World War Ii - Europe
War in Val d'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944
War in Val d'Orcia
An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944
Paperback      ISBN: 1681372665
A bestseller upon its original publication in the 1980s, these diaries reveal life during WWII in Tuscany and include stunning rediscovered photographs

In the Second World War, Italy was torn apart by German armies, civil war, and the Allied invasion. In a corner of Tuscany, one woman--born in England, married to an Italian--kept a record of daily life in a country at war. Iris Origo's powerful diary, War in Val d'Orcia, is the spare and vivid account of what happened when a peaceful farming valley became a battleground.

At great personal risk, the Origos gave food and shelter to partisans, deserters, and refugees. They took in evacuees, and as the front drew closer they faced the knowledge that the lives of thirty-two small children depended on them. Origo writes with sensitivity and generosity, and a story emerges of human acts of heroism and compassion, and the devastation that war can bring.
A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939-1940
A Chill in the Air
An Italian War Diary, 1939-1940
Paperback      ISBN: 1681372649
A harrowing account of life in Italy in the year leading up to World War II, available in the US for the first time.

In 1939 it was not a foregone conclusion that Mussolini would enter World War II on the side of Hitler. In this previously unpublished and only recently discovered diary, Iris Origo, author of the classic War in Val d'Orcia, provides a vivid account of how Mussolini decided on a course of action that would devastate his country and ultimately destroy his regime.

Though the British-born Origo lived with her Italian husband on an estate in a remote part of Tuscany, she was supremely well-connected and regularly in touch with intellectual and diplomatic circles in Rome, where her godfather, William Phillips, was the American ambassador. Her diary describes the Fascist government's growing infatuation with Nazi Germany as Hitler's armies marched triumphantly across Europe and the campaign of propaganda and intimidation that was mounted in support of its new aims. The book ends with the birth of Origo's daughter and Origo's decision to go to Rome to work with prisoners of war at the Italian Red Cross.

Together with War in Val d'Orcia, A Chill in the Air offers an indispensable record of Italy at war as well as a thrilling story of a formidable woman's transformation from observer to actor at a great historical turning point.
Abducting a General: The Kreipe Operation in Crete
Abducting a General
The Kreipe Operation in Crete
Hardcover      ISBN: 1590179382

One of the most daring feats in Patrick Leigh Fermor's daring life was the kidnapping of General Kreipe, the German commander in Crete, on April 26, 1944.

Abducting a General, now published for the first time in the United States, is Leigh Fermor's own account of the kidnapping. Written in his inimitable prose, and introduced by the acclaimed Special Operations Executive historian Roderick Bailey, it is a glorious firsthand account of one of the great adventures of the Second World War. Also included in this book are Leigh Fermor's intelligence reports sent from caves deep within Crete, which bring the immediacy of SOE operations vividly alive, as well as the peril under which the SOE and Resistance were operating, and a guide to the journey that Kreipe took, from the abandonment of his car to the embarkation site, so that the modern visitor to Crete can relive this extraordinary trip.
Road to Valor: A True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation
Road to Valor
A True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation
Paperback      ISBN: 0307590658
The inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the cyclist who made the greatest comeback in Tour de France history and secretly aided the Italian resistance during World War II

Gino Bartali is best known as an Italian cycling legend who not only won the Tour de France twice but also holds the record for the longest time span between victories. In Road to Valor, Aili and Andres McConnon chronicle Bartali's journey, from an impoverished childhood in rural Tuscany to his first triumph at the 1938 Tour de France. As World War II ravaged Europe, Bartali undertook dangerous activities to help those being targeted in Italy, including sheltering a family of Jews and smuggling counterfeit identity documents in the frame of his bicycle. After the grueling wartime years, the chain-smoking, Chianti-loving, 34-year-old underdog came back to win the 1948 Tour de France, an exhilarating performance that helped unite his fractured homeland.

Based on nearly ten years of research, Road to Valor is the first book ever written about Bartali in English and the only book written in any language to explore the full scope of Bartali's wartime work. An epic tale of courage, resilience, and redemption, it is the untold story of one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century.
No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans Von Dohnanyi, Resisters Against Hitler in Church and State
No Ordinary Men
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans Von Dohnanyi, Resisters Against Hitler in Church and State
Hardcover      ISBN: 1590176812

During the twelve years of Hitler's Third Reich, very few Germans took the risk of actively opposing his tyranny and terror, and fewer still did so to protect the sanctity of law and faith. In No Ordinary Men, Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern focus on two remarkable, courageous men who did--the pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his close friend and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi--and offer new insights into the fearsome difficulties that resistance entailed. (Not forgotten is Christine Bonhoeffer Dohnanyi, Hans's wife and Dietrich's sister, who was indispensable to them both.)

From the start Bonhoeffer opposed the Nazi efforts to bend Germany's Protestant churches to Hitler's will, while Dohnanyi, a lawyer in the Justice Ministry and then in the Wehrmacht's counterintelligence section, helped victims, kept records of Nazi crimes to be used as evidence once the regime fell, and was an important figure in the various conspiracies to assassinate Hitler. The strength of their shared commitment to these undertakings--and to the people they were helping--endured even after their arrest in April 1943 and until, after great suffering, they were executed on Hitler's express orders in April 1945, just weeks before the Third Reich collapsed.

Bonhoeffer's posthumously published Letters and Papers from Prison and other writings found a wide international audience, but Dohnanyi's work is scarcely known, though it was crucial to the resistance and he was the one who drew Bonhoeffer into the anti-Hitler plots. Sifton and Stern offer dramatic new details and interpretations in their account of the extraordinary efforts in which the two jointly engaged. No Ordinary Men honors both Bonhoeffer's human decency and his theological legacy, as well as Dohnanyi's preservation of the highest standard of civic virtue in an utterly corrupted state.
Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink
Darkest Hour
How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink
Paperback      ISBN: 0062749528

From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill's ascendancy to Prime Minister--soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.

"He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history..."

May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen one western European democracy after another fall in rapid succession to Nazi boot and shell. Invasion seems mere hours away.

Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must deal with this horror--as well as a skeptical King, a party plotting against him, and an unprepared public. Pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, how could he change the mood and shore up the will of a nervous people?

In this gripping day-by-day, often hour-by-hour account of how an often uncertain Churchill turned Britain around, the celebrated Bafta-winning writer Anthony McCarten exposes sides of the great man never seen before. He reveals how he practiced and re-wrote his key speeches, from 'Blood, toil, tears and sweat' to 'We shall fight on the beaches'; his consideration of a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, and his underappreciated role in the Dunkirk evacuation; and, above all, how 25 days helped make one man an icon.

Using new archive material, McCarten reveals the crucial behind-the-scenes moments that changed the course of history. It's a scarier--and more human--story than has ever been told.

"McCarten's pulse-pounding narrative transports the reader to those springtime weeks in 1940 when the fate of the world rested on the shoulders of Winston Churchill. A true story thrillingly told. Thoroughly researched and compulsively readable."--Michael F. Bishop, Executive Director of the International Churchill Society

Landing on the Edge of Eternity: Twenty-Four Hours at Omaha Beach
Landing on the Edge of Eternity
Twenty-Four Hours at Omaha Beach
Paperback      ISBN: 1643133500

Before World War II, Normandy's Plage d'Or coast was best known for its sleepy villages and holiday destinations. Early in 1944, German commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel took one look at the gentle, sloping sands and announced "They will come here " He was referring to "Omaha Beach"--the prime American D-Day landing site. The beach was subsequently transformed into three miles of lethal, bunker-protected arcs of fire, with seaside chalets converted into concrete strongpoints, fringed by layers of barbed wire and mines. The Germans called it "the Devil's Garden."

When Company A of the US 116th Regiment landed on Omaha Beach in D-Day's first wave on 6th June 1944, it lost 96% of its effective strength. Sixteen teams of US engineers arriving in the second wave were unable to blow the beach obstacles, as first wave survivors were still sheltering behind them. This was the beginning of the historic day that Landing on the Edge of Eternity narrates hour by hour--rom midnight to midnight--tracking German and American soldiers fighting across the beachhead.

Mustered on their troop transport decks at 2am, the American infantry departed in landing craft at 5am. Skimming across high waves, deafened by immense broadsides from supporting battleships and weak from seasickness, they caught sight of land at 6.15. Eleven minutes later, the assault was floundering under intense German fire. Two and a half hours in, General Bradley, commanding the landings aboard USS Augusta, had to decide if to proceed or evacuate. On June 6th there were well over 2,400 casualties on Omaha Beach - easily D-Day's highest death toll.

The Wehrmacht thought they had bludgeoned the Americans into bloody submission, yet by mid-afternoon, the American troops were ashore. Why were the casualties so grim, and how could the Germans have failed? Juxtaposing the American experience--pinned down, swamped by a rising tide, facing young Wehrmacht soldiers fighting desperately for their lives, Kershaw draws on eyewitness accounts, memories, letters, and post-combat reports to expose the true horrors of Omaha Beach.

These are stories of humanity, resilience, and dark humor; of comradeship and a gritty patriotism holding beleaguered men together. Landing on the Edge of Eternity is a dramatic historical ride through an amphibious landing that looked as though it might never succeed.

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
Double Cross
The True Story of the D-Day Spies
Paperback      ISBN: 0307888770
In Double Cross, New York Times bestselling author Ben Macintyre returns with the untold story of one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring Allied victory at the most pivotal point in the war.

This epic event has never before been told from the perspective of the key individuals in the Double Cross system, until now. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross's nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard, and a volatile Frenchwoman. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.

With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler's army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.
Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War
Patton, Montgomery, Rommel
Masters of War
Paperback      ISBN: 0307461556

In Patton, Montgomery, Rommel, one of Britain's most accomplished military scholars presents an unprecedented study of the land war in the North African and European theaters, as well as their chief commanders--three men who also happened to be the most compelling dramatis personae of World War II.

Beyond spellbinding depictions of pivotal confrontations at El Alamein, Monte Cassino, and the Ardennes forest, author-scholar Terry Brighton illuminates the personal motivations and historical events that propelled the three men's careers: how Patton's, Montgomery's, and Rommel's Great War experiences helped to mold their style of command--and how, exactly, they managed to apply their arguably megalomaniacal personalities (and hitherto unrecognized political acumen and tact) to advance their careers and strategic vision.

Opening new avenues of inquiry into the lives and careers of three men widely profiled by scholars and popular historians alike, Brighton definitively answers numerous lingering and controversial questions: Was Patton really as vainglorious in real life as he was portrayed to be on the silver screen?--and how did his tireless advocacy of "mechanized cavalry" forever change the face of war? Was Monty's dogged publicity-seeking driven by his own need for recognition or by his desire to claim for Britain a leadership role in postwar global order?--and how did this prickly "commoner" manage to earn affection and esteem from enlisted men and nobility alike? How might the war have ended if Rommel had had more tanks?--and what fundamental philosophical difference between him and Hitler made such an outcome virtually impossible?

Abetted by new primary source material and animated by Terry Brighton's incomparable storytelling gifts, Patton, Montgomery, Rommel offers critical new interpretations of the Second World War as it was experienced by its three most flamboyant, controversial, and influential commanders--and augments our understanding of each of their perceptions of war and leadership.
Rogue Heroes: The History of the Sas, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War
Rogue Heroes
The History of the Sas, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War
Paperback      ISBN: 1101904186
The incredible untold story of WWII's greatest secret fighting force, as told by our great modern master of wartime intrigue

Britain's Special Air Service--or SAS--was the brainchild of David Stirling, a young, gadabout aristocrat whose aimlessness in early life belied a remarkable strategic mind. Where most of his colleagues looked at a battlefield map of World War II's African theater and saw a protracted struggle with Rommel's desert forces, Stirling saw an opportunity: given a small number of elite, well-trained men, he could parachute behind enemy lines and sabotage their airplanes and war material. Paired with his constitutional opposite, the disciplined martinet Jock Lewes, Stirling assembled a revolutionary fighting force that would upend not just the balance of the war, but the nature of combat itself. He faced no little resistance from those who found his tactics ungentlemanly or beyond the pale, but in the SAS's remarkable exploits facing the Nazis in the Africa and then on the Continent can be found the seeds of nearly all special forces units that would follow.

Bringing his keen eye for psychological detail to a riveting wartime narrative, Ben Macintyre uses his unprecedented access to SAS archives to shine a light inside a legendary unit long shrouded in secrecy. The result is not just a tremendous war story, but a fascinating group portrait of men of whom history and country asked the most.