Front Porch to Front Lines Suggested Reading List
The titles below are arranged chronologically by period (WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) and are suggested as additional resources to learn more about each war. The works listed cover a range of topics and historical fields such as military, political, and primary sources or first-person accounts. Each entry contains a brief summary that highlights the books major points and arguments. Although many of the books are non-fiction, there are some fictional works noted. However, the fictional novels are heavily based on historic details and accuracy, and most were written by actual veterans. This list is by no means comprehensive, but aims to offer exhibit visitors and the public a guide to supplemental information on each conflict. Please visit the Trust’s gift shops to acquire a selection of the indicated titles.
* Fiction Novels
^ Found in York County Heritage Trust Gift Shop
~ Young Adult
*Boyd, Thomas. 2000. Through the Wheat: A Novel of World War I Marines. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
Through the Wheat focuses on the Marine Corps during World War I. The Marines that are described closely resemble the same experiences in the trenches with that of the Sixth Marines. Boyd describes what life in a trench was like from lack of sleep to bad food.
Eisenhower, J.S.D. 2001. Yanks: the Epic Story of the American Army in World War I. New York, New York: Touchstone.
In this work, John Eisenhower examines the rise of the United States Army, as well as its battles, challenges, and sacrifices made in World War I. The work is told from the point of view of statesmen and senior officers.
Ferrell, R.H. 2007. America’s Deadliest Battle: Meuse-Argonne, 1918. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press.
Ferrell’s work looks at Meuse-Argonne, one of the costliest battles in U.S. military history. Although the battle displayed the ineptitude and inexperience of the U.S. military, Ferrell also highlights the ability of the American Army to quickly adapt to “modern” warfare. Meuse-Argonne finally broke the stalemate on the Western Front, providing the Allied Powers with a definitive victory to obtain the armistice in November 1918.
Griffith, P. 1994. Battle Tactics of the Western Front: the British Army’s Art of Attack 1916-18. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
As the title suggests, this monograph examines the evolution of the British Army’s military tactics throughout the War. The work does not begin at the beginning of the war but instead starts the analysis at the Battle of Somme in 1916, as Griffith argues that British Army gradually corrected erroneous strategies and begin developing highly effective tactics. Griffith highlights Britain’s debacles during the early years, but offers an insightful interpretation on their successes later in the war.
Grotelueschen, M. E. 2010. The AEF Way of War: the American Army and Combat in World War I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Perhaps the best account on the American Expeditionary Forces. Grotelueschen closely reviews the Army on a divisional level, examining the four AEF divisions and how they planned, conducted, and adapted to battle situations.
Harris, S.L. 2003. Harlem’s Hell Fighters: the African-American 369th Infantry in World War I
. Dulles, Virginia: Brassey’s Inc.
An interesting aspect of WWI is the experience of African-American servicemen. Despite pervasive racism, many Blacks still volunteered and joined the American military during the Great War. Initially, the military was reluctant to give African-Americans combat positions, relegating the soldiers to labour jobs. However, as the war dragged on many African-American units were assigned to the French to bolster their ranks. The 369th served with distinction during the Aisne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne offensives, with the entire unit ultimately receiving France’s highest military honour, the Croix de Guerre.
Haythornwaite, P.J. 1992. The World War One Source Book. London: Arms and Armour Press.
This volume serves as a valuable resource and reference for World War I, providing insight into weapons, fronts by year, national histories, politics, and biographies of prominent political and military leaders.
Keegan, J. 1998. The First World War. New York, New York: Vintage Books.
Keegan’s work is an essential reference to World War I. Keegan covers all the major points of the war and writes with the casual reader in mind.
Rickenbacker, E.V. 1919. Fighting the Flying Circus. New York, New York: Doubleday and Co.
Rickenbacker was a fighter pilot during the war and his work is a personal account of his service. He describes the tactics, safety concerns and equipment of air combat at this time.
Toland, J. 1980. No Man’s Land: 1918 – the Last Year of the Great War. New York, New York: Ballantine Books.
In his work, Toland tells of the final year of the Great War. Prior to 1918, the Allied and Central powers fought countless battles and remained deadlocked. When the Americans entered the war in 1918, the scales tipped in the Allies favour. Toland explores many aspects from all of the major countries involved.
Trask, D.F. 1993. The AEF & Coalition Warmaking, 1917-1918. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press.
Trask re-examines the American Army during World War I, and offers a unique interpretation of American military success. He claims that most material written about this topic is from General John J. Pershing’s point of view. Trask, however, argues that Pershing was ineffective and that it was the manpower that allowed the Americans to become the decisive factor in the Allied victory.
Tuchman, Barbara. 1962. The Guns of August. New York: Random House Publishing.
Tuchman’s work is arguably the best account written on the causes and outbreak of WWI, and is still lauded as one of the greatest books ever published within the field of military history. The Guns of August, focuses only on the first month of the war, but provides intricate research and details to explain the context and events leading to its outbreak. Tuchman examines everything from leading politician personalities to military tactics such as Germany’s often-cited Schlieffen Plan.
* Remarque, Erich Maria. 1929. All Quiet on the Western Front. New York, New York: Little, Brown and Company.
A novel told from the German point of view, All Quiet on the Western Front has remained a timeless classic highlighting soldiers’ shared camaraderie, disillusionment, and sufferings during WWI. The story centres on young Paul Baumer and his experiences as a soldier on the frontlines. Along with his friends, Baumer joins the military in a sense of romanticized patriotism, only to discover a much harsher reality.
World War II:
Astor, G. 1977. The Mighty Eighth: the Air War in Europe as Told by the Men Who Fought It. New York, New York: Dell Publishing.
Astor uses memoirs, eyewitness accounts and oral histories to tell the story of day time bombing raids over Germany. His work encompasses everyone involved in the raid from plane mechanics and navigators, to fighter pilots. The Mighty Eighth also covers mission planning and the stresses and pressures the men felt.
Astor, G. 2004. The Jungle War: Mavericks, Marauders and Madmen in the China-Burma-India
Theatre of World War II. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
In this work, Astor examines an often forgotten theatre of World War II: China, Burma, and India. There was heavy reluctance from the Allies to commit resources to this part of the world and as a result, there were many small commands. The story of this theatre is not of the war itself, but of the men who commanded these units and their quarrels with one another.
^ Balkoski, Joseph. 1999. Beyond the Beachhead: The 29th Division in Normandy. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
Beyond the Beachhead follows the 29th Infantry Division, a storied unit, from its landing at Omaha Beach to the liberation at St Lo. Balkoski, a respected historian on the Normandy Invasion and D-Day, offers different perspectives on the 29th as well as the German 352nd Infantry Division, the 29th's main adversary.
^ Balkoski, Josepsh. 2006. Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
In this work, Balkoski provides an account of the events on Omaha Beach. For the most part, Balkoski uses
primary resources, including oral histories, with secondary sources used sparingly. A very detailed book
puts the reader "on the beach."
^ Clarke, Wally, W. 2009. George S. Patton's Typical Soldier: A Memoir of Thomas W. (Wally) Clarke
Company D,101st Infantry, 26th Division Third Army. Lancaster, PA: American Historical
Clarke served in World War II as a Machine Gun Sergent, and chronicles his experiences on the frontlines
from the fall of 1944 to the end of the war in May of 1945. Clarke's account is based off of his personal
journal and letters sent to his mother during the war. Of particular interest, Clarke recounts his unit's role in
the Battle of Bezange La Petite and their assault on Hill 310, the Battle of the Bulge, and his final location at
Saarlautern, a bridgehead on the Saar River. Clarke offers a remarkable narrative using a variety of maps,
original photographs, and explanatory timelines.
^ Colley, David. 2008. Decision at Strasbourg: Ike’s Strategic Mistake to Halt the Sixth Army Group at the
Rhine in 1944. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.
In Decision at Strasbourg, Colley examines General Eisenhower’s decision to halt General Jacob Devers’ march across the Rhine. Colley concentrates on the military tactics and high command politics that influenced a variety of decisions. Colley also considers the potential impact had Devers crossed the Rhine in November of 1944.
Eisenhower, David. 1991. Eisenhower at War 1943-1945. New York, New York: Random House.
Eisenhower’s work describes the efforts of General Eisenhower during the war. The book starts with the planning of D-Day and finishes with the formal surrender of Germany. The author examines the man more than the war, and how he was able to juggle the personalities, egos, and personal obligations.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1997. Paperback ed. Crusade in Europe. Washington D.C.: The John Hopkins University Press.
Crusade in Europe is General Eisenhower’s personal memoir of World War II. Eisenhower recounts many aspects of the war such his feelings towards the victories and defeats, the relationships he had with his staff, and the personalities he encountered. He also addresses many of the criticisms that were directed his way.
~ Frank, Anne. 1953. The Diary of a Young Girl. New York, New York: Pocket Books.
The Diary of a Young Girl is a classic that is associated with World War II. Anne Frank, a Dutch Jewish teenager, describes her experience while hiding from the Nazis. The diary describes the courage and horrors inflicted upon the Jewish population.
Henson, Maria Rosa. 1999. Comfort Woman: A Filipina's Story of Prostitution and Slavery Under the
Japanese Military. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
This account describes a rarely mentioned part of the war in the Pacific Theater. Through this book, Henson
relives her days as a comfort woman for the Japanese military. Comfort women were taken into custody
and were essentially treated as “female slaves.” The book shows in detail the horrors of war, but also innate
personal courage and dignity.
^ Lockman, Brian and Dan Cupper ed. 2005. World War II in Their Own Words: An Oral History of Pennsylvania’s Veterans. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
World War II in Their Own Words, is a collection of oral histories of veterans from Pennsylvania. Based off a Pennsylvania Cable Network series, the compilation provides a cross section of service branches and all theatres of the conflict throughout the war.
^ Lockman, Brian. 2009. World War II Reflections: an Oral History of Pennsylvania’s Veterans. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
Lockman’s second volume of oral histories.
~ Lowry, Lois. 1989. Number the Stars. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.
This novel is takes place in 1943 while Nazi forces occupied Denmark. The protagonist is a 10 year old girl, whose own family harbours her Jewish best friend and helps her family escape the country.
*Mailer, Norman. 1948. The Naked and the Dead. New York, New York: Rinehart & Company.
Often called the best novel of World War II, Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead tells the tale of a reconnaissance squad as their battalion tries to take from the Japanese the fictional island of Anopopei. Mailer’s writing is vivid and focused as he shows the brutality of war.
^Markey, Michael A. 1998. Jake: The General From West York Avenue. York, PA: The Historical Society of York County.
Markey provides a biography of General Jacob Devers, the Four Star General from York, PA. Devers attended West Point and ultimately led the Sixth Army Division in Southern France during WWII.
^ McClure, James. 2005. In the Thick of the Fight. York, PA: York Daily Record.
In this volume, McClure depicts the role of York, Pennsylvania in World War II. Not only does he discuss the soldiers from York but the town as well. He explains how the industries of York came together to provide for the war rather than compete with each other. York was one of the major suppliers in the war effort.
Miller, D.L. 2005. D-Days in the Pacific. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Miller focuses his work on the offensives of the Pacific Theatre until V-J Day including Guadalcanal and Okinawa. One of the main topics of the work is the strained relationship between General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz and the resulting negative impacts of their hostility toward one another.
Patton, Jr., G.S. 1947/1995. War As I Knew It. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.
War As I Knew It is Patton’s own memoir of the war. The book covers everything from the Third Army arriving in Britain to the final casualty report. He also offers personal letters that were written during his time in North Africa and Sicily.
Prange, G.W. Goldstein, D.M., Dillon, K.V. 1983. Miracle at Midway. New York: Penguin Books.
Prange meticulously researched the events of Midway and presents the results in Miracle at Midway. Taking accounts from both sides, Prange offers an accurate description of one of the most important battles in the Pacific. The work details the nearly unbelievable occurrence of events that resulted in an American victory.
Ryan, Cornelius. 1959/1984. The Longest Day. New York: Pocket Books.
The quintessential work on D-Day, Ryan examines the events of June 6th 1944. The book is heavily based on eyewitness accounts and primary source materials, arranged chronologically in three segments. Ryan examines pre- invasion planning and preparations from both the Allied and German perspectives. The second part entitled “The Night” profiles the massive paratrooper operation that targeted inland objectives, with the third component focusing on the formal landing.
Ryan, Cornelius. 1974. A Bridge Too Far. New York: Pocket Books.
A Bridge Too Far examines one of the war’s greatest failures: Operation Market Garden. Market Garden was a day time airborne operation fought in the Netherlands and Germany. The brainchild of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Market Garden is often overlooked by events with more favourable outcomes.
Toland, J. 1959/1999. Battle: the Story of the Bulge. Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books.
As the title suggests, this work tells the story of the Bulge. Originally written in 1950s, Toland amasses numerous oral histories of soldiers that participated in the battle. He then uses those histories to tell the story through the eyes of the soldiers themselves.
Yeide, Harry and Mark Stout. 2007. First to the Rhine: The 6th Army Group in WWII. St. Paul, Minnesota: Zenith Press.
A forgotten but important campaign in 1944, First to the Rhine covers the drive of the United States 6th Army
Group and the French 1st army through southern France during the summer and fall of 1944. Yeide and Stout
cover many of the smaller battles and analyze the relationship between the French and American militaries.
Brady, Jim. 2000. The Coldest War: A Memoir of Korea. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.
As the title suggests, this volume is the memoir of Jim Brady, a retired Marine who served in Korea. Brady
tvolunteered for he Marine Corps in 1947 to avoid the draft and never expected to see action. He was
thrust into a war on unfamiliar terrain that dealt out as much carnage as other wars before and after.
Dannenmaier, William D. 2000. We Were Innocents: An Infantry in Korea. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
A Korean War Veteran, Dannenmaier offers a personal view of the 5th infantry and life in the army. The reader can
sense the frustration, boredom, and the danger these men faced as they tried to stop Communism
Halberstam, David. 2007. The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. New York, New York: Hyperion.
Halberstam, a former journalist, brings to light the nuances of the Korean War. He singles out General Douglas MacArthur as the scapegoat underestimating the Chinese. While he focuses on the first major battle of the war, Halberstam does examine the entirety of the war including the multiple personalities involved.
*Jung-hyo, Ahn .2003. Silver Stallion. New York, New York: Soho Press.
A novel of the Korean War, Silver Stallion examines how the war affects a small rural village. Ahn Jung-hyo describes what can happen if a force upsets a way of life. When friendly foreigners invade a little village, the community’s social structure simply disintegrates.
O’Donnell, Patrick K. 2010. Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story--The Epic Stand of the Marines of George Company. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press.
The focus of O’Donnell’s volume is George Company of the First Marines. This company landed in Inchon then marched to Seoul. Following that, they led the expedition to the Chosin Reservoir. The company faces not only the North Koreans and Chinese but also sub-Arctic temperatures.
McWilliams, Bill. 2004. On Hallowed Ground: The Last Battle for Pork Chop Hill. New York, New York: Penguin.
In his book, McWilliams examines one the final battles of the Korean conflict. He follows the 7th Infantry
Division as they hold Pork Chop Hill from the Chinese Army. Despite being outnumbered, these men endured
some of the most brutal fighting in military history.
Mauer, Kevin and Bill Richardson. 2010. Valleys of Death: A Memoir of the Korean War. New York, New York, Berkley Hardcover.
Richardson, a Philadelphia native, was a master sergeant with the First Calvary Division while in Korea and this
is his story. Upon arriving in Korea, his battalion faced multiple attacks. He continues his story as he depicts
the 34 months he was a P.O.W. in chilling detail.
Sloan, Bill. 2009. The Darkest Summer: Pusan and Inchon 1950: The Battles That Saved South Korea--and the Marines--from Extinction. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster.
In the Darkest Summer, Bill Sloan researches and depicts the first three months of America’s involvement in
the Korean War. Sloan describes that there was a sense of foreboding as America’s military might
was not nearly what it was during WWII. These three months continued to model American history for
decades to come.
Anderson, David and John Ernst. Ed. 2007. The War That Never Ends: New Perspectives on the Vietnam War. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky.
Anderson and Ernst collect numerous essays from well-known scholars that re-examines the importance of the Vietnam War. The essays cover everything from the home front to the war itself. Within these subjects, essays examine various aspects such as gender roles, political ideology and religion and their relations to the war.
^ Brenner, Stan. 2002. The Vietnam War Through the Eyes of a Young Marine 1966-1967: Drafted into Combat. York, PA: Stan Brenner.
This is Corporal Brenner’s personal account of his time in Vietnam. Brenner is a York, PA native, and was
drafted into the Marine Corps in 1966. Brenner was a rifleman for the year he was in
Vietnam, from 1967-1968.
^ Brenner, Stan. 2010. Vietnam Veterans: Why the War Never Ended. York, PA: Stan Brenner.
A follow up to Brenner’s first title, Brenner discusses his experience after the war as well a
contemporary issues facing all Veterans.
Castle, Timothy. 1999. One Day Too Long: Top Secret Site 85 and the Bombing of North Vietnam. New York: Columbia University Press.
One Day Too Long examines an obscure aspect of the Vietnam War. The Americans set up a top secret facility in Laos, a neutral country and it was not long before the Communists learned of it and attacked. “This was the largest single ground combat loss of U.S. Air Force personnel in the history of the Vietnam War.”
Ellsberg, Daniel. 2003. Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York, New York: Penguin Books.
In his memoir Secrets, Daniel Ellsberg recounts his decision to leak the Pentagon Papers, classified documents that described deceit and failures in U.S. Foreign Policy and Vietnam. During this time, Ellsberg was considered the most dangerous man in America.
Galloway, Joseph L. and Harold G. Moore. 2004. We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang - the Battle
That Changed the War in Vietnam. New York, New York: Presidio Press.
This book follows the men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry who were dropped via helicopter into a “hot- zone” and were immediately surrounded by 2000 NVA. The authors interviewed soldiers from both sides that were at this significant battle, and rely on their voices to narrate the history.
Halberstam, David. 1972. The Best and the Brightest. New York, New York: Random House.
In his work, Halberstam examines the foreign policy of both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The author focuses on the decisions made and heavily focuses on the years between 1960 and 1965.
Herring, George C. 2002. 4th ed. America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam 1950-1975. New York, New York: McGraw Hill.
Perhaps the authority of the Vietnam War, Herring offers a readable history of the war. Herring explores traditional military history and also interweaves politics and diplomacy to show how America became involved in an “unwinnable” war.
*Jung-hyo, Ahn. 2003. White Badge. New York, New York: Soho Press.
A former South Korean journalist, Ahn Jung-hyo offers a unique perspective of the Vietnam War. The novel is about the South Korean experience in the war. The novel explores the similarities of Korea and Vietnam.
*O’Brien, Tim. 1990. The Things They Carried. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
An American classic, The Things They Carried is a collection of short stories that follows the men of Alpha Company. O’Brien, a Vietnam veteran, describes the burdens and emotions of the soldiers who served in this war.
*Marlentes, Karl. 2010. Matterhorn. New York, New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.
Vietnam veteran Marlentes’ work tells the tale of a new lieutenant and the men of
Bravo Company. The readers find themselves in the jungle as the Bravo
Company try to recapture a position. Every aspect of the war can be
experienced in this book.
~ Myers, Walter Dean. 1988. Fallen Angels. New York, New York: Scholastic Paperbacks.
Fallen Angels provides a glimpse of the hardships of Vietnam through the eyes of a young recruit. Perry, a teen from Harlem, joins the military after his chance to go to college falls through. A coming of age story.
Sheehan, Neil. 1989. A Bright and Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York, New
York: Random House.
Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann was perhaps the most outspoken officer to serve in Vietnam. He was passionate, idealistic and believed the U.S. could win. He was disgusted by the South Vietnamese and their reluctance to fight. This work weaves a biography of Vann as well as provides context for the war.
*Webb, James. 2001. Field of Fire. New York, New York: Bantam Books.
In this novel, Webb describes the war in Vietnam through the eyes of three soldiers, each one from a different background. The story shows how each soldier was thrown into the jungle and how they handled their circumstances. Webb shows the growth and maturity of each character as a result of the war.
Waltz, Kenneth, N. 1954 (2001 latest edition). Man the State and War: A Theoretical Analysis. New York: Columbia University Press.
Waltz’s work does not focus on any war in general. This work looks at how war develops between nations. It is a look at the intricacies of international relationships.