Second World War Hardcover – Sep 21 1989
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The best one-volume treatment available, The Second World War by John Keegan is an outstanding synthesis of an enormous amount of material on "the largest single event in human history." The book proceeds chronologically through the war, but chapters appearing at appropriate moments focus on particular themes, such as war production, occupation, bombing, resistance, and espionage. Keegan's ability to translate the war's grand strategies is impressive, and the battle descriptions are superb. Generals obviously play a key role in this narrative, but ordinary soldiers also receive proper credit, as do the often-overlooked merchant marines whose heroic efforts to supply Great Britain made the Allied victory possible. Keegan, author of the landmark book The Face of Battle, is without doubt one of our greatest military historians, and here his analytical powers and skilled writing are on full display. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
"This account of WW II, though controversial, is rich in fresh perception, interpretation and opinion. In addition to penning a fast-paced campaign chronicle, Keegan makes a convincing case for the prime motivations of Allied and Axis leaders, pinpoints the practical results of Allied summit conferences and defines the war's geopolitical dimensions," reported PW. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Keegan begins with an overview of the factors that led to the outbreak of a second world war only 21 years after the, "war to end all wars," ended. The economic devastation caused by harsh surrender terms gave rise to crime, unemployment and rampant inflation. Paramilitary groups, composed of frustrated young men desperately looking for leadership and a means of avenging their national honor, sprang up and flourished in the post war chaos. Also, promises made to nations to entice their participation in World War I went unfulfilled leaving some former allies, disillusioned and bitter. These factors combined to open the way for despots such as Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo. The world would pay a heavy price for these mistakes beginning in the 1930's.
Keegan then narrates the major conflicts in each theatre. He reviews the grand strategies and tactical actions of the commanders involved and dispenses praise or condemnation solely on the results achieved. Allied and Axis commanders are glorified or condemned based on their generalship alone in one of the most completely objective accounts ever.
Professor Keegan recounts most world leaders agreed, at the end of the First World War, the lethality of 1918 vintage weapons had made war invalid as an instrument of foreign policy.Read more ›
For surely it is easy to forget just how chance a business war can be - as the Second World War surely was. Keegan gives you a hundred ways to play the game of what might have been. If the Americans had been more alert to the possibility of attack at Pearl Harbor; if Hitler had not shown such sentimental foolishness as to throw in his hand with his Japanese allies; if Stalin had not liquidated all his own best generals - and this is only the beginning.
Keegan is also enlightening - or at least thought-provoking - in his assessment of relative roles. Partisan warfare was full of heroes and martyrs, but it didn't amount to much - think of the butchery at Warsaw, or in the high planes outside Grenoble. "Dirty tricks" - OSS spy games and suchlike - provide the stuff of good movie plots, but they counted perhaps even less. Code-breaking, by contrast, counted for a great deal, perhaps most in the run-up to Midway, itself surely the most important naval battle of the war.
In the end, why did the Allies win? A thousand reasons, perhaps, but in the end the good ones are dull and obvious.Read more ›
John Keegan's The Second World War is a one-volume general history of the 1939-45 conflict, and it should be read more as an introductory text rather than a comprehensive "this-is-the-book-that-explains-the-whole-darned-thing" opus. It's too short (595 pages, not counting the bibliography or index) for that. Instead, it is structured in six parts, starting with Hitler's early campaigns in Poland and the West in 1939-40 and culminating with Japan's surrender in midsummer of 1945. Each part is divided into a few chapters that focus on themes and strategies...with attention given to a particular type of warfare in form of an example. For instance, for "Air Battle," Keegan cites the Battle of Britain. For "Airborne Battle," he uses Crete as his centerpiece.
The book is strongest when Keegan goes into detail about such things as the evolution of armies from the 19th century until the war starts in September 1939; he is particularly adept when explaining the revolutionary changes in European military organizations, particularly after the integration of the railroad and mass-production techniques from 1860 on.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Once again Keegan makes history interesting. I always love reading his books; I find them very easy to digest while still able to convey a wealth of information. Read morePublished on April 15 2004 by mr sachmo
Prof. Keegan's masterpiece is an excellent addition to any library. It is well-written and covers both theaters of the war. Read morePublished on June 15 2003 by Anthony Miller
(by E.M. Singer, author of "Mother Flies Hurricanes") I love this book! John Keegan, besides being a terrific writer, is a master of organization as well (which appeals to... Read morePublished on May 3 2003 by E.M. Singer
Keegan, a great military writer, has produced another masterpiece. This comprehensive summary of the Second World War is ideal for military history courses.Published on March 9 2003 by Edward Bonekemper
Although this is not a real chronologically ordered summery of World War II Mr. Keegan manages to capture many different aspects in a way that is understandable and informative. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2003 by Kristi Ahlers
John Keegan's "The Second World War" is a masterfully written dissertation of WWII. While Keegan certainly doesn't cover every aspect of the war - he in fact explains that he will... Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2002 by Mannie Liscum
This is a fine chronological overview of the war. It unfolds form the causes through the early years of Axis victory through the turning point and into final defeat. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2002 by David Stapleton
Keegan is a vastly overrated historian and so is this book. Unlike books such as Martin Gilbert's book on WW II Keegan jumps from topic to topic and its only marginally organized... Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2002 by Christopher J. Martin
Keegan has put together the best single-volume account of World War II. Keegan covers the war from its inception in the Japanese expansion in the early 30s to V-J day in August... Read morePublished on Aug. 6 2002 by Glenn McDorman