The Battle for History: Re-fighting World War II

Overview

With the same erudition, discernment, and crisp prose that made his A History of Warfare an international bestseller, Keegan surveys the literature of World War II, identifying the works he finds most important and illuminating while examining the sometimes savage controversies raised by two generations of the war's historians.

With the same erudition, discernment, and crisp prose that made his A History of Warfare an international bestseller, Keegan surveys the ...

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Overview

With the same erudition, discernment, and crisp prose that made his A History of Warfare an international bestseller, Keegan surveys the literature of World War II, identifying the works he finds most important and illuminating while examining the sometimes savage controversies raised by two generations of the war's historians.

With the same erudition, discernment, and crisp prose that made his A History of Warfare an international bestseller, Keegan surveys the literature of World War II, identifying the works he finds most important and illuminating while examining the sometimes savage controversies raised by two generations of the war's historians.

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Editorial Reviews

John Glenn
In assessing the general histories, Mr. Keegan provides a thought-provoking essay on how our past dictates our present. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While there are some astute observations about the nature of historical writing here, The Battle for History is essentially a lengthy bibliography. In sections discussing general histories and biographies as well as books on campaigns, military intelligence and technology, and occupation and resistance, Keegan, a premier military historian, evaluates the books he has found most helpful and notes where work has yet to be done, as, for example, in the inner workings of the Japanese high command, Stalin as a war leader and the German-Polish war in 1939. He also looks at the evolving perspective (much aided by hindsight) on issues such as whether Britain should have sued for peace after the fall of France and whether blanket bombing was effective. Keegan never claims to be complete, and he is not-such perennial favorites as Harrison Salisbury's Nine Hundred Days, William Manchester's The Last Lion and Goodbye, Darkness aren't here, nor is Keegan's own important The Second World War. Some readers will find his choices quirky, for while he doesn't mention Joachim Fests's worthy Hitler, he does give credit to insights in David Irving's Hitler's War (prefaced by ample warning about Irving's own far right tendencies). There are also resources along the lines of Hitler's 74 war directives, or Fhrerweisungen, which general readers won't locate easily. Ultimately, this will be of most help to amateurs of WWII who want to contextualize and expand their knowledge. (Feb.)
Library Journal
In this slim but not slight volume, noted military historian Keegan (The Second World War, LJ 11/1/89) offers a masterly overview of World War II. An introductory chapter presents such still-controversial issues as Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union and the effectiveness of strategic bombing, followed by surveys of general histories, biographies, campaigns, planning and logistics, and resistance. Each survey discusses major works in the field and suggests gaps remaining to be filled. Readers are unlikely to agree with all of Keegan's positions. His relative praise of David Irving's scholarship, for example, is debatable. On the whole, however, Keegan's work is the best brief introduction to the literature on the war in any language. It will be particularly useful for students from secondary to graduate levels; highly recommended for general purchase.-Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679767435
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage Books ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Lexile: 1410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Controversy and the Second World War 9
Ch. 2 Histories of the Second World War 30
Ch. 3 Biographies 48
Ch. 4 Campaigns 66
Ch. 5 The Brains and Sinews of War 84
Ch. 6 Occupation and Resistance 102
Notes 119
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