The Second World War
A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.
The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert.
Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's The Second World War never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in the most terrible war in history.
Beevor successfully employs the format of his previous works on WWII (Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942 1943) in this comprehensive capstone. His approach presents a kaleidoscope of individual experiences in a context of continuous choices. His subtext is a warning not to become overwhelmed by statistics and abstractions or by the notion that historical events are predetermined. WWII was "an amalgamation of conflicts" dating back as far as WWI and structured by "a cycle of resentments." But the war was set in motion by a single person Adolf Hitler and its extension reflected specific decisions by specific people, and its course changed lives across the globe in ways impossible to predict. Beevor supports these points through narrative that displays his particular strength for description whether of fire-bomb raids, infantry combat, death camp routines, or high-level negotiations in a page-turner. His command of a comprehensive spectrum of sources enables him to present the war from the perspective of its participants. And from heads of state to front-line riflemen, from field marshals to teenaged girls, Beevor's protagonists exercise choice in the context of "the greatest man-made disaster in history." Hypocrisy and self-sacrifice, corruption and idealism, sadism and compassion, genocide and cannibalism: Beevor brilliantly shows, at all levels, that WWII defies easy generalization. 32 pages of b&w photos, 23 maps.
My title is nothing to do with war, but the paragraph alignment. It's set to force justify, whereas I prefer left aligned and can't override it. Please issue an update.
I'm only in the third chapter but the book is good.