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The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty That Armed Germany at War Military World War I William Manchester Back Bay Books

9th August 2012 History Books 44 Comments

** ‘A colorful, extremely readable account. To be the biographer of Krupp is to write the history of modern Germany.’ – NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

William Manchester is professor of History Emeritus at Wesleyan University. His biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion, is considered definitive.

The Krupp family were the premier German arms manufacturers from the middle of the 19th century until the end of World War II, producing artillery pieces and submarines that set the standard for effectiveness. This book relates the history of this influential company.

** ‘A colorful, extremely readable account. To be the biographer of Krupp is to write the history of modern Germany.’ – NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty That Armed Germany at War

Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War

11 1.5-hour cassettes –This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

The nightmares began for William Manchester 23 years after WW II. In his dreams he lived with the recurring image of a battle-weary youth , “angrily demanding to know what had happened to the three decades since he had laid down his arms.” To find out, Manchester visited those places in the Pacific where as a young Marine he fought the Japanese, and in this book examines his experiences in the line with his fellow soldiers . He gives us an honest and unabashedly emotional account of his part in the war in the Pacific. “The most moving memoir of combat on WW II that I have ever read. A testimony to the fortitude of man…a gripping, haunting, book.” –William L. Shirer

Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War

  • 44 responses to "The Arms of Krupp: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty That Armed Germany at War Military World War I William Manchester Back Bay Books"

  • Bob Dobolina
    5:05 on August 9th, 2012
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    This work is the cardinal profile of the rise of the `military-industrial complex’ in 19-20C Germany. The Krupp legacy (family and firm) is skillfully traced in a lucid, comprehensive account equal to the finest modern history.

    Without Krupp, Germany would never have been unified in 1871. Without war, Krupp would never have grown into the wealthiest concern in the world. Each served the other. And tens of millions died.

    What price did Krupp pay for key instrumentality in aggressive war? Not much. Gustav (key Nazi donor, appointed `Leader of Industry’ in 1933) was judged too infirm for trial in 1945. Alfried (who joined the SS in 1931) spent 3 years in jail (released to much applause in 1951). The firm self destructed 1967-8 (Arndt II, playboy degenerate, wasn’t up to the task of renewing the symbiotic relationship).

    Krupp armed regimes that killed civilians without remorse. It used slave labor to produce weapons, and operated camps that (given the regimen) supported extermination. All without apology.

    Perhaps the most cynical salute to profit is Krupp’s ultimate negotiation of a £40,000 settlement in 1926 for patent royalties from Vickers for 640,000 shells the Brits fired at Germans in WW1 (Gustav insisted 4,160,000 shells were fired — killing 2,080,000 German soldiers — and £260,000 was due). Thus Krupp, the preeminent German weapons firm, was paid for the death of German soldiers in a lost war.

    Though I read it thirty years ago, this book remains important and memorable. Highly recommended.

  • B. Cartz
    6:50 on August 9th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    First, there is nothing by the late,great Mr. Manchester that is not absolutely top of the line! This is his most personal book, a memoir remembering the tragedies and horrors of his experience fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, and in the Philippines. There is some autobiography here in the beginning, when the author remembers his father and his early life. This is pleasant enough, but the harrowing sections after about page 40 are real shockers, including some unbelievable horrors committed by Japanese soldiers in the Philippines (including atrocities against babies), and mass suicides by the natives on Tarawa. Mr. Manchester also tells of a certain movie actor who played soldier roles getting booed off the stage in a Honolulu theatre by hundreds of hard-bitten marines (relevent today!). His essays on death rituals in most world religions are worth the price of the book! So another grand slam by this great author, among the very best popular historians ever!

  • CU Writer
    7:45 on August 9th, 2012
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    Manchester illustrates what one family can do to change the course of history if they’re in the right place at the right time. Eventually the Krupp family business, and their dynasty, had the German goverment behind them, protecting them with their own laws and their own train spur to Der Hugel, the family estate. The rise of the Krupp’s, what they did with their power, and the eventual dying off of the family, is the study of The Arms of Krupp. It’s a powerful and profoundly moving story, given the lead role the family and its business played in arming the Germans for both World Wars and the enslavement and starvation of many prisoners. Krupp was one of a few private companies in Germany to have its own concentration camp for Jews.

    I was deeply shocked that the Krupp family was cleared of war crimes in Nuremburg.

    But it’s a fascinating family history, and I found it gripping from beginning to end. The family is full of interesting and lively characters. Someday, when I have the stomach for the gruesome parts again, I will reread it.

  • Mark Wilkensen
    9:12 on August 9th, 2012
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    It covers a lengthy span of time in Krupp saga. Its 900 pages have space for all kinds of detail, from the purely familiar and personal to the more general of German customs and idiosyncrasies, and finally -to me the most relevant and interesting- the historical. The historical from the ground perspective, is what I mean, not the ideological or political.

    There’s a lot of merit in this author to keep the interest along so many pages. Some of these pages are of great style, elsewhere the interest plummets a little, which is totally understandable.

    One paradox in the book that can summarize the story of Krupp is the difference between the way the greatest Krupp (Alfred) treated a poor and foreign woman appealing for help, and the way his great-grandson, would treat people like her in his not-known-well-enough private concentration camps. For Alfred it was: “Necessity knows no law”, a fitting motto. Exactly the opposite would be during the Nazi times. Here’s a sample of great writing: “Yet there was a time when Alfred’s great-grandson not only abandoned helpless women from abroad, but exploited them, and then left them to a doom far more unspeakable than the turbid gray waters of the Rhine. The bonfire of the Third Reich was rapidly being reduced to embers. No sources of manpower were left and so, necessity knowing no law, Krupp turned to girls, to mothers, and, in the end, to the construction of a private concentration camp for children.”

    A must read, for the fine style in which it describes important historical subjects that must be known, the day-to-day lives of the people who lived those turbulent -to say something- times. Let’s not forget those horrors. And don’t try to understand them, just beware how low the human race can fall.

  • Justin M
    9:27 on August 9th, 2012
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    The Arms of Krupp is a brilliantly written book detailing the rise and fall of one of the most powerful families in history. The family of Krupp was the armorer of the first, second and third German Reichs. The origins of the family’s wealth begin with Arndt Krupp surviving the Black Plague and purchasing land that just happened to contain the richest coal deposits in Europe. The firm or die Firma was built on 3 basic principles, innovation (many new alloys, metals, methods and weapons are attributable to the Krupp firm), political leverage, and absolute suzerainty of a single head of the family. Indeed the head of the Krupp family ruled a state with in a state.

    Unlike most industrial families, the Krupps appear to understand very early on that the health and welfare of the workers is a necessity of the survival and prosperity of die Firma itself. That fact makes Krupp’s treatment of the slave labor (Jewish and Eastern “stucke”) even more appalling. Indeed, Krupp violated even the pathetic SS prisoner treatment rules, formed an internal Gestapo, and tortured workers accused of ridiculous crimes (stealing food) considering the treatment they were given.

    William Manchester spends a great deal of time on the Holocaust and Krupp’s involvement in it. Indeed, Krupp raided captured factories across Europe and enslaved tens of thousands. In my opinion, this period represents the heights of wealth and the depths of morality for the firm and the family. Krupp sold his Reich marks to get real capital and at the same time employed the Nazi slave labor program to maintain production. Wealth generated on the backs of the conquered territories and enslaved peoples.

    But the single most damning legacy of the Krupp dynasty is Bushmannhof ? a concentration camp for children of Krupp’s slave labor program. Not even children really but infants. No fence was erected around this camp as its prisoners couldn’t have escaped even if they were big enough to walk. Witnesses at Nuremburg stated that infants lay naked on rubber sheets too weak to do anything until death came to claim them. In theory, mothers could come visit once per week, but this was impossible and no alternative was ever even considered. In total war, innocence is no protection. While Gustav and Alfried Krupp ate with solid gold place ware in a bombproof bunker. Children of workers forced to keep the rolling presses moving were dying of starvation and preventable diseases.
    They were buried in the earth beneath small numbered plaques. Never to laugh, never to play, they were born but to die under the suzerainty of Krupp.

    But memories are short, Alfried was released to help forge the swords of the cold war and indeed, at his death in 1968, the Krupp firm was turned into a publicly held company and the only Krupp Heir – his son Arndt – continues to prosper due in a large part to the Lex Krupp, a law issued by Adolph Hilter.

    And the little numbered plaques have probably crumbled to nothing by now.

  • Therapyman
    11:19 on August 9th, 2012
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    I picked this book up at a book exchange shelf at my local train station without thinking much about the title, but what a read! This is a breathtaking narrative on the island hopping campaign of the Pacific war and is a reminder of the long forgotten obscure islands of the wide Pacific where tens of thousands of American troops lost their lives. Japanese too, but this was a story told from the side of a Marine who fought in some of the battles. I defer to the other reviews below on the author’s successful retelling of this theater of the people/battles/generals/admirals of WWII. Only thing I want to point out though is that he mentions Comfort women were volunteers who went to the obscure islands to do their part in the Japanese effort. This definately was not so. Please correct/retract this error Mr William Manchester, and Mr. Publisher.

  • Marc J Darinoal
    12:57 on August 9th, 2012
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    William Manchester’s memoir of World War II is quite good – although in my opinion there are better personal narratives of the war in the Pacific. What makes this out of the ordinary is that Manchester travels across the Pacific revisting the battle sites, re-telling their stories – and his own.

    His description of Guadalcanal is the best part, which is unfortunate, as it happens in the first half of the book. Manchester’s strength is as a biographer – which does Goodbye, Darkness somewhat of a disservice. He does an outstanding job of painting vivid characterizations of Vandegrift, Nimitz and MacArthur, but at the expense of weakening what could have been a more memorable memoir. Manchester does a decent job of providing an overall view of the conduct of the war; but as far as personal accounts go, Eugene Sledge’s With the Old Breed is by far a better read.

  • wangsi
    13:39 on August 9th, 2012
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    If anyone really wants to know what it meant to be a Marine “grunt” in WWII, or any other war, there are two “outstanding” memoirs they need to read.

    Manchester’s “Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific” is one. E.B. Sledge’s “With The Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa” is the other.

    No “John Wayne” stuff in either book. Just a couple of very articulate enlisted Marine “grunts” serving their time in Hell and living to tell about it.

    Fast forward to Korea, Vietnam and Iraq and nothing much has changed — except the geography, the climate and the face of the enemy. The horror of combat is still the same. Both memoirs should be read by anyone considering joining The Corps in time of war.

    Both are now in the “Read Again” section of my personal library. Semper Fi, Marines.

  • Just a Toad
    17:06 on August 9th, 2012
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    I was really looking forward to this after reading some of the hype around it and knowing the reputation of its author. However, ultimately, I was disappointed. It’s because I was anticipating something like the brilliant With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, but it was far from that.

    This is about a Manchester journeying back to key locations of the Pacific campaign, many of which he was not even present at during the war. Interspersed with impressions of his modern day island hopping are war stories, many of which he was not involved in. But also thrown in are stories of his own experiences, and these are good. But you can appreciate how things can get confusing quickly. I lost track of where he had actually been during the war and only had it sorted out towards the end. For an experienced writer, I really feel he “lost the plot” to some extent with this one.

    Despite the disappointments, the unfailingly honest accounts of Manchester’s own experiences on Okinawa are excellent. Particularly memorable is the story of the idiot who accuses him of … well, you’ll know the one I mean–a good illustration of the madness that goes on in war.

  • James Rich
    17:37 on August 9th, 2012
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    William Manchester is a great historian and an excellent writer. His history is well written and very fair. He goes to great efforts to keep his writing balanced, and he does so successfully. Just read his biography of MacArthur. So, I was quite surprized to read Goodbye Darkness and see and read Manchesters personal reaction to combat in the Pacific. This is some read. Graphic, disturbing, and yet giving you a great appreciation for what our WWII veterans accomplished in the Pacific. This book should be mandatory reading on WWII. The war in the Pacific was a horrible but neccessary war. Manchesters journal of this combat is unforgettable reading. A must read.

  • wallshit
    18:47 on August 9th, 2012
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    I had the hardcover version of “The Arms of Krupp” on my bookshelf for several years and finally got around to reading it in full over the past few months. I have to agree with all those who gave the book five stars. It is a masterful and well-written account of the Krupp dynasty over more than two centuries. In well over 800 pages, William Manchester has done a remarkable job in relating the important roles of Alfred, Gustav and Alfried Krupp in building a lucrative empire in the Ruhr based on steel and iron that gave Germany military dominance from the 1870′s to the 1940′s. This was accomplished by selling state-of-the-art weapons and other products through Machiavellian maneuvering with global powers and close political connections with two Kaisers and one Fuhrer. If you are interested in German history, military science or technology, you should read this book!

  • Edison Korsak
    19:44 on August 9th, 2012
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    Even forty years after its first publication, William Manchester’s “The Arms of Krupp” remains an amazing, powerful work that takes the reader through the four-century long story of the remarkable Krupp family. In so doing, it also recounts the history of Prussia, Germany, and Europe during that same span, at least where those histories touch upon, intersect, and sometimes violently collide with that of the Krupps. What would be a daunting, and probably dull narrative in the hands of a lesser writer is endlessly fascinating when Manchester turns his hand to it–this is some of his best, if not his outright best, writing. The narrative is by turns dramatic, intimate, humorous, incredulous, laudatory, and where necessary damning, and all the while it is simultaneously informative and entertaining.

    Most compelling of all the aspects of the Krupp family which Manchester explores and illuminates, none is more fascinating than his recounting of how the Krupp steel-making empire became almost a “state within a state,” developing a special relationship with successive German governments, becoming almost a de facto branch of those governments. As Manchester describes the relationship between Alfred Krupp and Kaiser Wilhelm I, Fritz Krupp and Wilhelm II, Gustav Krupp and first the Weimar Republic and then the Third Reich, he recounts how the original military-industrial complex came into being, then grew and developed its power and authority to the point where it could literally make and break governments. When Manchester describes the nightmare of Alfried Krupp’s slave-labor empire in the last four years of the Second World War, he is illuminating for the world–as well as warning of–the worst consequences of such a monstrous entity.

    The book tells the story of the Krupp family, which in 1811 founded what would eventually become the largest steel-making firm in the whole of Europe. It also became the arsenal of the Second and Third Reichs, producing the artillery, ammunition, warships, and eventually tanks that allowed Prussia–then later in its guise of Germany–to fight four aggressive wars, winning two of them and coming perilously close to winning the other two. It is a tale which has a powerful fascination for military and social historian alike, for while the Krupps were equipping the German armies for conquest, they were at the same introducing corporate employer-employee policies which would have a direct and lasting impact on European social legislation for generations, some effects of which can still be discerned by a perceptive observer in the European Union’s constitution.

    Manchester is not, as some critics have asserted, anti-German. He readily acknowledges the admirable traits of the German ethnic character when and where they are put to benign purposes. However, he is not a German apologist, and his account of the plight and sufferings of the sklavenarbeiter and Fremdarbeiter in wartime Essen (and elsewhere in Krupp’s industrial empire, including Auschwitz), he pulls no punches. This is as it should be: he is recounting history, not rewriting it. For those who seek to minimize–or even ignore–the horrors of the “Nacht and Nebel” decrees, the racial policies of Nazi Germany, or the moral abomination of the Final Solution, they will find no ally in Manchester and no comfort in the pages of “The Arms of Krupp.”

    This book is a “warts and all” work, and Manchester writes honestly. Where he finds something admirable in the character of individuals about whom he writes, he is openly admiring. But he never lets himself be blinded to their shortcomings, and presents them with equal accuracy.

    This is not to say that “The Arms of Krupp” is without its flaws. There are technical errors, particularly when weapons are being discussed. And there is a lack of clarification at times when specific technical issues inject themselves into the narrative, as they inevitably do at times. The most egregious shortcoming, however, is the often derisive tone Manchester adopts when senior military and naval officers as being “ossified” and “reactionary” when they refuse to immediately and enthusiastically comprehend and embrace the innovations being introduced by the Krupps at any given time. This is perhaps understandable when it is kept in mind that Manchester was a 1960s-vintage liberal. However, as a combat veteran (he served in the USMC during the Second World War), he should have known better. Such a derisive attitude overlooks the fact that the weapons and tactics which the officers employed worked. “We’ve always done it this way ” was not merely an excuse given to avoid change, it was also a declaration that the weapons and tactics in question were the result of hard-won and often bloody experience. War was not a mere intellectual exercise: it exacted a toll in flesh and blood as well as powder and steel. No general or admiral wants to go into battle with weapons that might not work or rely on tactics that are flawless in theory but impossible to execute in action. “Back to the drawing board” may be an acceptable response to failure for an engineer, but for leaders in wartime, there is no such benign equivalent: failure means battles lost, which in turn means lives, territory, wealth, even nations, lost as well. Adhering to the tried-and-true methods and tools of warfare may have been conservative, and even appear hide-bound at times, but it was done because they were practical, workable, and reliable.

    That caveat aside, “The Arms of Krupp” is well worth having. Anyone with any aspiration toward becoming a serious student of military history, modern European history, or the history of the German nation, should have this book in their library.

  • Jon Evan
    21:34 on August 9th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Ever wondered how a country the size of Montana could nearly conquer the continent of Europe twice in 30 years? The answer is Krupp. From artillery to tank armor to whole U-boats, Krupp produced it all. This book traces the companies roots back several hundred years, culminating in their efforts during World War One and Two. While this book is informative and has a good flow for its subject matter, it’s best read by serious history buffs only.

  • Ting wang
    23:30 on August 9th, 2012
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    I enjoyed this from the first to the last page. I did like Manchester’s format of “then and now,” and this work, like most of his other work is easy to follow, very informative and simply a delight to read. The reader must remember that this is one mans memories and one mans view of a very traumatic episode in his life and the life of our nation. I had to shake my head in disbelief when I read that several reviewers felt somehow cheated in that Manchester himself did not fight in all the battles in the Pacific War. Off the top of my head, I know of not one individual that did, and survived. Manchester gives us a view of his little slice of the war and does it as well as anyone. If I had one thing to be critical of, it would be that some of the thoughts the author records have certainly been altered by our experiences in the 60s and 70s, but that in itself is rather nice. The book is no worse the wear for having been published in 1979 and is still a good read and one you probably should add to your collection. I read this one years ago, enjoyed it then and enjoyed in during this present reading. Highly recommend.

    Don Blankenship
    The Ozarks

  • draper sucks
    0:55 on August 10th, 2012
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    Historian William Manchester (1922-2004) recounts his experiences and those of other U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. These haunting pages are not for the feint-of-heart. Readers see how the Marines island-hopped across the Pacific against tough Japanese defenders. Readers sense the sights, sounds, and smell of battle, along with its sickening brutality and near-ceaseless death. The Marines had the highest casualty rates during the war – my late uncle was in the (Army) invasion of the Phillipines in 1944-45, and 50 years later he somberly described it as a battle to stay alive. Manchester returned to the Pacific in 1978 to write these pages. It must have been difficult; I once saw a powerful film of Marine (and Japanese) veterans that returned to Iwo Jima in 1985.

    Ex-journalist Manchester writes readable prose, but some criticize his making the experiences of other Marines seem as if his own. This book isn’t easy on the stomach, but it gives a realistic look, as do GUADALCANAL DIARY (by Richard Tregaskis) and the fictional THE NAKED AND THE DEAD (by Norman Mailer).

  • Adam J Davis
    1:18 on August 10th, 2012
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    In June, 1992, I flew into Guadalcanal to begin research on my great uncle’s experience as a Marine during the WWII campaign. My plan was to retrace his steps during the months-long battle fifty years to the day after he took those steps.

    My six-month-long stay on Guadalcanal was preceded by more than a year of reading every single thing I could get my hands on about the battle. I read every book I could find in the English language — accounts from Brits, Kiwis, Aussies — as well as a few translated from Japanese. I spent two weeks at the Marine Corps Historical Museum in D.C. going through my great uncle’s unit’s combat reports.

    This book was by far the best I read about our Marines in the WWII Pacific Theatre. Manchester is a writer for the ages, a national treasure.

    He didn’t fight in the battle for the ‘Canal — his struggles came later. But he takes the reader to war like no other book because he takes us inside himself — his fears, his hauntings and nightmares about what he saw and experienced firsthand. They are deeply personal and he makes them ours.

    Manchester was/is a Marine; but God has made him a writer first and foremost. As a sample of this man’s soaring prose, consider his tribute to those who fought for Guadalcanal:

    “…[T]o me that struggle was more than a strategic victory. It was, and is, eloquent testimony to the fortitude of man. Men generally do what is expected of them; usually that is very little. On the ‘Canal they were asked to do what was believed to be impossible, and the shining response of those Marines on the line is historic. I shall never forget them, nor should you.’

    Read this book!

  • Stuart Benjamin
    2:02 on August 10th, 2012
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    Truly memorable descriptions of hand-to-hand combat on practically every Pacific island where a major battle took place. Book drags slightly when the author brings the reader to modern times on these islands, describing them in detail (as they appeared in the late 70′s).

  • qzitss
    4:04 on August 10th, 2012
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    Lying somewhere just outside the realm of essential works of German History (like Johannes Janssen’s “History of the German People” series or Hagen Schulze’s “New History”), William Manchester’s “Arms of Krupp” is one of the iconic works that through its sheer size or its provocative look into German through a family owned steel works happens to remain relevant and be a great source. This book is details the chronology of a family and business marching in step (not always goose-stepping) with German history. While that may not sound like a very interesting history however as it explores the economic and political implications of a burgeoning industry in a burgeoning world power and how the company was able to shift its work and design along with the times it becomes compelling and deeply interesting. Combine this with the artful style of Manchester the work becomes a nonfiction work that can’t be put down.

    The book opens up explaining how the Krupp works began in Essen in the Rhine Valley, the lands that were so often contested by France and the German States. Then a provincial hamlet as Krupp went from stamping utensils to building larger implements the steelworks grew and eventually turned the place into an industrial center. By the mid 19th century the “der Grosse Krupp” developed an inexpensive way to make steel which soon became an essential ingredient in European armies. Naturally one of the most profitable items to make and sell in that century of battle after battle was cannon and other tools for war. The cannon of the day were made from gun metal, a bronze like copper and tin allow, but Krupp having with his newly found Bessemer process steel was able to build cannons out of the stuff. This is a revolutionary technology upgrade. However several countries weren’t willing to buy into it. This of course resulted in an balance of military power which gave Prussia and Bavaria, who bough the cannon, easy victory over Austria at Konigratz in 1866 and four years later gave the Prussian forces an enormous edge over the French. Manchester suggests that the German Empire may have never formed with out such decisive victories brought about by this new technology.

    But the Krupp works weren’t at this time a nationalistic firm and sold their cannon as export to several countries including the United States and Russia, two nations at the time desperately trying to measure up with their Western European counterparts. This provides another interesting aspect to the work. It shows how German economic expansion through importation was a sort of industrial colonialism that German industry required for expansion and even survival after unfettering itself from the guild system. It wasn’t always that the German State’s governments weren’t buying but that they often weren’t big enough as customers to keep competition alive.

    The latter half of this book is devoted to the Krupp works into the 20th Century, during these years the company armed Germany through two world wars and after world war two went on to remain an important German firm as it and the country as a whole rebuilt and redefined its character. These chapters may be the most interesting and though as history goes is far more familiar to most readers. Of course it is interesting to see the relationship between the German high commands of two very different Germanies and also what the firm did during the war reparations period between the world wars. During the dark days of World War Two, Alfried Krupp took incredible license in use of prisoners for factory work. As reprehensible as it was it was certainly the norm under the Nazi regime and though inhumane by our standards it was a very different time. I imagine that many other captains of industry would also take such measures if given the license.

    When the book was finished the firm had just become a public company after being family owned for centuries (currently the company has undergone a merger and operates as Thyssen Krupp). This of course correlates well with the modern Germany that is both an ally in industry and democracy. Overall this is a great history of business that is interesting on its own or as a work of German history. It is always nice to read well written books on German history that don’t revolve around Hitler, the SS or WWII. This is a must read for German historians, Business historians and fans of Manchester’s work.

    – Ted Murena

  • Domingo Rosa
    4:15 on August 10th, 2012
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    First off I’m going to quote: “No infantryman fought on all, or even many, of the Pacific islands. Deployment of troops, casualty figures, and tropical diseases laid down impossible odds against that”. That being said, the author does a very good job of describing living and dying in the jungles and battlefields of the Pacific. There is no definite timeline, dates and battles move around as the author travels island to island recalling or retelling events that happened. His own action was in Okinawa, of which the horrors are recalled toward the end of the book.
    Let me also mention he is not the poster boy for the Marine Corp. If you want the “U-Rah: Gung Ho” version from a solider, look elsewhere. That’s not to say he’s a coward, just educated and placed in a small outfit of misfits with other intellectuals. You’ll read no stories of him pulling grenade pins with his teeth and throwing them while Thompson blazing down Jap’s all the while yelling preposterous things. Nope. Courageous actions of others – absolutely. Not only that, you get a great dose of geography, history, weapons, tactics, and anecdotes. Very light on the comedy, as some other veterans have wrote absolutely hysterical lines (Bloody Skies: Melvin McGuire).
    There is lot of death, let me restate that – there is more death here than in any other book of war I have read. Here I thought Iwo was the bloodiest conflict – nope. There are countless stories of friends and other Marines who met their end. You think you know what war’s like – wrong (Unless of course you were there – and I salute you if you were, on any front). Manchester gives you the gritty and awful scope of a battlefield. 250 Men charge up a hill and two come back. That was Okinawa. Until I read this book I never had any idea just how many men met their fate on those islands -abhorring by today’s standards. Okinawa was 52X as costly as 9-11. Well he was there and he’s not over it yet – that’s to say he’s definitely bitter and although he never mentions it, he certainly has PTSD. That being said, I can’t say it’s exactly a good read, or you’ll really like the author, but it is his story. Bitter always and himself complicated to the core, it is at least a noble course to read and understand history.

    Four Stars – Everyone loves a Hero.

  • Sheryl Bigney
    5:12 on August 10th, 2012
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    William Manchester squeezes yet another masterpiece into just under a thousand pages (not counting index!) For four centuries one name was associated with the armaments that were utilized in four major wars, creating the richest family in Europe; Krupp. Each leader of the dynasty had peculiar quirks that Manchester delights over, some were involved in sex scandals, and another ran his day to the second with pure Prussian obsessive-compulsion. Krupp innovations included the steel cannon and railroad wheel; they designed the notorious 88mm of WW II, and the descendant of that gun, the 120mm hypervelocity cannon, may be seen on U.S. tanks to this day. The driving force behind the industrialization of the Ruhr, it would be legitimate to ask if Germany were responsible for the rise of Krupp, or Krupp responsible for the rise of Germany. Like so many others, Alfried Krupp fell under Hitler’s spell, spurring him to run private concentration camps in order to produce more weapons. Intrafirm Krupp memoranda from this period begin to use terms such as Sklavenarbeiter (slave labor), Sklavenmarkt (the slave market), Sklavenhalter (the slave-holder, Alfried Krupps), and Judenmaterial (Jewish livestock.) The Nuremberg Trials follow, and Krupp walks away almost unscathed, to continue in business until the company foundered in the 1960s. German history and the Krupp lineage is inextricable, and there is no better writer to bring such a unique saga to life.

  • darrius
    6:04 on August 10th, 2012
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    A wonderful and well-deserved tribute to those who gave the last full measure during the Pacific War. Certainly does not sugar-coat the realities and horrors of combat. Reads well–incredible imagery as only Manchester could write it. However, Manchester the biographer and Manchester the autobiographer are two different authors, meaning that this book is not nearly as objective as his other works. He spends no small amount of time pontificating about the moral and social decay of America’s younger generation, as he basically “vents” thirty years’ worth of frustration and emotion. Provides an outstanding broad overview of the entire Pacific War, not just Okinawa. Once again, he uses incredible imagery to paint vibrant word pictures of all the places he visits or re-visits, including Guadalcanal, Tarawa, New Guinea, Leyte, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, etc. He also introduces the reader to the local inhabitants of some of these places. You read this book in full color.

  • Jetfire Apps
    7:29 on August 10th, 2012
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    I read a review of this book prior to purchasing it from Amazon and the reviewer stated it was one of the top 2 books covering WW2. After reading it, I do not think it is in the same league with Eugene Sledge’s books on WW2. I felt too much emphasis was placed on the author’s trip back to his previous battle grounds rather than on the details of the men involved and actual combat. Amazon as always provided the book at an excellent price and in a very timely manner.

  • Ben Froggo
    9:13 on August 10th, 2012
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    Manchester’s epic should appeal to readers of politics, economics, and military history as he skillfully intertwines the Krupp family business with multiple generations of political leaders of Europe. While 400 years is a bit of a misnomer – the Krupps weren’t the Rothschilds and only truly affected the world scene from 1870 onwards – the author does a magnificent job of immersing the reader in a fascinating top down look at the political and military climate of pre-Great War Europe from their most important arms supplier – the Cannon Kings Alfred, Fritz, and Gustav Krupp. Underlying this is a well-proven thesis that Germany’s military prowess relied heavily on Krupp technological innovations, and Manchester is to be commended for making this understandable to the layman.

    The second half of the narrative is far darker but equally as important as he essentially reconstructs the Allied case against Krupp in greater detail than publicly available at Nuremburg for their crimes in World War II. Beyond any doubt, Alfried Krupp and the firm did monstrous things – at times far worse than the SS – to slave laborers that other German manufacturers refused. Starving to death thousands, torturing more, and outright looting conquered territory were good business for Krupp. Manchester’s reconstruction bogs the pace of the book but is an overwhelmingly effective refutation of Krupp as victim. Had this been available at Nuremburg Krupp would clearly have hanged. One finishes the book hoping that some effort was made to memorialize the slave camp babies murdered by ‘die Firma’.

    The age of the 1968 publishing only shows up in some of the economic analysis, but even then students of economics can glean a couple of lessons about what happens when you overlever and overexpand.

    Highly recommended.

  • Pat Fandrich
    11:06 on August 10th, 2012
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    This book chronicles the personal experiences of William Manchester, one of the best authors of histories and biographies of the last twenty years. Manchester describes his experiences as a young adult fighting with the U.S. Marines in the Pacific theater of World War II.

    I believe that this book is particularly valuable for young men in a society that is ambivalent about its armed forces. Manchester’s chronicle follows him from the excitement and unbrideld patriotism of the early war years through the progressively deeper understanding he gains of himself as the war drags on and the battles become ever more fierce. By the end of the book Manchester is in a battle to survive and is, in fact, nearly killed in one of the war’s final battlefields on the road to Japan.

    I received this book fifteen years ago as a high school graduation gift. I found it a very moving story and it had a profound impact on me. This many years later I never miss an opportunity to recommend this author, and especially this book. You will be well served to give this book as a gift to any young man facing the challenges of growing up in a society that needs its soldiers but doesn’t really know how it feels about their craft. Enjoy.

    Ted Wham
    May 17, 1996

  • James Lin
    11:54 on August 10th, 2012
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    anyone who’s parent was a pacific war vet should read this book. Manchester tells how it was, how it worked and how he delt with it in his life. He fills in some of the history, laid out as he revisits some of the islands taken by the marines, fleshes that out with good and bad memories of his experiences in marine life and combat on Guadalcanal and okinawa. it is a very personal story, much like any vets story who survived that theater of operation, more upbeat than say Robert Graves Goodby to all that, and not so combat specific as Wheelers book about 3 days on Iwo Jima. If you like personal stories, this is for you.

  • buckhorn
    12:26 on August 10th, 2012
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    This book is excellent for all the reasons mentioned in the other reviews. What I found REALLY annoying was the author’s use of German quotes. He provides quotes, in German, usually somewhat abbreviated as shown by the use of ellipses, and then provides the translation of the entire quote in English. Since most of his readers can’t read German, and the entire quote is NOT in the German version, why include them? More frustrating are the German phrases that he quotes and doesn’t translate, leaving us to guess at their meanings.

  • Jeffery Dodd
    15:01 on August 10th, 2012
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    “Citizen Soldier” by a real citizen soldier, who also happens to write his own stuff, and even manage to keep his sources straight. A time capsule straight from the atolls of the Pacific. Mr. Manchester wrestles with how he managed to survive some of history’s bloodiest conflicts, while many of his brothers in arms gave their full measure. Combat descriptions that rival “Once An Eagle” make this the most gripping memoir of war ever written.

  • Jornes
    15:16 on August 10th, 2012
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    William Manchester is the official biographer for Winston Churchill. He brings several annoying defects from that former role into this work. First, he is very anti-German. Second, he is very pro Zionist. I don’t think he gets much wrong in terms of facts in this history, but his tone and slant can be so annoying it takes away from what he is trying to say.

    However, despite this, in terms of a history of a multi-generational family business, it is hard to imagine anything better.

  • Hauly
    15:41 on August 10th, 2012
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    William Manchester’s The Arms of Krupp is a great accomplishment. The book fluidly details the history of the Krupps, one of the world’s greatest industrialist dynasties and its Firma. The history of the Krupps is interesting, because it is so closely connected to the history of the German state. The author skillfully weaves the histories of the Krupps and German state, while always remaining focused on the Krupps. A lesser author would need to diverge from his/her storytelling to relate surrounding historical events. Mr. Manchester is always able to avoid such divergences and distractions with his skillful writing.

    I perceived only two shortcomings regarding this book. First, the book’s evaluation of Alfried Krupp’s war crimes was not as balanced as I would have hoped. Much of the book seems to be an indictment of Alfried Krupp for war crimes, e.g., enslavement of foreign workers. Although he is most assuredly inexcusably guilty of the crimes, I would have appreciated a more balanced, analytical evaluation of the Firma’s decisions to commit the crimes. Instead, the author seems to simply dismiss the decisions as being evil and unexplainable.

    My second perceived shortcoming in the book concerns its translation of German into English. I believe it is safe to assume that many or most of Mr. Manchester’s sources were originally in German. I believe it is also safe to assume that translated sources in the book obtained extra scrutiny before publication. Unfortunately, the original German and English translations provided in the book were not always entirely consistent. In Chapter 28, the author discusses the Firma’s business relationship with Egypt. The text quotes an internal Firma memorandum, which state in English, “The true goal of Krupp in Egypt is the multimillion-dollar Aswan Dam.” The original German provided next to it in the book states that “Das naechste Ziel Krupps ist das Milliardenprojeckt des Assuan Damms.” A correct translation of the Firma’s memorandum reveals that it was the firm’s “next goal”, not its “true goal”, to obtain the contract to build the Aswan Dam. Although the mistranslations I noted were typically insignificant in consequence, they leave me with a little doubt regarding any translated source.

    Because of the above shortcomings, I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars. Unfortunately, I had to decide between four and five stars. I elected to give five stars, because Mr. Manchester’s The Arms of Krupp is simply a great read.

  • fdomgssfk
    17:02 on August 10th, 2012
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    If one could read two accounts of the Pacific War written from the perspective of Americans this book and Sledges “With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa” would be the best that one can get. There are a lot of very good narrative history books on all aspects of the Pacific War, but the poet-gone-to-war genre is something that really the British usually do much better than the Americans. That is why when I stumbled upon Manchester’s memoirs I was immediately sucked into the guts of wartime experience.

    Manchester writes with passion borne from desperation and experience of long times in the firing line. He waxes from the lyrical experiences of a fireside chat on the battle-line with a student of philosophy (himself?) regalling the troops with an exposition on the nature of time. One is left with the images of hard worn veterans from small American towns, experiencing the wonder of ideas for the first time on the eve of battle. Their far off, empty stares as the philosopher marine finishes his exposition in sheer silence is something that one can almost feel. That very same night they cut up a large Banzai charge on Guam — one can cut the atmosphere of the book with a knife.

    Manchester can then go on an describe his visceral uncomfortable feelings of being close to the Japanese today. Their inability to admit to former attrocities is something that Manchester admits, planted the seed of dislike deeply inside him. Try as he might he cannot shake it and we are at least amazed with his honesty. This contrasts with the cerebral, fair-minded Manchester we all know from his biographies.

    I have read more than 200 narrative histories and memoirs of the Pacific War, British, American, Japanese, Indian and Chinese, Australian, Canadian … and this is one of the best. Like all good books, it stays with you for a long time….

  • Justin Hsu
    18:45 on August 10th, 2012
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    Manchester should write a companion volume on Vickers, THE biggest manufacturer of weapons at that time, shouldn’t it be more easy than Krupp? It is a british company, right?

  • John Rehm
    20:39 on August 10th, 2012
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    It is said that it is impossible to describe the experience of combat to those who have not had the same experience first hand. This is incorrect. Just read the “preamble” in Goodbye Darkness. It is as close as is possible to a true description of what it was all about. +

  • belorateur
    21:05 on August 10th, 2012
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    “The Arms Of Krupp” is the incredible biography of a powerful and incredibly rich and powerful family that was central in the advent and progress of European history for the more than four hundred years they presided as an almost imperial force within the boundaries of what is present-ay Germany. Certainly no other non-royal dynasty engenders such controversy and hotly expressed differences in opinion than does the multiple generations of this critically based family so critical to the development and technological capabilities of the German war machine. Of course, no one could do a better job at providing a definitive historical biography of the Krupp family than William Manchester. This is truly a magnificent book, a spellbinding story splendidly told by a master of English prose, rendered in a flawless, comprehensive, and objective treatment of this fascinating, often outrageous, and sometime imperious string of Krupp family member who ignited the wars raging in Europe in terms of their ability to provide the motherland with such complex, ingenious, and technically superior weapons of war.

    This is, in fact, considered a masterwork of history, an eminently readable and elegantly stylish work by Manchester, a master of the trade. Manchester, a retired history professor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, is widely regarded as one of this country’s preeminent biographers and historian. The Krupp dynasty was extinguished in 1967, when the last surviving family member passed away. With his death the legacy of a four hundred year span of contribution to the European armaments industry came to an end, and so brought to a conclusion a tradition spanning wars and quite profoundly influencing outcomes of European history for centuries. The Krupp Arms conglomerate was technologically innovative, devising new weapons such as a superior cannon to an anti-air vehicle weapon designed to counter the reconnaissance capabilities of aerial observation balloons to exotic and much more capable submarines, which they then built for over four decades.

    In so doing, they became fabulously rich, and rose to become extremely influential and exceedingly conservative voices within the realm of German political circles. No German leader could hope to marshal the resources or the weapons of war necessary to mount a military campaign without first gaining the trust, confidence and support of the Krupp family, which then cleverly and cynically manipulated this influence to vastly enrich themselves. During World War One, their cannons helped to flatten the French city of Verdun, and at one point succeeded in lobbing projectiles into Paris from as distant a location as some eighty miles away, an unheard-of innovation at the time. Aiding the Third Reich in its secret rearmament effort after the end of the First Word War, they provided a much advanced tank design that eventuated in the Panzer tank, used subsequently so successfully in Hitler’s blitzkrieg through France in the summer of 1940.

    They were quite influential within the German society as well, having armed the forces of Kaiser Wilhelm for battle before World War One, and then surreptitiously backed Hitler financially in the so-called terror-campaign” of 1933. Incredibly, the Krupps participated in the war crimes of the Third Reich, even controlling and operating more than 130 concentration camps during the war. Afterwards, they help to rebuild Europe in the eventual development of the European Common Market. This is a truly fascinating book written with all of the usual style and substance one come s to expect of William Manchester, and it is certainly a book I can highly recommend to anyone with an interest in European history. Enjoy!

  • Preston Patrick
    22:27 on August 10th, 2012
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    Few families have such influence, especially over a period of centuries. And few authors can explore it with such detail. Why is the Krupp story important? It shows that a single person, or family, can influence events and the direction of nations. The Krupps led the armament of Germany through three wars. Whoever was leading Germany, they gave them their allegiance. These are the kind of people you want away from government. Sadly, it is the kind that the most try to influence our leaders. Though some do use their wealth to stop the oppressive politicians, it seems the Krupps never thought twice about supporting Hitler. Krupp got but a slap on the wrist after the war for his use of slave labor and their horrible treatment. He didn’t even serve his whole sentence. The Cold War was picking up steam and Europe and NATO needed him back in business. In fact, many WWII criminals got out early. And why not? Did we not bring thousands of Nazis to America even before the trials began? So indeed, some of the history of the Krupps reveals some actions that history won’t be kind on the Allies. The use of the Nazis after the war, along with the leveling of city after city, are not so bright chapters in an era that rightly stood up to nazism and communism at great costs.

  • SteveM
    22:42 on August 10th, 2012
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    There is no question that Manchester is a great writer and his knowledge of historical events and the players involved in excellent. Goodbye Darkness, however, is very inconsistent. Manchester tries to use a return trip to the south Pacific as a vehicle to weave in and out of flashbacks to his experiences in WWII. He doesn’t really pull it off though. The result is a little jerky with melodramatic reflections of “the old sargent”.

    There are a few spots in the book that are excellent (his retelling of certain battles and the incredible strain placed on American troops), but much of the book it is just annoying (see his story about having the sexual fantasy with some symbolic whore in a muddy mortor shell hole…I’m still wondering what that was supposed to be about beyond just being creepy). He discusses his fellow combatants “The Raggedy Ass Marines”. Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems he was trying (and failing) to create some mythic portrayal of a group of soldiers who weren’t all that outstanding (I’m referring to his small enclave of “raggedy ass marines” not all of the US soldiers over there at the time). Manchester himself comes off as a bit of a squish throughout the book.

    Goodbye Darkness was OK, but definitely not one of the best war memoirs ever written as some say. Any memoir junky out there needs to get a copy of George MacDonald Fasier’s “Quartered Safe Out Here”…The best memoir I’ve ever read, hands down (about the WWII and the troops in Burma — awesome).

  • pkkmmm
    22:55 on August 10th, 2012
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    “Goodbye, Darkness” by William Manchester is considered one of the best memoirs to have emerged from WWII in the Pacific. It is clearly one of the most widely read books from that era and after reading only a few chapters it is obvious why this is so. Manchester’s style is by far the most sophisticated and original in any memoir that I have come across. He is very much the battle hardened Marine turned intellectual college professor (he taught at Wesleyan); this complexity of character is the most distinctive aspect of the book. In many memoirs from the Pacific, there is a format that is used to relay the experience to the average reader. In unison with structured years in the military, the writing often reflects the personal discipline that was instilled in each soldier and marine. Manchester’s book is an antithesis to conventional combat memoir writing and this makes it extremely intimate. In breaking away from a traditional chronological format, Manchester uses an approach that is at times stream-of-consciousness in using flashbacks and interjections to bare some of his darkest and psychologically jarring memories of the war to the reader. It also reflects the ambivalence he holds towards the Corps and the conflict between his unit pride and ghastly nightmares of chaos and slaughter.

    Although his choice to use three different narrative lines makes the book one of the most original of war memoirs to have been put in print, I did at times find this creativity to cause some problems. Manchester’s book is basically divided into three different types of narratives: the old veteran returning to the Pacific battlefields in the late 1970s (the trip was his inspiration for writing the book), the historian analyzing the important Marine Corps campaigns of WWII, and immediate first person narratives of combat memory. I found the latter of the three were by far the best segments of the book but they comprise a relatively small part of it. Even though many veterans are well educated and can write, Manchester’s prose is prolific at times and puts his book in a category all by itself. Although they are so powerful I found these segments were few and far between; most of the book is devoted to his trip in the 1970s and his analysis of battles he did not fight in. These are decent, but nothing really distinguishes them from the multitude of other books of general history about the Pacific war. I constantly wanted more pages of his memories of combat.

    It has become a cliché to call a book about war “haunting”, but in this case it is totally appropriate. The book is very aptly titled as Manchester seems to have written more for a personal expulsion of the sickening memories of Okinawa than to bring any honor to his service. I was quite moved by the intimate nature of his book- not only the combat sections in the 6th Marine Division, but his familial background and training at Parris Island- including romantic encounters before shipping out (which are painfully real and evoke the dizzying rush of the era). He is able to bring the reader the pain of war in way that few authors ever could. I only wish more of the book had been a straight memoir opposed to historical overview.

    Although Manchester uses flashbacks as a primary literary device, there is a linear narrative found in the book, mostly derived from his trip around the battlefields in the 1970s. He begins at Guadalcanal and travels through the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, Tarawa, the Marshalls, the Marriannas, the Philippines, Iwo Jima and finally Okinawa. His writing becomes brutally descriptive and at times revolting when he returns to Okinawa and interjects the longest of combat flashbacks at Sugar Loaf Hill. As Manchester suffered from nightmares, the writing reflects his tortured psyche and his struggle to leave the memories behind; his writing is like a psychoanalytic session put on paper.

  • Sparsh
    23:54 on August 10th, 2012
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    Not only is William Manchester a first rate writer, but he was there. The title of this book depicts his nightmares as a repository left over from his experiences in the infantry in the South Pacific in WWII. His attempts to dispel them are worked out through visiting each island the marines fought on in the pacific theatre.

    His marine outfit was made up of Ivy leaguers like himself and the book is a distillation of his exploits. He takes the reader through the island fighting on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, New Guinea, the Philipines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The scenes in which he describes the fighting are absolutely gripping, This is easily as good as any war novel I’ve ever read if only for the descriptions of the combat. His description of the apparition in the foxhole with him in the Philipines is some of the best writing I’ve ever read. True, I’m not a literature buff, but this man can really write. It’s too bad that more people aren’t aware of it today.

  • WIlltra
    1:28 on August 11th, 2012
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    Goodbye Darkness is a must read for anyone with personal interest in the daily life of our foot soldiers in WWII. Excellent account of the “way it was” told from a very personal and meaningful perspective.

  • Rastard
    1:38 on August 11th, 2012
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    As one who reads many WWII stories, I had heard about this book and decided to buy it when I saw it at a library sale. I had understood that this book was about Manchester’s war time experiences while battling in the Pacific theater. However, I didn’t realize that it would be written in a Salinger-Vonnegut style.

    Before you read this book, you need to know that this book is not a month by month account of the authors’ fighting in the Pacific. Rather, it appears to be an exorcism of his memories of entering boot camp, becoming a Marine, and then being shipped off to fight the Japs. The book switches from his narration of the past to his current (1978) trip back to the Pacific islands and then describes the comparison between the two. Initially, this writing style took me by surprise. But, once I understood how he was writing, the book became quite interesting as Manchester juxtaposes his past with the present.

    Manchester also does not disguise his anger and dislike of the Nips. He tells it the way it is without modern day political correctness. His writing allows the reader to feel as the Marines were feeling back in 1944/45 while battling on those hot, god-forsaken islands.

  • Myung Dutton
    4:20 on August 11th, 2012
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    This has got to be one of the greatest history books that I have ever read, and I have read a lot of them. While the story is centered around the development of the Steel industry in the Ruhr Gebiet in Germany, it is also about German history – from its beginnings with the “forest mythology” of the Roman era – all the way up to the 1960s. Unusual for historians, Manchester also has a wonderful grasp of character, which the Krupp family supplied in many, many bizarre variations over several generations. The result is a read of the greatest quality.

    Most important, there is the empire of Krupp, as built up by Alfred. At 14, he inherited a steel company that had dwindled under his father’s inept management to 5 employees. By sheer grit and a genius for profitable technical innovation, he built it into a vast conglomerate so powerful that it could literally make empires fall. In particular, the company specialised in the development of weapons, from breach-loading cannons to early prototypes for tanks. He even created a cannon (the Big Bertha for his wife), braced along the side of an entire mountain, that could hurl projectiles deep into France from German soil. The details are fascinating, with graceful descriptions that translate their engineering details for laymen.

    Alfred controlled everything, from scribbling rules to govern the work force with a pencil nub to relationships with the various ministers of war throughout Europe. There are hilarious scenes where he dines once a year with Bismarck, a great personal friend, and their hysterical laughter at the latter’s remark about Napoleon III of France (“Eigentlich ist er dumm”). His drive was so unrelenting that his many failures, such as an early insult to a crucially important aristocrat in the defense ministry (creating a problem for himself that lasted 30 years), took an enormous personal toll – he spent days in bed, depressed and immobile after a failed sale, and his family was a horrible mess.

    A large part of the book is about his search for an heir who can run the family business. Here too, the characters are remarkable and often as hilarious or pathetic as their continuing genius for business. One of them was a notorious homosexual, who created an entire bacchanal in a Southern Italian castle for young boys, shooting fireworks for every climax, and when it was discovered – it was illegal in Germany – he committed suicide. You also witness the family energy dissipating until the last generation, when it became a public company with the appointment of Berthold Beitz. (Here there is some personal pique in the author, who writes that the last son, also gay, was “an indolent fool.”)

    The tableau is so rich that it covers the many moral ambiguities of the times, such as supplying rival powers who would turn Krupp weapons on eachother, including enemies of Germany, and of course the Nazi period is examined. Through all of this, the Krupp do not come off well, even using slave labor by Hitler’s victims. (The only criticism I have of the book is the excessive coverage of the Holocaust, which occupies several chapters of personal stories, indicting the last Krupp who was briefly imprisoned and then released to run the company in the 1950s.)

    As a business writer, it was a great pleasure to read such a rivetting business story. This book is the fullest of meals.

    Warmly recommended.

  • George Booth
    8:38 on August 11th, 2012
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    I imagine that a great many soldiers were like the authors “Raggedy Ass Marines.” Although I could relate to them somewhat, I’m thankful most soldiers were ready to be more diligent in their duty. I found the anti Southern attitude of his fellow New England yankee snobs (his much beloved Raggedy Ass Marines) very insulting, but I expected it. The author is apparently unaware that 62% of all Marine volunteers come from the South. I also agree with a previous reviewer that the scene with the “Battle field whore” is nothing other than creepy. I’ve never read of or heard of this before, yet the author acts as if it is a routine occurrence in battle field situations.

  • Rusman
    10:22 on August 11th, 2012
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    This account of “Manchester’s War” is the fond rememberences of a young man living the most exciting and profound times of his life mixed with the unimaginable horror and shock experienced by a ordinary man thrust into the carnage of WWII in the Pacific. Manchester is a magnificent historian as is evidenced by his other works, but if (as noted in other reviews of this book) this book lacks the journalistic objectivity and detachment that is expected, I believe he can be forgiven. For this is his own personal experiences being relived to the world after thirty years. I doubt that anyone telling their own story could be completely honest with the reader or themselves even if they had lived a less traumatic life

  • Jamie Covell
    10:33 on August 11th, 2012
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    This book is very much a family portrait, going through the generations of Krupps (focusing especially on the last three). Very biographical approach; not so much historiographical analysis. The first and last chapters are very moving. Many side-stories which are funny or horrifying. All German quotes are conveniently translated. Still, I was slightly disappointed by the length and the density of the book, and considering the author, it could have been more gripping throughout.

  • Faye Romo
    11:59 on August 11th, 2012
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    This book reminds me of the movie Full Metal Jacket somewhat – not that it was that dark, just that it gives the reader of view of what it was like in boot camp and then into the battle. The author does a very good job with this work. He is known for telling other peoples tails, but he does a great job with his own story. The battle information is top of the class and the details on a Marine beach assault, teaches the reader everything you need to know. This is more then an old solder telling you about the letters he received, it passes for a very good start to the pacific theater with background as to why a battle was taking place. He also does a great job of describing the battles from a solders point of view, in the class of Black Hawk Down. I would recommend this book before a larger comprehensive history, it will get you excited to take them on.

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