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My parents were big fans of the many Time-Life book series. I can remember spending hours perusing the many books. i loved looking at the photos and art work then later I read many of them. My favorite series were the Civil War, Old West and World War II. The decades of the sixties, seventies and eighties were the high-point for the Time-Life books and were popular with the baby-boomers and their parents. Now ,in 2016, many members of those generations are passing away and the books that once sat in their libraries are appearing in used bookstores and thrift stores. As a result I am currently in the process of building up the complete WWII and the Old West series. The Time Life World War II books (actually all of the historical series) are mainstream (almost journalistic) history. Lavishly illustrated with high quality photos (many taken by Life photographers) they are meant to provide a balanced account of the war. They are not revisionist works nor are they trying to prove a radical or controversial thesis. They go down easily and are intended for the casual reader (or the middle-school and high school student doing research for their four page report - obviously before the Internet) If one is looking for a highly detailed account that shows day to day movements of battalions, regiments and divisions then the Time-Life WWII books are not the books to look to. However ,if one knows little to nothing about The Battle of Britain, the Italian Campaign or the bombing campaign against the Japanese home islands then look no further. Its also interesting to note that many of the photos that appeared in the books had not been seen for several decades (at that time) when this series started in 1977. I can recall in the advertising this fact was trumpeted loudly My grandfather was a B-29 bomber pilot. He was one of the many men who flew against the Japanese home islands in 1944-1945. Im not a huge military aviation history buff, but I have read a few books about this campaign. This was my grandfathers war. Bombers Over Japan provides the background of the plane itself (technical history) then shows the evolution of the bombing campaign from when it started by flying out of India and China (at this point the targets were in Japanese occupied China, Manchuria and Korea) and then moved to the Mariana Islands in the Central Pacific in the Fall of 1944. Mixed in with the higher level strategic history are accounts of individual soldiers and a very nice pictorial essay showing what life was like for a B-29 crew. This I particularly enjoyed because it gave me a small sense of what my grandfather and his crew experienced. There is some space given over to the large numbers of Japanese civilians that were killed in the bombing campaign and more space given over to the massive destruction of property, but as I said the Time-Life books are not about controversy. This is not an angry book nor is it a blind flag-waving account. It strives for the middle ground - as much middle ground as one can find with such a topic. For me this book provides a connection to my grandfather and thats enough.As I stated earlier the time-Life books are good general history. A good place to start if one is curious and wants to know more or if one just has a casual interest. The photos alone make it worthwhile. One thing that needs to be pointed out is the books are now over thirty-years old. There has been a substantial amount of research done since the end of the Cold War and the opening of the Russian archives to historians so if one finds gaps dont be indignant. If you should find one of these books in a thrift store give it a read. I havent seen any of them priced over $3.00 and they are worth it.

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