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Publisher Description

From one of our finest military historians, a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences.

World War II involved tens of millions of soldiers and cost sixty million lives—an average of twenty-seven thousand a day. For thirty-five years, Max Hastings has researched and written about different aspects of the war. Now, for the first time, he gives us a magnificent, single-volume history of the entire war.

Through his strikingly detailed stories of everyday people—of soldiers, sailors and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad, some of whom resorted to cannibalism during the two-year siege; Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews—Hastings provides a singularly intimate portrait of the world at war. He simultaneously traces the major developments—Hitler’s refusal to retreat from the Soviet Union until it was too late; Stalin’s ruthlessness in using his greater population to wear down the German army; Churchill’s leadership in the dark days of 1940 and 1941; Roosevelt’s steady hand before and after the United States entered the war—and puts them in real human context.

Hastings also illuminates some of the darker and less explored regions under the war’s penumbra, including the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, during which the Finns fiercely and surprisingly resisted Stalin’s invading Red Army; and the Bengal famine in 1943 and 1944, when at least one million people died in what turned out to be, in Nehru’s words, “the final epitaph of British rule” in India.

Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the twentieth century.

November 1
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

jabronytg ,

Always Something New With Hastings

I've read Retribution, Armageddon, Winston's War and now Inferno by Max Hastings. I learn something new about the subject in each of his books and I have read a ton on WW2. This book is a very good read but the entire war is too big a subject so Max can't cover everything in the detail I was accustomed to from Retribution and Armageddon. Winston's War was the best of the bunch and this is the weakest but still worth 4 stars. Read them all if you can

Balogney ,


An excellent account of WWII, especially if you do not want to get bogged down in the minutiae of military maneuvers. Hastings does an excellent job of telling the stories of the participants of this event.

ScottBruneau ,

Brilliant Hard To Stop Reading

This is the first iBook I have ever read and reading it on a computer screen is a great help. The book is written in a pleasantly tight way. No urge to impatiently skip parts. Easy to read every word because the prose is so well done. Hastings use of letters from people from all sides, civilian and military alike bring the history to life. This is no dry history. It is visceral yet not sensational. It is unbiased in how he views all sides of this war. His projection of history as PEOPLE makes the book come alive and make a long book seem like a chapter so hungry does it make the reader to continue and read more and more. A truly brilliant history of WWII.

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