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The Second World War Paperback – May 7 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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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: 15.2 x 4.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 975 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #111,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


His singular ability to make huge historical events accessible to a general audience recalls the golden age of British narrative history, whose giants include Gibbon, Macaulay and Carlyle. -- Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT Beevor can be credited with single-handedly transforming the reputation of military history. -- David Edgar The GUARDIAN A truly outstanding historian of war -- Michael Howard STANDPOINT A British historian of great distinction and range, who ... demonstrates his mastery of his sources. -- Gordon Craig NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS His accounts of the key moments in the second world war have a sense of colour, drama and immediacy that few narrative historians can match -- Dominic Sandbrook THE SUNDAY TIMES If you want to understand the war as military struggle, this book is all you really need. However well you thought you knew the subject, you will learn something new on every page. -- Neill Denny WE LOVE THIS BOOK online You feel yourself being carried along on the narrative flow, channelled this way and that through the pools and rapids by Beevor's expert helmanship. -- Patrick Bishop STANDPOINT Brocaded with details of the great campaigns and thoughtful explanations of Hitler's murderous belligerence, The Second World War is an absorbing, unsparingly lucid work of military history. -- Ian Thomson THE SPECTATOR The myriad pieces of this intricate kaleidoscope are pieced together with exemplary skill. -- Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY This is a splendid book, erudite, with an admirable clarity of thought and expression. -- Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY Beevor's book is a pleasure to read and an example of intelligent, lively historical writing at its best. -- Tony Barber THE FINANCIAL TIMES Everyone who is interested in the Second World War should read this book. -- Laurence Rees WW2HISTORY.COM This is as comprehensive and objective an account of the course of the war as we are likely to get, and the most humanly moving to date. -- John Gray NEW STATESMAN The book that Beevor has been building towards writing - and everybody else has been anticipating reading. -- Donal O'Donoghue RTE GUIDE remarkably well-written and informative -- Norman Stone LITERARY REVIEW This is the place to begin if you need to get your knowledge of the war in order. -- Hew Strachan EVENING STANDARD This is history writ large. -- James Owen THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH magazine Beevor is excellent at catching the individual in the flood-tide of events. -- John Lewis-Stempel SUNDAY EXPRESS The book could not really have been done better. MILITARY HISTORY MONTHLY A magnificent performance - true excitement from one page to the next delivered in faultless prose. -- Christoper Silvester DAILY EXPRESS the whole story told in the author's usual erudite yet highly readable prose DESPATCHES Magazine The heart of Beevor's appeal is precisely that straightforward narrative approach, coupled with his lively, engaging style and his use of memorable, almost cinematic, set-pieces. HISTORY TODAY He is the most humanitarian of historians, and covers huge sweeps of history through the real stories of the individuals who experienced them. Reading this will be like having him walk me through the history of the war like a personal guide. -- Kate Mosse This is a book demanding to be read. -- Christoper Bray THE OXFORD TIMES a masterly understanding of the conflict's many facets THE MAIL ON SUNDAY For as harrowing and politically convoluted as the years 1939-1945 were, Beevor writes with such a panache and literary flair, that the reader is almost uncannily charged to keep turning the pages at a rate of ten by ten, twenty by twenty, chapter by chapter - until such point that s/he has stumbled upon the end as if by chance, as if by default. -- David Marx By deploying his keen eye for tiny detail and penchant for story telling, and then marrying them both with an acute historical investigation, Antony Beevor has once again written a book that is simply superlative. -- David Marx This imposing history can both be read as a whole or dipped into, and never fails to inform. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? This book is a perfect mixture of world history and human experience, unbiased and highly readable. THE JOURNAL As we have come to expect from this master, he excels at using eye-witness testimony to illustrate how mankind can be capable of both terrible cruelty and astonishing courage. -- Andrew Rawnsley THE OBSERVER global history at its grandest and best THE DAILY TELEGRAPH the most incredibly detailed research -- Chris Tarrant THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE a truly rewarding account of the global conflict. Beevor has a special gift for linking great events with individual testimony -- Amanda Foreman MAIL ON SUNDAY In his books on Stalingrad and Berlin, Beevor used evidence from ordinary people to bring home the reality of life at the front as opposed to the traditional HQ view... He crams in so much and does it so well because he can. GOOD BOOK GUIDE --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Antony Beevor served as a regular officer in the 11th Hussars in Germany. He is the author of Crete-The Battle and the Resistance, which won a Runciman Prize, Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949 (written with his wife Artemis Cooper), Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, Berlin-The Downfall, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award, The Mystery of Olga Chekhova and, most recently, the bestseller, D-Day. He lives in London.

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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
I thought this book was excellent. It deals with the truly global nature of the war, the beginning of which may be traced to Japanese incursions into China, which is to say the volume is not European or Western centric. Indeed, there is much criticism about the Allies, e.g. the pointless bombing of German cities and the post-war selling of Poland down the river. Also, Roosevelt and Churchill are cut down to size as are various military leaders. The history is well written and, naturally, well researched. I learned heaps and frequently felt depressed. So much senseless cruelty and horror. I wonder if studying up on all the atrocities ever put the writer in a bad mood.

I only have one complaint. I’m not quite sure how the author arrived at his views on Chiang Kai-shek. Here, we only see the Generalissimo behaving really badly after the war. The US should have lent more support to Chiang’s Nationalists, etc. The Chinese were doing their best to resist the Japanese invaders, and so on. I don’t see it that way and wonder why there are no significant accounts of the Nationalists fighting the Japanese, like there are, for instance, of the Russians fighting the Germans. I think the reason is that apart from a bold assault on Japanese-held Shanghai, a victory at Taierzhuang, and a few other battles, there just wasn’t that much organized resistance. Nationalist troops were typically press ganged and untrained and Chiang was mainly conserving his strength to fight the Communists after the Americans had dealt with the Japanese. The author touches on these points, but he doesn’t acknowledge that Chiang was a gangster, his government the mafia. The Nationalists were fascists. When they fled to Taiwan, they slaughtered thousands and turned the island into a police state.
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