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From "Britain's finest military historian" (The Economist) comes a magisterial new history of World War II and the flawed axis strategy that led to their defeat. The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. What were the factors that affected the war's outcome? Why did the Axis lose? And could they, w From "Britain's finest military historian" (The Economist) comes a magisterial new history of World War II and the flawed axis strategy that led to their defeat. The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. What were the factors that affected the war's outcome? Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war—the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism—as never before. In researching this magnificently vivid history, Roberts walked many of the key battlefields and wartime sites in Russia, France, Italy, Germany, and the Far East, and drew on a number of never-before-published documents, such as a letter from Hitler's director of military operations explaining the reasoning behind the FÜhrer's order to halt the Panzers outside Dunkirk—a delay that enabled British forces to evacuate. Roberts illuminates the principal actors on both sides and analyzes how they reached critical decisions. He also presents the tales of many little-known individuals whose experiences form a panoply of the extraordinary courage and self-sacrifice, as well as the terrible depravity and cruelty, of the Second World War. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, The Storm of War gives a dramatic account of this momentous event and shows in remarkable detail why the war took the course it did.


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From "Britain's finest military historian" (The Economist) comes a magisterial new history of World War II and the flawed axis strategy that led to their defeat. The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. What were the factors that affected the war's outcome? Why did the Axis lose? And could they, w From "Britain's finest military historian" (The Economist) comes a magisterial new history of World War II and the flawed axis strategy that led to their defeat. The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. What were the factors that affected the war's outcome? Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war—the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism—as never before. In researching this magnificently vivid history, Roberts walked many of the key battlefields and wartime sites in Russia, France, Italy, Germany, and the Far East, and drew on a number of never-before-published documents, such as a letter from Hitler's director of military operations explaining the reasoning behind the FÜhrer's order to halt the Panzers outside Dunkirk—a delay that enabled British forces to evacuate. Roberts illuminates the principal actors on both sides and analyzes how they reached critical decisions. He also presents the tales of many little-known individuals whose experiences form a panoply of the extraordinary courage and self-sacrifice, as well as the terrible depravity and cruelty, of the Second World War. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, The Storm of War gives a dramatic account of this momentous event and shows in remarkable detail why the war took the course it did.

30 review for The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    I’ve been boning up on some history lately and I thought it about time I covered WWII. I already knew the basics, of course, but I’d still regularly come across accounts of battles and other details of the war that would surprise me - I really didn’t have a full mental picture of events. It was time to get the full low-down. I take in non-fiction best via audio, especially if it’s a long and heavy account and more particularly if it’s full of facts and figures. This way I can let it flow over me I’ve been boning up on some history lately and I thought it about time I covered WWII. I already knew the basics, of course, but I’d still regularly come across accounts of battles and other details of the war that would surprise me - I really didn’t have a full mental picture of events. It was time to get the full low-down. I take in non-fiction best via audio, especially if it’s a long and heavy account and more particularly if it’s full of facts and figures. This way I can let it flow over me and any unnecessary (to me) detail can just get washed away by the part-time focus, I always have when listening to books, on whatever secondary activity I’m involved in at the time. That said, I drank this one in whole, the detailed numbers quoted being mainly confined to documenting the number of dead and injured on all sides in this horrific war; the remaining minutiae significantly being devoted to detailing the unbelievable scale of armament and ammunition utilised and explanations of the military strategies deployed. All of it fascinating and horrifying in equal measure. I soon realised that my prior knowledge of both the political background and the many military conflagrations had been sketchy at best. I learnt a good deal from this book, which I found to be well structured, evenly balanced and exhaustively comprehensive. There were a few times when I resorted to researching background detail via the Internet (e.g. the rationale for war extending through North Africa), but on the whole the vast canvas was laid out in such a way as to paint the big picture very clearly. Key take-aways: - Somehow I’d failed to previously appreciate quite how early in the war the Battle of Britain was fought, but in the context of what was to follow it made perfect sense. - I also hadn’t realised quite how successful the Japanese were in the early part of the war, or quite how much territory they gained control over. - The huge contributions (and sacrifices) made by Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa were really brought home. - The astounding fact that a number critical mistakes and oversights cost Hitler ultimate victory. It was a close run thing, but if a few key elements had gone the German’s way then victory really could have been achieved. Along the way there were interesting sections on the work undertaken at Bletchley Park by the code breaking team and on petty rivalries between top ranking officers on the Allied team as the war drew to a close. The most difficult sections to listen to were the many sections discussing and describing atrocities carried out – mainly by German, Russian and Japanese forces. These were horrific to the extent I’m convinced they disturbed my sleep and prompted a number of unwelcome and unpleasant dreams (well, nightmares to be more accurate). It’s hard to comprehend the fact that humans carried out such acts on other humans. Overall a superb documentation of a key part of modern history. I’m sure there are other brilliant books out there on the subject, but as a one stop shop this one certainly did the job for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is the first one-volume history of World War II that I’d really place in a category of reevaluation by an author who views the war from a comfortable distance in time, but then I’m not expert, not even, really, an amateur aficionado even though I’ve read a lot about the war, including biographies of the personalities and memoirs by the participants. Roberts’ thesis is that the Allies did not so much win the war as Hitler lost it, in large part by making independent judgments based on intuiti This is the first one-volume history of World War II that I’d really place in a category of reevaluation by an author who views the war from a comfortable distance in time, but then I’m not expert, not even, really, an amateur aficionado even though I’ve read a lot about the war, including biographies of the personalities and memoirs by the participants. Roberts’ thesis is that the Allies did not so much win the war as Hitler lost it, in large part by making independent judgments based on intuition and ideology. He was not a military strategist and didn’t trust anyone who was. The smarter his generals, the more likely he was to fire them, as he did von Rundstedt and Guderian more than once, or ignore them when he didn’t like their advice as he often did von Manstein who was maybe his best strategist. According to Roberts, Hitler’s biggest misjudgment was invading Russia in June of 1941 thereby forcing Germany to fight thereafter on two fronts. He had already made a major error in not pursuing the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) who made the historic evacuation from Dunkirk—which the German army could had prevented had Hitler not called them off. He had not invaded England, having lost the air war of 1940 (The Battle of Britain). He had not beefed up his Navy—especially the submarines which tied up Atlantic shipping until 1943 but thereafter hadn’t the wherewith all (submarines mainly) to continue—or his Air Force whose fighter planes were clearly inferior to Britain’s. (He didn’t halt airplane design or manufacturing but did force a new fighter to be made into a bomber which left him vulnerable in Russia.) He left all that hanging and went after the USSR, seeking “lebensraum” for the German people and success where Napoleon had failed. Hitler’s second biggest error according to Roberts was declaring war on the United States in December 1941 in the wake of Pearl Harbor. He was not under treaty obligations to Japan to do so and probably would not have felt bound by the treaty had he been so. But declaring war allowed Roosevelt to marshal the enormous (comparatively speaking) resources of the US (war materiel, oil, manufacturing capability) to aid the Western Allies as had not been possible before due to widespread isolationist feeling in the US. Roosevelt had maneuvered some deals already to aid Britain and the Allies, but had no trouble putting the might of the industrial US behind the Allies once Hitler had declared war. Another major error was Hitler’s campaign to rid the continent of Europe of its Jews. Here was a clear case of ideology trumping strategy. Laying aside all moral issues, Hitler tied up resources and wasted valuable personnel, loyal citizens who could have been badly needed soldiers and workers. Roberts tackles the Holocaust head on in this book, and not only in practical terms. In fact, Roberts doesn’t skirt moral issues at all in this book, though he finds that some of the conventional moral outrage in the years following 1945 has been misplaced, namely the dropping of the atomic bomb which undoubtedly saved many Allied lives and shorted by war by years. He also questions the condemnation of the fire bombing of Dresden, pointing out legitimate ways in which the city was a military target and asserting that more recent estimates of the number of casualties suggest far fewer were killed than, for instance, Vonnegut assumed in Slaughterhouse Five. One of the more interesting moral issues he raises is that of the policy of saturation bombing which resulted in far more destruction of German cities than the the Germans inflicted on London or Antwerp. He found little disagreement with the policy at the time, either in the military or among allied populations. Roberts believes that it was only mass destruction of German cities and complete disruption of civil life that ultimately erased the Prussian military tradition which led Germany to start major wars twice in half a century and replaced it with a profoundly non-military-oriented society which hesitates even to participate in NATO missions today. Generally too Andrews reassesses the ongoing debate on the effectiveness of bombing generally and decides that the post-war analysis which found the bombing relatively ineffective to be somewhat short-sighted. Another major thread in this book is the role of the USSR. The book is full of the kind of statistics that can only be accumulated and analyzed objectively long after the war, but the statistics show what everyone now recognizes but rarely talks about in this world war, that the major destruction and death occurred in Russia. I have not read Beevor’s Stalingrad (which has been on my list for awhile) but I was impressed by Roberts’ coverage of the decisive battles of Stalingrad and Kursk in 1943. In assessing major errors of decision makers, Roberts, like most others, judges Stalin's major error to have been trusting Hitler, pointing out that Stalin otherwise never trusted anyone. An interesting point that Roberts makes throughout this book is that of the cooperation among the Allies which, painful as it was in many ways, was a key to their success. Not only did the Axis not have that kind of cooperation, there was not even the free expression of ideas among the German decision makers since Hitler made all decisions and always punished his generals when they made independent decisions. "Strategic Retreat" was just not in his vocabulary. His closest generals, Keitel and Jodl, were among the least effective thinkers and strategists. Interestingly as tenuous as were the negotiations among Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, Roberts found that Stalin listened to his generals and oversaw far more productive cooperation with his advisors than did Hitler. But speaking of alliances, Roberts writes extensively on British and American cooperation—and the seething egos which often underlay cooperative decisions. There were a bunch of egos among the Allies: effective strategists like Montgomery and Paton who usually had to be forced to share and who competed rigorously with each other and generals like Mark Clark who were also self-aggrandizing but less effective. Roberts acknowledges MacArthur as another ego, but actually says relatively little about him. I wasn’t entirely happy with his treatment of Stillwell—or indeed of the whole China situation. In the Far East, Andrews focuses mostly on General William Slim, about whom I knew little, seeing him as one of the underappreciated heroes of the war. I recommend this book whole-heartedly as a one-volume history of WWII which reassesses the war from a distance in time not achieved by those who actually participated or grew up in its wake revering "The Greatest Generation". It is told from a British perspective and as such possibly minimizes the war in the Pacific some, but he brings to the fore the strategic “Germany first” decision which the US and Britain agreed upon. Of course that was made possible also by Hitler’s strategic mistake in declaring war on the US in 1941. One more thing I'd add: Roberts in many different places acknowledges the efforts and sacrifices of men and materiel from the countries of what was then called the British Commonwealth and Empire, especially Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    I enjoy single volume accounts of WW2. Some things are inevitably missed, but I think WW2’s sweeping narrative lends itself to this kind of book. So I wondered how Roberts would fit WW2 into a mere 600 pages (excluding notes). The answer is pretty well, although he doesn’t manage the comprehensive breadth of Beevor’s The Second World War, and lacks the depth brought by the myriad of first hand accounts in Hastings All Hell Let Loose: The World At War 1939-1945. Despite that, Andrew Roberts has wr I enjoy single volume accounts of WW2. Some things are inevitably missed, but I think WW2’s sweeping narrative lends itself to this kind of book. So I wondered how Roberts would fit WW2 into a mere 600 pages (excluding notes). The answer is pretty well, although he doesn’t manage the comprehensive breadth of Beevor’s The Second World War, and lacks the depth brought by the myriad of first hand accounts in Hastings All Hell Let Loose: The World At War 1939-1945. Despite that, Andrew Roberts has written a very readable, broadly chronological history covering the major events - although the war at sea is demoted to a single thematic chapter. Roberts pays due respect to the contributions of allies large and small (with Canada singled out for particular praise) although I’d say it’s primarily a British-centric history. He also presents some interesting arguments, for example his justification of the bombing of German cities, or the evidence that there was widespread knowledge amongst German generals of the atrocities being committed. However the extensive quoting of recent secondary sources increasingly bothered me, and made me think that this book doesn’t really live up to its subtitle “a new history”. And while I can swallow quotes from Max Hastings, Patrick Bishop, Antony Beevor, James Holland, etc, as much as I like Stephen Fry (the English actor & writer), why would I be interested in his views on the dambusters? In summary I thought this was a decent and easy to read account, but I’m not sure it’s genuinely new, and in my opinion it’s not as complete as the single volume histories from Beevor or Hastings.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean O'Hara

    Someday, someone will write a great one volume history of the Second World War. But it won't be Andrew Roberts. The book is all right when it comes to the European/African theaters, though Roberts does indulge in Anglo-American triumphalism. But when he turns to the Pacific, the triumphalism turns to Eurocentricism and piss-poor research. Although his narrative of the European conflict begins before the war with the Anschluss, dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and "Peace for our time," he begins hi Someday, someone will write a great one volume history of the Second World War. But it won't be Andrew Roberts. The book is all right when it comes to the European/African theaters, though Roberts does indulge in Anglo-American triumphalism. But when he turns to the Pacific, the triumphalism turns to Eurocentricism and piss-poor research. Although his narrative of the European conflict begins before the war with the Anschluss, dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and "Peace for our time," he begins his account of the Pacific War on 7 December 1941 with minimal background on the political crisis leading up to it and bare mention of the Sino-Japanese War. Nor does the Chinese theater get much more attention once the conflict begins, and that all from the Euro-American perspective. We're told about the dangers of flying supplies over "the Hump" from India to China, but he devotes more time to land campaigns in Burma than to the Chinese contributions to the war effort, conditions in occupied territories, or Japanese colonization efforts. The reason for this is painfully obvious -- Roberts doesn't know Chinese or Japanese and relied on secondary sources and the few primary sources translated into English. Which is problematic since the Japanese source he makes most use of is Fuchida and Okumiya's Midway: the Battle That Doomed Japan, a book known to shade the truth to make the authors look better. Political and military decisions within the Japanese government are given short shrift compared to the battles of personality in the Anglo-American alliance and Hitler's inner circle. The Japanese decision to surrender is handled in a couple paragraphs with only a single sentence devoted to the attempted coup against Hirohito and nothing on the question of whether the atomic bombs or Soviet declaration of war was the deciding factor -- despite the fact that the Japanese government's official report on events leading up to the surrender is readily available in English. Why Roberts would go to the effort of writing on subjects he's ill equipped to handle is beyond me. He could easily have limited his subject matter to the European theater and come out with a perfectly decent book. But by taking on the whole conflict, he did a half-assed job. If you're interested in the Pacific side of the conflict, pretty much anything is better than this. If you're interest is in the European theater, this is fine, but I'd recommend you pick up Richard Evans' The Third Reich at War along with the earlier books The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Andrew Roberts adds yet another volume to the expansive list of World War II books - the causes, the battles, the leaders and key military figures - which begs the obvious question, "Do we really need another one?". Having read more than my fair share of books on this topic - and having just finished reading The Storm of War - my answer is yes - this book is for both the World War II novice and expert alike. This is labeled a "new" history and there are a few new tidbits chronicled here. For inst Andrew Roberts adds yet another volume to the expansive list of World War II books - the causes, the battles, the leaders and key military figures - which begs the obvious question, "Do we really need another one?". Having read more than my fair share of books on this topic - and having just finished reading The Storm of War - my answer is yes - this book is for both the World War II novice and expert alike. This is labeled a "new" history and there are a few new tidbits chronicled here. For instance, during the war, German POWs were run through a facility in Great Britain, allowed to mingle and unbeknownst to them, recorded. These audio tapes, capturing candid conversations, refute the claim made by many Nazi officers after the war that they were ignorant of, or at least not as naïve as they claimed to be, about Nazi atrocities. The author has also gained access to communiqués and letters which until now have not been published. But what truly separates The Storm of War from the multitude of other books on the war is the author's perspective and writing - for this book rarely bogs down. Roberts provides a "big picture" view of the war, both on and off the battlefields, without glazing over the reader's eyes with military tactics and armaments. Major players are introduced with concise bios; their actions and decisions analyzed concisely - all without losing the thread of this engaging narrative. Sprinkled throughout are little gems of the author's sardonic sense of humor, i.e. Roberts refers to the "former historian" David Irving, which may elicit if not a chuckle, at least a smile from the reader. Not a usual reaction when reading such a non-fiction book. I also found the "story" fairly well balanced with respect to the European and Asian theatres of war, as well as the battles fought on the land, sea and in the air. Cogent analysis is also provided concerning major decisions, i.e. the Normandy Invasion, air bombing of cities and the use of the atomic bomb. The author also focuses on a handful of decisions Hitler made - postponing the battle at Dunkirk, invading Russia and declaring war on the U.S. - which in hindsight inevitably led to his defeat. This last bit of analysis may disappoint some readers. I mention this simply because in the Introduction the author does claim his book with its "new" perspective will provide a key to understanding the ultimate demise of the Axis. These boneheaded decisions made by Hitler and their repercussions are nothing new to any student of World War II history. Personally this wasn't an issue for me - the claim may be a tad over-blown, but by no means is it a detriment. The Storm of War is an excellent, all encompassing chronicle of the war. Highly recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Armin

    Deutsches Original unten Probably the moust superfluous newer representation, so much I have longed for the end of the second world war in no other Book in this topic. But even a such book has its good sides, you learn to better appreciate the classics. The biggest shock is to while the bias of a recent historian, who justifies the almost unnecessary battle/bloodbath in WWI-Style of El Alamein by the imminent landing of the Americans in Morocco, with Britains need to do something for their own sel Deutsches Original unten Probably the moust superfluous newer representation, so much I have longed for the end of the second world war in no other Book in this topic. But even a such book has its good sides, you learn to better appreciate the classics. The biggest shock is to while the bias of a recent historian, who justifies the almost unnecessary battle/bloodbath in WWI-Style of El Alamein by the imminent landing of the Americans in Morocco, with Britains need to do something for their own self-consciousness, before the Americans arrive. There is more than one reason why this untimely chauvinistic representation appeared fully national stereotypes and the justification of the wartime bombing as successful character training for the German people so far not on German anyway. Wahrscheinlich die überflüssigste neuere Darstellung, so sehr habe ich mir noch bei keiner Sicht auf die Ereignisse zwischen 1938/39- 1945 das Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs mehr herbei gesehnt. Aber selbst ein derartiger Schmöker hat seine guten Seiten, man lernt die Klassiker um so besser schätzen. Der größte Schock ist für dabei die Befangenheit eines jüngeren Historikers, der sich nicht entblödet zu schreiben, Großbritannien hätte die durch die bevorstehende Landung der Amerikaner in Marokko eigentlich schon überflüssig gewordene Schlacht von El Alamein noch schlagen müssen, um etwas fürs eigene Selbstbewusstsein zu tun. Dabei war die Schlacht das dümmste Anrennen gegen feindliche Linien seit dem ersten Weltkrieg. Es gibt jedenfalls mehr als einen Grund, warum diese unzeitgemäß chauvinistische Darstellung voll nationaler Stereotypen und der Rechtfertigung des Bombenkrieges als erfolgreiche Charakterschulung für das Deutsche Volk bislang nicht auf Deutsch erschienen ist. Das Holocaust-Kapitel ist auch eine ziemlich lieblose Pflichtübung, die ohne rechten Zusammenhang mit dem restlichen Kriegsgeschehen abgespult wird.

  7. 4 out of 5

    happy

    Good overall history, but not a whole lot of new information. For US readers a really good overview of the India/Burma theater. I also thinks he glosses over the Pacific Operations a little.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ushan

    I want to read Winston Churchill's six-volume history of World War II, and before doing that, decided to go through a modern British one-volume popular book on the subject. This is a rather conventional history book; the author is a British patriot who berates Eire for being neutral in the war, since had Hitler won, he would have trampled this neutrality. It makes gross mistakes having to do with the Soviet Union. A million and a half former Soviet POWs were sent to the Gulag or labor battalions I want to read Winston Churchill's six-volume history of World War II, and before doing that, decided to go through a modern British one-volume popular book on the subject. This is a rather conventional history book; the author is a British patriot who berates Eire for being neutral in the war, since had Hitler won, he would have trampled this neutrality. It makes gross mistakes having to do with the Soviet Union. A million and a half former Soviet POWs were sent to the Gulag or labor battalions in Siberia? Col. Gen. Krivosheyev says that the number is closer to 200,000. Hitler could have told the Japanese ambassador about Barbarossa so Japan could join in the attack on the Soviet Union and seize Siberian oil? Oil was only discovered in Siberia in the 1960s. It uses curious turns of phrase (German bombing turned Stalingrad into a lunar moonscape? What other kind of moonscape is there?). The last chapter asks, how Hitler could have won the war, and gives many answers: he could have started the war later and built up his submarine force that could asphyxiate Britain; he should not have declared war on the United States; he should have allowed his Jewish subjects to serve in the Wehrmacht, as they did in World War I, instead of killing them. I find these answers questionable; Hitler did not want to fight the British, whom he regarded as fellow Aryans, and was caught by surprise when they declared war on him; the United States was anything but neutral; the German Jews were too few to make a difference.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This is a quite large volume to read and one should take it's time with it or pick the time when you can really sit down with it. This book on the general history of WOII is not something to read when you have little or NO knowledge of the WOII. Even if this book is rather thick it does never explain everything it would have made the book far thicker in pages. The thesis of the writer is that AH lost the war instead of the Allies winning it. He does a decent job of proving it but at the end there This is a quite large volume to read and one should take it's time with it or pick the time when you can really sit down with it. This book on the general history of WOII is not something to read when you have little or NO knowledge of the WOII. Even if this book is rather thick it does never explain everything it would have made the book far thicker in pages. The thesis of the writer is that AH lost the war instead of the Allies winning it. He does a decent job of proving it but at the end there is enough space for disagreement. For me this book delivered some parts of the war that were largely unknown to me and are interesting enough for me to go looking for some reading material that enhances my knowledge. A well written and good documented book that gives you a great oversight on the happenings of WOII. It places a lot of historical moments into a larger frame which is interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This book took a little bit for me to get into, but once I was used to the style, I found that despite the topic, an enjoyable read. I was trying to determine if this would be a good first single volume work on WWII. I realize that I can't really say, because 5 years ago I read the The Liberation Trilogy Boxed Set by Rick Atkinson, so I had some grounding on the topic. Roberts does have an interesting take on the war, in that he explains all the mistakes that all sides made. This book took a little bit for me to get into, but once I was used to the style, I found that despite the topic, an enjoyable read. I was trying to determine if this would be a good first single volume work on WWII. I realize that I can't really say, because 5 years ago I read the The Liberation Trilogy Boxed Set by Rick Atkinson, so I had some grounding on the topic. Roberts does have an interesting take on the war, in that he explains all the mistakes that all sides made.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    For a single volume history of WWII, I really didn't think it was very well done or contained new information. It focuses nearly exclusively on the European conflict and doesn't deal much at all with the causes of the war. I much prefer A Short History of World War II by James L. Stokesbury when it comes to single volume histories of WWII. Stokesbury spends much more time discussing the causes of the war, which is more interesting to me, as well as at least trying to cover some of the subtopics For a single volume history of WWII, I really didn't think it was very well done or contained new information. It focuses nearly exclusively on the European conflict and doesn't deal much at all with the causes of the war. I much prefer A Short History of World War II by James L. Stokesbury when it comes to single volume histories of WWII. Stokesbury spends much more time discussing the causes of the war, which is more interesting to me, as well as at least trying to cover some of the subtopics (resistance movements, Allied conferences) and deals with both the European and Pacific theaters. Roberts also used quite a bit of terms and jargon in non-English languages, which became annoying after a while. While there were a few good nuggets in this book, I can't say I recommend it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    It’s clear from this book that Andrew Roberts is a fan of recycling, as this book is little more than a rehashing of the war as covered by others. Contrary to the subtitle, there is little that is “new” here; instead the reader gets a fairly standard interpretation of the war that is largely dependent on the work of others. Worse, his account concentrates heavily on the ground war involving Germany; the war against Japan in Asia is covered in only three of the book’s eighteen chapters, while the It’s clear from this book that Andrew Roberts is a fan of recycling, as this book is little more than a rehashing of the war as covered by others. Contrary to the subtitle, there is little that is “new” here; instead the reader gets a fairly standard interpretation of the war that is largely dependent on the work of others. Worse, his account concentrates heavily on the ground war involving Germany; the war against Japan in Asia is covered in only three of the book’s eighteen chapters, while the air and naval campaign in the West is crammed into a fourth. Roberts’s readable writing style will make this a good introduction for readers new to the conflict, but to someone already familiar with the war this book will be a reworking of what they have already read elsewhere.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

    These stories. Born in '52, the war over just 7 yrs. The immense scale is astounding. Thousands die in a day. People lived through this, yet there are times I can barely get out of bed. Humans are predators. If there isn't enough trouble in the world they'll go and make some. This book is full of battles, events, thought processes that I had never read of. Once again behind the scene revelations. The central thesis being that Hitler lost the war because of egregious errors. The Allies democratic These stories. Born in '52, the war over just 7 yrs. The immense scale is astounding. Thousands die in a day. People lived through this, yet there are times I can barely get out of bed. Humans are predators. If there isn't enough trouble in the world they'll go and make some. This book is full of battles, events, thought processes that I had never read of. Once again behind the scene revelations. The central thesis being that Hitler lost the war because of egregious errors. The Allies democratic ability to lead through committee prevailed. Of course someone made the final decisions but the road map was vetted by hashing out the course of actions available. A tremendous book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael Flanagan

    This book is the best single volume on the history of World War II that I have read to date. The amount of details and information Andrew Roberts cram into this book is amazing. As well as what you would expect in such a book, the author's analysis of key battles an characters are masterful, as well as a few new pieces of information recently de-classified This is definitely one author who know his stuff. As a self confessed World War II buff I found this book an enthralling and educational read This book is the best single volume on the history of World War II that I have read to date. The amount of details and information Andrew Roberts cram into this book is amazing. As well as what you would expect in such a book, the author's analysis of key battles an characters are masterful, as well as a few new pieces of information recently de-classified This is definitely one author who know his stuff. As a self confessed World War II buff I found this book an enthralling and educational read

  15. 4 out of 5

    Parth Sarthi

    This book covers all events of the world war 2 along with brief history of Hitler’s rise in Germany.Capturing whole of WW 2 in a book of just 750 pages itself is a tough task.Yet author is successful in the task. What it lacks is a soldier’s perspective, it is written from the strategic point of view. But this small issue can be ignored as the author has to cover such a wide subject. Anybody interested in course of events of ww2 should go through this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gerald Churchill

    What "The Storm of War" does, it does fairly well. The book covers the war, at least the European part of it, comprehensively, although too breezily in places. It points out that while all of the members of the Grand Alliance made valuable contributions, the Soviet Union did the bulk of the fighting and the dying. Andrew Roberts points out that the Axis powers did or failed to do certain things that might have prolonged the war or even created a different outcome. He lays to rest certain myths, What "The Storm of War" does, it does fairly well. The book covers the war, at least the European part of it, comprehensively, although too breezily in places. It points out that while all of the members of the Grand Alliance made valuable contributions, the Soviet Union did the bulk of the fighting and the dying. Andrew Roberts points out that the Axis powers did or failed to do certain things that might have prolonged the war or even created a different outcome. He lays to rest certain myths, such as the casualty count of the bombing of Dresden. Roberts's writing style is very good, and he argues his points cogently. "The Storm of War," however, is uneven. Even in the European war, which is what the lion's share of the book is about, unevenness exists. For example, the period of the Desert War from November 1941 to August 1942 is covered in just four pages. The greatest unevenness, however, is the excessive emphasis on the European war. Only three of the book's 22 chapters say anything about the war in Asia and the Pacific. Virtually nothing is written about the Second Sino-Japanese War, which was one of the wars that comprised the Second World War. Some historians believe that World War II began with Japan's attack on China in July of 1937, and given the fact that 30 percent of the deaths in the Second World War were Chinese and that China tied down hundreds of thousands of Japanese troops who would otherwise have been employed elsewhere, more should have been written about the Second Sino-Japanese War. Beyond this, nothing was written about the Southwest Pacific campaign after the end of the Guadalcanal operation. Simply put, too little attention was given to the war against Japan. In addition to the large omissions, a number of typos and factual errors exist. For example, Roberts describes the surrender of 8,000 Americans at St. Vith as "the largest capitulation of American troops since the Civil War." Fifteen thousand Americans, however, surrendered at Bataan, to say nothing of 60,000 Filipinos. The elimination of the errors in future editions will make this book better and more valuable. Given what I have written, a three-star or two-star rating would be justified. However, Roberts is provocative, and being made to think is never bad. Moreover, I did learn a few things and will return to this book from time to time. For these reasons, I give "The Storm of War" four stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    Description: From "Britain's finest military historian" (The Economist) comes a magisterial new history of World War II and the flawed axis strategy that led to their defeat. The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. What were the factors that affected the war's outcome? Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-v Description: From "Britain's finest military historian" (The Economist) comes a magisterial new history of World War II and the flawed axis strategy that led to their defeat. The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. What were the factors that affected the war's outcome? Why did the Axis lose? And could they, with a different strategy, have won? Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic con?ict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war—the grand strategy and the individual experience, the cruelty and the heroism—as never before. In researching this magnificently vivid history, Roberts walked many of the key battlefields and wartime sites in Russia, France, Italy, Germany, and the Far East, and drew on a number of never-before-published documents, such as a letter from Hitler's director of military operations explaining the reasoning behind the FÜhrer's order to halt the Panzers outside Dunkirk—a delay that enabled British forces to evacuate. Roberts illuminates the principal actors on both sides and analyzes how they reached critical decisions. He also presents the tales of many little-known individuals whose experiences form a panoply of the extraordinary courage and self-sacrifice, as well as the terrible depravity and cruelty, of the Second World War. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, The Storm of War gives a dramatic account of this momentous event and shows in remarkable detail why the war took the course it did. OFF TOPIC BY ANDREW ROBERTS 'Historian Andrew Roberts imagines what disasters will befall Scotland if the country votes for independence on Thursday, What will happen to the debt? Why did Britain veto Scotland's membership of the EU? How did Alex Salmond get it so disastrously wrong and what job is Sir Sean Connery hankering after?' Read further

  18. 5 out of 5

    Greg Pettit

    An incredibly well-researched and brisk history of the battles of World War II that illustrates how personalities impacted the outcome as much as planning. The author argues that World War II was one of the first wars waged for political reasons, rather than military ones, and that this was ultimately what caused the Germans to lose. The book itself covers all the campaigns from beginning to end and offers a staggering amount of detailed figures of the troops and arms involved. The strategies of t An incredibly well-researched and brisk history of the battles of World War II that illustrates how personalities impacted the outcome as much as planning. The author argues that World War II was one of the first wars waged for political reasons, rather than military ones, and that this was ultimately what caused the Germans to lose. The book itself covers all the campaigns from beginning to end and offers a staggering amount of detailed figures of the troops and arms involved. The strategies of the battles are described succinctly but clearly, and throughout the book there are extensive quotes from leaders and other participants to add personal perspectives. Because there is so much history to cover in the span of World War II, no one book could really be completely comprehensive without spanning multiple volumes. That said, this one really does an impressive job of providing a great overview sprinkled with detailed facts. If nothing else, it succeeds in covering nearly everything while whetting one's appetite to learn more about specific events.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Florina

    Finallyyyyyyy. A great, but exhausting military history. I know some folks will be able to dash this off their reading list on a rainy afternoon or two, but I'm a slow reader when it comes to big event histories, and even though I found this book very compelling and informative (and yes, accessible for a layman), I still slogged through it, because war is a nasty, bleak and sorry business, no matter the strategies or heroics involved. Still, a great WW2 volume that I would recommend to all who wa Finallyyyyyyy. A great, but exhausting military history. I know some folks will be able to dash this off their reading list on a rainy afternoon or two, but I'm a slow reader when it comes to big event histories, and even though I found this book very compelling and informative (and yes, accessible for a layman), I still slogged through it, because war is a nasty, bleak and sorry business, no matter the strategies or heroics involved. Still, a great WW2 volume that I would recommend to all who want to get an "on the ground" feel of all the different theaters of war. It's also a treat to read all of Roberts' personal touches and caustic style, especially when he superbly underlines the sheer stupidity of the tyrants and sycophants who orchestrated this terrible war.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yakov

    4.5 Stars - Probably one of the best general histories of WW2 ever written. Naturally, Andrew Roberts focuses less on the Asian fronts and more on the European ones, and this can be tolerated considering the scope and breadth of the book. I particularly liked that Roberts’ doesn’t stick to the chronological script of the stories but strays away from time to time with insightful comments about the personalities we come across. The book could perhaps have been accompanied with better maps to illus 4.5 Stars - Probably one of the best general histories of WW2 ever written. Naturally, Andrew Roberts focuses less on the Asian fronts and more on the European ones, and this can be tolerated considering the scope and breadth of the book. I particularly liked that Roberts’ doesn’t stick to the chronological script of the stories but strays away from time to time with insightful comments about the personalities we come across. The book could perhaps have been accompanied with better maps to illustrate the battles, and I also think the discussion of the Barabarosa operation in chapter 5 was somewhat less in-depth than the rest of the book chapters. But nonetheless this book is a fantastic achievement, and I could only highly recommend it if you enjoy military history.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Max Gwynne

    I have dipped into Roberts’ compelling history of the Second World War over the course of 18 months and can honestly say it should be, without doubt, the definitive single-volume history of the war. Moving, thought-provoking and incredibly sobering!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amit Gairola

    Engaging and comprehensive military and political history of WW2.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Sharp

    There are two things that are true of me as a reader. 1. I read a lot of books. 2. I read a lot of books about World War Two. Because I am obsessive (this is probably an understatement) about tracking my reading I can calculate this exactly if I want to, but I’m guessing that around 20-30% of my reading is centered about the Second World War. Which is a rather roundabout way of introducing my thoughts on Andrew Roberts one-volume history of World War Two. I rarely give out 5 stars for a book, bu There are two things that are true of me as a reader. 1. I read a lot of books. 2. I read a lot of books about World War Two. Because I am obsessive (this is probably an understatement) about tracking my reading I can calculate this exactly if I want to, but I’m guessing that around 20-30% of my reading is centered about the Second World War. Which is a rather roundabout way of introducing my thoughts on Andrew Roberts one-volume history of World War Two. I rarely give out 5 stars for a book, but this would be like 4.85 stars if one could give such a rating, and since it is my post I can. Here is one thing that I liked, and one thing that I disliked in this book. To be clear I liked a lot more than one thing, and really only disliked one thing, but I’m trying to keep this short. What I Liked - Churchill’s Zingers Winston Churchill was possibly the most quotable person in history this side of Jesus. His speeches are legendary. His genius with language was best described by President John F. Kennedy (who actually stole it from Edward R. Murrow), “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.” I knew about Churchill’s mastery of language, what I didn’t know was that during the war he delighted in sticking it to Hitler in the press. Take this excerpt from a speech before Parliament: When Herr Hitler escaped his bomb on July 20th he described his survival as providential; I think that from a purely military point of view we can all agree with him, for certainly it would be most unfortunate if the Allies were to be deprived, in the closing phases of the struggle, of that form of warlike genius by which Corporal Schickelgruber has so notably contributed to our victory.(1) He gigs Hitler, not just by crediting him the success of Allies, he also uses his family’s original surname before it was changed to Hitler. This was convenient for Churchill because Adolph Hitler hated his father, and it also slyly pointed out that Hitler couldn’t even prove his own Aryan heritage. He did this many times, and we can only dream of what Winston would have been like on Twitter. What I Didn’t Like - The Missing Pacific The only quibble that I have with Roberts’s history is that the war in the Pacific Theater gets the short straw. The book is impeccably researched and wonderfully written, and as a British writer he does a good job of being fair to the rest of the Allies, but the war effort in Europe takes up the vast majority of his work. I tested this theory by doing some searches (Viva la ebooks! Long live Kindle!) to see how many times the names of different Generals/Admirals occured. Here were the results: MacArthur – 20 Patton – 95 Montgomery – 118 Eisenhower – 70 Rommel – 147 Guderian – 85 Nimitz – 8 It’s still a great book, but it needed more of the Pacific. How can a comprehensive history of the Second World War only mention Nimitz and MacArthur a combined 28 times? Okay, the small rant is over. It was a great book, and it is hard to beat it in one volume, even it gives the Pacific the short end of the stick.. Stats Pages - 797 Edition Read - Ebook Sharp Score - 4.75

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    WW2 history is vast, and with so many exceptional historians working in the field, I'm not too fond of single-volume histories. For those new to the topic, I would recommend finding your way in through a volume dedicated to a particular aspect of the war that interests, such as the war as experienced by a single nation. But, as far as one-volume histories go, this was an enjoyable read. Roberts has a nice style and is good at bringing key figures to life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Roberts has produced a powerful piece of military history writing. Taking on a one-volume history of WWII, on of the most studied and written-about periods in the history of the 20th century was no small or easy task. Robert's book, "The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War" is a retrospective work that considers and takes into account what happened between 1939 in Europe and 1941 in the Pacific and the end of the war in both theaters of operation in 1945. The retrospective approa Roberts has produced a powerful piece of military history writing. Taking on a one-volume history of WWII, on of the most studied and written-about periods in the history of the 20th century was no small or easy task. Robert's book, "The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War" is a retrospective work that considers and takes into account what happened between 1939 in Europe and 1941 in the Pacific and the end of the war in both theaters of operation in 1945. The retrospective approach, viewing WWII from our day, but focusing on documents that were available shortly after the war together with other material that was not available until much later, makes for interesting reading. Before you jump into this book, however, you need to be aware that the scope of the war together with detail included in the writing can be mind-numbing if you try to ingest the whole book too quickly. I remember making my way through Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, and that I spent about a year doing so...mostly reading a few pages a night. Shirer's book focuses only on Nazi Germany, but included a level of detail and military and political history that was deep, including strategic and tactical levels of treatment of WWII. Roberts' book deals mainly with strategic levels of war punctuated periodically with specific episodes of tactics. I managed to plow through Robert's book in a matter of days, though I should have slowed down and taken a month or two to completely take it in. Even so, this book provided me with important insights into WWII that I didn't have before. The part I found most impressive was Roberts' treatment of WWII on the European eastern front. Other books I've read about WWII often seem to give an inordinate amount of treatment to the Western front, and only passing treatment of what happened in the east. One thing that I've sometimes wondered is why treatments of WWII in the Pacific seem to start mainly in 1941...with Pearl Harbor, but the Japanese were on a war of aggressive expansion since 1931. Roberts, like others, picks up the narrative in 1941. Sigh. I appreciate that fact that the last chapter of the book includes Roberts' summary of why the war turned out the way it did. I also appreciate the fact that he explicitly states that it is easy to comment on WWII with 20/20 hindsight, and so he retains a level of humility in addressing the topic that should be expressed when one writes with the benefit of hindsight. All in all, this is a great book. It hits all the major campaigns, gives insight into the perspectives of political and military leaders, and provides a good overview of strategic and sometimes tactical levels of action. 4 solid stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Florian

    A tour de force through the whole of WWII on some 500 paperback pages. Partly because the author seems to be a sucker for pithy quotes, it's is very readable, and fast readers can get through in one weekend. Unafraid of being opinionated, Roberts also offers succinct interpretations of and judgements on controversial questions (e.g. why the Allies never bombed Auschwitz, whether they should not have bombed Dresden, whether it was a crime to drop the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki etc.) A tour de force through the whole of WWII on some 500 paperback pages. Partly because the author seems to be a sucker for pithy quotes, it's is very readable, and fast readers can get through in one weekend. Unafraid of being opinionated, Roberts also offers succinct interpretations of and judgements on controversial questions (e.g. why the Allies never bombed Auschwitz, whether they should not have bombed Dresden, whether it was a crime to drop the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki etc.) which are thought-provoking. That about sums up for whom I think the book is worthwhile reading: those who want to get an overview over the whole war quickly and can remember pointed statements best. I also have, however, a couple of issues with the book (for my overall verdict, please scroll to the bottom): 1 - If reading it is a breeze, I have begun to suspect that it was also written breezily, in more than just a few isolated cases, and that the work is perhaps more style (i.e. memorable quotes) than substance (i.e. careful and rigorous research): After realising that the source from which the probable death toll from the bombing of Dresden was taken was a 2007 newspaper article in the Daily Telegraph, I checked the whole list of notes. What I found was that there were at least 31 cases where historical facts such as numbers or quotes from historical figures were taken from journalistic sources similar to the above (articles in e.g. The Sunday Times, BBC History, The Economist, The Spectator ...). I would definitely expect any serious historian to track down the original source of the data on which his representation of facts is grounded. That's what historians are there for, after all. That a historian does not bother to do his homework, but bases his oeuvre on what he reads in the papers over breakfast (even when in the form of careful book reviews), is tantamount to using hearsay, and I find this outrageous. (I can just as well quote Wikipedia as an authoritative source if I don't object to that.) To be clear, I do not want to imply that the facts which Roberts relays based on such sources are necessarily or even probably false (I tend to assume they are still correct), but I am, with hindsight, taking him now more as a history writer than as a careful historian. (Read on for other reasons.) And: I have of course no issue with using such sources if it's, say, a fellow historian who wrote in that newspaper, and the author merely wishes to quote him or her (which Roberts also does, and these cases are not included in the 31 I counted). But in such cases the newspaper article is the primary source. 2 - From the list of references, it becomes obvious that of the languages involved in WWII other than English, i.e. German, Polish, Russian, French, Italian, etc., let alone Japanese or Chinese, Roberts does not speak even a single one himself: literally 100% of the titles are in English, with even every single primary source he uses, such as Goebbels' diaries, as an English translation. This means that any untranslated non-English source (or, for that matter, untranslated scholarly work) was simply inaccessible to him and hence does not inform this book. As pointed out in other reviews, this probably partly accounts for his neglect of the Pacific War (especially what happened in China), but I think it contributes (by necessity) to a degree of superficiality and bias of his work in general. 3 - Not even being a history buff myself (just an interested reader), I caught Roberts announcing one glaringly obvious falsehood: “[After Christmas day 1944,] Hitler insisted there would be an Alsace offensive in the New Year, which never materialized.” (in my 2010 Penguin edition, p 595) If such a claim is not embarrassing for a trained historian, I don't know what is. (He could at least have checked “Operation Nordwind” on Wikipedia ...) But I am also baffled that none of this proofreaders noticed it. 4 - Right from the start, the author makes it clear that he is especially concerned with the question whether Hitler could actually have won the war (and then become a European superpower spanning much of the area and population of the continent). In exploring this question, he often seems to play the devil's advocate, but, disturbingly, without stating as much. As a consequence he sounds as if he were the Führer's councillor: “Putting Lebensraum and ethnic cleansing to the bottom of the agenda – to be pursued only after victory – the Germans ought to have striven to make allies of the Greater Russian subject peoples against their Bolshevik oppressors …” (p 590) Oh, so they ought just to have waited a bit with the ethnic cleansing? This quote is the most creepy example, but still, this mafioso-like counselling continues over several pages of the last chapter (and there are some short passages elsewhere in the book). To be sure, this is basically an issue of presentation, as it later becomes clear that Roberts considers all of Hitler's mistakes (a consequence of his Nazi and Führer ideology, is his contention) as fortunate for the world. But it still is creepy. In addition to this awkward way of presenting it, the very reason for Roberts' preoccupation with the question “could the Germans have won?” does not become entirely clear either. Which lessons does he want to draw from his answers? (If not, as would seem to suggest itself, that nationalists and fascists should be more pragmatic than Hitler if they want to win wars?) And while he does discuss Allied errors as well, he is much less thorough with them, especially those at the beginning of the war. Why, exactly? Would it not be more important that (united) nations learn from them? My verdict: Very readable and thought-provoking, probably also worthwhile reading, especially as an introduction, despite my harsh criticism of the sloppiness and despite the (regrettably) somehow half-baked concluding discussion. What is also a real problem is that it is difficult to take the author as a serious (let alone authoritative) historian. He also displays some European and (owing to his apparent monolingualism) British/American bias, though by no means throughout (he actually makes obvious and good efforts to see things from different perspectives). I have still given the book four stars because of the readability and the thought-provoking claims. It would best be seen as a step to reading far more carefully done works, though.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ronan Drew

    Every year there are another dozen books about World War II, with maybe one or two worth reading. The Storm of War is a new history, as the subtitle points out, and with large numbers of government records, oral histories, and private papers being released all the time a "new" history can bring a good deal of evidence to back up a new interpretation. Andrew Roberts' book does just that. Another thing his book does is to put the emphasis on the eastern front that it deserves. I tend to read about Every year there are another dozen books about World War II, with maybe one or two worth reading. The Storm of War is a new history, as the subtitle points out, and with large numbers of government records, oral histories, and private papers being released all the time a "new" history can bring a good deal of evidence to back up a new interpretation. Andrew Roberts' book does just that. Another thing his book does is to put the emphasis on the eastern front that it deserves. I tend to read about the western front and pay little attention to the war in the Pacific and none at all to the horrors the Russians were undergoing for years while their allies decided whether and when to open a western front. Meanwhile the Russians lost millions a year in grim battles, many of which they "won" but at a tremendous cost. Roberts' book has appeared on the New York Times list of the 100 best books of 2011, and deservedly so. Here's what they say about it: "In a clear, accessible account of the war in all its theaters, Roberts asks how the Wehrmacht, the best fighting force, wound up losing." That is true, and the clarity of the prose and balance between the east, west, and Pacific makes it a good choice for someone new to the history of what is increasingly coming to be considered the second half of the Great War that began in 1914. I wish this book had been around when I was in high school and was first becoming really interested in WW II.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marks54

    This book is a fairly comprehensive (610 pages) history of World War II trying to make some new interpretations and make use of some more recent archival materials. It is a quick read and engaging, even if you already have read a lot about WWII. What I liked the most about this book was that the author takes a clear perspective - namely that Germany (Hitler) largely lost the war because of several egregious errors (invading USSR, declaring war on the US, etc.) and this had these mistakes been avo This book is a fairly comprehensive (610 pages) history of World War II trying to make some new interpretations and make use of some more recent archival materials. It is a quick read and engaging, even if you already have read a lot about WWII. What I liked the most about this book was that the author takes a clear perspective - namely that Germany (Hitler) largely lost the war because of several egregious errors (invading USSR, declaring war on the US, etc.) and this had these mistakes been avoided, the war could have been much longer and might even have been won by the Axis powers. I am always suspicious of such revisionist efforts, but this is a moderate one. For example, many of Hitler's worst errors were caused by his ideology, which also provided the basis for his early successes, so the ultimate outcomes would likely not have changed that much. Roberts also provides discussions of decision making approaches that were more or less successful (hint - committee rather than autocratic decision making receives good grades). Finally, Roberts also provides useful detail on battles, campaigns, and generals that do not receive enough attention in more popular histories, for example, the Battle of Kursk in the Russian war and the role of General William Slim in the British campaign against the Japanese in Burma. Overall a very fine book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tariq Mahmood

    The numbers and scale of the Second World War is truly great, which completely justified the huge interest it still creates. Although the author manages to talk about many wars on the Asian front, but his focus is really on the Western front. He leaves many questions unclear. Why did the Japanese enter the war? What were their reasons as they clearly could not attack mainland USA so what were they hoping to achieve? Would communism have prevailed in China if Chiang Kai Shek was given equal billing The numbers and scale of the Second World War is truly great, which completely justified the huge interest it still creates. Although the author manages to talk about many wars on the Asian front, but his focus is really on the Western front. He leaves many questions unclear. Why did the Japanese enter the war? What were their reasons as they clearly could not attack mainland USA so what were they hoping to achieve? Would communism have prevailed in China if Chiang Kai Shek was given equal billing, like inviting him to the Yalta conference? I would have liked to understand more about the role of French Vichy government against the Allies. But the book does answer a lot of questions like the ultimate factor in winning was numbers. Allies won eventually due to their superior production of armament, higher number of soldiers, and more advanced defence technology. Factors like bravery, honour and patriotism made small dents but we're not able to win wars on their own. Similarly the generals who were able to understand and harness these factors eventually won. Also the British fought off the Japanese invasion of India instead of simply vacating it at the hands of the merciless Japanese. They choose to give India independence a few years after the culmination of the war instead, thus paving the way for a more fruitful and lasting relationship.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Holly Cline

    I won this book through First Reads about 2 months ago and steadily kept up with reading it even though that meant juggling multiple books at once. Not something I like to do. Since I'm American, these are the things I was made aware of in public school regarding WWII: Pearl Harbor, D Day, Hitler is bad, Auschwitz, Anne Frank & A Bomb. I had never taken the time or effort to learn more about the war in my free time but am generally a fan of reading history books in order to learn. By nature of be I won this book through First Reads about 2 months ago and steadily kept up with reading it even though that meant juggling multiple books at once. Not something I like to do. Since I'm American, these are the things I was made aware of in public school regarding WWII: Pearl Harbor, D Day, Hitler is bad, Auschwitz, Anne Frank & A Bomb. I had never taken the time or effort to learn more about the war in my free time but am generally a fan of reading history books in order to learn. By nature of being a comprehensive history, I do not now possess a great, detailed knowledge of battles and military strategy. There are other books out there for that sort of thing. However, I really feel like I have a good grasp of the overall course of WWII now. This book works well for that aim. I can't speak to whether this truly is a "new" history of the second world war since I've already mentioned I had little history of it in the first place. Bottom line: I'd recommend this for someone that is genuinely interested in history and can make it through long books with necessarily dense chapters (and obviously some graphic evidence of inhumanity). If this is not up your alley, it's not for you. Luckily, it's up mine.

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