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The Story of World War II: Revised, expanded, and updated from the original t [Kindle Edition]

Henry Steele Commager , Donald L. Miller
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $22.00
Kindle Price: $16.99
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published. Here are the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury. Miller gives us an up-close, deeply personal view of a war that was more savagely fought -- and whose outcome was in greater doubt -- than readers might imagine. This is the war that Americans at the home front would have read about had they had access to the previously censored testimony of the soldiers on which Miller builds his gripping narrative.

Miller covers the entire war -- on land, at sea, and in the air -- and provides new coverage of the brutal island fighting in the Pacific, the bomber war over Europe, the liberation of the death camps, and the contributions of African Americans and other minorities. He concludes with a suspenseful, never-before-told story of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, based on interviews with the men who flew the mission that ended the war.

Editorial Reviews Review

In 1945, the noted historian Henry Steele Commager, then employed by the U.S. Office of War Information, published The Story of World War II, a comprehensive survey of a struggle still terribly fresh. Donald Miller, himself an accomplished historian, amplifies Commager's work with this substantially revised edition.

Drawing on oral histories and on the vast body of literature that followed the original edition, Miller writes vividly of the key events that shaped the progress of the war, from Dunkirk to the surrender of the Japanese government aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. Along the way, he examines the war as it played out on many fronts, incorporating the memories of women defense workers, German and Japanese combat veterans, and the ordinary Allied soldiers whom correspondent Ernie Pyle called "doggies." The text is thoroughly illustrated with period photographs, maps, and sidebars, adding both to its immediacy and its usefulness as a reference work.

Concentrating on the war through American eyes, Miller and Commager's book is far from definitive. Even so, it makes an important addition to the growing library of work devoted to the era, and readers with an interest in World War II will learn much from its pages. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

Historian Donald L. Miller offers The Story of World War II, an expanded and updated rewrite of Henry Steele Commager's 1945 The Story of the Second World War. Commager was a historian who taught at NYU, Columbia and Amherst; he died in 1998. Miller (Lewis Mumford: A Life) is a professor at Lafayette College and the host of PBS's A Biography of America. With new material from oral accounts, letters and memoirs to which Commager didn't have access and with the inclusion of nearly 200 b & w photographs, Miller alters the footprint but respects the integrity of his predecessor's work. Old-school, just-the-facts-Ma'am historiography is the name of this game, but the extensive, moving testimonies by veterans of their brushes with death and terror humanize and vivify the described events. Maps.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 34095 KB
  • Print Length: 706 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743227182
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Rev Exp edition (May 8, 2010)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003L77XCW
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,223 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a general overview of America's role in WWII February 11, 2002
I really enjoyed this book. For a long time I wanted to read a general history of the entire second world war, and the nice thing about this particular one is its use of some more contemporary perspectives. The book is split almost evenly between Miller and Commager's informative text and first person accounts by the soldiers and reporters who were actually in these battles. As such it paints a vivid portrait of the asolute hell that the world was so relentlessly plunged headfirst into in the first half of the 20th Century. There is emotion as well as research here, and a nice tribute paid to the black and Asian soldiers who fought on behalf of their country - a country which had, paradoxically, treated them with such disdain. This really is not a comprehensive history, per se, but at about 650 pages for the entire war, it never could be. It is an engaging, enlightening, and disturbing book, though, which is all one could ask from a general history. Lots of pictures and about 25 maps round it out - there could stand to be some more maps, but I used the Cassell Atlas of the Second World War to supplement this with. Another good point is that this is really a high quality book. It is oversized and a bit heavy, and the paper is a thick stock with very easy typeface. The book also lies flat, which might be an important consideration. This was obviously the pet project of someone at Simon & Shuster, because in packaging and presentation this book is a cut above most new history books. A fine volume, and a welcome addition to anyone's library, be it a supplement to other history texts or not. I know that I will refer back to it when I continue my ongoing studies on the Pacific War, and that says quite about about its importance right there.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars America at War October 12, 2002
This 'revised and updated' version of the original written by Henry Commager is a prime example of why it is important to understand the origins and biases of the author behind the work. To quote Miller from his preface, "Commager was, understandably, too emotionally involved in the war to write an unsparing acount of it.", and of himself he writes "...I am an American interested in the character and conduct of my countrymen."
This is not meant to detract from the quality of the work. The book is well written, with a consistent style. It is hard to tell where Commager leaves off and Miller picks up. The narrative is heavily supported by relevant passages and quotes from the soldiers and journalists involved in the action. It provides a feel for the actual events (at least as far as print can do that).
In order to fully understand historical events it is necessary to understand the various viewpoints. This book, written by Americans, primarily for Americans, presents a valuable view of one facet of the jewel that is history.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read for every American! July 28, 2003
I read this book cover to cover in a week. This book is the perfect balance of historical information intertwined with personal stories from the soldiers who were there. It takes you from the first German shot to the atomic bomb in story like fashion. I learned more from this book than I did in all of my college history classes. You will be amazed at the accuracy and details Miller puts into this book. I am also ashamed at myself that I did not completely know the unbelievable sacrifices made by our troops during this conflict. Especially the untold battles in Italy and the Pacific. Also, I have new respect for the role minority soldiers played in combat. True heroes. Buy this book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for everyone April 4, 2004
The Story of World War II is an elaborate narrative of 700 pages describing events that happened during the big war. But be not misguided by the title: the focus of the authors is not as broad as the title promises. The book clearly covers the war seen through the eyes of Americans, whereas typical European events are only briefly mentioned. For example the activities of the European resistance and the horror of the German extermination camps are described in but a few lines, where the war around Japan is covered in numerous chapters. This is not a negative critique, because it is humanly impossible to cover every aspect of the war in one book, but just a warning that the title might be misleading. A better title would have been: Americans in World War II.
That said, The Story of World War II is a brilliant piece of historical work. The set-up of the book is really refreshing: not the historians are telling what did happen, but real witnesses tell their story. Of course everything is weaved together is a correct historical context, but still the real-life reports predominate the book. Not a few times this actually gives the reader a more realistic idea of what human sacrifices where made during that terrible episode of human history. The suffering is at its most vivid in the descriptions of the Japanese prison camps and the attack on the island of Midway. The witness reports from soldiers caught in a capsized war ship during the attack on Pearl Harbor, will be engraved in any reader's memory.
This book is a must read for everyone, because when these memories die, the same terrible mistakes could be made again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best one-volume history of the war May 25, 2004
One-volume histories of World War II are about a dime a dozen. Most of them seem to have the words "Cambridge" or "Oxford" in their titles, ignore the Pacific war, and are deadly dull.

For an American, Miller and Commager's book is the best one-volume history I have found. I say "for an American" because the focus is on battles in which Americans were the participants. The brutal Eastern front and the war between Germany and the Soviet Union get short shrift; the spectacular air, land and sea battles of the war between the U.S. and Japan get equal attention with the Western Front battles in Europe. Miller doesn't spend a whole lot of time on the events leading up to the war. On page 19 Germany invades Poland and the same breakneck speed in moving from one major battle to another continues. The analysis of the strategy and politics behind the war is succinct but adequate to enable the reader to understand the big picture.

What makes this history better than others is the reliance of the authors on the words of the participants in the combat. One half or more of the narrative consists of quotes from eyewitnesses -- mostly soldiers and journalists -- and this gives a worms-eye view of events that seems more valid, and certainly more interesting, that the detached analysis of many writers. This book gives you a good picture and what life was likein the front lines. The text is supplemented by many good photos and maps.

If you are an American and you can only afford to buy one book on World War II, this is the one you want.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived in excellent condition v
Published 4 months ago by C. Graham
4.0 out of 5 stars The Confessions of a WW-II Junky
Donald Miller's book is a worthy extension of Henry Steele Commanger's book "The Story of the Second World War. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Herbert L Calhoun
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
This is a great read. I also read is book D-Days in the Pacific that was also good.
Published 10 months ago by Charles L. Clemans
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what was advertised
This book was advertised as " Very Good" well it was not, it should have been shown as "POOR". Read more
Published 11 months ago by John Kelleher
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book about WWII with details about some battles.
I was 12 years old when WWII started and so I only have vague remembrances of WWII. This book helped me understand about the war from beginning to end. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Stanley C. Pierce
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Very Interesting - learned a great deal about our past. It made me very proud to be an American. My father also enjoyed it.
Published 19 months ago by Sue Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and quick to read!
This book was well written and easy to read. It compares very favorably with John Keegan's History of World War II. I love them both. Thank you
Published 20 months ago by John Cedric Boyer III
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING!
This history of World War II, which is an edited, expanded version of the original Henry Steele Commanger work, is outstanding in detail. Read more
Published on March 17, 2013 by vaughn
4.0 out of 5 stars very readable account of WWII
The onset of the Nazi movement is treated but very shortly.

A lot of information could be easier presented with more geographical maps about the situation at hand. Read more
Published on December 24, 2012 by G R Kornblum
5.0 out of 5 stars A excellent summary of WWII. The best single treatment that I have...
As more and more of out WWII veterans die this book in a worthy tribute to the courage and patritiem. They werre truly the greatest generation.
Published on December 9, 2012 by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Donald L. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College. He hosted the series A Biography of America on PBS and has appeared in numerous other PBS programs in the American Experience series, as well as in programs on the History Channel. He is the author of eight previous books, among them the prize-winning City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America, The Story of World War II, and D-Days in the Pacific.

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