A place for history teachers, students and enthusiasts

World War 2 History Reading Group

World War II Reading Group
Entire War Surveys

Welcome and thank you for your interest. I hope this group is interesting for both people that have studied the Second World War and those just getting started.

If you are new to studying World War II this is probably a good place to begin. None of the book require any special background to be interesting and profitable for the reader.

The goal of the group is to gain an overview of the war, not focus on specific theaters or events.

Our Current Book and Reading For The Week

The Storm Of War Reading Schedule

Week 1 - March 6 - Preface and Prelude: The Pact

General overview of the prewar period and the agreement between Hitler and Stalin.

Miscellaneous Notes and Thoughts:

  • If you are new to studying this era, something that is often missed is that there were multiple terror organizations within Nazi Germany - don't confuse the "SA" with the "SS" or "SD" or "GESTAPO". They all were different organizations - all terror based and all knowingly participated in the Holocaust, but with different specific functions and histories. The same applies to the "Special" or SIPO, the "Order" police or ORPO and the "Criminal" police or KRIPO

    One of the ways totalitarian states "secure" themselves is to create multiple competing and overlapping bureaucracies with confusing lines of authority in order to keep everyone suspicious of everyone else. If it seems confusing now, it was then also and was designed to be that way very intentionally.
  • Primary Source: Churchill's ti tribute in honor of Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons (1940)

Optional Supplemental Reading:

Week 2 - March 13 - Chapter 1 - Four Invasions: September 1939–April 1940

Begins with a basic overview of Hitler's World War I experience and the history of Plan White - the invasion of Poland and continues into the Russian invasion of Poland. The second part of the chapter continues with the Russian invasion of Finland and the annexation of the Baltic states. It concludes with a brief description of the Battle of the Atlantic during the "phony war" and the invasions of Norway and Denmark.

Miscellaneous Notes and Thoughts:

Optional Supplemental Reading

Week 3 - March 20 - Chapter 2 - Führer Imperator: May–June 1940

The invasions and defeats of France, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg and the evacuation of Allied troops from continental Europe.

Optional Suggested Reading:


Week 4 - March 27 - Chapter 3 - Last Hope Island: June 1940–June 1941

Britian stands {almost) alone and the United States increasing preparation for war. Details about operation Sea Lion and the Battle of Britain.

Optional Supplemental Reading


Week 5 - April 3 - Chapter 4 - Contesting the Littoral: September 1939–June 1942

The opening of World War II in North Africa and the Middle East.

Optional Supplemental Reading

Week 6 - April 10 - Chapter 5 - Kicking in the Door: June–December 1941

The beginning of the war between Germany and Russia

Optional Supplemental Reading

Week 7 - April 17 - Chapter 6 - Tokyo Typhoon: December 1941–May 1942

Week 8 - April 24 - Chapter 7 - The Everlasting Shame of Mankind: 1939–1945

Week 9 - May 1 - Chapter 8 - Five Minutes at Midway: June 1942–October 1944

Week 10 - May 8 - Chapter 9 - Midnight in the Devil’s Gardens: July 1942–May 1943

Week 11 - May 15 - Chapter 10 - The Motherland Overwhelms the Fatherland: January 1942–February 1943

Week 12 - May 22 - Chapter 11 - The Waves of Air and Sea: 1939–1945

Week 13 - May 29 - Chapter 12 - Up the Wasp-Waist Peninsula: July 1943–May 1945

Week 14 - June 5 - Chapter 13 - A Salient Reversal: March–August 1943

Week 15 - June 12 - Chapter 14 - The Cruel Reality: 1939–1945

Week 16 - June 19 - Chapter 15 - Norman Conquest: June–August 1944

Week 17 - June 26 - Chapter 16 - Western Approaches: August 1944–March 1945

Week 18 - July 3 - Chapter 17 - Eastern Approaches: August 1943–May 1945

Week 19 - July 10 - Chapter 18 - The Land of the Setting Sun: October 1944–September 1945

Week 20 - July 17 - Conclusion: Why Did the Axis Lose the Second World War?

World War II Surveys Reading List

  1. The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War by Andrew Roberts
  2. To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949 by Ian Kershaw
  3. Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe
  4. Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings
  5. The Second World War by Antony Beevor
  6. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower

About Our Group and How To Participate

This is a friendly group of people interested in reading great books about World War I and World War II including the background and interwar periods. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of your previous experience in studying history. The goal is to read, learn and enjoy something meaningful. We read about a chapter each week in the book(s) you choose to read.

Each week there will be a new Facebook post on our page for that week’s reading where the group can interact.

Everyone is encouraged to post their favorite or most meaningful quote from the chapter (about a paragraph with page number/location) in the comments for the Facebook post covering the chapter. This is an easy, no pressure and meaningful way to express your thoughts on a chapter and is also a great way for individuals to go back and look at what others found meaningful. It keeps the focus on the authors works rather than an opinion.

Comments about the chapter or book are welcome as long as they are polite, respectful, relevant, non-partisan and constructive and focused on the author's work not someone else’s comment. A helpful guideline is that you are always addressing the group, not just a single individual when you write. If you enjoy or agree with a post, liking their comment is a meaningful way of engaging the group.

Of course if you don't want to post a quote or comment, you're still welcome to read along with us.

Please before you comment, remember others here are good people with feelings. Using second person pronouns should be used with caution (you, your, you’ve) and used in a sparing and respectful way in replies. Everyone is expected to interact with others like they would in a normal classroom or business setting among colleagues and friends. The antisocial behavior common on the internet is not tolerated here. Regardless of the intent, politically partisan or inflammatory comments are not permitted. This is a group about World War II History, not 21st century current events. I am very serious about this point.

Individuals who understand English as a secondary language are welcome to participate. Please do not worry if your English is flawed, you are among friends who want you to be here. It’s wonderful you are interested in learning about history with us.

The books come in at least one accessible format, so if you use text to speech for a vision impairment this will not be a problem. Many will be available in Audible and all have Kindle Text to Speech enabled (on Kindle Fire Tablets). The books are available through the National Library Service for the Blind. All are available in print from your local public library (possibly through inter-library loan).

    Thank you for participating