Monday, December 7, 2020


If you cart your books around long enough they turn into a library but also a snapshot of your brain. I have carted some of my childhood books around long enough to see those snapshots. When I was in 11 and 12 years old I went through a World War II phase and especially a tank phase. For that couple of years, I asked for books on tanks for my birthday and Christmas. I've carted them around and pulled them out. Here’s my collection from years back plus one recent book.


1. The Tank Story: Purnell‘s History of the World Wars Special Edition (1972).
More of a magazine than a book, this was part of a series printed in the U.K. One of my first purchases during a family trip to England for Christmas when I was 11. It was perfect for me because it had a lot pictures. Price "45p". 

2. Tanks: An Illustrated History of Fighting Vehicles, Armin Halle/Carlo Demand (1971).  It starts with antiquity  including Leonardo DaVinci's designs but spends the bulk of the book on tanks from WWII. Christmas gift from my parents.

3.  German Tanks of World War II: 1926 to 1945, F.M. von Senger Und Etterlin (1969). 
With a name like the author's, you have to be destined to write a book about German tanks. More technical than you want for a 12 year old and more suitable as a reference book for a military historian. Another book I would have pestered my mother for during my "tank phase".  I remember bringing it to school and lending it to a friend who wanted to a report on tanks.

4.  Tanks and Other Armored Fighting Vehicles: 1900 to 1918, B.T. White (1970). 

Part of a series, Macmillian Pocket Encyclopedias in Color. By this time, I was getting more obscure with my "tank phase" and wonder how I picked it out. WWI takes were not as interesting as WWII tanks--they were usually big bulky mountains of metal or lightly armored cars. One of the Russian Armored cars, the Garford is shown with a Skull and Crossbones.

5. Armored Onslought 8 August 1918, Douglas Orgill, 1972.
One dollar paperback books part of Ballantine's illustrated history of the "Violent Century." Buying Ballantine books was like buying an expensive magazine. They kept coming out with them but they were only $1. 

6.  Kursk: The Clash of Armor, Jeffrey Jukes (1968).
Another in the series of Ballantine's illustrated battle books of World War II. Kursk was the largest tank battle in history that occured on the eastern front between Russia and Germany. 

7. Spearhead: The Incredible True Story of World War II's Expendable Heroes, Adam Makos (2019). This is the one recent addition I bought online and read late last year. A great first hand account of the most modern tank introduced by the Americans at the end of World War II and its duel with a German Panther in the city of Cologne Germany. I suppose this brings my 12-year-old interest in tanks full circle over 40 years later.

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