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A World At Arms: A Global History Of World War II
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A World At Arms: A Global History Of World War II

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  781 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
This is the first general history of World War II to be based both on the existing literature and on extensive work in British, American and German archives. It covers all the theaters of war, the weaponry used, and developments on the home front. Taking a global perspective, the work deals with all belligerents and relates events in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South ...more
Hardcover, 1178 pages
Published 1994 by Cambridge University Press
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John Nevola
Sep 10, 2012 John Nevola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A World At Arms is a masterful scholarly work. At nearly 1,000 pages, it takes on the War in all its nuances. From a geographical viewpoint, it deals with events in countries not normally referenced in most works; i.e. Brazil and India. This single volume book also deals with all aspects of this global war including politics, finance, manufacturing, construction, medicine, military strategy and combat operations.

It is an ambitious endeavor, which covers up its very few warts with a deep and inte
Loring Wirbel
Dec 26, 2012 Loring Wirbel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Offering up a single-volume history of WW2 is a daunting task that has sunk many a would-be historian. Do you focus on diplomacy, niche yourself to cover naval battles of the Southwest Pacific, or limit yourself to cartoon images of the ultimate graphic novel? Weinberg took the unusual approach of going big and broad. There's no real history of the Nazi party, Japanese bushido, or the Holocaust here. Instead, he uses a thousand-some-odd pages to discuss how the war looked from every odd corner o ...more
Mar 21, 2014 Avempace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most illuminating single volume history of WWII, and one of the very best books on the war, period. It has incisive insights that reemerge in other great books on the war, such as Adam Tooze's the Wages of Destruction: the ultimately futile and vastly destructive and genocidal attempt of a middling power, such as Germany was, to challenge the changing global balance of power vis a vis the US (and USSR). It spends time on fronts and issues that were frequently ignored at the time when the boo ...more
Albion College
Mar 02, 2012 Albion College rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly thorough, global look at the entire timeline of World War II, from what led to the war through its conclusion.

There are several things which are really excellent about this book. The first is that the author looks through tremendous volumes of (often primary) source material to discuss the reasons that actors made decisions--that is, based on what they did or didn't know at the time their decisions were made. In particular, he focuses on how Stalin's understanding of Hitle
Eric Suter
Sep 04, 2010 Eric Suter rated it really liked it
An interesting dissection of the political and military drama of WWII, with its focus more sharply on the political. I found the most interesting aspect of the book to be its careful analysis of the periphery combatants including Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, etc., their motivations, desires, and, ultimately, disasters. At the outset, I had hoped the book would focus more closely on the strategic and tactical aspects of the military engagements but Weinberg rarely delves into those issues ...more
Jim Martin
Aug 12, 2015 Jim Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Weinberg has produced a monumental work which concentrates mainly on the high diplomatic and strategic aspects of the war. Individuals who only want to read blow by blow accounts of specific campaigns will likely not find this book to be very rewarding. I would encourage anyone who is seriously reading the work to also read the notes, which are gathered at the end of the work, at the same time as some matters are only fully covered in the notes. The bibliography, while now dated, is also well wo ...more
Chandan Shivaramu
Dec 23, 2014 Chandan Shivaramu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I believe the author takes a unique approach in making sure readers are educated about all angles for a WW2 event in this book.
Its like story telling in "memento" way.. its like you are in a lecture hall and get to hear all sides of a conflict.. in a non-flinching way .. at times Weinburg's complex sentences needs frequent re-reading just to grasp the gist of it..sometimes, he skims few of the engagements to describe it in full detail later..
all in all, i felt this is one of the most engaging, e
Jun 10, 2015 Gregory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. The author provides insight into May questions I had long had as well as asking - and answering - many questions I had not thought of, Including:

Why didn't Spain enter the war on the Axis side, considering that the Spanish Civil War was considered the "Dress Rehearsal" for W W II?

Why were Japan and Russia neutral towards each other until the War's closing days?

Why didn't the USA supply Russia via Kamchatka (we did).

What was Finland's role in the war, and how did Finland relate to Naz
Mar 19, 2015 Abhishek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-2
I cannot suggest a book that accounts the world war 2 netter than this.
This work is remarkable and proves the statement "history is always written by the victors" wrong. Gerhard Weinberg is German.
The work is so remarkable and accurate as gives he the references of all his claims as lot of world war 2 documents were made public by western countries. If you want an unadulterated book to read the accounts of WW 2 this is the one.
Author accounts here the decision making process of both allied and a
This look at the Second World War is the counter balance to John Keegan's the Second World War. Weinberg looks at the war from a very political and economic standpoint. Living up to the title, Weinberg spends a considerable amount of time looking at various theaters and not just the European and Pacific theaters. The book is heavily footnoted, and well researched. The writing can be a little dry and hard to follow as Weinberg tends to jump from topic to topic. But if you can overcome that it was ...more
Erwin D'Souza
May 18, 2015 Erwin D'Souza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For someone not particularly knowledgable about World War history but very fascinated with history/war in general, this is a great book that kept me hooked till the end. Since many historical aspects of the world wars (especially the diplomatic and strategic aspects) are not set in stone but open to interpretation, some opinions of the author are (apparently) debatable. However, as a reader who is eager to learn, it's great to have an author who is not shy about stating his opinions, since this ...more
Aug 17, 2015 Themistocles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii, history
This book is breathtaking. I mean, LITERALLY breath-taking. Just try to read it in bed, propped on your chest: I bet you'll start wheezing soon enough. Who prints a single-volume 2kg, 1200-page long book? For the love of god...

Anyway. This was a comment about the physical format, not the content.

...which is not much better, unfortunately; just as stiff and difficult to handle as the book itself. Sure, it was not written yesterday but rather 20 years ago, but 1994 still counts as "modern day" in
James Hill
Jul 16, 2014 James Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Never really got how important this war was. Not only to America's becoming a super power, but the involvement of countries you'd never realize were involved. How many times we could have lost it all and what that really would have meant. Scary situation if things had gone the wrong way. Also realized why Patton wanted to drop the bomb on Russia as well. Incredible history.
Manuel J.
Jun 02, 2014 Manuel J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a reference book. It is not a book to get detailed description of events/battles but, more useful, it gives the reader a perspective on the background and consequences of the decisions that were made by the political/military leaderships of the conflicting countries. One thing that Weinberg makes quite clear is the global scope of the war, offering also a perspective about the consequences of such war if the the Axis partners were the victor party. We came pretty close to a (politically) ca ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Balaji rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2
Its a special way to end the year 2015 as I complete this great book. Its difficult to condense the happenings of 6 eventful years into a book of about a 1000 pages, but the book covers most of them quite well. Details of the treaty of Versailles that ended World War I and the Munich agreement were some of the topics which I felt should have been covered better. On the contrary, there was elaborate explanation regarding the fighting, and since I am not aware of the geography of places like Russi ...more
Feb 17, 2016 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A World at Arms provides a really nice, high-level overview of WWII, with its main emphasis on the European conflict. You will not find very much discussion of battle tactics or the intimate details of soldiers' and civilians' experiences in the war. Weinberg focuses on each combatant's decision-making, the relationships between the alliances, and the broad factors that determined the course of the war. In this way, he offers a very valuable overview of the conflict for non-experts looking for a ...more
Stanley Hopcroft
Jul 24, 2012 Stanley Hopcroft rated it it was amazing
Valuable at least for the discussion of the origin of the second world war and the colour of the new order.

Weinberg asserts, convincingly from my point of view, is that the war was seen by the Axis as solution to various problems involving their rightful place, control if not occupation of countries populated by less worthy people, and the transformation of their own societies into thoroughly materialistic and warrior casts.

Exposing infants on Mt Parnussus ? Far too inefficient for the Third Rei
Apr 30, 2008 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading the old edition, not the new one. Superb ability to reflect the global nature of WWII and illustrate the way various theatres affected other ones. Not an in-depth military history (will have to read Lidell Hart for that) but very strong as a diplomatic history and as an economic one (at least to the extent necessary to provide understanding of diplomatic motivations.) Does not hide from the issue of atrocities and genocide, and skilfully weaves them into the overall narrative. Devotes a ...more
May 22, 2015 Chad rated it really liked it
A very comprehensive history of World War II. It does an excellent job of balancing the Pacific and European fronts. Once you've finished this book you'll be able to intelligently discuss World War II.
David A.
Feb 20, 2014 David A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for the serious student of WWII diplomatic history. Incredibly well researched and engaging. I return to this tome whenever I need to verify or dispute something said or written about the war.
Jan 29, 2014 Art rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-ii
An impressive work, I can't even begin to describe the scale of this book. Honestly I wasn't sure if I wanted to even try reading it, but the pages flowed freely and the details came out without becoming too confusing. I didn't honestly think you could put WWII into one volume and do it justice. I was wrong.
Chris Mericle
Over 1,000 pages and around 100 footnotes per chapter, one of the experts in English who writes on German foreign policy and German diplomatic history wrote this book. A juggernaut of academic work produced this book that could be easily weaponized by dropping it one someone; yes it is large! Do not fear its size, only is erudition, and the excellent connections it makes between diverse theaters. Now, it is weak on operations, tactical and the military analytically areas; however, one cannot acc ...more
Jun 03, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
Shelves: history, world-war-ii
Possibly the best single volume military history of the war. This is especially of interest to anyone drawn to the strategic aspects.
Grad school...sigh...
Feb 10, 2015 Vincent rated it it was amazing
Apr 19, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a tome (about a 1000 pages), but it covers almost every aspect of World War II. It was very thorough in explaining the events, politics, economics, personalities, and everyday life during this time period. The one thing this book does not do so well is go into detail about the battles. They are described in a very global or general fashion. So if you want to read about battles, you may want to try another source, but if you want to know EVERYTHING else, I found this book very entert ...more
Joel Simon
Nov 27, 2007 Joel Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
This is the definitive one volume work putting forth the global perspective and impact of WWII. It took me a very long time to read but it was worth it. You could read every last bit of it, or use it as a reference (I chose the former). This book is well-written and gives tremendous detail. Its only failing, in my view, is that it was hard to stick with it enthusiastically the whole time because of its length.
Sep 02, 2008 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is can probably be considered the seminal book on the history of the second world war. I was turned on to this book by one of the history professors at Dartmouth. Besides the depth of this book it is unique in that it explains and examines all the players involved in the war and how their actions were shaped by the other players.
I have read hundreds of books on WWII and this is by far the best.
Provided a good background on the military swings of WWII. Lacked detail and left me wanting to read more about some of the major campaigns, etc. There was a lack of character development or identity, so there was no real feeling of a "story." All in all, the book provided me with what I was looking for - an overview of the war and I would recommend it.
Jun 05, 2011 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful read. Though it is heavy enough to use in any gym to get a workout it is actually a fast and easy read. Weinberg describes World War II in an easy manner which lets the reader learn about the war without being overcome with the enormity of the war.
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Gerhard Ludwig Weinberg is a German-born American diplomatic and military historian noted for his studies in the history of World War II. Weinberg currently is the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a member of the history faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1974
More about Gerhard L. Weinberg...

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