Originally published in 1940, “[T]his book is an attempt to provide a survey of the war that will commend itself to the majority of intelligent readers as giving the significant events of that great struggle. I have not attempted to give a detailed story even where, for certain reasons, it would have been possible to do so. Long detailed accounts are certain to appear sooner or later and find their level; but no such record could appear at present, and what it is possible to publish must be arbitrary and selective.
“The same is true, of course, of the present book, but here it is the essence of the design and not the result of lack of material. There are numerous episodes which, however simple in their lines, simply bristle with the sort of detail that heartens and inspires. There are others which have from their nature an isolated and hidden character. There were battles in Poland which certainly cannot find a fully detailed record yet and may never achieve one. Like the manœuvres of the French Meuse Army in May, they were moulded into a number of engagements with no precise form or locus, so that it was possible for a Commander rejoining his troops to step from a tank into the midst of Germans. Such battles appear to have resembled the guerilla tactic of distant wars rather than the formal clashes of recent history.
“Such warfare does not lend itself easily to detailed description unless one should be content to describe the confusion without the thread. In any case that kind of story has little interest for me and I think what many wish to discover is how the parts of this moving design fit together and what role they played in the unfolding picture.”
Richly illustrated throughout with maps.