Tales of great soldiers, secret intelligence groups and the dramatic beginnings of the Cold War can inspire, rivet and thrill almost anyone. A litany of exciting war-themed books have been recently released, and if you have the chance, these are sure to make a wonderful read.
The York Patrol
This historical account by James Carl Nelson focuses on the exceptional military accomplishments of Alvin Cullum York, who fought in World War I with the American Expeditionary Force. York was one of 13 soldiers in the force who each won a Medal of Honor after the events in the Argonne Forest in northeastern France. The day this transpired would be known throughout history as the Day of Valor.
York came from humble beginnings as an impoverished farmer in Tennessee but would later become one of the most celebrated fighters in the war, with several books retelling his deeds. He was even portrayed in a film, Sergeant York, as played by Gary Cooper.
Nelson gives special attention to the sixteen others who fought with York. These soldiers came from a range of backgrounds: Some were from big cities, others from small towns and some from foreign countries. Of particular note were a runaway who joined using a false name; a farmer like York who had a lineage tracing as far back as the American Revolution; and a Polish immigrant who enlisted to become an American citizen. These individuals would all become heroes on the Day of Valor, whose names would be written in history books to inspire others with their extraordinary valor and bravery.
Bletchley Park and D-Day
David Kenyon tells of the secret of Bletchley Park, the hub for Allied codebreakers during World War II. It was at this English mansion where the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), consisting of thousands of intelligence workers, would intercept and crack the covert communications between the Axis Powers. The activities at Bletchley Park would be concealed until decades later in the 1970s.
The GC&CS was paramount to the success of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. Kenyon uses the once-classified documents and collected enemy information to tell the story of how Bletchley Park made this battle’s victory possible — and, ultimately, the Allied triumph in the war.
Checkmate in Berlin
Giles Milton wrote this tale of the beginning of the Cold War, taking place almost immediately after the end of World War II. Describing the intense mistrust among the Allied powers that took over Berlin after the Yalta Conference in 1945, this thrilling tale of rampant suspicion among these flawed leaders vying for power speaks of the breakdown between the Western powers and the Soviet Union.
The book features an account of historical figure Frank “Howlin’ Mad” Howley, who was appointed commandant of Berlin’s American sector. Deeply distrustful of the Russians, Howley considered General Alexander Kotikov, the commandant of the Soviet sector, to be an object of intense suspicion. Howley correctly believed the Soviet leader was an agent of Stalin whose mission was to rid Berlin (and ultimately, Germany) of the Western allies.
Milton covers the bases of all the major players to form a breathtaking human drama — one that would help shape the world we know today.
Choose one or all of these acclaimed books for your next reading binge
Whether you fancy an account of exceptional men, a secret intelligence agency or a story detailing the beginnings of the Cold War, you’ll undoubtedly find something in one or all of these new offerings. The many tales of military history and the range of individuals who populate these stories are sure to keep you turning the page well into the evening hours.