World War II: A Statistical Survey: The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants

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9780816029716: World War II: A Statistical Survey: The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants
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Uses maps to trace the course of the war, provides command structures and orders of battle, and includes information on casualties, equipment, war production, and hardware

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Ellis is the author of such military histories as The Sharp End: The Fighting Man in World War II (rev. ed., Pimlico, 1993) and Brute Force: Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War (Deutsch, 1990). His interest in statistics grew out of his research needs. In this new compendium of charts and tables he attempts to "present a fairly complete collection of the essential facts and figures about the Second World War." The work is divided into 9 sections, such as "Orders of Battle," "Tables of Organisation and Equipment," "Casualties and Losses," and "War Production."

Twenty-eight line-drawn maps do little more than orient users to the major fronts. Most include notes that explain major tactical decisions. More attention is given to events on the European front; coverage of the Pacific theater is limited to two maps without explanation of any kind.

The "Command Structures" section outlines chains of command for all national forces taking part in World War II, including Finland, Rumania, India, and Brazil. Tables included in the "Production" and "Hardware" sections provide useful summaries of the production by country of both raw materials and weapons. "Orders of Battle" is arranged by combat divisions and military campaigns, permitting users to follow, for example, a specific German division throughout the allied invasion of Italy. "Ebb and Flow" tables list the number of units participating in various campaigns. However, it is difficult to ascertain the number of soldiers engaged in these operations, since neither this nor the "Strengths" section successfully explains the size of a German division or corps over specific time periods.

The most unsatisfactory features of the book are the bibliography and the absence of source citations. The author fails to provide complete bibliographic data for many titles, including important official German, British, and U.S. publications. The lack of endnotes or footnotes within the various chapters and the absence of annotatations in the bibliography make it impossible to identify primary sources. There is no index, but a well-organized table of contents compensates. A name index in future editions would add to the reference value. Here only surnames are supplied in the many organizational charts, making it difficult to identify hundreds of less well known people.

This handbook helps provide ready access to many essential facts and figures. However, the lack of source notations and the problems associated with identifying hundreds of people detract from its usefulness for the nonspecialist.

From School Library Journal:

YA-Although the lack of an index makes full access difficult, the vast expanse of hard data in this title makes it a browser's delight. Maps of major fronts; charts that show command structures for the powers involved; lists of battles divided into combat divisions and campaigns; and tables of organization, equipment, manpower, weapons, casualties, and losses are among the often-illusive particulars of the war provided here.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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