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The Second World War / Antony Beevor.

By: Beevor, Antony, 1946-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2012Description: xii, 863 pages, [32] pages of plates : illustrations, portraits, maps ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780297844976 (hbk.); 0297844970 (hbk.).Other title: World War II | World War 2.Subject(s): World War, 1939-1945 | Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945DDC classification: 940.53
Contents:
Combining the insight of a great novelist, a masterly ability to synthesise complicated material and an eye for the telling human detail, this is a single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by one of the world's foremost military historians.
Summary: The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, and writing with clarity and compassion, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert, to the Burmese jungle, SS Einsatzgruppen in the borderlands, Gulag prisoners drafted into punishment battalions, and to the unspeakable cruelties of the Sino-Japanese War. Moral choice forms the basis of all human drama, and no other period in history has presented greater dilemmas both for leaders and ordinary people, nor offered such examples of individual and mass tragedy, the corruption of power politics, ideological hypocrisy, the egomania of commanders, betrayal, perversity, self-sacrifice, unbelievable sadism and unpredictable kindness. Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's The Second World War never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in this, the most terrible war in history.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects.

Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, and writing with clarity and compassion, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert, to the Burmese jungle, SS Einsatzgruppen in the borderlands, Gulag prisoners drafted into punishment battalions, and to the unspeakable cruelties of the Sino-Japanese War.

Moral choice forms the basis of all human drama, and no other period in history has presented greater dilemmas both for leaders and ordinary people, nor offered such examples of individual and mass tragedy, the corruption of power politics, ideological hypocrisy, the egomania of commanders, betrayal, perversity, self-sacrifice, unbelievable sadism and unpredictable kindness. Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's THE SECOND WORLD WAR never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in this, the most terrible war in history.

A beautifully produced hardback edition with embossed jacket, 53 black and white photographs and 25 maps.

Maps on endpapers.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Combining the insight of a great novelist, a masterly ability to synthesise complicated material and an eye for the telling human detail, this is a single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by one of the world's foremost military historians.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, and writing with clarity and compassion, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert, to the Burmese jungle, SS Einsatzgruppen in the borderlands, Gulag prisoners drafted into punishment battalions, and to the unspeakable cruelties of the Sino-Japanese War. Moral choice forms the basis of all human drama, and no other period in history has presented greater dilemmas both for leaders and ordinary people, nor offered such examples of individual and mass tragedy, the corruption of power politics, ideological hypocrisy, the egomania of commanders, betrayal, perversity, self-sacrifice, unbelievable sadism and unpredictable kindness. Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's The Second World War never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in this, the most terrible war in history.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

This latest work by prize-winning historian Beevor (D-Day: The Battle for Normandy) is magisterial in both scope and breadth. Many one-volume World War II histories fail either to grab the attention of the reader or to provide new insights; this is not the case here. Covering both theaters of the war, the causes of the conflict, and some of the immediate aftermath, Beevor provides a strategic overview of the war while adding personal stories and details that keep the book fresh. His approach considers World War II as the global conflict it was (e.g., his discussion of the Russo-Japanese battle of Nomohan), rather than as simultaneous yet separate conflicts, as so many other authors have presented it. He begins with the tale of Yang Kyoungjong, a Korean national who ended up fighting in the armies of Japan, the USSR, and Germany. VERDICT Beevor provides a stimulating and informative book recommended for all general readers.-BKD (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Beevor successfully employs the format of his previous works on WWII (Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943) in this comprehensive capstone. His approach presents a kaleidoscope of individual experiences in a context of continuous choices. His subtext is a warning not to become overwhelmed by statistics and abstractions or by the notion that historical events are predetermined. WWII was "an amalgamation of conflicts" dating back as far as WWI and structured by "a cycle of resentments." But the war was set in motion by a single person-Adolf Hitler-and its extension reflected specific decisions by specific people, and its course changed lives across the globe in ways impossible to predict. Beevor supports these points through narrative that displays his particular strength for description-whether of fire-bomb raids, infantry combat, death camp routines, or high-level negotiations-in a page-turner. His command of a comprehensive spectrum of sources enables him to present the war from the perspective of its participants. And from heads of state to front-line riflemen, from field marshals to teenaged girls, Beevor's protagonists exercise choice in the context of "the greatest man-made disaster in history." Hypocrisy and self-sacrifice, corruption and idealism, sadism and compassion, genocide and cannibalism: Beevor brilliantly shows, at all levels, that WWII defies easy generalization. 32 pages of b&w photos, 23 maps. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg, Andrew Nurnberg Associates (U.K.) (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

CHOICE Review

Independent scholar Beevor earned his reputation as the most significant popular military historian of WW II by producing several well-researched, highly readable studies, including Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege (1999), D-Day (CH, Aug'10, 47-7088), and The Fall of Berlin (CH, Dec'02, 40-2404). His latest work, a sweeping operational and strategic examination of WW II, adds to his stellar reputation. Beevor has a keen knack for writing engaging narrative, skillfully guiding readers through the major military operations in Europe, the Mediterranean/North Africa, and Asia. He seems equally comfortable addressing all theaters of war, illustrating a stunning grasp of the secondary literature. His focus on operational histories of the major campaigns allows him less time to detail the lives of soldiers and civilians caught in the tempest of war. Yet at the same time, he can illustrate the horrors of this greatest conflict in human history. Social historians of the war will find very little discussion of the war on the home front, but Beevor ably examines the partisan war in the occupied Soviet Union as well as the murder of Jews throughout Europe. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. M. A. Mengerink Lamar University

Booklist Review

The options among one-volume narratives of WWII include, to note only the most recent, titles by Max Hastings, Andrew Roberts, and now Beevor. Well known to WWII readers--his Stalingrad (1998) is outstanding--Beevor frames the war largely in operational military terms. Here are the massive offensives, counteroffensives, bombing campaigns, and naval clashes during the years 1939-45. Appended maps enable the audience to keep track of the advance and retreat of forces. Such abstraction can be a distraction from the human-scale enormity of the war in terms of destructiveness and depravity, which Beevor effectively counters by including on nearly every page the testimony of individuals who witnessed the event at hand. Whether a battle or an atrocity, Beevor illustrates it with one person's experience, preventing stupefaction over his data on the millions of dead. Underscoring, too, the confluence of several wars into what we now call WWII, Beevor keeps a regular tab on the actions of leaders and generals as the prospect of victory shifted from the Axis to the Allies. As a summarizing introduction to WWII, Beevor's is a fine example of the form.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Beevor (D-Day, 2009, etc.) joins the ranks of other contemporary British historians to tackle the entire war in one volume--e.g., Andrew Roberts (The Storm of War) and Gordon Corrigan (The Second World War). All three books move chronologically, with Roberts grouping by driving themes ("Onslaught, Climacteric, Retribution"), Corrigan by military theaters (the Russian, the Asian and so on) and Beevor by more numerous, geographically detailed conflicts. The result here can be stultifying in its richness of detail, but Beevor makes blazingly vivid the sense of mass upheaval and grief prevalent in all parts of the world. The author's coverage of the East Asian conflicts is masterful, and he emphasizes early on the key skirmish in August 1939 between Soviet commander Georgi Zhukov's forces and the Japanese at Nomonhan in Outer Mongolia, in which the Soviets repulsed the Japanese in an appalling massacre. Stalin received Zhukov as a hero, while the Japanese made the portentous non-aggression pact with Stalin just before Operation Barbarossa and moved instead against France, the Netherlands, Britain and the U.S. Navy. Beevor's knowledge of Crete, occupied Paris, Stalingrad and Berlin infuses these segments with particular nuance, though some readers may wish he had devoted more space to each. Throughout, the author remains cognizant of the brutalization of civilians, including the systematic rape of women. In his chapter on the Nazi extermination camps, he focuses on the account of Rudolf Hss, commandant of Auschwitz, to demonstrate how ordinary the day-to-day horror had become. Eisenhower's decision not to take Berlin--too many casualties--was "the correct decision even if for the wrong reason," Beevor writes, because Stalin would never have allowed it. While the author hurriedly wraps up the endgame, the majority of the narrative is a deeply enlightening experience. A work of vast research, depth and insight--perhaps too vast for some readers.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.