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World War Two: A Short History

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Overview

After the unprecedented destruction of the Great War, the world longed for a lasting peace. The victors, however, valued vengeance even more than stability and demanded a massive indemnity from Germany in order to keep it from rearming. The results, as eminent historian Norman Stone describes in this authoritative history, were disastrous.

In World War Two, Stone provides a remarkably concise account of the deadliest war of human history, showing how the conflict roared to life ...

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World War Two: A Short History

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Overview

After the unprecedented destruction of the Great War, the world longed for a lasting peace. The victors, however, valued vengeance even more than stability and demanded a massive indemnity from Germany in order to keep it from rearming. The results, as eminent historian Norman Stone describes in this authoritative history, were disastrous.

In World War Two, Stone provides a remarkably concise account of the deadliest war of human history, showing how the conflict roared to life from the ashes of World War One. Adolf Hitler rode a tide of popular desperation and resentment to power in Germany, promptly making good on his promise to return the nation to its former economic and military strength. He bullied Europe into giving him his way, and in so doing backed the victors of the Great War into a corner. Following the invasion of Poland in 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany—a decision that, Stone argues, was utterly irrational. Yet Hitler had driven the world mad, and the rekindling of European hostilities soon grew to a conflagration that spread across the globe, fanned by political and racial ideologies more poisonous—and weaponry more destructive—than the world had ever seen. With commanding expertise, Stone leads listeners through the escalation, climax, and mournful denouement of this sprawling conflict.

World War Two is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the twentieth century and its defining struggle.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this slim volume, British historian and former Cambridge lecturer Stone (World War One) attempts to deliver an overview of WWII, beginning with its post–Great War origins, working through the conflict on multiple fronts, and skipping to its final, formal end with the 1991 German peace treaty. Operating under the theory that overly harsh sanctions on Germany following the previous war sparked the start of the next, Stone spends little time on the subject before moving on; though he does examine the volatile political landscape between wars, it's mostly in passing. With chapters devoted to the rise of Germany, the struggle between Germany and Russia, the North African campaign, and various aspects of Allied efforts, this work hits the highlights of the war, but fails to provide in-depth analysis. The author moves from one topic to the next at breakneck speed, relentlessly throwing out names and facts along the way. Additionally, Stone's presentation is wordy and convoluted—it might work at a lectern, but here it's awkward and often confusing. Too short to be comprehensive, and too dense to be an easy read, Stone's book might serve, at best, as a springboard for further exploration of other sources. 10 b&w photos, 3 maps. Agent: Caroline Michel, Peters Fraser & Dunlop. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Novices will receive a painless introduction, but educated readers should not pass up the highly opinionated prologue and epilogue and the author's trademark acerbic commentary throughout." —-Kirkus
Library Journal - Audio
Distinguished Wolfsan Prize-winning historian Stone (The Atlantic and Its Enemies; World War One: A Short History) presents a concise, authoritative history of World War II. Stone emphasizes the main events that led to the war, the key strategies driving the Allied combat success, and the mistakes of the Axis, as well as of the Allies. The author also includes high-level analysis of the overall rationale for the ultimate Allied victory. Stone's entry into the saturated World War II market is a marvelous introduction to the war that will be of great value for general readers or students, though the author assumes that readers have at least a fundamental understanding of the events. Derek Perkins ably narrates this work that may heighten interest in more extensive books, including Max Hastings's relatively recent Inferno, Antony Beevor's The Second World War, or Andrew Roberts's The Storm of War. VERDICT Recommended for university libraries supporting a history collection, as well as public libraries.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Having written a long, quirky, often astute history of the post–World War era in The Atlantic and Its Enemies (2010), British historian Stone moves back in time to deliver a much shorter, entertaining history of the war itself. The Allies may have won World War I, but they made a mess of the peace, humiliating Germany and, almost without thinking, Japan, a former ally. The Depression unsettled everyone, and while the democracies turned inward, belligerent militarists took power in Germany and Japan, prepared for war and then attacked. Both won dazzling victories at first, behaved barbarically throughout, foolishly overextended themselves and lost. Stone does not quarrel with the traditional allotment of credit for Allied victory (British stubbornness, American production, Russian blood), and he makes the usual point that Germany and Japan possessed superior soldiers but incompetent governments. Their industries were poorly organized compared to America's and Britain's, and neither understood modern, technological war. Allied navies and air forces had demolished their counterparts years before the 1945 surrender. First-rate writers (Keegan, Hastings and Beevor, among others) have covered World War II at length, so there seems little need for a book that describes a complex series of worldwide campaigns in 160 pages, but Stone does a fine job. Novices will receive a painless introduction, but educated readers should not pass up the highly opinionated prologue and epilogue and the author's trademark acerbic commentary throughout. Stone's well-known conservatism is on display mostly in his greater praise of America and contempt for the Soviet Union, so readers of all stripes may roll their eyes, but they will find plenty to ponder.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452610375
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Norman Stone is the award winning author of World War One, Europe Transformed, and The Eastern Front.

A native of the United Kingdom, AudioFile Earphones Award winner Derek Perkins's audiobook narration skills are augmented by knowledge of three foreign languages and a facility with accents. He has narrated numerous titles in a wide range of fiction and nonfiction genres.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2013

    A good book for beginners.

    I bought this book for my 13 year old granddaughter to introduce her to this time in history. It's an easy read. He's a bit English centered and weak on the Battle of the Atlantic, but good overall. If you have someone who wonders what Pearl Harbor is, this is the book to start them off on.

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