Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum  

Go Back   Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum > Reviews > Books and Magazines

Books and Magazines Please use this forum to review or discuss books and magazines.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #11  
Old 14th July 2005, 00:13
DavidIsby DavidIsby is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 563
DavidIsby is on a distinguished road
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

Mr. Anton is certainly entitled to his opinions. Indeed, I share most of them. What he is not entitled to is his own facts.



The fact in question is: does the work in question meet the general industry standards for books of republished material?



Let’s look at the bookshelf in this subject matter area. I can see the US Air Force has published historical material without editorial commentary or apparatus bringing it up to date. Examples of this are the multi-volume Craven & Cate official history (the recent edition has a two-page introduction added to each volume) and the wartime AAF in Action Monographs. The Navy and the Army also publish post-war material without editorial commentary. These include the Department of the Army publications on German combat actions on the Eastern Front. The Garland Press editions of the Karlshrue studies and German postwar Army studies have no editorial commentary at all nor anyone’s name to hold responsible for the selection made. Looking at a couple of books, THE FIRST AND THE LAST by Adolf Galland and WINGED WARFARE by Billy Bishop, I see no one has provided the new editions with any apparatus or even raised a warning flag that the author was not actually under oath as to the truth of what they were saying. In fact, most publications of such material has no editorial additions, synthesis or value-added of any sort. So the works in question exceed industry standards.



Now, I believe annotating documents can be an excellent and most useful approach to history. Since Mr. Anton reads THE JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY I can direct his attention to the review I did a couple of years back on Les Grau’s annotated Russian General Staff study on Afghanistan, which was excellent. But it’s not the only way. If we had to follow Mr. Anton’s alleged standards, all the books should not have appeared. In reality, there will be multiple approaches to doing this. Just like there are books by Boog, Corum, Muller etc. as well as Ospreys.



Mr. Anton should certainly edit a collection of Luftwaffe accounts that, in his opinion, would meet his (and that’s what they are, HIS, not that expected of such works) requirements. If what results is reasonably priced, I will most likely buy a copy (as will, I suspect, most of the readers of this board. If you can do it better, please do so. My publisher would probably give you a contract. Mr. Anton is not entitled to say that material should remain out of print or only in microfilm in archives and thus unavailable to most of the readers of this board until it is tucked between hard covers to his satisfaction in company with what he sees as sufficient synthesis. If this inspires Mr. Anton to go and do as good a job of annotating and editing Luftwaffe material as Les Grau did on Afghanistan material, I am sure he will be as grateful to me as I was to Dr. Kitchen for calling my attention that including sourcing details would be a good idea.
__________________
author of THE DECISIVE DUEL: SPITFIRE VS 109, published by Little Brown. Visit its website at: http://Spitfirevs109.com
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 14th July 2005, 18:06
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867
Jukka Juutinen is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

It seems that mr. Anton´s primary concern in his continued critiques is not the content but who did it. Any author not having his beloved academic degree is a fraud, liar and incompetent. Yet, this same Anton has applauded the work of Eric Bergerud whose work is utter Thomasmanure. It is perverse that Anton sees a history degree as essential for serious aviation historians, yet proper understanding of e.g. aircraft engineering seems to be of zero importance to him. Otherwise his praise for the Eric Bergeruds cannot be understood.

As for primary documents and their presentation, e.g. the Finnish translation of the transcript of the Soviet Winter War conference at Kremlin in April 1940 must be an utter failure as it e.g. lacks description of the religious background of the participants even though the book is edited by two well known academic historians. Perhaps the publisher should have listened to massa Anton´s genius.
__________________
"No man, no problem." Josef Stalin possibly said...:-)

Last edited by Jukka Juutinen; 14th July 2005 at 18:13.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 14th July 2005, 18:31
Ruy Horta's Avatar
Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
He who rules the forum...
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Amstelveen, The Netherlands
Posts: 1,467
Ruy Horta has disabled reputation
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

Lets try to keep this discussion civil, critique is fair as long as it is constructive.

Quote:
Discuss and debate, but do not argue.
Of course a discussion can become heated, but it is absolutely essential to remain civil. Try to present your case with proper arguments, and if you do not succeed in convincing the other party, simply agree to disagree. Our forum is built upon mutual respect. Violate that respect and you violate the very foundation our community is built on. Personal attack and insult is never allowed and will be acted upon accordingly depending upon the severity of the attack and insult.
__________________
Ruy Horta
12 O'Clock High!

And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller between life and death;
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 14th July 2005, 18:44
edwest edwest is offline
Alter Hase
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,612
edwest is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

Ruy,


I could not agree more with your comment about being civil. Arguments based on emotion are usually the most difficult for me to understand. For example, I do not believe it so it must be so. This defies logic.

We, as people, have not gotten as far as we have based on barbaric behavior but on self-control and developing our reasoning abilities.


Best regards,
Ed
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 15th July 2005, 02:55
tagjagd tagjagd is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7
tagjagd is on a distinguished road
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

Don't sweat it, David.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidIsby
I am sure he will be as grateful to me as I was to Dr. Kitchen for calling my attention that including sourcing details would be a good idea.
Just in case it wasn't obvious, Rabe Anton = James Kitchens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidIsby
Mr. Anton is not entitled to say that material should remain out of print or only in microfilm in archives and thus unavailable to most of the readers of this board until it is tucked between hard covers to his satisfaction in company with what he sees as sufficient synthesis.
By Rabe's reckoning, you obviously haven't suffered enough for your art. You need to have secluded yourself for several years in dark, dank vaults, rifling through unfiled scraps of paper and microfilm, fighting fishmoths and bureaucrats. Only after you emerge, emaciated and riddled with paper cuts, might you consider yourself a card-carrying historian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidIsby
If we had to follow Mr. Anton’s alleged standards, all the books should not have appeared.
Rabe routinely disses works by non-doctoral hacks. He bemoans the fact that amateur historians are selling books, making money, and (horrors!) enjoying it. The only people he despises more are the pondscum enthusiasts buying said books.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Isby
Mr. Anton should certainly edit a collection of Luftwaffe accounts that, in his opinion, would meet his (and that’s what they are, HIS, not that expected of such works) requirements.
Well, he did put out that monumental tome, "Flying Aces". His follow-up, the definitive booklet on Marseille's 109s (sans photos, no less), has been at the printers for over four years now...
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 17th July 2005, 17:14
Adam's Avatar
Adam Adam is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 595
Adam
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

To all concerned,

Far be it for me to weigh in on such a discussion, but as a qualified [University of Sydney] historian and curator [University of Canberra] I feel somewhat obliged to add to this thread, not merely in defence of David Isby (though I am sure he does not need my help), but also that of the mistress we serve: history.

I bought Fighting the Bombers expecting nothing less than I got, perhaps even as SES was, finding myself surprised. Despite what Rabe Anton thinks - or would like to pursue - such books [reprints of primary sources] are a critical part of not only modern understanding, but also historical representation. Unwittingly Rabe Anton has highlighted perhaps the most over-looked and mis-understood aspect of primary sources when, in his second posting on this topic, he stated '[Isby] seems to think...that primary documents speak for themselves. They do not. A worthwhile documents compilation, or "book of readings" as academics call them, is a miserable failure without commentary that puts the documents and their authors in their historical setting.'

I do not claim to be the last word on such discussions, however, I was trained - and spent more than half a dozen years at university in the pursuit of such disciplines, not to mention years spent outside such institutions researcdhing of my own accord - to regard all available evidences as if they were the one true openings of true understanding. Irrespective of that which was found before or that which was to follow. Irrespective more so of what any pox of a modern author seemed fit to "interpret" and add to the evidence. Rabe Anton insists that, 'Extended annotations about document authors and about individual items in a published collection should be presented just before the writing on which they bear, not off at the front or rear of the book as they are in Fighting the Bombers. Annotations—individual footnotes explaining terms or pointing out special points—rightly belong after each document.' No, Mr Anton, history is not ours to regulate, define and mediate. History is a legacy left to us so that we each, in our own way, may extract and enunciate a meaning from it. Whether we are right (or more right, as the case may warrant) is not for us to decide, but rather for us to believe. Mr Isby, as editor of Fighting the Bombers (I have not yet seen the latest publication) merely presented history in its pure form. Hence the term editor, not author.

I do not wish to come across as anti-Rabe Anton (or pro-Isby), however what I hear in Mr Anton's writings fills me with remorse as in some way it objectifies modern understanding and society. History (*or for that matter, life) does not come with annotated bibliography or footnotes, rather history is what the individual makes of it (one need only look as far as David Irving). That Mr Isby has seen fit not to impose his interpretation on the subject or add disctracting commentary to, what is after all, a primary source, is to be recognised and commended for what it is.

To whatever degree, those of us who frequent this board are of a learned background and similarly such publications as Fighting the Bombers and Luftwaffe and the War at Sea sahould be seen as a necessary and acceptable part of the overall study of history. Whether we like it or not the writtings of Galland, Donitz, Hitler, Churchill or whoever are necessary aspects of history and as such deserve their place - untouched and uninterpreted by modern authors, historians, "exerts" or enthusiasts alike, despite - or perhaps because of - their short-falls and misrepresentations (Look at Churchill and his recounting of Dieppe). Without the coloured views such as Churchill's multi-volume works on the Second World War, Galland's First and the Last, Knockes, I Flew for the Fuhrer, etc all history would be lkeft with would be the likes of Mr Anotn (non-personal) that can only view the world with annotated bibliographies and footnotes. History is not black an white, rather it is coloured by the subjective understanding and intepretations placed upon it by the evidence left behind. Evidence such as that which was edited and published by Mr. Isby.

If one can admire or show to the world the lines and design of Mother Nature [sic] without feeling the need to interpret or force upon another an idea or "understanding", why should historical evidence be different. In life, as in all other aspects, each part plays its role. Similarly; if the Luftwaffe ad the War at Sea was the first collection of primary documents published, would this thread exist (in its current form)? Then ask yourself: Why should it matter if it is or it is not if that which was published was new to the public?

If history has got to the point where it is only serviceable, justifiable and indeed wanted if it only incorporates interpretation, footnotes and explantion (because, as Mr Anton points out, it does not speak for itslef) then, learned sirs, the discipline to which I have devoted myself no longer provides the attraction it once did.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 17th July 2005, 18:05
Tony Williams Tony Williams is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 92
Tony Williams
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

An interesting contribution Adam. I am not a trained historian (beyond A-level anyway) but have spent much of my professional life collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting information. Primary sources, such as are being discussed here, are clearly an essential part of historical research. However, the fun begins when primary sources disagree, as they often do.

A good example which keeps coming up is the effectiveness of the Allied fighter-bombers in knocking out tanks in Normandy and beyond. You will find many first-hand reports from fighter-bomber pilots describing in detail the great execution they wrought. The problem is that Operational Research teams, who crawled all over the battlefields shortly afterwards trying to find out what knocked out the tanks, found that very few could be attributed to aircraft: the pilots had basically been mistaken, for a variety of reasons.

Personally I welcome the publication of raw primary sources as such books save authors like me a lot of slogging through files, although they should perhaps come with a health warning to the general reader that the contents only represent what the originators of the documents thought at the time, and may have been contradicted by later research.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 17th July 2005, 19:22
SES's Avatar
SES SES is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: 05 ON LT 8
Posts: 694
SES
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Williams
An interesting contribution Adam. I am not a trained historian (beyond A-level anyway) but have spent much of my professional life collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting information. Primary sources, such as are being discussed here, are clearly an essential part of historical research. However, the fun begins when primary sources disagree, as they often do.


Personally I welcome the publication of raw primary sources as such books save authors like me a lot of slogging through files, although they should perhaps come with a health warning to the general reader that the contents only represent what the originators of the documents thought at the time, and may have been contradicted by later research.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum
I have also "spent much of my professional life collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting information" just like Tony, and neither I am a historian beyond A-level, and I would love to have primary source material published, so I didn't have to wait 2 month for copies from Freiburg. But the interviews published in Fighting the Bombers are not primary source material. If the original German transcripts, devoid of spelling errors, erroneous geographical locations etc., had been published, the book would have been of value as a collection of source material. Now it suffers from a translation, which can only be graded D minus, and some of the interrogated personnel had an incorrect perception of facts and events. These accounts cannot be trusted without cross reference to original German documents on the same subject.

Did the Editor warn the reader about these limitations in his introduction? No and that I fell is Mr. Isby's cardinal sin.
bregds
SES
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 18th July 2005, 01:42
Adam's Avatar
Adam Adam is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 595
Adam
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

Quote:
Originally Posted by SES
If the original German transcripts, devoid of spelling errors, erroneous geographical locations etc., had been published, the book would have been of value as a collection of source material. Now it suffers from a translation, which can only be graded D minus, and some of the interrogated personnel had an incorrect perception of facts and events. These accounts cannot be trusted without cross reference to original German documents on the same subject.
As I understand your comment, SES, you are contradicting yourself by commenting on the interegated and their lack of accuracy. You miss the point completely. That the interegated had an incorrect perception of facts and events is irrelevant to the documents classification. The interegated had/have a view point as concerned them and their experiences and whether or not it was correct is irrelevant. What matters is that they had a view point. If everyone had the same point of view and the same experiences and understanding then there would be no need for researchers or historians to piece together the past, would there? As Tony Williams points out, that is where the fun lies.

Using the example of Fighting the Bombers, anybody who purchased the book did so for their own reasons and with their own expectations. Those with only a passing interest in the topic or gamers where given an insight into the thinking, dealing and organisation (and implementation) of the German air defence system. Those with more of an interest, or the professional SHOULD have read it already knowing its limitations. Let's face it, it is not the editor's responsibility to remind the reader of what already should be obvious. Reading such a book gives those of us unsure whether the effort dealing with Freiburg is truly necessary or - like me - who have next to no German language skills the availability of primary sources. I do not understand why you say these documents can not be trusted without cross reference to the original documents. Are you talking the documents from which they were translated or other period documents dealing with the same subject matter? For if the former then see my above comment, if the latter is true then the point of the book was missed by its audience.

I bought Fighting the Bombers and both read and enjoyed it for what it is, not what it could or should have been. It is a collection of translated primary sources assembled to act (as I see it) as a bridge or supplement to the audiences interests or projects. In fact, looking at the introduction of Fighting the Bombers I note that Mr Isby discusses and clarrifies much of which people seem to take issue with regarding the book. After all, as Mr Isby pointed out, the documents were written by specialists for specialists. That, as far as I am concerned, is sufficient enough warning. Indeed, if we the audience consider ourselves 'specialists' on the topic in question then commentry or warnings are irrelevant! Brief comment was also made concerning grammar and syntax editing so what followed was in no way lacking. As I said previously, history does not come with footnotes or commentry it is ours to interpret as we each see fit. I understand the criticisms levelled at Mr Isby's work but when all is said and done, if historians or researchers need such books to relly on instead of their own leg work and furthermore deem it necessary that such collections should include commentary then those historians and researchers show themselves to be inadequate.

It seems too many people view such books as Fighting the Bombers as failures because they can not properly appreciate them for what they were intended to be. I see nothing wrong with how Mr Isby presented his work and indeed should be commended for allowing seeds of doubt or misunderstanding to remain perhaps in the reader. The purpose of the book was not to discuss or comment on translated primary sources, it was merely to give a wider audience access to the documents in question. Our cardinal sin in following this thread is that we have tried to critique a book using guidelines and expectations on which it was never written (or edited, as the case may be).

regards

Adam

P.S. pardon my ignorance but what is A-level?
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 18th July 2005, 09:03
Tony Williams Tony Williams is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 92
Tony Williams
Re: NEW BOOK - LUFTWAFFE & THE WAR AT SEA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam
P.S. pardon my ignorance but what is A-level?
English Advanced-level exam, normally taken at age 18. Traditionally, you need passes at A-level in two or (preferably) three subjects to get a place at university.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion forum
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Luftwaffe War Memorial ISLANDER Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 9 29th July 2016 13:15
Nikolaus von Siegert - New book in Brasil, Luftwaffe pilot. Sergio Luis dos Santos Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 13 6th July 2009 03:12
Books about Luftwaffe and air war by Olaf Gröhler Marius Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 22 24th August 2006 16:05
Luftwaffe War Correspondent Watch Relic Jon Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 0 12th May 2005 21:17
Luftwaffe fighter losses in Tunisia Christer Bergström Luftwaffe and Axis Air Forces 47 14th March 2005 04:03


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 09:33.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004 - 2018, 12oclockhigh.net