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576 pages, Hardcover
First published May 31, 2007
In Fateful Choices, Ian Kershaw, professor of history at England's University of Sheffield and author of multiple volumes on Hitler, including the acclaimed two-volume biography Hubris (1999) and Nemesis (2000), has done his research, and his arguments here possess the same reasoned analysis that he brought to the Hitler books. Not all key decisions were made in the opening months of the war, of course, and critics wonder whether the author might have chosen other events to examine, including the offensive attacks by Japan and Germany that were catalysts for the war in the first place. Nonetheless, Kershaw offers a solid primer on the war's early history and a fresh perspective on the events that avoids the "terrible bog of counterfactual history" (Guardian) so popular these days in history books. Fateful Choices is engaging, and its insights into the decision-making process valuable.
This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.