I discovered a new book that is quite fantastic in the Rough Guides series. Travel the Liberation Route Europe. This book is based in part on the website Liberation Route Europe, which contains a lot more information than could be put in one book.
I checked to see if a Rough Guide like this exists for WWI Travel and it does not. I think that is a bit sad considering Americans were fighting in Europe during WWI. Not as long as the British and French, our primary allies, but with the 100th anniversary of the end of the war last year, I would have hoped to have seen a travel book. If you know of a good book for WWI travel, beyond the ABMC WWI Battlefield Companion, I would love to hear about it. Please post in the comments below.
This book takes you on a journey from the Allies point of view and experience through the countries we liberated during WWII.
The book begins in Italy and moves through the UK, France, Belgium and Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic (then it was Czechoslovakia), and Germany. There are many amazing photos and a lot of detail on the battles fought, places the troops were, biographies on key players during the war, museums to visit, cemeteries to see, and more. There are also details about some of the museums as they relate to vital people and movements during the war. In the UK section not only do you have a short biography on Churchill but info on the Dieppe Raid, the Channel Islands, and information on women at war. I’ve never seen a travel book quite like this.
Contextual Information and History
Not only do you have hundreds of photos of places to stop along your travels and history of those places, there are also sections of WWII history to provide context. These include Resistance Movements, Life Under Occupation, Casualties, Strategic Bombing, Atrocities, The Holocaust, The Soviet Union, and Displaced Persons and Refugees.
These contextual chapters provide some background and history and give readers more to think about where the overall effects of the war are concerned. We talk so much of our WWII veterans and those who died – the heroes but we do not often look at the whole context of what their experience was. We do not consider the Displaced Persons (DPs) and refugees they “managed” after the war ended. These chapters pose questions if you are paying attention about the life of not only our Allied service members but the civilians who bore the cost of war also.
The book is 388 pages long and definitely worth picking up if you plan to travel any part of WWII in Europe. Not every monument, memorial, museum, and cemetery is listed. There is enough here combined with the vast website they offer, to plan an incredible trip once you have done the research on your service member.
The website also has maps, more history on the countries and many articles written about people, places, and things. Definitely check it out and be sure to grab a cup of coffee before you do as it is a site you can get lost in for a long time.
Are you ready to start the research and verify what you think you know? Do you need help planning a trip?
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