Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
On 2 August 1944 Winston Churchill mocked Adolf Hitler in the House of Commons by the rank he had reached in the First World War. 'Russian success has been somewhat aided by the strategy of Herr Hitler, of Corporal Hitler,' Churchill jibed. 'Even military idiots find it difficult not to see some faults in his actions.'
Andrew Roberts's previous book Masters and Commanders studied the creation of Allied grand strategy; The Storm of War now analyses how Axis strategy evolved. Examining the Second World War on every front, Roberts asks whether, with a different decision-making process and a different strategy, the Axis might even have won. Were those German generals who blamed everything on Hitler after the war correct, or were they merely scapegoating their former Führer once he was safely beyond defending himself? The book is full of illuminating sidelights on the principle actors that bring their characters and the ways in which they reached decisions into fresh focus.
Originally published: London: Allen Lane, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
11 27 189
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Roberts (Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945) gives readers a new, well-written retelling of the spectacular ebb and flow of World War II, mainly analyzing the European war, particularly German operations and Allied reactions. In some ways this is a psychological study of the various leaders. Roberts blames Hitler (rather than German army leaders) for the Axis defeat and argues that his obsessive Nazi ideology lead to disastrous military decisions. However, Roberts takes the German military leaders to task for not standing up to their pathological leader. Had Hitler let his generals do their job, the war would have lasted longer. Whether or not Germany could have won, it might have avoided total defeat. Roberts concludes that Britain, America, and the USSR needed one another to gain victory. A well-sourced and well-told introduction for general readers that will also be enjoyed by those in the know. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
This is history as it should be written. Award-winning historian Roberts, a master storyteller, combines a comprehensive command of sources, a sophisticated analytical dimension, and fingertip balance between great events and their personal dimensions. At the center of this "world-historical global cataclysm" was Adolf Hitler. Roberts presents the war as defined by Hitler's mistakes: "so heinous that he should have committed suicide out of sheer embarrassment...." Roberts (Masters and Commanders) says Hitler started the war before Germany was ready. He waged it with resources too limited for his grandiose objectives. He administered it through policies that made the Reich an enduring stench in the nostrils. Japan's war in the Pacific was no less ugly. Yet defeating the Axis required the strengths of three great powers. Roberts describes an Allied strategy shaped by the necessity of developing armed forces to match their foes. Britain kept the field in the war's darkest days. The U.S.S.R. drowned the Reich in "oceans of blood." America provided machines, money, and manpower-over 16 million in uniform. These synergized efforts were sufficient-barely sufficient, says Roberts. At every turn contingencies shaped outcomes that might have been very different absent the skill, will, and desperation demonstrated by the Grand Coalition. 4 pages of b&w photos; maps. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In a summary narrative of WWII, Roberts analyzes the result of the war by centering on Adolf Hitler's qualities as a strategist. This approach entails considering the dictator's critical wartime decisions and collaterally examining the military advice he received as the war reversed from apparent victory in 1940 to inexorable defeat in 1945. Roberts labels as blunders orders (e.g., to invade the Soviet Union before beating Britain) originating either in Nazi ideology or in Hitler's front-line experiences in WWI. Further, Roberts eviscerates postwar self-exculpations by surviving German generals, rebuking their blame-shifting by pointing out their support for Hitler's military mistakes and their involvement in his projects of genocide. Apart from the focus on Hitler, Roberts' recounting of WWII reflects a seasoned historian's astute grasp of campaigns and leaders in Europe and the Pacific, of armaments, and of the war's numbing toll of 50 million dead, which he humanizes in vignettes of soldiers and civilians. Arguing fluidly and forcefully, Roberts knowledgeably interprets the global conflict for a general audience.--Taylor, Gilber. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
A comprehensive, insightful one-volume study of World War II that relentlessly pursues the question: Why didn't the Axis win?British historian Roberts (Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 19411945, 2009, etc.) captures the vigorous momentum undertaken by Hitler when it seemed to the world that the Nazi engine could not be stopped. Hitler was a devout student of military history, and the use of tactical surprise was carried out with repeated stunning success. Yetand here Roberts returns frequentlythere were crucial mistakes: Hitler's halt order given at Dunkirk on May 24, 1940, allowed the British Army to flee by sea; his inability to "grasp the fundamental principles of air warfare" over the English Channel led to the defeat in the Battle of Britain; he departed from the strategic principle of "concentration" by embarking on a two-front war; he resolved to invade Russia, despite the historical evidence of this folly and the reservations of his own general, in order to fulfill the Nazi worldview; and the subsequent harsh treatment of the captured ethnic groups in Russia sealed resistance to the Nazis. In the excellent chapter titled "The Everlasting Shame of Mankind," Roberts cogently analyzes the Nazi policy and system of extermination. Other important chapters treat the "Tokyo Typhoon," and battles at Midway, El Alamein, Stalingrad and Sicily; the cracking of the Enigma code; and the controversial uses by the Allies of carpet bombing and the atomic bomb. The author masterly shows how the Allied victory was never assured, while the Nazi defeat was the result, first and foremost, of its pernicious ideology.An energetic, elegant synthesis of enormous researchwith lots of maps!that will prove a valuable resource for students of European history.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.