Blood, Tears and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II

Blood, Tears and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II

by Len Deighton

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Drawing on the author’s deep understanding of military life and the strengths and frailties of politicians and generals, this is a myth-puncturing analysis of the advent of the Second World War.See more details below


Drawing on the author’s deep understanding of military life and the strengths and frailties of politicians and generals, this is a myth-puncturing analysis of the advent of the Second World War.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of City of Gold here takes a pragmatic look at the early years of WW II, ``that complex and frightening time in which evil was in the ascendant, goodness diffident, and the British--impetuous, foolish and brave beyond measure--the world's only hope.'' His absorbing narrative concentrates on six major phases of the 1939-1941 period: the Battle of the Atlantic (U-boats versus convoys); Hitler's blitzkrieg victories in Western Europe and the Dunkirk evacuation; the tank battles between the British and the Germans in the Western Desert; the struggle between the Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force for command of the air; the German invasion of Russia; and the complex combination of events and hardening attitudes that led to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Deighton pays close attention to Winston Churchill's thorny relations with his generals, and is especially critical of the British failure to prepare for an attack in Malaya, since the peninsula's rubber and tin made it an obvious target. Americans are largely absent from the narrative, but Deighton comments on U.S. isolationism and adds a stirring tribute to Air Corps General Henry Arnold for his foresight in organizing a pilot-training network before Pearl Harbor. Illustrations. $20,000 ad/promo. (Nov.)
Library Journal
``One good reason for looking again at the Second World War is to remind ourselves how badly the world's leaders performed and how bravely they were supported by their suffering populations.'' Deighton, best known as the author of spy novels, takes the reader into the early years of World War II, particularly the time when England stood alone. Chapters are organized topically (Atlantic, Blitzkrieg, Mediterranean), with extensive descriptions of prewar events to explain how or why the adversaries fought in a particular place. The British clashes with Axis and Axis sympathizers in places as diverse as East Africa and the Middle East will be unfamiliar to many Americans. Deighton ends his book with the opening of the Pacific war, leaving hope there will be a sequel. Deighton's opinions are explained reasonably, and his writing is both easily understood and thoroughly researched. Recommended for all libraries with an interest in World War II. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/93.-- John F. Camenga, Tampa-Hillsborough P.L., Fla.
Joe Collins
In this well-researched and balanced history of World War II, Deighton analyzes the weapons, manpower, nuts-and-bolts tactics of each power, and the personalities that the war generated. Aided by maps, charts, and well-chosen photos of aircraft, destroyers, and leaders, Deighton, writing with great clarity, offers a balanced view, debunking many popular myths. He maintains that Germany was able to get such a jump on the rest of Europe largely by better educating its citizens in technology and science; British schools emphasized the arts. The French, as usual, come off poorly, displaying overconfidence in their questionable Maginot Line defenses; the Nazi High Command, despite early brilliant tactical moves, inexplicably pressed on with an ill-prepared drive toward icy Moscow (an exchange between a desperate front-line commander and Berlin perfectly encapsulates Nazi rigidity); Churchill, though not a great strategist, became the great rallying point for the Allies; celebrated soldiers such as Douglas MacArthur, Japanese premier Tojo, and German field marshal Rommel sacrificed long-range success to massage their own egos; and the roles played by small countries such as Holland, Libya, and Finland are explored in-depth. Again, Deighton's analyses are fair. His coverage stops with early 1942, indicating plans for a sequel. Deighton, author of classic spy novels like "The Ipcress File", has delved into nonfiction before but never more effectively. Anyone wishing a comprehensive and absorbing look at this century's major conflict need look no further.
From the Publisher
‘A splendid read … He has a novelist’s eye for the sort of facts that bring a narrative to life’ Evening Standard‘Every page of Deighton’s work glows with the excitement of discovery … What wonderful stuff it is!’ Guardian‘The skill with which he unmasks his villains, the brilliance with which he can sketch a scene and the sharpness of his characterisation are all unrivalled’ Independent

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HarperCollins Publishers
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