Marcus's Reviews > No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945

No Simple Victory by Norman Davies
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M 50x66
's review
Jan 09, 12

bookshelves: world-war-2, history
Read from December 24, 2011 to January 08, 2012

Let's clarify one thing right from the start - "No Simple Victory" is not a traditional book about history of Second World War. Rather, it is a study of historiography of this period and an analysis of the reasons why this period is perceived in such different and often very warped way by different people, depending on their nationality, ethnicity and political background. Furthermore, Davies claims that if the history of Second World War was reviewed objectively, then historians wouldn't be able to escape from some uncomfortable conclusions that would be very different than the "truths" accepted by modern societies. I will not bother to make a list of his conclusions, but it is safe to say that Mr. Davies presents some very controversial views that will most probably rise very strong emotions among the readers of this book. However, it is also important to observe that Davies presents his views systematically and logically, in a manner that is hard to dismiss without at least some serious afterthought.

"No Simple Victory" is one of those books that easily can end up being prized or condemned based solely on the extent of reader's agreement or disagreement with a specific subset of views presented by the author. It can be clearly seen in many reviews posted on the net - completely different, but very specific parts of the book are being picked apart by upset readers. What parts of "No Simple Victory" cause reader's outrage seem to be directly related to either their nationality or political views. Funnily enough, critique based mainly on those grounds is a perfect illustration of the fact that analysis presented in "No Simple Victory" is, at least to some extent, correct. Personally, even though I would love to get an opportunity to explain to Mr. Davies why he is definitely wrong about some specific topics, I also believe that people who base their critique solely on their personal pet peeves are completely missing the point of this book. In my opinion, the great value of "No Simple Victory" lies in the fact that it regards the biggest conflict of humanity in an unique way I am yet to encounter anywhere else. For that reason alone, I would recommend this book to anyone who's interested in its topic. But please, pick up this volume only if you are also capable to put away your prejudices and preconceptions for a little while.
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