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Blood, Tears, and Folly: An Objective Look at World War ll

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  408 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews

Despite the volumes written about World War II, many questions remain un-answered. In this balanced and thoughtful chronicle, historian and World War II expert Len Deighton dares to explore intriguing questions, including why the British weren't more prepared for the Blitz and why Hitler failed to thoroughly support his U-boat program. He also warns that we haven't yet le

Paperback, 672 pages
Published December 13th 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1993)
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Gareth Evans
Dec 25, 2011 Gareth Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost gossipy history of WWII. Divided into short sections this book is especially strong at introducing the context and describing the technological innovations (for example the Soviet T34 amour is praised and the poor quality of its optics disparaged). This is probably not the definitive history of WWII, but it is a fascinating read. The book does focus on the causes of the war and the early stages, giving little about the later stages of the war. Good coverage is given to all major participa ...more
A very gripping read. Deighton is insightful and also highlights the drama of what is the greatest drama of the 20th Century. Even if you aren't much for history you might want to take a look at this book as it deals with military and historical issues in a very engaging way.

For those who enjoy WWII history this is a fresh look with newer information on a topic you're likely familiar with. At first it might jar you as Deighton comes to some conclusions early in the book that might be startling,
Mar 19, 2016 Iain rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-wwii
Read several chapters. I agree with those that say this work might better have been subtitled "A SUBJECTIVE look". I'm not convinced that statements like "A wiser man would have wanted to fight the Moscow battle first." (p469) are particularly objective. Similarly statements such as "Hitler's idea was inconceivable" (462) led me to wonder if the author understands what inconceivable means. And I'm not sure I've ever read a serious work of history that referenced an article in Strategy & tact ...more
Colin Guy
Feb 11, 2011 Colin Guy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently through this WW2 epic. Its a complete look at the conflict in a way history books and documentaries rarely do. It covers the entire war in depth and with plenty historical backgroung in an unbiased manner.
Deighton writes exceptionally well and manages to breathe plenty of life into a well covered subject. He brings the main characters vividly to life and imparts information in an almost novel style. It is certainly the best written and most comperhensive book I have read on this su
Chuck Tulloh
Mar 03, 2015 Chuck Tulloh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, if iconoclastic, book. One reviewer felt Deighton didn't fit the role of historian but I must take exception. Perhaps not a historian in the classical bent, reciting time lines and cold facts but instead coloring them in and while at it, luring the reader into a place where s/he can sense the physics, notice the weather, feel the aircraft and the turbulence and perhaps get just a bit better perspective of how it might have been to be part of the grand scheme of war. Even conveying the sec ...more
Mark Russell
Aug 02, 2012 Mark Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A less than hagiagraphic account of the Allies' war effort, focusing on strategic missteps, logistical blunders and self-serving myths which are part of any war effort, but rarely make it into the history books if you win. In a way, it makes the Allied victory in World War II that much more impressive because while the Germans, Japanese and Italians had been preparing for years and hit the ground having already cut their teeth in Spain, China and Ethiopia, the Allies were basically wartime amate ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good enough read which provides a very quick canter through the causes and execution of the Second World War but as a previous reviewer has written Deighton is not an historian. That said he admits it himself. Although sub-titled "an objective look" I found it a little too subjective at times. If you want a whistle stop tour of WW2 then this will provide a decent overview of the major incidents.
Feb 14, 2009 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with patient interest in History's study.
Shelves: war
An engrossing & objective overview of the Second Great War: from the interwar elements of WWI's fallout that gave an accelerant to the Axis' cause; the error inherent in man's military & political ideals; entanglements of each sides respective "wings" of combat.

Overall, the Limey Deighton scribed a valuable expose' that brings a keen edge to WWII discussion, & a somber word of what pitiful things cause unabridged destruction.
Aug 09, 2011 Alistair rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, military
This is an interesting read. I do recommend this book to anyone who is interested in getting a different take on WWII.

Although I don't care much for Deighton's opening summary of events leading to the second world war. His opinions are to general.

The fact that all the mistakes were made by every side and all the key decision makers, just sums up human nature, politics and war.

Jun 04, 2015 Isaiah rated it really liked it
This book talk about the United States verse Germany and other communist nation.They joined the United Nation and NATO in order to protect themselves and there citizens while Germany try to spread communism to to other axis nation.But the war end equally because there where both superpower that was equal
Jul 15, 2008 Alain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have the time to read only two books about WW II then you read this one and Keegan's "6 armies in Normandy".

It's very thick but also very pleasant to read. Deighton is at the top of his form as a non-fic writer here. I've read hundreds of books on WW II and no one, pro or "amateur" does a better summary of the whole war, with the most recent historical findings in it.
Bill Leach
Aug 11, 2015 Bill Leach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An overview of World War II and the events leading up to it. Deighton's views on what worked and what didn't. Extremely interesting, especially for myself with little historical knowledge. Good material on the technologies of the period and their contribution to the war.
Reynolds S
Feb 15, 2011 Reynolds S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent look at World War II from the British perspective. The US's involvement is not emphasized as much as Great Britian's. Len Deighton goes into great detail about the weapons and tactics of both the Allies and Axis. For such an extensive subject, the book is a fast-paced read.
The novelist is easy to read, but I think the subject is still too large for him to approach and organize. He tracks the war until the attack on Pearl Harbor. His conclusion that after the attack people felt allied victory was inevitable is neither objective nor, in my opinion, true.
Ralph Estes
British writer, years leading up to WWII in GB, France, Germany, Russia, Japan. Good book although he is prone to sticking in material because he has it on a note card and no better section - so jumps around some. And not much on U.S. or what happened after 1941.
S Jordan
Dec 14, 2016 S Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history, from a British perspective, without mercy on the men who made decisions (often the wrong ones) leading up to and during the second world war. This book will change your view of the war.
David Bird
Histories of stupidity are easy to write. The author, by definition, knows more than the participants at the time. Even the great Barbara Tuchman succumbed.

Deighton's a good read, but this isn't great history.
Aug 01, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dobře napsané, čtivé. Autor na rozdíl od jiných publikací, zabývajících se spojeneckými vojsky, poukazuje na nedostatky ve vedení, chyby, liknavost. Takových kritických prací není tolik.
Na druhou stranu autor neopomněl zmínit i rozhodnutí dobrá.
Aug 05, 2012 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Tons of fascinating technical detail and streategic oversight. Will read it again someday.
Feb 17, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent overview of the first years of WWII. A big, meaty volume with lots of interesting details and first-person recollections. Enjoyable read!
Loved it. The book I want to write. A broad sweeping look at what lead to a certain decision point. I'd like to take each episode and delve even more deeply into it.
Brian Williams
Sep 24, 2014 Brian Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot. He is very honest about all the mistakes his country made, but he still points out all the bravery.
Patrick rated it really liked it
Feb 12, 2010
Richard Underwood
Richard Underwood rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2014
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May 22, 2011
Chris Mericle
Chris Mericle rated it liked it
May 17, 2012
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Aug 22, 2010
Harold D. Roberson
Harold D. Roberson rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2015
Andreas Wiese
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Nov 24, 2016
Dave Suttaby
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Dec 02, 2014
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Deighton was born in Marylebone, London, in 1929. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook.After leaving school, Deighton worked as a railway clerk before performing his National Service, which he spent as a photographer for the Royal Air Force's Special Investigation Branch. After discharge from the RAF, he studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1949 ...more
More about Len Deighton...

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