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The Second World War Paperback – May 7 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (May 7 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316023752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316023757
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 975 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on July 3 2012
Format: Hardcover
World War II is perhaps the textbook illustration of "epic" when it comes to history. Nothing before (or thankfully) since comes even close to matching its vast scope and influence. The staggering human cost of the war, in both casualties and suffering, is awesome. Now I should note that none of these statements is in any way meant to glorify the war or minimize its horror. Indeed, it is worth remembering that World War II was the most gruesome, savage, and loathesome display of human behavior in history.

It's with that in mind that Antony Beevor tells the overall story of the war. He captures its "world" effect by starting in Asia with Japan, China, and the USSR. For the war really, in many ways, began with Japan's invasion of mainland East Asia. Like much of the war that is non-American or European, this is a neglected and often ill-understood portion of the war. Yet almost as many Chinese died as Soviets (~20 million each), which is over 40x the number of casualties the United States AND the United Kingdom suffered in the war (~.5 million each). Each is over 400x the number of casualties that Canada suffered (~45K- Germany suffered ~7-8 million). Staggering is the only word I can think of to describe these numbers. Yet Beevor, in his usual style, injects real human details into these numbers. Murder, rape, torture, genocide, and even cannibalism are documented in this book. Truly WW2 was awful in every sense of the word, and it is very important for historians to keep reminding us of these very unpleasant, but important facts.

Beevor doesn't dwell on any particular aspect of the war for long. An 800 page, 50 chapter book might seem like a lot, but for a conflict of this magnitude, it's really only enough for a brief overview of the different stages of the war.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 21 2013
Format: Hardcover
Following the download of this book, I had a moment of buyer’s remorse. Why was I purchasing yet another history of The Second World War? Having read many covering the entire war and greater numbers on various aspects of the conflict, was I really going to discover anything I had not already learned?

My interest in this period can be traced back to the books in my father’s den. Among them was a collection from Time-Life on the war. I can still visualize the photo of Wavell & O’Connor discussing strategy in the desert, the Japanese tanker’s flame-thrown skull, and the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square. Those images were the catalyst for decades of military history reading. Thankfully, historians like Beevor, Atkinson, Evans and others have done us a service with fresh, rich research and writing.

Beevor’s decision to tackle this “amalgamation of conflicts” must have been daunting. The scale of the conflict boggles the mind. The complexity of decision-making and the range of personalities involved will never truly be comprehended. I have tended to follow the Western conflict more and specifically the ground battles but Beevor does an admirable job in the Pacific (and with the air and sea wars). In fact, he contends and shows how the German and Japanese conflicts deeply influenced each other and states that the “Second World War defies generalization”.

Not only was the Second World War an amalgamation of conflicts, it’s origins were an amalgam of issues dating back to the Treaty of Versailles and earlier. Beevor’s treatment begins with a satisfying analysis and review of those issues whereas so many histories commence with Germany’s invasion of Poland.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John L. Barton on Oct. 2 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beevor takes a well research subject, WW2, and still makes it an informative and entertaining read. I have read extensively about the war but I still found much that surprised me. He did not limit himself to the war started in 1939 but instead started with the Japanese in China in the 1930's. His extensive coverage of China and the political situation there was a revelation. This is a book that will become a classic for anyone who wishes to understand the Second world War.
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By kendai on July 11 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Even though I had read most of the WWII compendium such as Shier's The Third Reich I bought this book because I enjoyed the author's other works. Also his research would benefit from the flood of new information released from Soviet archives recently. I was not disappointed and found his chronology of telling this massive story impeccable. Highly recommended.
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By Liz Wiles on Feb. 20 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
What a great book! So brilliantly written. Weighty and difficult subject but never boring. Instructive. So good to read a book that leaves you feeling enriched for having read it. Read many books on the whole subject and this is one of he best.
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By DOCJON on Sept. 4 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent if inevitably superficial account of the Second World War , probably tries to cover too much. However gives a great overview of the various campaigns and the strengths and weaknesses of the main players. Was not aware of the potential for Russian takeover of the whole of Europe and the deterrence effect of the atomic bomb
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