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

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9780743227186: The Story of World War II: Revised, expanded, and updated from the original text by Henry Steele Commanger

Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published.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 an up-close, deeply personal view of a war that was more savagely fought—and whose outcome was in greater doubt—than readers might imagine. This is the war that Americans at the home front would have read about had they had access to the previously censored testimony of the soldiers on which Miller builds his gripping narrative.

Miller covers the entire war—on land, at sea, and in the air—and provides new coverage of the brutal island fighting in the Pacific, the bomber war over Europe, the liberation of the death camps, and the contributions of African Americans and other minorities. He concludes with a suspenseful, never-before-told story of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, based on interviews with the men who flew the mission that ended the war.

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Review:

In 1945, the noted historian Henry Steele Commager, then employed by the U.S. Office of War Information, published The Story of World War II, a comprehensive survey of a struggle still terribly fresh. Donald Miller, himself an accomplished historian, amplifies Commager's work with this substantially revised edition.

Drawing on oral histories and on the vast body of literature that followed the original edition, Miller writes vividly of the key events that shaped the progress of the war, from Dunkirk to the surrender of the Japanese government aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. Along the way, he examines the war as it played out on many fronts, incorporating the memories of women defense workers, German and Japanese combat veterans, and the ordinary Allied soldiers whom correspondent Ernie Pyle called "doggies." The text is thoroughly illustrated with period photographs, maps, and sidebars, adding both to its immediacy and its usefulness as a reference work.

Concentrating on the war through American eyes, Miller and Commager's book is far from definitive. Even so, it makes an important addition to the growing library of work devoted to the era, and readers with an interest in World War II will learn much from its pages. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Donald L. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College and author of nine books, including City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America, and Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America. He has hosted, coproduced, or served as historical consultant for more than thirty television documentaries and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications. Visit DonaldMillerBooks.com.

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