“Mr. Gilbert brings the strongest possible credentials to his history of World War II, and the result is a magisterial work” (The New York Times).
In the hands of master historian Martin Gilbert, the complex and compelling story of the Second World War comes to life. This narrative captures the perspectives of leading politicians and war commanders, journalists, civilians, and ordinary soldiers, offering gripping eyewitness accounts of heroism, defeat, suffering, and triumph.
This is one of the first historical studies of World War II that describes the Holocaust as an integral part of the war. It also covers maneuvers, strategies, and leaders operating in European, Asian, and Pacific theatres. In addition, this book brings in survivor testimonies of occupation, survival behind enemy lines, and the experience of minority groups such as the Roma in Europe, to offer a comprehensive account of the war’s impact on individuals on both sides. This is a sweeping narrative of one of the most deadly wars in history, which took almost forty million lives, and irrevocably changed countless more.
“Gilbert’s flowing narrative is spiced with anecdotal details culled from diaries, memoirs, and official documents. He is especially skillful at interweaving summaries of military strategy with vignettes of civilian suffering.” —Newsweek
“[A] masterful account of history’s most destructive conflict.” —Publishers Weekly
This masterful account of history's most destructive conflict explains the purpose and interrelationship of the major campaigns of the war and their effect on soldiers and civilians alike. Though the military aspect is told with noteworthy clarity and narrative power, most impressive is Gilbert's presentation of World War II as primarily a matter of organized evil and mass madness, a deadly virus originating in Berlin and Tokyo that infected victims on a global scale. That it was ``the last good war'' is a saying made dramatically comprehensible in the sections describing the opposition to the Axis. The scope of the book is astonishingly broad, ranging smoothly from Himmler's ``human stud-farms'' (dedicated to producing pure Aryans) to the importance of the Burma campaign, from a comparison of Nazi treatment of Jews and Japanese treatment of Filipinos to the SS doctrine that mercy was officially considered a crime. Gilbert is the author of the acclaimed eight-volume official Winston Churchill biography. Photos.