Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You about the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History
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Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You about the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History Dirty Little Secrets of World War II exposes the dark, irreverent, misunderstood, and often tragicomic aspects of military operations during World War II, many of them virtually unknown even to military buffs. Like its successful predecessor, Dirty Little Secrets, Dunnigan and Nofi's new book vividly brings to life all theaters and participants of the war. Revelations include:- The real death count for the war, and why it has never been previously released.- The "new age" general who refused to smoke or drink, who lived on a vitamin-enriched diet, who opposed animal experimentation, and who regularly consulted his astrologer.- How equipment developed for the war led to such modern high-tech innovations as "smart bombs," electronic warfare, and nuclear missles.- The lackadaisical relationship between Germany and Japan throughout the war.- Tricky bits of information about the lingering effects of the war like the thousands of live shells and mines that are still buried in Europe and off the East Coast of America.~~~~~~~~~~This book is only partly about ``dirty little secrets''; it is mostly a collection of unfamiliar information about the war, presented in some 300 briefs. Typical of the entries in these entertaining pages is a succinct account of the German ``counterfeit offensive,'' in which an attempt was made to flood Britain with fake pound notes; and a comparison between American and German armies at squad, battalion and division level. In the intriguing trivia section, one learns that Gen. Douglas MacArthur was related to President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and that participants in the battle for Guadalcanal included a 12-year-old American sailor. As to the dirty little secrets, here are a few examples: Australian stevedores deliberately obstructed the U.S. war effort at times; disease was responsible for nearly half the war deaths; Allied bombers caused far less damage to the enemy than is generally supposed. Dunnigan is the author of The Complete Wargames Handbook; Nofi wrote Napoleon at War. Illustrations. (Sept.) -- Publishers Weekly There aren't many "dirty secrets" in this addictively readable book. Really, it's a compendium of fun facts about horrors arranged in bite-size prose bits and written under the influence of lead author Dunnigan's favorite book, Will Cuppy's irreverent historical classic The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody. The minichapters have titles like "Killer Vegetables and the Farts from Hell" (at 20,000 feet, gas caused by eating cabbages expanded, killing airmen). - Did you know that every single German spy who infiltrated England became an Allied double agent? - That MacArthur, Churchill, and Roosevelt all descended from one Sarah Belcher of Taunton, Massachusetts? - That World War II killed about 100 million, or five percent of humanity? - That a Russian was 100 times likelier to die than an American? (A USSR boy born in 1923 had an eighty-percent chance of dying by 1945.) We learn the origin of the term "rock & roll" (all weapons firing on automatic), the superiority or stupidity of tracer bullets, Gring's air-war policy, and U.S. troop-replacement policy. Some will argue with this book's rather simple answers to complex questions--was Chamberlain smart to cave to Hitler in the Munich pact because it bought a year to build planes and invent radar, which won the Battle of Britain? Other books come to different conclusions, but few so ably honor the master of snappy history, Will Cuppy. -- Tim Appelo