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The Phony War: 1939-1940 Hardcover – November 28, 1982

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row, Publishers; 1st edition (November 28, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060380365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060380366
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Tom Shachtman tells the story of that one year with haunting eloquence." -- The New York Times Book Review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tom Shachtman is an author, documentary filmmaker, and teacher. He has written 25 books for adults and children, as well as award-winning documentaries for all the major television networks. His adult histories, which cover points of change in the twentieth century, have been regularly described as ?fascinating,? ?filled with illuminating detail,? ?highly readable,? and as written ?with passion and clarity.? --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Tom Shachtman has written or co-authored more than thirty books, as well as documentaries for ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and BBC, and has taught at New York University and lectured at Harvard, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and the Library of Congress.
His most recent book is AMERICAN ICONOCLAST: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ERIC HOFFER, published in November 2011. Presidential historian Herbert S. Parmet called it "as complete and masterful a biography as could be imagined."
His most recent award, in February 2010, was the American Institute of Physics' sciencewriting prize for his script of the two-hour documentary, ABSOLUTE ZERO AND THE CONQUEST OF COLD (PBS, 2008), based on his book of the same name. The New York Times Book Review characterized that book as written "with passion and clarity," the Library Journal called it "a truly wonderful book." In print in four languages, it is cited in many compilations of the best popular science books.
His most celebrated recent book is RUMSPRINGA: TO BE OR NOT TO BE AMISH (2006). Publishers Weekly labeled it "not only one of the most absorbing ... ever written about the Plain People, but a perceptive snapshot of the larger culture in which they live." The Christian Science Monitor wrote, "Shachtman is like a maestro, masterfully conducting an orchestra of history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and journalism together in a harmonious and evocative symphony of all things Amish."
Earlier Shachtman books in use as secondary texts include TERRORS AND MARVELS (2002), about science and technology in World War II; THE INARTICULATE SOCIETY (1995), about mass media and culture, recently re-issued in paperback; SKYSCRAPER DREAMS: THE GREAT REAL ESTATE DYNASTIES OF NEW YORK (1991), which Business Week characterized as "A fascinating history, showing how the city has been molded by the edifice complexes of risk-takers" and by The New York Times Book Review as "Superb reporting on the industry's wheeling and dealing"; and DECADE OF SHOCKS, 1963-1974 (1983).
AROUND THE BLOCK (1997), a socio-economic study of a single block in Manhattan over the course of a year, was called "a near-classic" by The Economist, by The New Yorker "a grand idea, splendidly executed," and by The Washington Post Book World a "thoughtful, interesting ... good and useful book."
Among his documentaries are six programs in the CBS science and technology series THE 21ST CENTURY. Documentaries that he also directed and produced, notably the CHILDREN OF POVERTY trilogy of one-hours about inner-city children, won first prizes at San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York International festivals, a half-dozen New York area Emmys, and were shown in Congress and at the White House.
He is a former chairman of The Writers Room in Manhattan, a trustee of the Connecticut Humanities Council, a founding director of the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, and is currently a consultant to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's science and technology initiatives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Birck on March 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a fast-moving, highly readable description of the state of affairs, and of preparedness, that prevailed in Europe, specifically Poland, Denmark, Norway, England and France between September of 1939 and the Summer of 1940, as Hitler was gearing up to take over the continent. I wanted to read it specifically because I knew that the Germans had invaded Poland in September of '39, and I knew that the "Miracle" of Dunkirk had happened sometime after that, followed at some point by the Battle of Britain...but I had no idea what had gone on, or why, where, or when, in between. By comparison, the war in the Pacific, starting in the mid-1930's in China, describes a clean curve of rising Japanese aggression up to and long after Pearl Harbor, which was, for the Japanese, not the beginning of anything, but just another glorious victory for the emperor's forces. But in Europe: Poland is invaded, then the Brits are rescued from the French coast? This book gives a pretty solid picture what happened in between and why.
There was no Pearl Harbor for the western democracies. It was more like the frog in the saucepan, but in the case of Britain and France, judging by this book, the targets of Hitler's aggression (save Poland) started out hopelessly incompetent, irresolute, and unready to fight even the last war, let alone the one starting on their borders. The Polish invasion, as Shachtaman describes it, wasn't a walkover, but Poland had to capitulate after about two weeks of pounding by a well-organized and ruthless enemy, because she got no help whatever from the western democracies sworn to come to her rescue.
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