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The Second World War Paperback – September 26, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a typical descriptive historical narrative of the war. It is great single source for those who haven't read a comprehensive history of it. It fairly and with good balance describes the political background and military events and while the writing is somewhat prosaic it is not 'dry', and it gives a well detailed overview of the events.
Hastings book "Inferno" (published in Britain as "All Hell Let Loose") carries with it a lot more personal observations from diaries, letters, etc of the participants, and clearly is written with the authors own subjective interpretation or points of view on the events, rather than being a pure description of the historical events. The writing is more elegant and provocative, as befits the journalist background of the author.
If one has no knowledge of this titanic struggle I would start with Beevor's book so as to capture the events and timelines as they historically occurred, written in a very readable manner. On the other hand if one is familiar with most of the history I would recommend Hasting's book as a source of opinionated (but supported) insight, along with the many descriptions of the war by participants that are included in his narrative and relate to the historical events.
Both are excellent in their own ways. They provide: 1)in the terms of Beevor's book a well written and accurate single volume historical description of the war and 2) in Hastings a more 'op-ed' description with personal stories of the conflict that he has derived from letters, diaries, interviews etc.
Firstly, Beevor delivers the raw strategic and historical facts with a relentless, crisp pace, covering all major events, participants and theaters of war. The history is informed by a treasure trove of material cited in the notes, including personal sources such as the invaluable diary of Soviet correspondent Vasily Grossman. There are 50 chapters and the title of each chapter reflects the one or two key events narrated in it. The brevity of the chapters makes the book accessible and great for bedtime reading. A particular skill of Beevor's is in condensing the most important information in relatively brief paragraphs. Rather than provide separate extended quotes from the prime participants, he excerpts these quotes within the paragraphs.Read more ›
See WWII book list below.
Now Antony Beevor, an accomplished British historian of the Second World War (including "Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege"), has produced a comprehensive narrative of World War II that is one of the best. So much information is packed in each concise paragraph. Some of the stories are astonishing: Unprecedented combat violence across the globe. Cold exterminations. Textbook military tactics and misguided blunders. Rapes. Critical strategic interpretations are sometimes amiss or missing, unfortunately in this book, including the aims of Nazi ideology and USA's emerging influence for a new post-war world of free determination and free trade, as compared to the world before WWII with colonialism and the Versailles Treaty.
Contrasting Beevor's "Second World War" against other great and recent WWII overview books, this book has fewer gaps in details, without the book seeming scattered. For example, "Storm of War" by British historian Andrew Roberts focuses on Hitler and has "must read" interpretations, but the coverage of the Pacific is light. In contrast, Beevor's book has great coverage of Japan's overlooked war in China that killed millions and details other important areas. The bloodbath Eastern Front is covered well in both books.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent book with tons of interesting information that are not readily available elsewhere. I liked that it struck a good balance between what was going on in the battlefield... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Hank C.
Incredible and so thorough. Gives you a much more complete picture of WWII and all its horrors, along with the personalities that dictated so much of what happened.Published 21 days ago by Bali Dave
Great insight on the West, Pacific and African front, good description of the horror of war, no glory on itPublished 2 months ago by Ricardo
The book has been well researched and presented so that it is an invaluable reference book but I think the mass of detail is probably to great for most general readersPublished 3 months ago by Peter
Although it seems very difficult to cover this subject in one volume, the author has done a remarkable job in rendering this momentous conflict in vivid terms.Published 3 months ago by Stephen J. Joncus, Sr.
This was a gift for my son. He is into history, and loves the book.Published 4 months ago by James E. Duvall
Great factual representation of all world war 2, along with its entire gravity. No high school history class will teach you these lessons. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Teddy
Read many books on this subject, but found this has many things I have not read elsewhere. Many historical facts unbeknownst to me till I read this book.Published 4 months ago by william swartz