The Second World War: A Complete History

Overview

A "magisterial" (The New York Times) single-volume history of WWII

It began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. By the time it came to an end on V-J Day-August 14, 1945 -it had involved every major power and become global in its reach. In the final accounting, it would turn out to be, in both human terms and material resources, the costliest war in history, taking the lives of thirty million people.
In one brilliant volume,...

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Overview

A "magisterial" (The New York Times) single-volume history of WWII

It began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. By the time it came to an end on V-J Day-August 14, 1945 -it had involved every major power and become global in its reach. In the final accounting, it would turn out to be, in both human terms and material resources, the costliest war in history, taking the lives of thirty million people.
In one brilliant volume, eminent historian Martin Gilbert offers the complete history of the Second World War. With unparalleled scholarship and breadth of vision, Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill as well as one of the leading experts on the Holocaust, weaves together political, military, diplomatic, and civilian elements to provide a global perspective on the war, in a work that is both a treasure trove of information and a gripping, dramatic narrative.

"In his transmission of the horror of the war, Martin Gilbert has achieved something no other historian but he could. There is indeed a relentless force about chronology when it is used as a tool by an historian of the stature of Martin Gilbert."
-The Sunday Telegraph

"Gilbert's flowing narrative is spiced with anecdotal details culled from diaries, memoirs, and official documents. He is especially skillful at interweaving summaries of military strategy with vignettes of civilian suffering."-Newsweek

First published in 1989 to mark the 50th anniversary of World War II, Gilbert's masterful history chronicles the entire war--from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to the surrender of the Japanese more than five years later. "Surprisingly effective at reminding us that World War II was more than a series of battles and feats of arms."--Washington Post Book World. 64 pages of photographs; 102 maps.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This volume has an ``astonishingly broad'' scope, revealing the impact of major campaigns on soldiers and civilians worldwide. ``Masterful,'' said PW . ``Though the military aspect is told with noteworthy clarity and narrative power, most impressive is Gilbert's presentation of WW II as primarily a matter of organized evil and mass madness.'' Photos. Nov.
Library Journal
Though few one-volume histories of World War II have been published in the last ten years, the 50th anniversary of the war's start has inspired new works: Gilbert's book and John Keegan's The Second World War (reviewed in this issue, p. 102) are two of them. Gilbert's is less a battle history than Keegan's. For Gilbert (biographer of Churchill and Holocaust historian, author of the massive The Holocaust, LJ 2/1/86) the movements of armies and the decisions of statesmen were ultimately the consequences of Nazi and Japanese racial policies. Thus the struggles and fates of Axis victims are essential to the complete history of war, which inflicted such unprecedented suffering on innocent parties. Gilbert uses this perspective to present the war from an original angle. Accounts of campaigns and conferences are directly juxtaposed to descriptions of atrocities and resistance. Gilbert draws his human interest not from battlefields and home fronts, as do most histories of the war, but from concentration camps and ghettoes. In so doing he reminds us that World War II was a ``good war,'' because it was fought against tyrannies that perpetuated obscenities as a matter of principle. Recommended for all collections.-- Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Library Journal
The 60th anniversary of the Normandy landing brought a barrage of World War II titles. This 1989 book by the eminent British historian provides a single-volume overview. It offers grim detail and spotlights the tremendous numbers of nameless combatants and civilians who perished. A very human history of an inhuman event. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Booknews
A reprint of the publisher's original cloth edition 1989 which was the US edition of the Brit Second World War. Such a massive book is no bargain in its paper incarnation. Cloth edition unseen, $29.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
From the Publisher

"In his transmission of the horror of the war, Martin Gilbert has achieved something no historian but he could. There is indeed a relentless force about chronology when it is used as a tool by an historian of the status of Martin Gilbert."--John Keegan, The Sunday Telegraph

"Gilbert's flowing narrative is spiced with anecdotal details culled from diaries, memoirs, and official documents. He is especially skillful at interweaving summaries of military strategy with vignettes of civilian suffering."--Newsweek

"A magisterial work . . . Mr. Gilbert brings the strongest possible credentials to his history of World War II, and . . . shows how the greatest war ever fought reached into every corner of the globe."--Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times

"Brings the losses and the horrors of the war home to us more urgently than a more accented account might do."--Gordon A. Craig, The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805076233
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Edition description: Revised and Updated
  • Pages: 928
  • Sales rank: 352,207
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Martin Gilbert was knighted in 1995 "for services to British history and international relations." Among his many books are The Righteous (0-8050-6260-2), The Holocaust (0-8050-0348-7), The Day the War Ended (0-8050-4735-2), and Churchill: A Life (0-8050-2396-8). He lives in London, England.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2007

    A reviewer

    I thought this was an outstanding book. Since the author is British, the book covers mainly the war in Europe. Even though small portions concerning the United States, Italy, and Japan are covered, this doesn't make the book any less important in World War II history. Without Europe's France and England and their European allies, there wouldn't be such a wonderful world we live in today.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2000

    Disappointing account of the Second World War

    This book should realy be entitled 'The Second World War in Europe' and even that would be an overstatement given the complete lack of coverage regarding the Italians. The war in the Asia-Pacific theater is given hardly any attention at all and when it is mention, its only in passing. The war emphasizes the role of Britain (and later Russia) against the Germans (with only scant mention of Italy), while downplaying the role of the US, China and Japan. This book proves that a European could never be expected to give a full and accurate account of the Second World War, at least not from a global perspective. What this book does cover (the European War and the Holocaust) it covers well but its description and title are highly misleading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    put on nook!

    really wanna read this but since i spent so much on nook id rather read it on there. gilberts history of the 20th century was great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2003

    An enjoyable book.

    True to form, Sir Martin Gilbert gives the reader a well researched and easily readable one volume history of WWII. Through the use of diaries, memoirs, and official transcripts, the author brings into clear focus both the emotional and physical suffering endured during this most dificult time in history.

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