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A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II 2nd Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521618267
ISBN-10: 0521618266
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is an extraordinary book. Moral and human feelings underpin his copious scholarship at every point, giving admirable depth and dimension to this monumental intellectual performance." Paul Fussell, The Washington Post

"...a coherent--in fact, hypnotic--narrative offered up in a single, handsome volume... surely the finest one-volume history we have of the most important event of the century." American Heritage --

Book Description

Widely hailed as a masterpiece, this is the first history of World War II to provide a truly global account of the war that encompassed six continents. Starting with the changes that restructured Europe and her colonies following the First World War, Gerhard Weinberg sheds new light on every aspect of World War II. Actions of the Axis, the Allies, and the Neutrals are covered in every theater of the war. More importantly, the global nature of the war is examined, with new insights into how events in one corner of the world helped affect events in other distant parts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1208 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (March 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521618266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521618267
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles I. Stubbart on July 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
One Big History of the World War
I have been reading books about the World War for nearly 50 years. This book is one of a kind. But it's not written for everyone. First I will point out some limitations of this book. Then I will list some of the strengths that make this book unique.
Limitations.
Weinberg is a clear writer, but not flashy. The material is carefully organized but it moves at a deliberate pace. Put simply, this is not exciting reading, especially at 900 pages!
If you loved Ambrose, McCullough, or D'Este, you may dislike Weinberg.
Weinberg believes in a form of historical writing that downplays the role of individuals. Roosevelt, Hitler, Stalin, Rommel, Churchill, Mussolini, Chang Kai Shek, Hirohito are all in attendance, but their personalities, their quirks, and their
habits , hardly enter into the story. Instead, these men represent movements, states, ideologies, etc.
Weinberg never uses direct, pithy quotes. That takes something out, compared to other popular history.
Weinberg doesn't say anything he can't back up. Many chapters contain 200 footnotes or more. Those footnotes
could drive you crazy.
Weinberg does not present the War as simply a clash of Good versus Evil. He sees a much more complex picture of motives and actions at play. Few parties to the conflict emerge with their honor wholly intact.
Weinberg does not write much about leaders, battles, etc.
Don't get me wrong. The leaders and battles are there, but
W is only interested in the big picture aspects of battles, not
in leaders, heroes, clever tactics, etc.
I don't see these limitations as very important. A reader can
get all that exciting stuff from popular books.
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Format: Hardcover
This is truly the most comprehensive monograph written as an overview of the war as an ongoing event in world history. Time and again Weinberg amazes us with his grasp and understanding of the connections and influences within and among the many theaters of war. This, then, is a massively documented and carefully researched one volume comprehensive history of World War Two as a world war quite unlike the one that preceded it. He traces its origins in the events and consequences flowing from the first world war, and then demonstrates quite handily that the political fate and will of one man, Adolph Hitler, literally forced the war into being. He analyzes the events professionally and dispassionately, and ties together the events in all their horror to the nature of the world conflict. While one can certainly argue that most of what he says is not new, it is also the case that he links the observations of others with his own insights in a way that is much more learned, better organized, and comprehensive in its results. Some of the statistics tying the various theaters of conflict together are dizzying, such as the fact that the numbers of divisions (over two hundred) deployed by Hitler on the eastern front, for example, both dwarf and doom the troops (just fifty divisions)available for the defense of the western wall of Europe. He estimates the total number of deaths due directly to the war at over sixty million, and cites the various sources for such a catastrophic figure.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Gerhard Weinberg's A World at Arms is a must possession for every World War 2 buff. Even as a reference work never read continuously its beautifully complete index will page you in on every significant event in a conflict that Weinberg sees and treats as a storm that enveloped every country in the world; even Uruguay and Mexico are indexed.
After I had begun the book, some confusion that arose from viewing a documentary about the battle of Leyte Gulf was promptly cleared up by reading Weinberg's account with the relevant maps. I have been waiting for this book for a long time and recommend it highly for those readers whose sophistication about these events demands references when they read that Douglas McArthur received a great deal of money from Filipino President Manuel Quezon when they departed for safety on 11 March 1942. This is not a book for those who want a quickly readable survey of American involvement in the conflict.
Details is what this book is about--stupendously documented details, mainly to do with shifting alliances within the Axis and Allied responses; there are, for example, eight indexed references to Sir John Dill, the man who more than any other was responsible for smoothing out the prickles in the Anglo-American alliance. Details, however, do not always make for easy reading. An academic historian whose expertise stems from his intimate knowledge of the relevant documentary archives, Weinberg writes academic prose. Few of his sentences would pass the Fleischman criteria for readibility. Even a reader used to this kind of prose will find that one sentence in ten requires re-reading. And sometimes we wish that the author had chosen a different way of putting his point.
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