Non-Fiction--Fessler to Fussell
Fessler, Diane Burke. No Time for Fear (Michigan State University Press, 1996).
No Time For Fear summons the voices of more than 100 women who served as nurses overseas during World War II, letting them tell their story as no one else can. Fessler has meticulously compiled and transcribed more than 200 interviews with American military nurses of the Army, Army Air Force, and Navy who were present in all theaters of WWII. Their stories bring to life horrific tales of illness and hardship, blinding blizzards, and near starvation-all faced with courage, tenacity, and even good humor. This unique oral-history collection makes available to readers an important counterpoint to the seemingly endless discussions of strategy, planning, and troop movement that often characterize discussions of the Second World War.
Fleming, Gerald. Hitler and the Final Solution (Univeristy of California Press, 1987).
Fleming is the only scholar given access to the interrogations of the German civilian crematoria engineers lying inaccessible, until a few months ago, in Moscow. This historically important information finally places the last stone in the mosaic of Auschwitz-Berkenau.
Fletcher, Marvin. America’s First Black General (Amistad, 2003).
Excellent biography of Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., who became the first African American to be promoted as a flag officer in the United States military.
Ford, Ken. (The History Press, 2007).
On the night of 9/10 July 1943, an Allied armada of 2,590 vessels launched one of the largest combined operations of the Second World War - the invasion of Sicily, Operation 'Husky'. Over the next 38 days, half a million British, Canadian, American and French soldiers, sailors, and airmen grappled with their German and Italian counterparts for control of this rocky outcrop of Hitler's 'Fortress Europe'. The Allied assault on Sicily featured airborne and amphibious landings; mountain warfare; international rivalry; poorly performing troops; tenacious German resistance; and, improvements in tactical air support and the ultimate Allied victory on the island. Almost the whole of the progress of the Second World War is illustrated by this one campaign. It was the only action where the whole Allied war effort was brought to bear on a single objective, with one army commanded by Patton and one army commanded by Montgomery. Both men were insufferable egoists and insubordinate commanders; they always chose to do their own thing, regardless of others' sensibilities and always with one eye on how history would see them. The seeds of rivalry between these two key Allied commanders that were sown in the Sicily campaign eventually grew to fruition in the battles for Normandy and the Ardennes.
Fowler, Edward. San'Ya Blues (Cornell University Press, 1998).
Over the years, Edward Fowler, an American academic, became a familiar presence in San'ya, a run-down neighborhood in northeastern Tokyo. The city's largest day-labor market, notorious for its population of casual laborers, drunks, gamblers, and vagrants, has been home for more than half a century to anywhere from five to fifteen thousand men who cluster in the mornings at a crossroads called Namidabashi (Bridge of Tears) in hopes of getting work. The day-labor market, along with gambling and prostitution, is run by Japan's organized crime syndicates, the yakuza. Working as a day laborer himself, Fowler kept a diary of his experiences. He also talked with day laborers and local merchants, union leaders and bureaucrats, gangsters and missionaries. The resulting oral histories, juxtaposed with Fowler's narrative and diary entries, bring to life a community on the margins of contemporary Japan.
Located near a former outcaste neighborhood, on what was once a public execution ground, San'ya shows a hidden face of Japan and contradicts the common assumption of economic and social homogeneity. Fowler argues that differences in ethnicity and class, normally suppressed in mainstream Japanese society, are conspicuous in San'ya and similar communities. San'ya's largely middle-aged, male day-laborer population contains many individuals displaced by Japan?s economic success, including migrants from village communities, castoffs from restructuring industries, and foreign workers from Korea and China. The neighborhood and its inhabitants serve as an economic buffer zone, they are the last to feel the effects of a boom and the first to feel a recession. They come alive in this book, telling urgent stories that personify such abstractions as the costs of modernization and the meaning of physical labor in postindustrial society.
Franco, Jere Bishop. Crossing the Pond: The Native American Effort in World War II (University of North Texas Press, First edition, 1999).
“Crossing the Pond” is a term Native Americans used to describe the process of being transfered overseas for military duty. This was both an event and a duty taken quite seriously by tribal memebers, who participated in every aspect of wartime America. On the homefront, Native Americans gave comparable and sometimes exemplary contributions to civilian defense work, Red Cross drives, and war bond purchases.
Crossing the Pond also chronicles the unsuccessful efforts of Nazi propagandists to exploit Native Americans for the Third Reich, as well as the successful efforts of the United States government and the media to recruit Native Americans, utilize their resources, and publicize their activities for the war effort. Franco's research indicates that Native Americans fully intended to return to their reservations after the war, where they believed they, as the "First Americans," would be able to participate in a "better America." Attention is also given to the postwar experiences of Native American men and women as they sought the franchise, educational equality, economic stability, the right to purchase alcohol, and the same amount of respect given to other American war veterans.
Francis, Charles E. Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed a Nation (Branden Books, 4th edition, 2002).
In publishing this book in 1955, Charles Francis did not know that his title, The Tuskegee Airmen, was to launch a revolution of awareness among America's black pilots. Now in its fourth edition, the book contains about 100 original photographs, 120 pages of facts, 26 Index pages, and as complete a listing of the original graduating classes as can be found in other publications.
Frank, Richard B. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (Penguin, 2001).
In a riveting narrative that includes information from newly declassified documents, acclaimed historian Richard B. Frank gives a scrupulously detailed explanation of the critical months leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb. Frank explains how American leaders learned in the summer of 1945 that their alternate strategy to end the war by invasion had been shattered by the massive Japanese buildup on Kyushu, and that intercepted diplomatic documents also revealed the dismal prospects of negotiation. Here also, for the first time, is a comprehensive account of how Japan's leaders were willing to risk complete annihilation to preserve the nation's existing order. Frank's comprehensive account demolishes long-standing myths with the stark realities of this great historical controversy.
Franks, Lucinda. My Father’s Secret War (Miramx, 2007).
In this moving and compelling memoir about parent and child, father and daughter, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lucinda Franks discovers that the remote, nearly impassive man she grew up with had in fact been a daring spy behind enemy lines in World War II. Sworn to secrecy, he began revealing details of his wartime activities only in the last years of his life as he became afflicted with Alzheimer’s. His exploits revealed a man of remarkable bravado—posing as a Nazi guard, slipping behind enemy lines to blow up ammunition dumps, and being flown to one of the first concentration camps liberated by the Allies to report on the atrocities found there.
My Father’s Secret War is an intimate account of Franks coming to know her own father after years of estrangement. Looking back at letters he had written her mother in the early days of WWII, Franks glimpses a loving man full of warmth. But after the grimmest assignments of the war his tone shifts, settling into an all-too-familiar distance. Franks learns about him—beyond the alcoholism and adultery—and comes to know the man he once was.
Frantz, Douglas and Catherine Collins. Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the 'Struma' and World War II's Holocaust at Sea (Harper Perennial, 2004).
On the morning of February 24, 1942, on the Black Sea near Istanbul, an explosion ripped through a ship filled with Jewish refugees. One man clung fiercely to a piece of deck, fighting to survive. Nearly eight hundred others—among them, more than one hundred children—perished. From this dramatic prologue Death on the Black Sea unfolds as a powerful story of endurance and the struggle for survival aboard a decrepit former cattle barge called Struma. The only path to escape led through Istanbul, where the desperate passengers found themselves trapped in a closing vise between the Nazis and countries that refused them sanctuary.
The story of the Struma, its passengers, and the events that led to its destruction is investigated and revealed fully in two vivid, parallel accounts set six decades apart. One chronicles the diplomatic maneuvers and callousness of Great Britain, Romania, Turkey, and the rest of the international community, which resulted in the largest maritime loss of civilian life during World War II. The other part of the story recounts a recent attempt by a team of divers to locate the Struma at the bottom of the Black Sea, an effort initiated and pursued by the grandson of two of the victims. A vivid reconstruction of a grim exodus aboard a doomed ship, Death on the Black Sea illuminates a forgotten episode of World War II and pays tribute to the heroes, past and present, who keep its memory alive.
Friedlander, Saul. Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 (Harper Perennial, 1998).
A great historian crowns a lifetime of thought and research by answering a question that has haunted us for more than 50 years: How did one of the most industrially and culturally advanced nations in the world embark on and continue along the path leading to one of the most enormous criminal enterprises in history, the extermination of Europe's Jews?
Giving considerable emphasis to a wealth of new archival findings, Saul Friedlander restores the voices of Jews who, after the 1933 Nazi accession to power, were engulfed in an increasingly horrifying reality. We hear from the persecutors themselves: the leaders of the Nazi party, the members of the Protestant and Catholic hierarchies, the university elites, and the heads of the business community. Most telling of all, perhaps, are the testimonies of ordinary German citizens, who in the main acquiesced to increasing waves of dismissals, segregation, humiliation, impoverishment, expulsion, and violence.
Friedlander, Saul. The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 (HarperCollins, 2007).
With The Years of Extermination, Saul Friedländer completes his major historical work on Nazi Germany and the Jews. The book describes and interprets the persecution and murder of the Jews throughout occupied Europe. The enactment of German extermination policies and measures depended on the cooperation of local authorities, the assistance of police forces, and the passivity of the populations, primarily of their political and spiritual elites. This implementation depended as well on the victims’ readiness to submit to orders, often with the hope of attenuating them or of surviving long enough to escape the German vise.
This multifaceted study—at all levels and in different places—enhances the perception of the magnitude, complexity, and interrelatedness of the many components of this history. Based on a vast array of documents and an overwhelming choir of voices—mainly from diaries, letters, and memoirs—Saul Friedländer avoids domesticating the memory of these unprecedented and horrific events. The convergence of these various aspects gives a unique quality to The Years of Extermination. In this work, the history of the Holocaust has found its definitive representation.
Friedrich, Jörg. The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945 (Columbia University Press, 2006).
For five years during the Second World War, the Allies launched a trial and error bombing campaign against Germany's historical city landscape. Peaking in the war's final three months, it was the first air attack of its kind. Civilian dwellings were struck by-in today's terms-"weapons of mass destruction," with a total of 600,000 casualties, including 70,000 children. In The Fire, historian and journalist, Friedrich explores this crucial chapter in military and world history. Combining meticulous research with striking illustrations, Friedrich presents a vivid account of the saturation bombing, rendering in acute detail the annihilation of cities such as Dresden, the jewel of Germany's rich art and architectural heritage. He incorporates the personal stories and firsthand testimony of German civilians into his narrative, creating a macabre portrait of unimaginable suffering, horror, and grief, and he draws on official military documents to unravel the reasoning behind the strikes.
Evolving military technologies made the extermination of whole cities possible, but owing, perhaps, to the Allied victory and what W. G. Sebald noted as "a pre-conscious self-censorship, a way of obscuring a world that could no longer be presented in comprehensible terms," the wisdom of this strategy has never been questioned. The Fire is a rare account of the air raids as they were experienced by the civilians who were their targets.
Fujitani, T. (Editor). Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s) (Duke University Press, 2001).
Perilous Memories makes a groundbreaking and critical intervention into debates about war memory in the Asia-Pacific region. Arguing that much is lost or erased when the Asia-Pacific War(s) are reduced to the 1941–1945 war between Japan and the United States, this collection challenges mainstream memories of the Second World War in favor of what were actually multiple, widespread conflicts. The contributors recuperate marginalized or silenced memories of wars throughout the region—not only in Japan and the United States but also in China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Korea.
Firmly based on the insight that memory is always mediated and that the past is not a stable object, the volume demonstrates that we can intervene positively yet critically in the recovery and reinterpretation of events and experiences that have been pushed to the peripheries of the past. The contributors—an international list of anthropologists, cultural critics, historians, literary scholars, and activists—show how both dominant and subjugated memories have emerged out of entanglements with such forces as nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, racism, and sexism. They consider both how the past is remembered and also what the consequences may be of privileging one set of memories over others. Specific objects of study range from photographs, animation, songs, and films to military occupations and attacks, minorities in wartime, “comfort women,” commemorative events, and postwar activism in pursuing redress and reparations.
Fussell, Paul. The Boys' Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945 (Modern Library, 2005).
The Boys’ Crusade is the great historian Paul Fussell’s unflinching and unforgettable account of the American infantryman’s experiences in Europe during World War II. Based in part on the author’s own experiences, it provides a stirring narrative of what the war was actually like, from the point of view of the children—for children they were—who fought it. While dealing definitively with issues of strategy, leadership, context, and tactics, Fussell has an additional purpose: to tear away the veil of feel-good mythology that so often obscures and sanitizes war’s brutal essence.
“A chronicle should deal with nothing but the truth,” Fussell writes in his Preface. Accord-ingly, he eschews every kind of sentimentalism, focusing instead on the raw action and human emotion triggered by the intimacy, horror, and intense sorrows of war, and honestly addressing the errors, waste, fear, misery, and resentments that plagued both sides. In the vast literature on World War II, The Boys’ Crusade stands wholly apart. Fussell’s profoundly honest portrayal of these boy soldiers underscores their bravery even as it deepens our awareness of their experiences. This book is both a tribute to their noble service and a valuable lesson for future generations.
Fussell, Paul. Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic (Back Bay Books, 1998).
A novelist and WWII veteran, reminds us that only those who've experienced it can truly understand that war is hell. He writes with bite and humor of the horrors and inequalities of the so-called "Good War," which he says "for the United States, [was] an unintended form of eugenics, clearing the population of the dumbest, the least skilled, the least promising of all Americans." Not exactly the thoughts of a sentimentalist, but the notion that war is horrible should be eternally reinforced, and Fussell does so with a fury and skill few writers can muster.
Fussell, Paul. Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 1990).
Winner of both the National Book Award for Arts and Letters and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, Paul Fussell's classic The Great War and Modern Memory remains one of the most original and gripping volumes ever written about the First World War. In its panoramic scope and poetic intensity, it illuminated a war that changed a generation and revolutionized the way we see the world. Now, in Wartime, Paul Fussell turns to the Second World War, the conflict in which he himself fought, to weave a more intensely personal and wide-ranging narrative. Whereas his former book focused primarily on literary figures, here Fussell examines the immediate impact of the war on soldiers and civilians. He compellingly depicts the psychological and emotional atmosphere of World War II by analyzing the wishful thinking and the euphemisms people needed to deal with unacceptable reality; by describing the abnormally intense frustration of desire and some of the means by which desire was satisfied; and, most importantly, by emphasizing the damage the war did to intellect, discrimination, honesty, individuality, complexity, ambiguity, and wit. Of course, no book of Fussell's would be complete without serious attention to the literature of the time. He offers astute commentary on Edmund Wilson's argument with Archibald MacLeish, Cyril Connolly's Horizon magazine, the war poetry of Randall Jarrell and Louis Simpson, and many other aspects of the wartime literary world. In this stunning volume, Fussell conveys the essence of that war as no other writer before him has.