Fateful Choices and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book may have moderate creases and wear from reading. Item qualifies for ** FREE ** shipping and Amazon Prime programs!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940-1941 Hardcover – May 31, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1594201233 ISBN-10: 1594201234 Edition: 1st

Price: $4.51
21 New from $6.18 104 Used from $0.18 6 Collectible from $12.49
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$6.18 $0.18
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

There is a newer edition of this item:

Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Hero Quick Promo
Year-End Kindle Daily Deals
Load your library with great books for $2.99 or less each, today only. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; 1st edition (May 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594201234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201233
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tracing the thought processes behind crucial turning points in WWII's most crucial 19 months, Kershaw, the author of a major biography of Hitler and professor of modern history at the University of Sheffield, reminds us that nothing in that titanic struggle was predetermined. Events might have run a very different course had Great Britain decided to negotiate peace with Hitler in June 1940, or if Japan had attacked the Soviet Union from the east as Germany invaded from the west in June 1941. Kershaw shows that Germany's war on two fronts and Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor, though ultimately disastrous for those countries, were the results of chains of reasoning based on political and military goals, however despicable. Though the author makes deep, intelligent use of archival materials, he provides little new information. Rather, his analysis focuses on the structure of decision making and its consequences. Kershaw depicts Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union as severely hampered by one man giving the orders, getting input only from subordinates too fearful to say anything he didn't want to hear. The slower democratic process enabled many voices to be heard and better informed judgments to be made by Churchill and Roosevelt. This subtext adds a note of hope to a text depicting one of humanity's darkest periods. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

In Fateful Choices, Ian Kershaw, professor of history at England's University of Sheffield and author of multiple volumes on Hitler, including the acclaimed two-volume biography Hubris (1999) and Nemesis (2000), has done his research, and his arguments here possess the same reasoned analysis that he brought to the Hitler books. Not all key decisions were made in the opening months of the war, of course, and critics wonder whether the author might have chosen other events to examine, including the offensive attacks by Japan and Germany that were catalysts for the war in the first place. Nonetheless, Kershaw offers a solid primer on the war's early history and a fresh perspective on the events that avoids the "terrible bog of counterfactual history" (Guardian) so popular these days in history books. Fateful Choices is engaging, and its insights into the decision-making process valuable.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Some of these decisions were very complex and were the results of decades of argument.
Jerry Saperstein
Taken individually, Kershaw's examination of these ten decisions provides the reader with a wealth of information.
Leonard Fleisig
The result can be very interesting at times, but it also can be a bit confused and disoriented.
David W. Nicholas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 131 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Truthteller on June 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Historian Sir Ian Kershaw is perhaps best known for his recent, monumental two-volume biography of Adolf Hitler. His latest effort, Fateful Choices, is a bit far afield from his studies of various aspects of Nazi Germany published in the last 20-30 years. This new book has a much broader focus as it examines, in the order they occurred, ten fateful decisions that changed the course, if not the outcome, of World War II. These decisions all took place in an 18-month period from May 1940 to December 1941.

These decisions were:

1. Britain's agreeing to fight on after the defeat of France.

2. Germany's deciding to wage war on the Soviet Union.

3. Japan's appropriating the colonies of countries at war with, or already defeated by, Germany, and allying itself with Germany and Italy.

4. Italy's deciding to invade Greece.

5. America's providing aid to England.

6. The Soviet Union's ignoring all signs that Germany was about to invade it.

7. America's intensifying its assistance to Britain by an "undeclared war" on Germany.

8. Japan's attacking the U.S.

9. Germany's declaring war against the U.S.

10. Germany's putting into operation the Final Solution.

Many of these decisions, in retrospect, seem strange, if not bizarre, or illogical, if not plain idiotic, amoral, or perverse.

The author's approach is to examine each of these these decisions by those primarily responsible for making them. (For example, Britain's heroic decision to soldier on is examined from the perspective of Churchill, and the War Cabinet.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on July 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
is due largely to the fact that the by-products of a human process are more fateful than the product". Eric Hoffer

Ian Kershaw's "Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940 - 1941" is an elegantly-written masterful work of history. In "Fateful Choices" Kershaw cast a critical eye over ten decisions (listed in a Comment below this review) during a 19-month period at the beginning of the Second World War that, according to Kershaw, determined not just the outcome of the war but also (in good part) the structure of the post-war world.

Taken as a whole, the greatest value in Kershaw's book is to be found in his comparison of the decision-making process engaged in by the five nations involved. Three of those nations (Germany, Italy, and the USSR) were totalitarian states where decisions were invariably made by Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin with little input other than sycophancy from those around them. Collective decision-making was the norm in the United States and Britain. Both Roosevelt and Churchill (more so during the early months of Churchill's leadership) had cabinet members who were not afraid to speak up and challenge their President or Prime Minister's approach to a specific issue. Japan's decision-making process was also a group process but Kershaw does an excellent job of explaining how the dominance of Japan's military created a very different decision making dynamic than that found in the U.S. and Britain. Kershaw advances a compelling argument that the dysfunctional decision-making methodology found in Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USSR led to some disastrous choices.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
The hinge of fate was about to open on the most horrible war in human history. Millions would die in gas chambers, on the battlefied, under the sea and the cities of the world. This outstanding work of seminal history from the pen of the eminent British historian Ian Kershaw (famed for his two volume work on Adolf Hitler: "Nemesis" and "Hubris") carefully examines the following ten decisions made by men in power:
1. The English government under new Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill
decides to fight on after the fall of France. Churchill took office on May 10, 1941 following the fall of the weak Neville Chamberlin's premiership. In three days of discussion it was Churchill who insisted and persuaded the government to never surrender. If England had made a negotiated peace with Nazi Germany the war would have taken a much different course. Kudos for Churchill!
2. Hitler made the decision to invade his erstwhile ally the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. The result was a two front war; disaster for the Reich and victory for the Allies. This is one of history's all time worst mistakes made by a national leader at the helm during war.Hitler thought he could defeat England in time to concentrate on the Soviet Union but he was fatally wrong!
3. Japan made the wrong decision to go southward into Indochina and refusing to launch an attack against Russia. This horrible decision would lead to total defeat meted out by the US Navy in the Pacific. Tojo and his militaristic/expansionistic government would lead Japan to total defeat.
4. Mussolini decided to launch his weak Italian legions against Greece hoping to capitalize on German victory in France. He wanted to hitch his horse to a winning team but as a result Italy lost the war and he was forced out of office by an officer coup.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?