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The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
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The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,617 ratings  ·  162 reviews
From "Britain's finest military historian" (The Economist) comes a magisterial new history of World War II and the flawed axis strategy that led to their defeat.

The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion, and claimed the lives of more than 50 million people. What were the factors that affected the war's outcome? Why did the Axis lose? And could they, wi
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ebook, 800 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2009)
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Susan
This is the first one-volume history of World War II that I’d really place in a category of reevaluation by an author who views the war from a comfortable distance in time, but then I’m not expert, not even, really, an amateur aficionado even though I’ve read a lot about the war, including biographies of the personalities and memoirs by the participants.

Roberts’ thesis is that the Allies did not so much win the war as Hitler lost it, in large part by making independent judgments based on intuiti
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Sean O'Hara
Someday, someone will write a great one volume history of the Second World War. But it won't be Andrew Roberts.

The book is all right when it comes to the European/African theaters, though Roberts does indulge in Anglo-American triumphalism. But when he turns to the Pacific, the triumphalism turns to Eurocentricism and piss-poor research. Although his narrative of the European conflict begins before the war with the Anschluss, dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and "Peace for our time," he begins hi
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Ilya
I want to read Winston Churchill's six-volume history of World War II, and before doing that, decided to go through a modern British one-volume popular book on the subject. This is a rather conventional history book; the author is a British patriot who berates Eire for being neutral in the war, since had Hitler won, he would have trampled this neutrality. It makes gross mistakes having to do with the Soviet Union. A million and a half former Soviet POWs were sent to the Gulag or labor battalions ...more
Greg Pettit
An incredibly well-researched and brisk history of the battles of World War II that illustrates how personalities impacted the outcome as much as planning.

The author argues that World War II was one of the first wars waged for political reasons, rather than military ones, and that this was ultimately what caused the Germans to lose. The book itself covers all the campaigns from beginning to end and offers a staggering amount of detailed figures of the troops and arms involved.

The strategies of t
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Jeff
For a single volume history of WWII, I really didn't think it was very well done or contained new information. It focuses nearly exclusively on the European conflict and doesn't deal much at all with the causes of the war. I much prefer A Short History of World War II by James L. Stokesbury when it comes to single volume histories of WWII. Stokesbury spends much more time discussing the causes of the war, which is more interesting to me, as well as at least trying to cover some of the subtopics ...more
Armin Hennig
Deutsches Original unten

Probably the moust superfluous newer representation, so much I have longed for the end of the second world war in no other Book in this topic. But even a such book has its good sides, you learn to better appreciate the classics.
The biggest shock is to while the bias of a recent historian, who justifies the almost unnecessary battle of El Alamein by the imminent landing of the Americans in Morocco, with Britains need to do something for their own self-consciousness, before
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Mary Ronan Drew
Every year there are another dozen books about World War II, with maybe one or two worth reading. The Storm of War is a new history, as the subtitle points out, and with large numbers of government records, oral histories, and private papers being released all the time a "new" history can bring a good deal of evidence to back up a new interpretation. Andrew Roberts' book does just that.

Another thing his book does is to put the emphasis on the eastern front that it deserves. I tend to read about
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Gerald Churchill
What "The Storm of War" does, it does fairly well. The book covers the war, at least the European part of it, comprehensively, although too breezily in places. It points out that while all of the members of the Grand Alliance made valuable contributions, the Soviet Union did the bulk of the fighting and the dying. Andrew Roberts points out that the Axis powers did or failed to do certain things that might have prolonged the war or even created a different outcome. He lays to rest certain myths, ...more
Alan
Roberts has produced a powerful piece of military history writing. Taking on a one-volume history of WWII, on of the most studied and written-about periods in the history of the 20th century was no small or easy task.

Robert's book, "The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War" is a retrospective work that considers and takes into account what happened between 1939 in Europe and 1941 in the Pacific and the end of the war in both theaters of operation in 1945. The retrospective approa
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Nick
While the book isn't an entirely comprehensive telling of World War II, it manages to serve as an excellent crash course in World War II history.

Presenting the conflict in an almost narrative fashion, the book uses first hand accounts and somewhat prosaic terms to present the war in a way that makes Allied country heroic, especially the British Commonwealth countries like Canada and New Zealand. The Axis soldiers are generally presented as noble as well, although their leaders are thoroughly bas
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Holly Cline
I won this book through First Reads about 2 months ago and steadily kept up with reading it even though that meant juggling multiple books at once. Not something I like to do.

Since I'm American, these are the things I was made aware of in public school regarding WWII: Pearl Harbor, D Day, Hitler is bad, Auschwitz, Anne Frank & A Bomb. I had never taken the time or effort to learn more about the war in my free time but am generally a fan of reading history books in order to learn. By nature o
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Lance Kinzer
This is a perfectly fine one volume treatment of WW II and I have no problem recommending it. That said, it suffered from several weaknesses. While each paragraph reads just fine, there was often a strange lack of flow between paragraphs that was distracting and occasionally confusing. It's treatment of the war in the Pacific was little better than cursory, and seemed to lack the original research found in it's consideration of the European theater. It also failed to deliver on its promise with ...more
Marks54
This book is a fairly comprehensive (610 pages) history of World War II trying to make some new interpretations and make use of some more recent archival materials. It is a quick read and engaging, even if you already have read a lot about WWII.

What I liked the most about this book was that the author takes a clear perspective - namely that Germany (Hitler) largely lost the war because of several egregious errors (invading USSR, declaring war on the US, etc.) and this had these mistakes been avo
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Frank
Enjoyed and agreed with the views and conclusions of Andrew Roberts. However, this being a shorter volume covering the war, much was omitted from the actions that occurred.
For in depth study one must dive into specialized volumes of which there are hundreds.
David Willem
This is superb. You know those surveys that find that only three out of ten UK school children know who Churchill was? Well, to be honest, now I have read this brilliant, single-volume history, I realise how little I actually knew about the Second World War, and that what I did know comes from the likes of 'Dad's Army'. These were my sources: build up to war (Liza Minnelli in 'Cabaret'); Dunkirk ('Atonement', starring that bloke from Shameless); Battle of Britain (mainly beer ads); Battle of Atl ...more
Yemoss
A highly insightful and thoroughly researched analysis of WWII from the Agitator's perspective: Nazi Germany, provided by the acclaimed military historian Andrew Roberts. His multi-faceted approach delves into areas political, social, economic, tactical and diplomatic, as experienced by leaders, civilians, soldiers; everyone in the chain of command. He considers all theaters of the war: by air, land, sea, communication and espionage, noting successes and failures among both Axis and Allied. He e ...more
Larry
Several outstanding one-volume histories of World War II appeared within the last year or two ("Inferno" by Max Hastings, Anthony Beevor's history, and this one). This book is the best of the three at providing a context for understanding the horrific nature of the war. The writing is excellent, and the analysis is unmatched.
happy
Good overall history, but not a whole lot of new information. For US readers a really good overview of the India/Burma theater. I also thinks he glosses over the Pacific Operations a little.
Melinda
A most excellent and very lengthy overview of the many different fronts of WWII. Areas that I found I was not as aware of included the Russian front (battles against Moscow and Stalingrad) as well as the battles in Burma. For 6 German soldiers killed in actual battle, 4 of them died fighting the Russians.

I was amazed yet again at the sheer scope of WWII. I did not realize the lack of coordination between the Axis powers. If they had indeed worked together, the outcome might have been very very
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Gary
Hitler’s Abilities and Beliefs lead to the Start of WWII, but also Accelerated its Completion

The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War, by Roberts, Andrew is an excellent book.

Andrew’s theme, that Hitler’s ideology and lack of ability to military strategic thinking resulted in the start of WWII and ultimately the demise Germany, is loosely threaded through most of this book. At the same time, the theme does not get in the way of giving the reader an excellent view of the full arc o
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victoria.p
Should probably be a 3.5 or even a 4, but this book is so clearly focused on the European side of the war (and North Africa, to some smaller degree), with little attention paid to the war in the Pacific. Which is fine! The premise of the book is basically "how Hitler lost the war," so it makes sense that it would focus on Europe, and it went into a lot greater detail about Stalingrad, for example, than other WWII books I've read. But it probably shouldn't have been titled or presented as a histo ...more
Christopher Nieman
This is a very good, well-researched, single-volume history of the second world war. For an account of the European side of the war, at least, the book is excellent.

Its central thesis is on Hitler's failures. Roberts makes analyses of Hitler's many major strategic and tactical blunders. Some of these -- especially Hitler's decision to turn his German armies onto western Russia after abandoning the campaign for Britain -- arguably cost him the war outright. With these analyses, Roberts also rende
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Abigail
My husband and I listened to this book together. I was glad to have him to ask questions of about some of the details and incidents as I was not particularly familiar with the specifics of WW II history, a subject about which he has read widely. This is not, in my opinion, a WW II history for a first-time reader on the subject. However, it is a fascinating take on all the things that HItler did wrong that caused Germany to, after a long slog by the Allies, to be defeated. He may have been an ins ...more
Robert
This was my first single-volume history of WWII, and while the magnitude of the topic left little opportunity for great detail, I found it mesmerizing – a quick but informative read. Roberts focuses more heavily on the European war, and I find myself wondering if the battles, tactics and logistics of the Pacific war just didn’t provide enough material to gain equal weight with those in Europe. Or does Roberts simply feel it is self-evident, as he seems to conclude in his epilogue, that Japanese ...more
Urey Patrick
You would think by now that it would not be possible to write a history of World War II and offer anything new, interesting or relevant… but you would be wrong! Roberts has accomplished exactly that, but with one very large and important caveat. This book would more properly be titled a History of the British, Russian and German War – and within that field of inquiry, it is superb! Roberts brings in a lot of previously unrevealed documentation, diaries, recorded conversations and similar new, re ...more
David Cheshire
This is a magisterial (i.e. very thick) history of the war. It lacks the originality of Norman Davies' "Europe at War" and the analytical bite of Richard Overy's "Why the Allies Won." Indeed Roberts' conclusion - that Hitler lost for the same reason that he began the war: "he was a Nazi" - is not particularly original nor profoundly illuminating. His treatment of Bomber Command seems a little over-keen to exculpate him. While rightly condemning the "armchair strategists" (shouldn't he have calle ...more
Jacob
Although it was a slow start, this book was actually more readable than I anticipated, so it wasn't as tough as Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945. It's a single volume history of the entire second World War, so it has a lot more ground to cover. It accomplishes the task by focusing on certain areas and time ranges, and discusses the author's opinion of a few post-WWII questions (was Allied bombing of German cities effective? Could the Allies have ended the war in Europe earlier by la ...more
Adam Maisel
The Second World War is a seemingly vast and endless subject (at least considering the number of books written on the subject). Writing a single volume that adequately covers one of human history's greatest tragedies seems a difficult if not impossible undertaking. Andrew Roberts has proved that he is certainly up to the task.

"Storm of War" is a well written survey of World War II. Mr. Roberts excels at shining the spotlight on aspects of the conflict that do not normally get attention such as t
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Neil McGarry
I've ready many a book about World War II, and this is one of the best. Andrew Roberts has written a an overview of the conflict that is general enough to keep focus and yet specific in a way that enhances the narrative. Good historians are in my opinion good storytellers, and Roberts more than qualifies in this regard. He explained some of the minutia of the Battle of Midway so skillfully that I was able to use to it predict how a decision made by Admiral Nagumo doomed his part of the Japanese ...more
Jim Kelsh
This is one terrific history book. Andrew Roberts has, in 700 or so pages captured the sweep of the Second World War both on Europe and the Pacific. He realy breathes life into a story that most history buffs are pretty familiar with.
He brings sense into "the phony war" before Hitler's invation of Poland. Hios telling of the Battle of El Alamain is downright breathtaking.
He doesn't just resort to "order of battle" histories of the major campaigns.; he tells the personal stories. He spends a go
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Dr Andrew Roberts, who was born in 1963, took a first class honours degree in Modern History at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, from where he is an honorary senior scholar and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). He has written or edited twelve books, and appears regularly on radio and television around the world. Based in New York, he is an accomplished public speaker, and is represented by Har ...more
More about Andrew Roberts...
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“It was on 7 March 1936 that Hitler comprehensivelyviolated the Versailles Treaty by sending troops intothe industrial region of the Rhineland, which under Article 180 had been specifically designated ademilitarized zone. Had the German Army beenopposed by the French and British forces stationednear by, it had orders to retire back to base and sucha reverse would almost certainly have cost Hitler thechancellorship. Yet the Western powers, riven withguilt about having imposed what was described as a‘Carthaginian peace’ on Germany in 1919, allowedthe Germans to enter the Rhineland unopposed. ‘After all,’ said the influential Liberal politician andnewspaper director the Marquis of Lothian, who hadbeen Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in RamsayMacDonald’s National Government, ‘they are onlygoing into their own back garden.’ When Hitler assured the Western powers in March 1936 thatGermany wished only for peace, Arthur Greenwood,the deputy leader of the Labour Party, told the Houseof Commons: ‘Herr Hitler has made a statement…holding out the olive branch… which ought to be takenat face value… It is idle to say that those statementsare insincere.’ That August Germany adopted compulsory two-year military service” 1 likes
“On 20 November, front-line troops got 500 grams of bread per day, factory workers received 250, and everyone else 125 (that is, two slices). ‘Twigs were collected and stewed,’ records an historian of the siege. ‘Peat shavings, cottonseed cake, bonemeal was pressed into use. Pine sawdust was processed and added to the bread. Mouldy grain was dredged from sunken barges and scraped out of the holds of ships. Soon Leningrad bread was containing 10% cottonseed cake that had been processed to remove poisons. Household pets, shoe leather, fir bark and insects were consumed, as was wallpaper paste which was reputed to be made with potato flour. Guinea pigs, white mice and rabbits were saved from vivisection in the city’s laboratories for a more immediately practical fate. ‘Today it is so simple to die,’ wrote one resident, Yelena Skryabina, in her diary. ‘You just begin to lose interest, then you lie on your bed and you never get up again. Yet some people were willing to go to any lengths in order to survive: 226 people were arrested for cannibalism during the siege. ‘Human meat is being sold in the markets,’ concluded one secret NKVD report, ‘while in the cemeteries bodies pile up like carcasses, without coffins.” 0 likes
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