No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945

No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945

3.7 6
by Norman Davies, Simon Vance
     
 

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If history really belongs to the victor, what happens when there's more than one side declaring victory? In this fresh exploration of World War II, particularly focusing on the role of the Soviet Union and Stalin's Red Army in the defeat of Nazi Germany, Davies replaces the widely accepted "good versus evil" narrative with a more complex truth-one in which "victory"

Overview

If history really belongs to the victor, what happens when there's more than one side declaring victory? In this fresh exploration of World War II, particularly focusing on the role of the Soviet Union and Stalin's Red Army in the defeat of Nazi Germany, Davies replaces the widely accepted "good versus evil" narrative with a more complex truth-one in which "victory" tarnished the reputation of the West and, for most of Europe, exchanged one form of totalitarian oppression for another.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Davies's latest book about the Second World War is an extended argument that most Americans and Europeans-even well-educated ones-have failed to grasp even the most basic facts about the single largest event of the 20th century. His polemic is laid out slowly and carefully, beginning with the mistakes (the American WWII memorial lists the years of the war as 1941-1945) and proceeding from there. Such a book requires a reader who can hold listeners' attention for long stretches of facts and figures, and Vance is just the man. He sounds like a narrator for a History Channel documentary, and considering the topic, this is perfect for Davies's book. Vance makes Davies's work not another rehashing of familiar material, but a riveting, sustained performance. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, June 25). (Nov.)

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The Atlantic
Infused with irony and paradox, qualities essential to understanding history . . . [No Simple Victory] rearranges and juxtaposes facts and events in often unexpectedly illuminating ways.
Library Journal

Davies (Supernumerary Fellow, Wolfson Coll., Oxford; Rising '44: The Battle of Warsaw) reappraises the war and demolishes many of the myths accreted around it. A lively and contrary historiography, skillfully written and far from humorless, this should be in any subject collection. Where were the seven battles fought that had the most casualties? Americans might know one or two. Hint: all were on the Eastern Front.


—Edwin B. Burgess
Kirkus Reviews
World War II study that seeks to challenge traditional and, Davies (Rising '44: The Battle of Warsaw, 2004, etc.) argues, glaringly inaccurate narratives of the event. This alternative history not only focuses on what has been wrongly said about the war, but also on what has not been said and why. Common myths about the war that have heretofore been regarded as fact-such as what the largest concentration camp in Europe was-are convincingly dispelled. Davies believes it is dangerous to view the Western Powers as fair-minded and democratic, when they naively stood by while victims of Stalin's tyrannical regime could "be counted not in hundreds or thousands, or even millions, but in tens of millions." In seeking to explain how such atrocities could be allowed to occur, Davies moves into a discussion of morality during the war and posits the answers to some uncomfortable questions. Why has the extent of the Soviet Union's devastating involvement in the conflict previously been understated or even rationalized by the West? Why was the expulsion of ethnic Germans from certain former German provinces virtually ignored after the war? In passages on warfare, politics, soldiers and civilians, Davies provides a detailed and personal history of the conflict. In discussing the fate of the soldiers, and the improvement in military psychiatry, he uses an unusual example-British army veteran and popular comic Spike Milligan-to prove his point. It is to the author's credit that he not only deconstructs the foundations of World War II history, but also explains how these misconceptions were built in the first place, giving a detailed account of the ways in which the war has been portrayed in film, art andliterature, and how this has subsequently affected public perception. Emphasizes why it is necessary to continue to examine and amend a complex story whose many facets will take much more searching to be told. Agent: David Godwin/David Godwin Associates
From the Publisher
"A riveting, sustained performance." —Publishers Weekly Audio Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400104680
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
09/06/2007
Edition description:
Unabridged, 19 CDs, 23 hours
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.70(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A riveting, sustained performance." —-Publishers Weekly Audio Review

Meet the Author

Norman Davies is chairman of the history department, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, at the University of London. He has been a visiting professor at Columbia and McGill Universities.

Simon Vance is a prolific and popular audiobook narrator and actor with several hundred audiobooks to his credit. An Audie(R) Award-winner, Vance was recently named "The Voice of Choice" by "Booklist" magazine.

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No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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tazm More than 1 year ago
Posted 9/21/2009: Davies does it again by bringing detailed history down to the masses. This is a smooth read but NOT easy on the psyche. It is insightful and helps one understand the global view of WWII and questions current concepts and beliefs. Davies gives possible insight as to why the UK and US (if all powerful) did not keep the Soviets from "accumulating" what was later called the "Soviet Block"; why the 44 Rising in Warsaw failed to give Poland her independence, what the underlying agendas of the principle leaders were; and war crimes other than the Holocaust currently causing political unrest today. Davies does not "answer" all of these questions for the reader, he tells you throughout a true historian cannot know all and should not tell you what to think; he gives YOU the facts, and leaves you to ask your own questions (and asks a few of his own). Davies somehow moves through this often emotionally difficult material always reminding you along the way of human frailty and strengths existing on ALL sides. As all good researchers Davies points out the weaknesses of his material (when they exist) and calls for more in depth research. After reading this book I understand more about world politics today, and understand much of today's unrest and lack of trust is still a result of this event. This book should be A MUST read to stimulate discussion and consideration in all College World History courses and be used judiciously by educators in the curriculum of all High School World History courses. I was fortunate enough to have a very few of my educators ask some of these hard questions before the information was available (declassified). I am gratified now to be directed towards some of the answers and believe our youth today would benefit. Hopefully their questions and observations will keep events such as this from happening again. A short read by Polish Historian Adam Zamoyski "Warsaw 1920" about the short lived conflict between Poland and Soviet Russia between WWI and WWII is great as a subsequent read. It gives the reader additional insight regarding the politics between Soviet Russia, Germany and Poland leading up to WWII.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an overview of WWII the book covers a number of aspects. This is not simply an overview of military operations. It covers politics, the home fronts, combat, etc. I found it compelling and thoroughly enjoyed it. It opened my eyes to the enormous contribution of the Soviets as well as a new perspective on the Polish invasion and other side shows.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Xavier weary loves sheena and his family. Xav