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 On the Web since 1995 

    
Top Ten Winners for 2000

   Visitors to Stone & Stone's Second World War Books website have over the last two months nominated and voted for more than two hundred of the best nonfiction WWII-related titles published in 2000. (And, as always, some ineligible books were nominated.) Not only is this the largest number of books ever to receive votes in a single year, the number of votes cast in this fifth year of voting also set a record high. Given the large number of great new books published during the year and the highly divergent tastes and specializations of readers, researchers, veterans, hobbyists, collectors, and other visitors to our site, it's no wonder that votes were spread over so many different titles.
   As usual, though, some familiar patterns emerged. For many readers and voters, it seems like WWII begins and ends with Germany, with the Russian Front in particular, and specifically with the SS. In addition to the heavy concentration of such titles in the Top Ten, the next ten or twenty finishers also came predominantly from those niches. Books on airpower enjoyed considerable popularity, while books about the Pacific theater—despite Bix's excellent example—continued to languish lower in the standings. And after last year's terrific showing (three out of the Top Ten for 1999), University Press of Kansas returned to take two of the Top Ten slots for 2000.
   Contrary to previous trends, books about U-boats failed to make much of a showing this year. Likewise, although veterans' memoirs were published at a breakneck pace in 2000, only one—Bidermann's—cracked the Top Ten and no others came remotely close to finishing in the money.
   Finally, special mention should go to Niklas Zetterling who managed to place two books—one co-authored with Anders Franksond—solidly in the Top Ten. It's always a pleasure to see newer authors make such a splash.
   As usual, balloting was halted at the stroke of the New Year (California time) and tallying of votes is now complete. No hanging chads or dimples were detected, so no hand recount proved necessary. Here, then, are the Top Ten Books of 2000 as selected by visitors to these webpages, in alphabetical order by author:

Bergstrom, Christer and Andrey Mikhailov. Black Cross, Red Star: Air War over the Eastern Front, volume one. Pacifica, CA: Pacifica Military History

Bidermann, Gottlob Herbert. In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas

Bix, Hebert P. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: Harper Collins

Cressman, Robert J. The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press

Kershaw, Ian. Hitler, 1937-1945: Nemesis. New York: Norton

May, Ernest R. Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France. New York: Hill and Wang

Megargee, Geoffrey P. Inside Hitler's High Command. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas

Nipe Jr., George M. Last Victory in Russia: SS-Panzerkorps and Manstein's Kharkov Offensive. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History

Zetterling, Niklas. German Ground Forces in Normandy, 1944. Winnipeg, Manitoba: J.J. Fedorowicz

Zetterling, Niklas and Anders Frankson. Kursk 1943: A Statistical Analysis. London: Frank Cass

   Our warm congratulations and thanks go out to the authors, editors, publishers, and booksellers who brought us these Top Ten titles of 2000, as well as all the other great new books that arrived last year to enrich and enliven the body of Second World War literature.
   Thanks also to all the visitors to Stone & Stone's Second World War Books website who helped select these winners and made 2000 such a great year for us.
   Now let's start searching for the best new books of 2001!

Previous winners

   Top Ten Books of 1996
   Top Ten Books of 1997
   Top Ten Books of 1998
   Top Ten Books of 1999

A note on methodology

   This was the fifth year of our Top Ten and the fourth year with our online "voting machine." As anyone who has been on the Net for any length of time knows, this kind of Web-based voting can be subject to the worst kind of electronic ballot-stuffing spam, so we took great pains to write "Jimmy Carter" algorithms for the voting machine program to ensure a clean election. Because the last three years proved that such measures were necessary, we expanded and refined the system again this year.
   Although it might not have been immediately evident ("Jimmy" is a pretty subtle kind of guy), in addition to counting votes, the voting machine was also carefully monitoring the election. Visitors could vote as often as they wanted, but no more than ten total votes per visitor were actually tallied; excess votes from a visitor were quietly ignored. "Jimmy" was able to detect and disallow many kinds of fraudulent voting patterns automatically; meanwhile, everything else was forwarded to the "voting commission" for review, and if necessary, manual adjustment.
   There are always some people who seem to think anonymity grants them the right to cheat, so—as happens every year—these "Jimmy Carter" precautions unfortunately proved warranted. A few folks accidentally or intentionally tried to cast extra votes—perhaps just to see how the system would respond—while this year a few cretins—apparently convinced of the exalted importance of our awards—mounted what can only be described as frontal assaults of a magnitude we've never seen before, intended to ensure some specific titles reached the Top Ten. Indeed, more so than ever the system was subjected to calculated efforts to crack the voting machine and cast outrageously inflated numbers of votes for a few particular titles.
   For the first time ever we were forced by such abuses to make some emergency adjustments to our system during the course of the voting. Eventually it became necessary to re-wire the automated system so that all votes were manually reviewed and the spam discarded prior to tabulation. Unfortunately, this meant the system couldn't display the standings in real time, because they were only updated once or twice each day after manually weeding out the garbage. Nevertheless, all the ballot-stuffing spam votes were disallowed and we're confident that we conducted a certifiably clean, fair election. Thank you, "Jimmy Carter."

Reviewed 1 January 2001
Copyright © 2001 by Bill Stone
May not be reproduced in any form without written permission of Stone & Stone

 

 

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