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Suggested Books and Movies

Just a few books and a you movie might be interested in. 

A number of people have asked for suggested reading, so here it is.

(Except for the first 4, they are in no particular order I just grabbed them off my shelves and started typing)


Books Non-Fiction

All Came Home by Paul K. McDevit - About APA 48 U.S.S. Leon

All Came Home is the book that I wish I could have written.  Unfortunately I don’t have the skill, the dedication and most of all the incredible collection of letters home that Paul McDevitt had available.

In 2002 I started researching my Father’s service in WWII to get to know the man that raised me. I had one letter, his discharge papers and a Boot Camp company picture to work with. That grew into websites dedicated to the Amphibious Ships in WWII and Sampson Naval Base where he did his boots.

In the intervening years the websites have grown from a few pages to over 6,000 pages, with much more material in my archives. Over the years, I have had the honor to provide material for others doing research, including Paul. 

What Paul has created is not just a tribute to his Father, but to all the men who did what needed to be done.  The use of letters home, historical information and commentary create a resource that gives personal insights not available in other sources. 

This book is a “keeper” and one of the best I have read on the Pacific War, the men who fought it and the impact of those they left behind.

For more information, go to the  Author's website



Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley   

Written by the son of one of the men who raised the 2nd (and the famous) flag at Iwo Jima.  My wife brought the book home from the library one Saturday.  I started to read it that afternoon, and read straight through it.  That night I started researching my Father's service in WWII.  I never went to sleep that night. I don't think I ate dinner either. This is the book that got me moving, from there this website developed.  Read this book.


Flyboys by James Bradley

Another MUST READ...a clear and balanced book that must be read to have a real understanding of what led to WWII, what it was really about and how History SHOULD be written - instead of the boring stilted stuff that is pedaled. READ THIS BOOK!


COMBAT LOADED-Across the Pacific on the USS Tate by Tom Crew

My copy arrived December 22, 2006 direct from the Author.  It is a carefully researched, well documented history of the ship and the men who served on her.  Tom interviewed over 60 men from the Tate and did unbelievable research.  The book is not only full of information, it is extremely well written.  The narratives are priceless.  Some of them had me laughing my a$$ off, other brought tears to my eyes.  I also had a lot of "OH WOW" moments when it cleared up things that I had pondered, but not found the answer to before. What separates this book from all others is the combination of documentation AND readability. These two things are not often found in the same book.  Author's Website  Publisher's page   Barnes and Noble Page   Excerpts from the book. 



The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Horfischer

An AWESOME book I finished it after 3 AM because I couldn't put it down while reading it.  It was worth it!!!

From Publishers Weekly: One of the finest WWII naval action narratives in recent years, this book follows in the footsteps of Flags of Our Fathers, creating a microcosm of the war's American Navy destroyers. Hornfischer, a writer and literary agent in Austin, Tex., covers the battle off Samar, the Philippines, in October 1944, in which a force of American escort carriers and destroyers fought off a Japanese force many times its strength, and the larger battle of Leyte Gulf, the opening of the American liberation of the Philippines, which might have suffered a major setback if the Japanese had attacked the transports. He presents the men who crewed the destroyer Taffy 3, most of whom had never seen salt water before the war but who fought, flew, kept the crippled ship afloat, and doomed ships fighting almost literally to the last shell. Finally, Hornfischer provides a perspective on the Japanese approach to the battle, somewhat (and justifiably) modifying the traditional view of the Japanese Admiral Kurita as a fumbler or even a coward-while exalting American sailors and pilots as they richly deserve. (American admirals don't get off so easily.) Author's website On Amazon  READ THIS BOOK!



This is a well written very readable book about the men who served on APA 7 U.S.S. Fuller.  I found the book listed on eBay and bought a copy on Amazon.com.  I started and finished it the day after it arrived - not something I do with every book. This is a great example of what History should be about.  Author's website



USS Charles Carroll APA 28: An Amphibious History of World War II by Kenneth H. Goldman

The story of the USS Charles Carrol APA 28. Telling the story from Torch to the Pacific.  Book is available on amazon.com. 



James Bradley's comments about the book sum it up best (excerpted): "A young nurse jumped onto the Normandy Beach just after D-Day and comforted hundreds of wounded young boys.  They beheld her as an angel, but told them no, they were the real heroes.  After a shell ender her life, larger stories obscured her death."  Like James Bradley, I also strongly recommend this book.  I lost a night's sleep reading it.  I couldn't put it down


THE LADY LUCK: Story of the USS LST - 864 by Mike Martin

I have not read the book, was contacted by the Author 3/10/2011. 

From the NavSource Link: “The Lady Luck” is a photographic history of a single United States Navy amphibious landing ship, the USS LST-864, commissioned for service in the Pacific theater of the action against Japan during World War II, as viewed through the eyes of the men who served aboard her.   Their experiences are documented by a collection of 213 photographs and 37 documents saved by crewmen themselves during and after the war. For ordering information, see this page listed on NavSource: The Lady Luck


The Rape of NanKing by Iris Chang

A very good history of the brutality of the Japanese Army in China.  This is history that very few people in this country have any clue happened. READ THIS BOOK!


Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

This is the history of the conquest of the west that we are not taught in school.  I have given over a dozen hard cover copies to local libraries as well as given away dozens of paperbacks.   Every American should read this book.  It IS intentional that I listed it after Iris Chang's book. READ THIS BOOK!


Lies Across America and Lies my Teacher told me (Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong) by James K. Loewen - Think you know a lot of history?  Henry Ford was right- "History is Bunk."  The line between history and mythology is a very thin one.  These two books examine the "truth" and provide some interesting insight.  These books are a must read


Don't Know much about History by Kenneth C. Davis This is an interesting book that examines much of what your teachers didn't bother to tell you.  I have given away 10 copies of this book.


JUST ANOTHER SOLDIER by Jason Christopher Hartley

An excellent book written by an Iraq War Veteran that developed from a blog he kept as a Reservist.  Very well written.

Website  Buy the Book


 Sampson - United States Navy WW II Veterans by Steve Bull

The History of Sampson Naval Base and he men who trained there.  


 "LUCKY SWEETBRIER: Coast Guard Cutter Survives WWII Okinawa Kamikazes, Typhoons and More…" by Tanney Edward Oberg-Just published (Aug. 2005)

This book contains the type of history that this website tries to help save-the lives of the men and women who served.  It is a well written, interesting view of the men who served on this ship and their interactions.  It is honest and doesn't gloss over the reality of the real personalities of real people in a difficult period in our history.  

Most "History" is bunk (as Henry Ford is credited with saying), and tells the "spin" of the winners and the rich and the powerful.  This is a very good example of what history should be.  The book also includes chapters on the devastating attacks on USS LST-808 and battleship USS Pennsylvania. 

For more information and how to order it, click here.


AWAY ALL BOATS by Kenneth Dodson 

This is a fictionalized version of life aboard an AKA, but it is very accurate and very interesting-more non-fiction than most of what passes for History.  I read it in an evening and think it is a must read. I listed this in non-fiction because it is really a composite history of a number of ships and men combined into one book.


Cadet Nurse Stories: The Call for and Response of Women During World War II by Thelma M. Robinson and Paulie M. Perry

More then 50 years after World War II, cadet nurses tell their stories about how they helped win the war on the home front by serving in hospitals during the worst nurse shortage in history. Learn more.


DON’T CALL ME ROSIE The Women who Welded the LSTs and the Men who Sailed on Them - by Kathy Thomas

The author of this book sent me a copy of this book,  I read it that night it arrived, stopping only for dinner.  

These women were not riveters —  they were welders.

These are the stories, remembered 60 years later, of the women welders who built the LSTs and the men who sailed on them.

It is a well written, interesting book about the Women who welded the LST's and the men who served on them-written by the daughter (and niece) of 3 of the ladies (sisters). She interviewed a large number of the women and men whose helped build and sail these unique ships.  This is the type of history that we need to preserve.  

For more information about the book and ordering instructions-click on this link: http://www.thomaswright.com/LSTbookorder.htm


Operation Iceberg by Gerald Aster

An oral history of the invasion of Okinawa.  It's a very good book and is a compilation of the experiences of the men involved in the action.  The emphasis is NOT on the officers.  


Code-Name Downfall by Thomas B. Allen

Very well written analysis of the events that led to the planned invasion of Japan and the decision to use the bomb.  I think this book should be read by anyone who thinks that Truman was wrong.  I also think it should be read by everyone else.


Hiroshima by John Hersey

I read this many years ago and thought that the decision to drop the bomb was inexcusable.  If you read this book, you must also read Code-Name Downfall and the Rape of Nanking.  It changes your perspective.


The Good War by Studs Terkel

Interviews with people about their lives on the home front during the war.  Very good.


Saving Private Power by Michael Zezima

The Hidden History of "The Good War" tells a lot that the history books intentionally omit.  


Crossing the Line by Alvin Kernan

The often irreverent life of a Sailor who enlisted before Pearl.  This was suggested to me by one of the visitors to the site as being a pretty accurate description of life in the Navy in the war.  I started it yesterday and will finish it tonight.


Blue Jackets Manual-US Naval Institute

The sailors had to buy theirs-it's actually very interesting reading. 


IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black

This book explores the connections between IBM and the German government before and during the early years of the war.  Those number on concentration camp prisoners arms?   IBM's subsidiary sold the machines that helped organize the roundup and create the numbers.


A Torch to the Enemy by Martin Caidin

A very good history of the firebombing of Japan.  It was lent to me by Ed Kurdyla who served in the 4th Marines at Iwo, Saipan and Tinian.  I have since bought a number of copies to give away to friends.


Internees by Takeo Kaneshiro

This is a compilation of memoirs and diaries from the War Relocation Centers for the Japanese in WWII.  Very interesting reading and it gives a different perspective.


Where the Buck Stops by Harry S Truman

The personal and private writings of (in my opinion) the greatest President of this Century.  He was viciously attacked by those who opposed him and greatly under rated because of these smears.  I wish he were President now! 


The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

The story of a generation.  If you are part of this generation, read it to remember.  If you are younger-read it and learn.


Operation Passage to Freedom: The United States Navy in Vietnam, 1954-1955 By Ronald B. Frankum Jr.
Very little has been written about the U.S. Navy in Vietnam in the immediate post–Korean War era, nor has the magnitude of American participation in the resettlement of Vietnam refugees following the 1954 Geneva Conference been explored. Operation Passage to Freedom illuminates a mission that has been all but forgotten, and also explores how the initial humanitarian involvement of the United States in Vietnam eventually led to massive military involvement in the 1960s and 1970s.



The Special Prisoner by Jim Leher

A fictional account of a B-29 pilot who becomes a POW in Japan.  Only 5% of these POW's survived the war, most of them with major problems from their torture.  50 years later he meets the man who tortured him.  I read it cover to cover without putting the book down.


Flight of the Avenger by Joe Hyams

If you like George Bush Sr. you will like this book. Some of it has been disputed by those who served with him, but then again they didn't write a book. For those people who dislike the fact that it does not make any mention of the business dealings of Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker before and during the war until they were shut down in September 1942, remember that PT 109 doesn't mention Joe Kennedy's admiration of Hitler either.  Both books were written with a twist on the truth.


PT 109 by Robert J Donovan

If you like JFK, you will like this book.  Both he and George HW lost their craft and the spin turned them into heroes.  Others who served with them debate the accuracy.  I present this and the Flight of the Avenger together because they are written in the same vein.



All Boats Away-a Hollywood view of life on the fictional APA 22 Belinda heavy on officers, light on enlisted men, but has some interesting view of the war.  THE BOOK IS FAR SUPERIOR TO THE MOVIE.


Not related to WWII, but worth reading:

Fortunate Son by J H Hatfield

A very good biography of George H W's son.  Discusses his military career and unprecedented advancement thanks to friends in very high places.  (JFK had help too.)  This book is a must read to understand what is going on today.  After it reached the Amazon best sellers list, the publisher was forced to recall the book and burn most of the copies. Nothing in it has been disproven.  In fact much of what was written in this book is now coming out.  It has been reprinted by another publisher and can be purchased from the publisher at www.softskull.com or at www.BN.com  or www.Amazon.com .


Stupid White Men by Michael Moore

This is another book that was withheld from publication because it was critical of the current administration.  It was not released until a group of subversives, Librarians, started a grass roots campaign to force the publisher to release it.  I found the first two chapters very enlightening, but didn't get through the rest.


Bushisms by the Editors of the New Republic

A compilation of the wit and wisdom of George H W Bush in his own words. (out of print, but I found one on half.com)


The Complete Bushisms By Jacob Weisberg and Bryan Curtis

A compilation of the wit and wisdom of George W Bush in his own words.