It began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. By the time it came to an end on V-J Day--August 14, 1945--it had involved every major power and become global in its reach. In the final accounting, it would turn out to be, in both human terms and material resources, the costliest war in history, taking the lives of forty million people. In this complete one-volume account of the war, Gilbert weaves together political, military, diplomatic, and civilian elements to provide a global perspective on the war, creating a work that is both a treasure trove of information and a dramatic narrative.
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One of Britain's most distinguished historians, Martin Gilbert was knighted in 1995. A fellow of Merton College, Oxford, he is also the official biographer of Winston Churchill. Among his books are The Holocaust, The Second World War, Churchill: A Life, Auschwitz and the Allies, The First World War, and Never Again.
Though few one-volume histories of World War II have been published in the last ten years, the 50th anniversary of the war's start has inspired new works: Gilbert's book and John Keegan's The Second World War (reviewed in this issue, p. 102) are two of them. Gilbert's is less a battle history than Keegan's. For Gilbert (biographer of Churchill and Holocaust historian, author of the massive The Holocaust, LJ 2/1/86) the movements of armies and the decisions of statesmen were ultimately the consequences of Nazi and Japanese racial policies. Thus the struggles and fates of Axis victims are essential to the complete history of war, which inflicted such unprecedented suffering on innocent parties. Gilbert uses this perspective to present the war from an original angle. Accounts of campaigns and conferences are directly juxtaposed to descriptions of atrocities and resistance. Gilbert draws his human interest not from battlefields and home fronts, as do most histories of the war, but from concentration camps and ghettoes. In so doing he reminds us that World War II was a "good war," because it was fought against tyrannies that perpetuated obscenities as a matter of principle. Recommended for all collections.
- Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Holt Paperbacks, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0805017887
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