The Second World War

The Second World War

by Antony Beevor
3.8 15

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The Second World War 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anthony Beevor's recent book --The Second World War-- is an amazing achievement. Eight hundred pages is little space to comprehensively cover the entirety of the most sweeping and catastrophic event of the 20th century, but Mr Beevor has effectively done just that. His book is more objective in his discussion campaigns and more focused on those theaters that are often given only passing attention (Manchuria, China, Southeast Asia) in popular histories. Beevor's discussion of the National Chinese leadership will be especially enlightening to those who have been captive to Stillwell's jaundiced views. The student of military history will find this to be a fantastic read.
ABookAWeekES More than 1 year ago
I have always been fascinated with any and all things to do with World War II. From the rise of Hitler, to the bombing of Hiroshima, this is perhaps the richest time in the history of the world. Due to the staggering scale of this time period, most books, both fiction and nonfiction, choose to focus on specific events or characters. In this hugely ambitious work, Antony Beevor attempts to provide a narrative overview of the entire war. In the book, Beevor effectively introduces the early onsets of the war for each nation that was involved.  Spanning from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to the end of the war in 45, Beevor manages to provide a research filled account without ever straying from his strong narrative flow. He finds a convincing balance between broad tellings of significant battles, military strategy, and intimate insights into the main personalities of the war.  At nearly 900 pages, this book is no small undertaking. I'll admit, I read bits of the volume between other novels over the course of three months. Despite the length, I felt like Beevor never sacrificed the telling of the story in favor of dry facts, so the book maintained a consistency that easily places it above other historical works. Overall, WWII enthusiasts, history buffs, and any lover of large scale stories are sure to enjoy this book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Granted, any Historian of WWII would know all the facts in this book, but to lay people with an interest in history will find this a fascinating read. I have learned much that I was not aware of, and especially was enlightened about the various feuds, and eccentric personalities of the leading characters of the war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good and candid about allied ineptitude. Balanced overview of the immense WW2 jigsaw.
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AndyF1 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book very much but still searching for Churchill's name in the index
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NOTHING NEW
willyvan More than 1 year ago
Antony Beevor has won an undeserved reputation as a historian. His book on Stalingrad plagiarised John Erickson’s far better books on the war on the Eastern Front, and his book on the war in Spain plagiarised Hugh Thomas’ book. On the big questions of the Second World War, Beevor reveals his out-dated prejudices. He has never a good word to say about our allies, the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist Party. He relies on Jon Halliday and Jung Chang for ‘correcting’ his account of Japan’s war on China. Early in his book he writes, “The Japanese had recently been taken aback by Communist forces in northern China launching a series of attacks.” And, “The Communists managed to push back the Japanese in many places, cut the Peking-Hankow railway, destroy coal mines and even carry out attacks into Manchuria. This major effort, using their forces in more conventional tactics, cost them 22,000 casualties which they could ill afford.” These conclusions contradict his later claim (made after talks with Halliday and Chang?) that “Communist supporters such as Edgar Snow had managed to persuade readers in the United States that Mao’s forces were fighting hard while the corrupt Nationalists were doing little, when in fact the opposite was true.” Beevor writes of “the Great Leap Forward which killed more people than in the whole of the Second World War … the seventy million victims of a regime that was in many ways worse than Stalinism”. Is it too much to ask that he checks the facts, rather than just repeat Chang and Halliday’s absurd lies? Beevor writes, “Relations between the western Allies and Stalin were bound to be fraught with suspicion. Churchill especially had promised far more military supplies than Britain was able deliver [sic]. And the American President’s disastrous assurance to Molotov in May that they would launch a Second Front before the end of the year did more to poison the Grand Alliance than anything else. Stalin’s paranoid tendencies persuaded him that the capitalist countries simply wanted the Soviet Union to be weakened while they waited.” Churchill had of course backed Roosevelt’s promise. After the facts that Beevor cited, it seems a little rude to call Stalin paranoid for noticing these same facts and drawing the correct conclusion. Beevor ends by trying to blame Hitler and Stalin equally for the war. He calls the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany two ‘totalitarians’, ignoring the crucial difference that the Soviet Union did all it could to prevent the most terrible war in history, while Nazi Germany did all it could to start it. Beevor is too mean-minded and hidebound to acknowledge that without Stalin and the Red Army we would all be living – if at all - in Hitler’s concentration camps. This is not so much a history of the Second World War as a stream of anecdotes, verging all too often on war porn.