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The Story of World War II: Revised, expanded, and updated from the original text by Henry Steele Commanger
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The Story of World War II: Revised, expanded, and updated from the original text by Henry Steele Commanger

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  249 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published.

Here are the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury. Miller gives us a
Paperback, 704 pages
Published November 11th 2002 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1991)
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Morgan Blackledge
Mar 04, 2015 Morgan Blackledge rated it it was amazing
This is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a book titled the Story of WWII.

It's a broad compendium of the important events from the different theaters, major battles and important figures in WWII.

Lots of cool little excerpts from the perspective of different political leaders, generals, field commanders, soldiers and civilians.

Lots of big insights about the extreme hardships people can endure and what kinds of bonds people can form under such conditions.

Lots of really gross, really grap
Linda Lou McCall
I thought I had "WW II'd" myself into a coma, listening to or reading more than 50 books and watching a kazillion documentaries and online videos about World War II in the past year. I was just about to pass on this 25 hour account when I became outraged by one of the written reviews. While giving the book an overall favorable review, without the 5-star rating of the other written reviews, this listener claimed that her only criticism was that the book overdid the contributions of African-Americ ...more
Jun 20, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii
This book encompasses the entire war and is, for the most part, organized chronologically. Much of the narrative, probably about 1/3, is dedicated to quoting the soldiers, airmen and reporters who participated in the various campaigns. Because of the extensive use of first-hand accounts, the book has a very personal feel to it. The book was originally written by Henry Steele Commanger shortly after the war and was revised and extended by Donald Miller in the 2000's.
Peter Mcloughlin
Reading a history that was written so close to the events described reminds me of WWII as it was told to me by people who experienced it. The history gives a picture that reminds me of how it was viewed in my childhood in the 1970s when memory was still fresh. There was a lot of emphasis on the battles and the morality of the war seemed crystal clear with good guys and bad guys. There is a description of battles about allied loses in the beginning and the slow turning of the tide. It is an Ameri ...more
Teri Pre
Apr 09, 2016 Teri Pre rated it liked it
Shelves: apr2016
This is a great "Understanding WW2 For Beginners" book. If you've only read fictional accounts of the war, this is the perfect way for you to dip into non-fiction. Since I've read quite a few books about this war, I found myself saying "I know the story behind that little bit of information."
Ali Pasha
May 16, 2014 Ali Pasha rated it it was amazing
This was one an area of history where my knowledge was weak and, prior to this, I had not read any other books on WWII. As such, this book was an exemplary introduction into the war. It really explained the war well and helped me understand what those fighting the war were going through.

My original intention was to read this book to better appreciate the history of Berlin, as I was visiting the city the following week. The most eye opening chapters, however, were actually about the Pacific War
Aug 31, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing
After reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, I wanted to learn more about the Pacific War. I am not exaggerating stating that this book gave me nightmares and convinced me that the nuclear option was best solution to end the war. Todays enemy has some similarities to our enemies in the 1940's without the the level of sophistication and structure that the Germans and Japanese had back then. I highly recommend this book to my history buff friends.
Thomas Jr.
Sep 21, 2015 Thomas Jr. rated it really liked it
You have to admire an author for trying to capture all of WWII in one book. I think he does an admirable job of giving a good overview of America's involvement. The author glosses over the Eastern Front which is where most of the fighting was but to be fair to the author he tells us in the introduction that the focus is on America.

If you wanted one book to cover all of WWII I could not think of a better place to start than here.
Feb 04, 2016 Oliver rated it really liked it
Excellent source of first-hand experiecnes during the war. Graphically depicts how much death actually occured during these horrid five years, and it doesn't spend many pages on concentration camps. There are so many battles, so many expereicnes that many WWII veterans wouldn't or couldn't share, that are now included in this detailed account.
If any questions on what happened that led to dropping two atomic bombs, this accounts for just about everything that happened in the South Pacific. So ma
Nov 09, 2013 Todd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of articles/essays, most of them excerpts of originals for brevity's sake. The collection was first put together in the weeks following VJ day, many of them having been written during the war itself. While some of it, especially the more narrative portions, tend toward rah rah rah wartime propaganda, the personal accounts of combat action are riveting. Except for the chapter on the Polish resistance, the entire book gives a pass to Stalin and the Soviet Union, including Stalin's wil ...more
Petri Loukasmäki
Jan 23, 2016 Petri Loukasmäki rated it really liked it
Great book. It gives great insights to what it was like during world war 2. From many perspectives.
What I shocked me the most was the atrocities commited by the Japanese and what that forced the American POW's to do to each other while in captivity.

I'd especially recommend this to anyone wanting a good foundation of World war 2.
Aug 24, 2015 Tomi rated it it was amazing
Excellent book - a must-read for those interested in WWII. The basic facts of the story told me nothing new, but the book is full of personal anecdotes and trivia (which isn't trivial at all!) that added to my understanding of the war. What a debt we owe those men! The things an average soldier went through are beyond description.
Oct 23, 2016 Hannah rated it it was amazing
I read this for a school project on a time-crunch, so it was more of a really quick skim, but it still had an impact on me. Reading the first-hand accounts of the Japanese suicides, concentration camps, and everything else was heart-breaking. This is an amazing book though.
Chris Smitherman
Sep 14, 2008 Chris Smitherman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to know about the first-hand accounts of WWII.
I was not very familiar with the details of WWII before reading this book. After reading it, I felt like I was a part of least as much as one could be that was not actually there on the line. The author does a great job of tying the dry history of dates and events with the emotional and gripping accounts from the soldiers and civilians who experienced it first-hand. The stories of the men and women who fought this extraordinary conflict caused an upwelling inside of me: The stories made ...more
Sep 15, 2016 Sonja rated it it was amazing
If all history books were as fascinating as this one, I would never read anything else.

This book was excellent. Its focus on a vast array of firsthand accounts made huge historical events vivid and immediate, and allowed me to get a sense for what WWII was like in the moment, without taking for granted that an Allied victory was a foregone conclusion.

It's almost absurd to say this about a 700 page book, but I think it ended a tad abruptly. I would have wanted more than one or two accounts of th
Jun 15, 2016 Josh rated it it was amazing
This is a great book and very informative. Thank you Donald L. Miller for sharing the lessons of the past with those of us who weren't there to experience it and learn ourselves. May we never repeat such a horrendous tragedy.
Mar 14, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing
Very informative book - definitely covered a lot of details that I did not know. The quotes from actual soldiers from different countries really helped show the mindset of people living through this time.
May 31, 2016 JamSh rated it it was amazing
A people's history of the war. I feel like there was a lack of flow as the narrative jumps from events as told by first hand accounts. These testimonials are of course the essence of the book.

IT is a testament as to how epic the war was that this lengthy book serve only as a brief introduction to most of the major events during the war.

This would be a nice school reference piece as you can easily seek out the stories relevant for research and follow up on the accounts. All and all a good launch
Apr 14, 2009 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book out from the library because I liked the cover and I wanted to know more about World War II. It was perfect. The book was accessible and rarely boring, with plenty of photographs and maps to make the narrative real to the reader. Much of the history is told in the words of soldiers or journalists embedded with the American troops or sailors. It definitely focuses on the American side of the war, but I recommend it to anyone who would like to know more about World War II withou ...more
Sam Bundz
Jul 26, 2016 Sam Bundz rated it really liked it
This book was very good.
Kevin Lee
A great audio-book treat! Iwa Jima, the true story of the rise of the flag; the "Little Guy" and the "Fat Man";
Todd Judice
May 08, 2015 Todd Judice rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
The best book on WW2 I've ever read. Time well spent. Epic
Aug 12, 2014 jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Often riveting personal accounts of the people fighting or victims of the war. Highly recommended.
Debbie Tanner
Jul 18, 2012 Debbie Tanner rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
This is an exhaustive account of World War 2. If it happened in World War 2, it's in this book. I liked how the author included actual accounts from different people that were really there. The photographs also helped to create a strong mental image of the conditions during the war.
Tim Glinatsis
Feb 23, 2016 Tim Glinatsis rated it really liked it
If you're going to read only one book on WWII, you'd do well to make it this one.
Weston Humphreys
A great overview of WWII. I especially appreciated the many personal accounts used to tell the story.
Samuel Proulx
Jan 06, 2015 Samuel Proulx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I really enjoyed this book; it presented not only a picture of what it was like for the people on the ground, but also did a good job of giving a picture of the overall war, and putting all of the battles in context.
Aug 19, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Fantastic accessible history of the entirety of World War II with a focus on stories of the soldiers in the field. Listened to it as an audiobook, and It's read by one of my favorite narrators.
Dec 04, 2013 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great overall book on World War II. I listened to it on tape and it was over 24 hrs long. Gives personal stories as well as the history of the battle.
David Chaney
Jun 06, 2013 David Chaney rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book. The complete history of World War II. Highly recommend to anyone that wants to know the story of the entire war.
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Dr. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College and an expert on World War II, among other topics in American history. Three of his eight books are on WWII: D-Days in the Pacific (2005), the story of the American re-conquest of the Pacific from Imperial Japan; Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany (2006); and The Sto ...more
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