Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Second World War by Antony Beevor - Book Review
About the Book:
Over the past two decades, Antony Beevor has established himself as one of the world's premier historians of WWII. His multi-award winning books have includedStalingrad and The Fall of Berlin 1945. Now, in his newest and most ambitious book, he turns his focus to one of the bloodiest and most tragic events of the twentieth century, the Second World War.
In this searing narrative that takes us from Hitler's invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939 to V-J day on August 14th, 1945 and the war's aftermath, Beevor describes the conflict and its global reach--one that included every major power. The result is a dramatic and breathtaking single-volume history that provides a remarkably intimate account of the war that, more than any other, still commands attention and an audience.
Thrillingly written and brilliantly researched, Beevor's grand and provocative account is destined to become the definitive work on this complex, tragic, and endlessly fascinating period in world history, and confirms once more that he is a military historian of the first rank.
About the Author:
A regular in the 11th Hussars, Antony Beevor served in Germany and England. He has had a number of books published and his book Stalingrad was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson History Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. Among the many prestigious posts he holds, he is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
I will open by writing that I know very little about the Second World War. Well, I KNEW very little about the Second World War. After reading this book I now know a lot more. I'm not sure I'm happier for the knowing.
I did not sit down and read this book through in one sitting. To be honest I've had it for several months and I read it chapter by chapter in between all of the other books I have read this summer. It was too much war for me to take all at once. That does not mean that it was a bad book - not at all! In fact it read beautifully. I just could not take all of that war all at once. I had to pace myself. So pace myself I did and I am a bit later with this review than I promised and I do apologize for that. But this is the first time I've really gotten into the nitty-gritty of WWII and well, it was a lot.
The book discusses all of the battles on all of the fronts of the war. That is a LOT of battles. Mr. Beevor goes into detail about commanders, equipment and all that goes into what makes war and battles happen. I was woefully ignorant as to the Pacific end of WWII and now have a better idea of what the Japan/China side of the war was about.
The one thing that bothered me immensely though, was Mr. Beevor's treatment and descriptions of Hitler. He seemed to be treating him as a puppet rather than as the leader of the Reich. He never has Hitler fully taking charge of, or giving him responsibility for the Holocaust and to write a book about this war and to take Hitler off the hook for that horror is just egregious. I don't understand.
I can't begin to write as to whether this is a definitive work on WWII as I have minimal knowledge of the facts as I stated earlier. I can state that it was easy to read, albeit a bit slow at times. I liked that I was able to learn so much as I was reading the book chapter by chapter as to increase my knowledge of this pivotal time in modern history.
You can purchase The Second World War at Amazon.com
Disclosure: I was sent The Second World War gratis by Little Brown and Company. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.