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The Penguin History of the Second World War
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The Penguin History of the Second World War

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Shows why the Second World War happened and how it was conducted. This title gives as much stress and space to political, social and moral forces (not to mention intelligence and other activities 'behind the line') as to the ensuing clashes of arms.
Paperback, 1344 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1972)
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Every world citizen should read this book. It will tell you the whole story of WWII in reasonable detail, and also indirectly tell you how to help the world avoid war! That last point is the important one!
The division into two parts, each with different authors, covering the European/Atlantic and Far Eastern/Pacific wars works well I think. It allows for different perspectives within the one volume and for a high level of expertise to be maintained over a very wide field - too wide for a single author.

I'm about half way through the Japanese section at the moment and its helpful to see how separate the origins and development of the Pacific war were. In retrospect it seems to be only the equal inv
While clearly well researched, the book suffers from its organization into discrete topics. While this is probably very useful for someone who wishes to find out more about a specific topic like, say, the Resistance to Nazi occupation, and can just read the chapter devoted to that topic, it makes it hard to read the book as a book as there is no coherent timeline. Each chapter starts at its own beginning and ends with the conclusion of the war or that particular topic so that with every new chap ...more
Khairul H.
Chronicles WWII in one massive tome and not just the European side of the war which is what most WWII books cover but the the Pacific theater as well. Is this book a suitable start for someone who wants to learn about the war? Probably not. Because it had to cover the entirety of the war, the book doesn't go too much into details. This is more suitable for someone who already knows the general history of the conflict but needs a refresher course.
Originally published under the title 'Total War', this book is a 1000 page plus, thoroughly exhaustive account of WWII. While going into great detail, it reads more like a text book than a non-fiction text and lacks the 'human' element. Personally, I prefer the works of writers such as Stephen E. Ambrose and Antony Beevor, who write more from the soldiers perspective. Recommended for diehards only.
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