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Editor's Choice Awards for books of 2010
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.
After a couple years of economic doldrums, the military book business seems to have taken a turn for the better in 2010. No one is exactly rolling in clover, but the worst of the sales downturn might be behind. In any event, whatever the economic climate, some books of the very highest quality always emerge every year.
When we choose the annual Stonies, we never aim for a particular number of top books; instead we seek quality rather than quantity. For 2010 we've identified six new books as the "best of the best."
In most years some kind of pattern emerges when we analyze the chosen books. This year two of the titles came from Naval Institute Press, almost always in the Stonie mix, and one was written by perennial Stonie winner Col. David Glantz, who had two books selected last year. Another 2009 winner, Geirr H. Haarr, also won another Stonie this year. One of the winners previously received a Stonie for a 2003 book, and one for a 2006 book. Two of this year's books dealt with air operations and two with naval affairs. Three covered ops in Europe and two in the Southwest Pacific. Other than that, no particular patterns emerged this year. Well, except that they're all exemplary books.
Whatever all that means to readers, without further ado we present the Stone & Stone Editor's Choice Awards for non-fiction books about World War II published in 2010, the Stonies, in alphabetical order by author:
||Amersfoort, Herman and Piet Kamphuis (editors)
May 1940: The Battle for the Netherlands. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishing, 2010.
The best book on this short but interesting campaign. Photos, maps (some in color), and complete text (nicely translated from the original Dutch) covering forces of both sides, including German cavalry operations.
||Bartsch, William H.
Every Day a Nightmare: American Pursuit Pilots in the Defense of Java, 1941-1942. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2010.
A highly engaging book about a painful disaster for the Allies, containing unsurpassed amounts of information about pilots, units, and air operations, including much material from diaries, letters, and other documents written by individual airmen during the campaign.
Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942 - April 1943. Minneapolis, MN: Zenith Press, 2010.
Wide-angle strategy, mission-by-mission air operations, and telling personal observations from a variety of participants, all carefully crafted into an informative, highly readable package.
||Glantz, David M.
Barbarossa Derailed: The Battle for Smolensk, 10 July - 10 September 1941, volume 1: The German Advance, the Encirclement Battle, and the First and Second Soviet Counteroffensives, 10 July-24 August 1941. Solihull, UK: Helion & Company, 2010.
Col. Glantz continues to produce mega-books with greater detail and accuracy than almost everything that has gone before, transforming the way we understand the Russo-German War, and this impressive monster is no exception.
||Haarr, Geirr H.
The Battle for Norway, April - June 1940. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010.
Proving his previous book, The German Invasion of Norway, was no fluke, Haarr delivers another brilliant volume about naval operations during the Norwegian campaign.
||O'Hara, Vincent P., W. David Dickson, and Richard Worth (editors)
On Seas Contested: The Seven Great Navies of the Second World War. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010.
A splendid distillation of key information about the major navies of WWII, constructed in parallel fashion, making it easy to compare and contrast how each nation waged the war at sea.
Our warm congratulations and thanks go out to the authors, editors, publishers, and booksellers who brought us these primo titles of 2010, 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 2011!
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
Editor's Choice for 2004
Editor's Choice for 2005
Editor's Choice for 2006
Editor's Choice for 2007
Editor's Choice for 2008
Editor's Choice for 2009
Reviewed 9 January 2011
Copyright © 2011 by Bill Stone
May not be reproduced in any form without written permission of Stone & Stone