A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War

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9780674006805: A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War
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In the course of the twentieth century, no war looms as profoundly transformative or as destructive as World War II. Its global scope and human toll reveal the true face of modern, industrialized warfare. Now, for the first time, we have a comprehensive, single-volume account of how and why this global conflict evolved as it did. A War To Be Won is a unique and powerful operational history of the Second World War that tells the full story of battle on land, on sea, and in the air.

Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett analyze the operations and tactics that defined the conduct of the war in both the European and Pacific Theaters. Moving between the war room and the battlefield, we see how strategies were crafted and revised, and how the multitudes of combat troops struggled to discharge their orders. The authors present incisive portraits of the military leaders, on both sides of the struggle, demonstrating the ambiguities they faced, the opportunities they took, and those they missed. Throughout, we see the relationship between the actual operations of the war and their political and moral implications.

A War To Be Won is the culmination of decades of research by two of America’s premier military historians. It avoids a celebratory view of the war but preserves a profound respect for the problems the Allies faced and overcame as well as a realistic assessment of the Axis accomplishments and failures. It is the essential military history of World War II―from the Sino–Japanese War in 1937 to the surrender of Japan in 1945―for students, scholars, and general readers alike.

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About the Author:

Williamson Murray is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analysis, Washington, D.C.

Review:

“The West's eventual triumph is the subject of A War To Be Won, a comprehensive and highly readable history by two eminent and prolific military historians. Williamson Murray and Allan Millett focus on operations but range far and wide into politics, strategy, military doctrines (why armies fight the way they do), weapons, science and tactics, from the bumbling politics of the '30s to the Cold War... This is edgy, though expert, history. The ordeal of the Soviet war against Germany is dramatically and vividly told, as is the pillage and rape that Red Army soldiers inflicted on prisoners and civilians within reach.”Robert Killebrew, Washington Post

“World War II is fast slipping from memory. So it takes a book, such as A War To Be Won...to make one realize the horror of that conflict... In this comprehensive history of the military aspect of World War II...[the authors] provide a broad view of the two-hemisphere tragedy.”Fred Slater, St. Joseph News-Press

“Thousands of books have been published about World War II, but very few have possessed he level of scholarly perspective, encompassing scale and insightful detail to be found in this one. With its penetrating view of operational strategy on all sides during the war, it is among the finest of WWII studies and the best one-volume account of the military conflict I've ever read.”William W. Starr, Columbia State

“Two highly accomplished historians...collaborated to produce this magnificent one-volume history of World War II. While they do not neglect political or economic factors, what truly sets this work apart is their focus on 'the conduct of operations by the military organizations that waged the war.' ...This is a riveting book that stimulates as much as it informs―and is a must read for any student of World War II or military professional.”Richard B. Frank, Naval History

“An outstanding single-volume history of [a] central moment... [The authors] write in a brisk, confident and knowledgeable style, often sprinkling their analyses with pithy irony, sardonic wit and sharp insights... Murray and Millett have produced a magnificent volume, one that will fascinate and enlighten both expert and layman alike. A War To Be Won now takes its place as the core volume in any library on the history of the Second World War, and it will likely remain so for years to come.”Calvin L. Christman, Dallas Morning News

“In A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War, Williamson Murray and Allan Millett have...eschewed grand strategy for what they describe as operational history. They have plugged a large gap... They combine firm and fresh judgments with common humanity; and they achieve balance not only between the theaters of war but also between themselves. Murray knows about Germany, Britain and air power, Millett about the United States and its armed forces. If they divided their subject matter accordingly, the seams are never evident. This is an outstanding history of the war.”Hew Strachan, Times Literary Supplement

“While...several volumes present admirably comprehensive panoramas of the second world war, the very nature of this approach precludes close operational analysis as opposed to general operational narrative. This is the gap that A War To Be Won fills―an operational history of the 1939–1945 war focusing on military operations, with dispassionate discussion of military effectiveness whether involving the Allies or the Axis... A War To Be Won, confined within a single volume, is a remarkable achievement deserving of the many plaudits it has received. It has a narrative deftness that will attract the general reader, operational analysis incisive and original enough to engage the specialist, technical evaluation and tactical appraisal of military effectiveness in abundance, though not without controversial, even acerbic comment where appropriate.”John Erickson, Times Higher Education Supplement

“Military historians Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett dissect tactics and operations of the war's major players in A War To Be Won... Unlike other volumes on WWII, many of which examine the soldiers' day-to-day life in the trenches, A War To Be Won focuses on the overall picture, the strategic successes and failures of the warring nations.”Dick Kreck, Denver Post

“[Murray and Millett] are military historians but take an extraordinarily broad view of the conflict [of World War II]―its political and economic origins, its diplomatic maneuvering, its strategic designs and its human toll, but above all its combat. In 600-plus pages, they zero in on the troops who did the fighting and the commanders who led―and sometimes misled―them... The writing is brisk and lively, the revelations sometimes startling, and the selection of photographs generous and revealing. This is as masterful and readable a one-volume history of the Second World War as anyone is likely to write.”Herbert Kupferberg, Parade Magazine

“The best synthesis of all of [the] new scholarship on WWII is, in my opinion, Williamson Murray and Allan Millett's superb comprehensive history of the war... There are a number of rather surprising assessments of individual commanders in the war... Anyone interested in this deadliest of all wars should consult this marvelous book.”Louis Ray Sadler, Albuquerque Journal

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