The Second World War

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Overview

John Keegan’s landmark military history of World War II

Praised as “the best military historian of our generation” by Tom Clancy, John Keegan here reconsiders his masterful study of World War II, The Second World War, with a new foreword. Keegan examines each theater of the war, focusing on five crucial battles and offering new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare. In eloquent, perceptive analyses of the ...

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Overview

John Keegan’s landmark military history of World War II

Praised as “the best military historian of our generation” by Tom Clancy, John Keegan here reconsiders his masterful study of World War II, The Second World War, with a new foreword. Keegan examines each theater of the war, focusing on five crucial battles and offering new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare. In eloquent, perceptive analyses of the airborne battle of Crete, the carrier battle of Midway, the tank battle of Falaise, the city battle of Berlin, and the amphibious battle of Okinawa, Keegan illuminates the strategic dilemmas faced by the leaders and the consequences of their decisions on the fighting men and the course of the war as a whole.

“Truly magnificent… the best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy
 
“Analytical, concise, and coherent…if you want to know how it happened, read Keegan’s thoughtful and elegant prose.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
 
“The Second World War merits the acceptance as the standard work that it will surely receive… features the eloquence we have come to expect of John Keegan.” –The Washington Post Book World
 
“To write history is to choose, and Mr. Keegan’s choices and preferences are as interesting and stimulating as any I have seen… Boldly written and fair-minded.” –The New York Times Book Review

Much more than a mere chronological narrative, the history of World War II is recounted both periodically and thematically. Keegan analyzes five crucial battles, each characteristic of a distinctive kind of warfare of the period.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This account of WW II, though controversial, is rich in fresh perception, interpretation and opinion. In addition to penning a fast-paced campaign chronicle, Keegan makes a convincing case for the prime motivations of Allied and Axis leaders, pinpoints the practical results of Allied summit conferences and defines the war's geopolitical dimensions.
Library Journal
In contrast to Martin Gilbert's broader The Second World War reviewed in this issue, p.101, Keegan's work is more a battle campaign. His strength as a military historian The Face of Battle, The Price of Admiralty is in his ability to synthesize the order of battle without getting bogged down in minutae. The mighty German-Russian struggles are well covered, as is the war in the Pacific. While Robert Leckie's Delivered from Evil: The Saga of World War II LJ 9/1/87 is nearly twice as long as Keegan's book, integrates biographical material into the narrative, and is less analytical than Keegan's, Keegan's is extremely well written; the reader can almost visualize the movement of an army without looking at the maps. On another level, however, Keegan tends to be simplistic e.g., in his discussion of the causes of World War II, in his view that the war would have come even without Hitler and skim over many topics. Nevertheless, academic and larger public libraries will find this in demand. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/89.-- Robert Jordan, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City
Booknews
Keegan examines each theater of the war, focusing on five crucial battles the airborne battle of Crete, the carrier battle of Midway, the tank battle of Falaise, the city battle of Berlin, and the amphibious battle of Okinawa as well as the strategic dilemmas faced by the leaders and the consequences of their decisions on the fighting men and the course of the war as a whole. First published in Great Britain Hutchinson and Canada Key Porter in 1989. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143035732
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 264,049
  • Product dimensions: 7.16 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan (1934–2012), was one of the most distinguished contemporary military historians and was for many years the senior lecturer at Sandhurst (the British Royal Military Academy) and the defense editor of the Daily Telegraph (London). Keegan was the author of numerous books including The Face of Battle, The Mask of Command, The Price of Admiralty, Six Armies in Normandy, and The Second World War, and was a fellow at the Royal Society of Literature.

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Table of Contents

The Second World War Prologue
1. Every man a soldier
2. Fomenting world war

Part I: The War in the West 1940-1943
3. The Triumph of Blitzkrieg
4. Air battle: the Battle of Britain
5. War Supply and the Battle of the Atlantic

Part II: The War in the East 1941-1943
6. Hitler's strategic dilemma
7. Securing the eastern springboard
8. Airborne battle: Crete
9. Barbarossa
10. War production
11. Crimean summer, Stalingrad winter

Part III: The War in the Pacific 1941-1943
12. Tojo's strategic dilemma
13. From Pearl Harbor to Midway
14. Carrier battle: Midway
15. Occupation and repression
16. The war for the islands

Part IV: The War in the West 1943-1945
17. Churchill's strategic dilemma
18. Three wars in Africa
19. Italy and the Balkans
20. Overlord
21. Tank battle: Falaise
22. Strategic bombing
23. The Ardennes and the Rhine

Part V: The War in the East 1943-1945
24. Stalin's strategic dilemma
25. Kursk and the recapture of western Russia
26. Resistance and espionage
27. The Vistula and the Danube
28. City battle: the seige of Berlin

Part VI: The War in the Pacific 1943-1945
29. Roosevelt's strategic dillemma
30. Japan's defeat in the south
31. Amphibious battle: Okinawa
32. Super-weapons and the defeat of Japan
33. The legacy of the Second World War

Bibliography and Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2002

    Great review of WW2

    A great book if you want to get a one-volume run-down of the major events of the Second World War. Keegan does a great job of moving throughout the wars many fronts and working very hard to give each area of the war its due. Given the constraints of space he doesn't go too far in depth in any area and you shouldn't expect him to. Getting all that happened in WW2 into one book can only happen if the goal is just the basics. I strongly recommend this to anyone (like myself) who wants to kick off their WW2 education with a narrative of the major points and will follow-up with more in depth books on those major events.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    best overview

    best overview

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2007

    second world war comes alive

    One of the best living historians! A much more comprehensive and balanced account of the conflict that the 'popular' history of stepehen ambrose who seems to lift from other writers and gives a slanted perspective.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2002

    Keegan is overrated

    His eminence, earned by other works notwithstanding, in this book Keegan has mixed up Chuikov (Commander, Soviet 62nd Army, the defenders of Stalingrad) with Zhukov (STAVKA representative to Operation Uranus at Stalingrad). This is a bit like mixing up 'Stonewall' Jackson with Robert E. Lee, or Alexander with Montgomery. Painful.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2011

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    Posted December 30, 2008

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