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A People's History of the Second World War: Resistance Versus Empire
A People's History of the Second World War unearths the fascinating history of the war as fought 'from below'. Until now, the vast majority of historical accounts have focussed on the conflict between the Allied and Axis powers for imperialist mastery. Donny Gluckstein shows that in fact between 1939 and 1945 two distinct wars were fought – one ‘from above’ and one ‘from b ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 14th 2012 by Pluto Press
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Misleading title. This is not "A People's History of the Second World War" but a history of popular (self-organized, non-Great Power) resistance movements in the Second World War. It's also more of a survey of what happened in each country. For example, the White Rose only gets an extraneous mention, and the activities of the Polish Home Army are covered only in scanty detail. Finally, the author's Trotskyist ideology seems to have prevented him from covering uncomfortable cases like Bandera's U ...more
I really like Gluckstein's work. Again, as with the book on the Paris Commune, he abstains from traditional narrative history and instead looks at how the premise of the book--the two wars: imperialist and 'people's war'--can be applied to different cases. Yes, the writing is unashamedly Marxist and anti-imperialist, but it only shows there should be more books like this. The 'accepted facts' of traditional history writing are unmasked as carefully selected. Brilliant.
Jan 09, 2013 Joshua rated it really liked it · review of another edition
This is a very interesting and eye opening book about the Second World War. It paints a different picture to the one we've seen in movies like Saving Private Ryan. The book analyses WW2 using the idea of parallel wars: an imperialist war (to carve up the world for capitalist exploitation) and a people's war (for better rights, conditions and liberation). The dual character and contradictory nature of the war is argued convincingly. A good example of the dichotomy was in Greece where the local re ...more
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“Despite its fascist government Greece entered the Second World War on the Allied side because Italy invaded what it thought was a target for easy conquest. Here was further evidence that, despite the rhetoric, rulers did not consider the Second World War to be a war between fascists and anti-fascists.”More quotes…