizen of the U.S.A., and designated as one of the Righteous among the Nations by Israel, Raoul Wallenberg's heroism in Budapest at the height of the Holocaust saved countless lives, and ultimately cost him his own. A series of unlikely coincidences led to the appointment of Wallenberg, by trade a poultry importer, as Sweden's Special Envoy to Budapest in 1944. With remarkable bravery, Wallenberg created a system of protective passports, and sheltered thousands of desperate Jews in buildings he claimed were Swedish libraries and research institutes. As the war drew to a close, his invaluable work almost complete, Wallenberg voluntarily went to meet with the Soviet troops who were relieving the city. Arrested as a spy, Wallenberg disappeared into the depths of the Soviet system, never to be seen again. For this seminal biography, Ingrid Carlberg has carried out unprecedented research into all elements of Wallenberg's life, narrating with vigour and insight the story of a heroic life, and navigating with wisdom and sensitivity the truth about his disappearance and death.
  • AWRDQ
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    Over the course of five years, acclaimed photographer Harry Borden has travelled the globe photographing survivors of the Holocaust. The people featured vary in age, gender and nationality, but are all tied together by their experience and survival of one of the darkest moments in human history. Each photograph is accompanied by a handwritten note from the sitter, ranging from poems, to memories, to hopes for the future, creating a strong sense of intimacy between sitter and reader. This intimacy is amplified by the home settings of many of the photographs, along with the photographer's use of available light at each scene. At the end of the book is a section providing more information about the person in each portrait, and about how and what they survived, together with the historical context of the events they lived through. Thought-provoking and touching, this book conveys the dignity and humanity of each subject's character. Survivor is a unique and powerful testimony of what it is to live with memories of the Holocaust.
  • AFHLB
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    Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft and the Quest for Justice is a fascinating book that looks at both the art collections that were sold for ludicrously low prices in exchange for a precious exit permit and the fate of the Jewish collectors. The book traces the dispersal of these collections and tells how, following the war, Allied officials made little effort to retrieve these paintings, concentrating their resources on art removed from museums, churches, and palaces. But the collectior s heirs continued to pursue the return of their patrimony, and over the past twenty years have won a number of key court decisions leading to the restitution of some of the lost art. But for every victory, there are defeats and obstinate stonewalling by museums and collectors, who insist that the art was legally acquired in good faith...
  • AFPWL
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    As head of the SS, chief of police, 'Reichskommissar for the Consolidation of Germanness', and Reich Interior Minister, Heinrich Himmler enjoyed a position of almost unparalleled power and responsibility in Nazi Germany. Perhaps more than any other single Nazi leader aside from Hitler, his name has become a byword for the terror, persecution, and destruction that characterized the Third Reich. His wide-ranging powers meant that he bore equal responsibility for the repression of the German people on the home front and the atrocities perpetrated by the SS in the East. Yet, in spite of his central role in the crimes of the Nazi regime, until now Himmler has remained a colourless and elusive figure in the history of the period. In this, the first-ever comprehensive biography of the SS-Reichsfuhrer, leading German historian Peter Longerich puts every aspect of Himmler's life under the microscope. Masterfully interweaving the story of Himmler's personal life and political career with the wider history of the Nazi dictatorship, Longerich shows how skilfully he exploited and manipulated his disparate roles in the pursuit of his far-reaching and grandiose objectives. In the process, he illuminates the extraordinary degree to which Himmler's own personal prejudices, idiosyncrasies, and predilections made their mark on the organizations for which he was responsible - especially the SS, which in so many ways bore the characteristic hallmarks of its leader, and whose history remains both incomplete and incomprehensible without a detailed and intimate knowledge of its deeply sinister commander-in-chief.