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Editor's Choice Awards for 2004
Since 2000 we've been bestowing our annual Editor's Choice Awards on favorites from WWII-related books published in the preceding year, awards sometimes known with humor and affection as the "Stonies." We peruse, read, and review quite a few books each year, and during that time we separate a little wheat from a great deal of chaff. The Stonies allow us to select and acknowledge the titles we rate as the most important new releases of the year.
Mind you, these awards are in their own way just as subjective and imperfect as any other method of honoring books. 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. Buthey!this is our website, so we get to have a little fun once in awhile.
The year 2004 was a better than average one for new books, and we read quite a few we rated as top-notch. However, we always limit our annual choices to the very best of the year rather than aiming for a particular number or trying to be overly inclusive. This year we rated eight titles as the cream of the crop.
Without further ado, the Stone & Stone Editor's Choice Awards for non-fiction books about World War II published in 2004, the Stonies, in alphabetical order by author:
Balkoski, Joseph. Omaha Beach: June 6, 1944. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2004
Another superb effort by Joe Balkoski, one of the best two books ever written about Omaha, and certainly one of the top books of the year.
Brongers, E.H. The Battle for The Hague, 1940. Soesterberg: Aspekt, 2004
Translated from the Dutch, this arrived here unexpectedly and proved to be one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.
Davies, Norman. Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw. New York: Viking, 2004
Davies manages to make more sense of the heroic but doomed rising than anyone who has ever tackled this complex subject.
Foreman, John. Fighter Command War Diaries, volume five: July 1944 to May 1945. Walton on Thames, UK: Air Research Publications, 2004
The fifth volume completes this series in grand style, marking the conclusion of a major undertaking and an important landmark for the study of Fighter Command.
Hastings, Max. Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004
A perfect blend of military action, political background, personal vignettes, and thoughtful analysis from one of our best World War II writers.
Kempton, Chris. Loyalty & Honour: The Indian Army, September 1939 - August 1947. Milton Keynes, UK: Military Press, 2004
A three-volume set packed with detailed, comprehensive data about every one of the Indian Army's battalions, brigades, and divisions. A brilliant achievement.
Latimer, Jon. Burma: The Forgotten War. London: John Murray Publishers Ltd, 2004
A solid operational account spiced with multitudes of colorful and telling recollections from those who were there.
Zuehlke, Mark. Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Victory: June 6, 1944. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, 2004
In the year's flood of D-Day books, this is one of the few qualifying as fresh, well-written, and important, and it's also the equal of Zuehlke's excellent series on the Canadians in Italy.
Our warm congratulations and thanks go out to the authors, editors, publishers, and booksellers who brought us these primo titles of 2004, as well as all the other great new books that arrived last year to enrich and enliven the body of Second World War literature.
Now we start searching for the best new books of 2005!
Previous Editor's Choice winners:
Editor's Choice for 1999
Editor's Choice for 2000
Editor's Choice for 2001
Editor's Choice for 2002
Editor's Choice for 2003
Reviewed 9 January 2005
Copyright © 2005 by Bill Stone
May not be reproduced in any form without written permission of Stone & Stone