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Editor's Choice Awards for 1999
Each year for the past four years we've conducted a survey allowing visitors to our website to vote for the Top Ten non-fiction books about the Second World War published in that calendar year. Each year the Top Ten has attracted more voters, more nominations, and more ballots, and it's always a fascinating process to watch the votes pour in and the year's titles move up and down in the standings.
At the beginning of the new year with a certain amount of fanfare we announce the Top Ten winners. At the beginning of the new year we also receive without fail messages from perplexed voters -- and disgruntled authors -- who want to know why their favorite books didn't finish atop the standings, and why some less worthy titles -- at least in their eyes -- managed to garner so many votes.
Well, there's no accounting for taste. One reader's favorite is another reader's discard, and critical acclaim is no guarantee of popular success. That's why we run the Top Ten voting and let the readers pick the books themselves.
This year, however, we decided to institute a companion to the Top Ten books of the year: the Editor's Choice Awards. This allows us at Stone & Stone to select and acknowledge the titles we rate as the most important new releases of the year, especially ones that were passed over in the Top Ten voting.
Mind you, these awards are in their own way just as subjective and imperfect as the Top Ten. We can only read so many books in twelve months, and we have our own tastes and preferences about specific topics and about what makes a good book. But -- hey! -- this is our website, so we get to have a little fun once in awhile!
Without further ado, the Stone & Stone Editor's Choice Awards for non-fiction books about World War II published in 1999, in alphabetical order by author:
Boog, Forster, Hoffmann, Klink, et al. Germany and the Second World War, volume IV: The Attack on the Soviet Union. London: Oxford University Press. Were we selecting books according to weight or page count, this title (1364 pages plus a separate map volume) would be a shoo-in. It's still a sure bet when measured for its overall importance. The team at the Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamt has done an incredible job in analyzing such a wide spectrum of political, economic, and military factors. Not an operational/tactical account and not a casual read, but -- like the other volumes in the series -- a tome of enduring scholarly significance.Reviewed 8 January 2000
Copyright © 2000 by Bill Stone
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