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The Battle For History: Re-fighting World War II Paperback – January 30, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Indeed, given the fact that the integration of all the relevant information concerning the war remains such a daunting task based on its size, complexity, and the fact that it is found in a plethora of languages and dialects, one has to admire Keegan's admission that his own work as well as that by notable others such as Sir Martin Gilbert, Gerhard Weinberg's mammoth "A World At Arms" (my own personal favorite) do not represent anything close to definitive histories of the Second World War. Instead, he insists with both energy and enthusiasm that such a definitive work is yet to be written. Moreover, as anyone familiar with works ranging from Hugh Trevor-Roper's early masterpiece on Hitler's final days in the Berlin bunker to the recent short overview by Richard Overy (see his wonderful short essay and overview in "The Origins Of The Second World War"), arguments regarding the etiology and progress of that war are hardly settled beyond the point of argument or discussion.Read more ›
Consider this book your road map to future WWII reading. An indispensable road map!
Rather Keegan compares and analyzes many of the published histories of WWII and provides a critique of the work, its author and his assessment of the biases or omissions in the works he cites. At that level, "The Battle For History" is invaluable. It is as if your studies of the subject are being guided by one of the most eminent historians of the period.
First published in 1996, even the lapse of 8 years is telling. Hopefully a revision will be forthcoming. For example, Rick Atkinson's recently published - and superb - history of the North African campaign is not mentioned here. It should be.
This book has all the lineaments of something knocked off during a slow weekend. It's casual, offhand, and rife with errors (e.g., Barbarossa beginning on 22 June 1942). It's also arguably the best checklist of literature on WW II available. Keegan, as might have been surmised, has done the reading, and here he tells you all about it. Even the novel selections (Jones and Waugh) are incisive.
If you were to work your way through the notes of this book (I confess I haven't--not completely; not yet), title by title, you would have, in the end, a master's knowledge of the war and the circumstances surrounding it. So go on--get cracking.
Subtitled:"Re-fighting World War II".
Vintage Books, Random House, New York. 1996.
If you have ever taken a course in History, you know what a bibliographic essay is. The professor assigns an obscure episode in the events of some small country and then you have to "research" the events, find credible references and write a literate paper telling all about it. You think that you're done when you hit "Return" on the computer and the paper is complete. Or is it? Nope, the prof wants a bibliographic essay, which is a list of books and articles consulted, and your estimation of the "correctness" or value of each reference. I think that the teachers thought up bibliographic essays so that the student could not plagiarize just one book and submit it as the student's own paper.
So, with this preamble, you can see that I would be apprehensive when I picked up John Keegan's little book, (only 128 pages), which is fundamentally a bibliographic essay on the Second World War. But, this book is a wonderful bibliographic essay. The author jumps right into the heart of the matter in Chapter 1, which is entitled, "Controversy And The Second World War". In this small chapter, Keegan deals with the works of the controversialist, A.J.P. Taylor, as to the origins of the War, then Keegan goes on to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union (22 June 1941), and who know what about when and how. Did Stalin really expect Hitler to leave Russia in peace? The next controversy handled was whether or not F.D. Roosevelt knew in advance that the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor. Then, a portion of this chapter deals with the effectiveness of the bombing campaign is alone worth the price of the book. Excellent work on controversies.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
WELL WRITTEN.GREAT BOOK OF MILITARY HISTORY, KEEGAN ALWAYS SURPRISE ME, ANOTHER OF HIS GREAT WORKS
REALLY HEIS A VERY GOOD BOOK ABOUT WWII
Keegan's piece offers an holistic and broad view of WWII and it's consequences. The author seems to strive for impartiality, however it does not mention the cruelty of US and... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Maisa Lopes Gomes de Paiva
Keegan is a first rate military historian, but this has little substance. Itis a short book, so one does not expect any depth, but at least a fresh perspective.Published on October 22, 2013 by Charles E. Berthold
This book is an historiography and provides an excellent guide to other historians works even as it highlights interesting and less known aspect of World War Two. Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by Eric A. Foster
This is a good way to find out what books to read about WWII. There are some it would never occur to you to read.Published on May 31, 2013 by Banjo
I'ts a small book, as advertised. A guide to other books rather than a book in itself, will be useful in guiding further reading.Published on November 30, 2012 by Amazon Customer