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The Second World War Paperback – May 7 2013
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[Antony Beevor] crams in so much and does it so well because he can. THE 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I found this book very interesting. I really felt like I was right there in the battles of the Second World War. Very detailed. I would totally recommend this book. Great reading!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The best book on the Second World war I ever read. Antony Beevor might be the greatest historian alive and this book might be his masterpiece.Published 6 months ago by Francis Desjardins
Clarity and detail help history come alive for the reader. A well written book which enables a deeper understanding of the war and its twists and turns.Published 22 months ago by Gary
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. Read morePublished on July 11 2014 by kendai
What a great book! So brilliantly written. Weighty and difficult subject but never boring. Instructive. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2014 by Liz Wiles
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. Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2013 by John L. Barton
Excellent if inevitably superficial account of the Second World War , probably tries to cover too much. Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2013 by DOCJON