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  • Audio CD
  • Verlag: Tantor Media Inc; Auflage: , CD. (23. September 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1400118670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400118670
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,3 x 2,8 x 13,5 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.543.247 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Overy is one of the great historians of the second world war (Bryan Appleyard Sunday Times)

This country’s most distinguished historian of the Second World War … Overy’s book is easily the best account of Europe’s descent into the death and destruction that were Hitler’s element (Michael Burleigh Evening Standard)

Nail-biting … with rare narrative verve, he documents the ultimatums, emissaries, letters and increasingly desperate proposals that shuttled across Europe in the countdown to war (Ian Thomson Independent)

Even those who think they know it all about how war broke out will learn something from Richard Overy’s book (Simon Heffer Literary Review)

One of the great historians of this conflict (Simon Garfield Observer) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is the author of more than twenty books on the era of the two World Wars, including Why the Allies Won, Russia’s War and more recently The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia, which won the Wolfson Prize in 2005. His latest book, The Morbid Age: Britain between the Wars, was published in 2009. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von bladerunner2180 am 11. Juni 2011
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
First things first: Overy's "1939 - Countdown to War" isn't a bad book by any meaning. It's written in that great essayist style I've come to love from anglophone authors, a style that distinguishes them positively from most German authors in the field of non-fiction books. "1939" isn't a grand scale history of WW2, and it doesn't want to be that. Overy's book looks at the fateful days between August 24 and September 3, 1939, and tries to give the reader an overview about who the actors were and in what kind of a relationship they stood towards each other. There is some interesting information to be found in there, for example as to how the British saw the Swedish negotiator Birger Dahlerus, who - as a friend of Göring - tried via shuttle diplomacy between London and Berlin to prevent the outbreak of war. Another example is the strenous relationship between the French Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister, Bonnet.

That being said, the book does have obvious shortcomings. It merely *describes* events rather than trying to *explain* them while in the same breath criticising the conclusions of some other authors' works who *did* try just that. "1939" is also limited in more than just one way. Describing a "Countdown to War" while - consciously - leaving out the very steps that ignited said countdown makes for an exercise in disjointed reading. It's hard to get to terms with events when the actions that lead to them - the British guarantee of spring 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact & and Soviet-Allied discussions preceeding it - are pretty much ignored.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 22 Rezensionen
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Masterful 15. November 2010
Von Jeff - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Richard Overy's latest great book is a short book about a short, but very important period of time, the two weeks right before WW II started with the Nazi invasion of Poland.

We're taught today that the invasion of Poland was inevitable, Hitler was continuously resolute, and that there was little to be done or was done to stop the invasion.

Wrong, wrong, and wrong as Overy demonstrates. In fact, the invasion was postponed once, a number of very prominent Nazis were looking for a way out, Stalin was on the fence, Mussolini washed his hands of the whole thing, and there was almost continuous shuttle diplomacy up to and even a few days after the invasion on September 1. He renders this was a pace and economy that moves the reader along quickly, with just the right amount of detail.

Most WW II books are long because the war was long and global in scope. Overy has a knack for asking a basic question we think we know the answer to, and then demonstrating that at a minimum there is a lot we don't know, and doing it tersely and effectively. He did this before in his excellent 'Why the Allies Won' and he has done just as good a job here with 1939.

If you're a history buff, you'll love this book. It would be an ideal book for the holidays for anyone else interested in diplomacy, WW II, Nazi Germany, or the intersection of politics and war.

30 von 37 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Too short to bite 26. Dezember 2009
Von D. Halliday - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This short book concentrates very specifically on politics a few days either side of the German attack on Poland and on the expectations of the leadership of Germany, Poland, France and Britain.

The style achieves a balance between being easily readable and rigorous.

The author's thesis is that rather than the outbreak of a general war being foreordained, both sides suspected the other of bluffing. Hitler wanted only a local war (against Poland) in 1939 and given his earlier diplomatic successes, thought France and Britain would back down. France and Britain assumed that against their slightly bigger combined war potential, Germany would not be so rash as to seriously follow through with a full scale war and Hitler could be made to back down by their warning that they would honour their pledge to protect Poland. He emphasises the role of personality, exhaustion and intuition in the diplomatic exchanges leading up to the eventual allied declarations of war.

The focus is likely to be too narrow for those with a casual interest in WWII. But for those with a deeper interest, this book is unsatisfying. Even with its narrow focus, it's so short that it leaves out relevant detail available from more general books. Another shortcoming is the absence of a timeline to make the narrative easier to follow.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The flexibility of history 13. Juli 2011
Von S. Smith-Peter - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is an interesting short look at the days leading up to the outbreak of WWII. When looking at history at this level of detail, the reader is able to feel how things might have gone differently. The hero of the book, quite unexpectedly, is Neville Chamberlain. Overy argues that Chamberlain felt personally betrayed by Hitler's response to Munich and was staunch in making the invasion of Poland the trigger for a general war. Hitler, it seems, really believed that Poland would be yet another in the series of regional wars that he had fought and won. The villain of the book (aside from Hitler of course) is the French foreign minister, Georges Bonnet, who does all he can to delay the declaration of war.

Overy's point is that the declaration of war was not inevitable and that it was possible - and Hitler was betting on it - that Hitler might have been allowed to take Poland like he did Czechoslovakia. Although not a massive book, it is tightly argued and written in an engaging way.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The drift toward war. 9. August 2011
Von Kevin M Quigg - Veröffentlicht auf
Although this is a short book, it shows that WWII didn't just happen. The French and British understood after Germany took the Czech Republic that Hitler couldn't be trusted. At the other extreme, Hitler thought he could manuever the British and French into not going to war with Germany over Poland. Chamberlain and the French would negotiate but not to Hitler's desire on Danzig and the Polish Corredor. Ultimately, both groups miscalculated.

This is an interesting and short read about the actual coming of war. Although it could have been longer, the analysis was right on. This is a solid read.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Perhaps Too Brief a "Brief Introduction"? 4. Februar 2015
Von Arnold E. Bjorn - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In this slim volume, numbering slightly less than two hundred pages, Richard Overy treads on mostly familiar ground, analyzing the diplomacy surrounding the outbreak of World War II. His treatment covers the period from August 24 to September 3, in addition to an introductory chapter outlining previous developments and recent events.

To begin with its virtues, "1939" relies comparatively heavily on original documents, in addition to the otherwise often recycled secondary sources, at least insofar as the British side is concerned. The notes show many references to public archives and private papers. There is little that is "new" in a revolutionary sense, but the selection is done with care. The same is also true of many interesting little details culled from previous accounts, such as the story of the King of England. According to his biographer, he was out hunting when the news began to flow in of storm clouds gathering over the continent; he was supposedly most annoyed with the scoundrel Hitler for ruining his fun and forcing him to go back to London!

Somewhat less impressive, on the other hand, is the treatment of the French and (above all) German sides, which is based entirely on published works, and frequently Anglophone ones rather than ones by authors native to the respective countries. For example, to express the reactions in Germany when war was drawing near, Overy does not use the Germans' own voluminous surveys of public opinion for internal government use (published in their entirety after the war as the "Meldungen aus dem Reich"); instead he quotes the American journalist William Shirer's private impressions. The diplomacy of Poland, a country which surely played a major role in the crisis, is sketched only as a bare outline. Perhaps this was inevitable, given the limited space at the author's disposal, but the impression it leaves is certainly one of significant Anglocentrism.

The greatest single failing of "1939" is its complete ignorance of the American dimension of the outbreak of the war. Overy attempts to explain the Chamberlain government's sudden turn from appeasement to confrontation in the spring of 1939 as merely the product of Prime Minister Chamberlain's wounded pride over the failure of the Munich settlement. But this explanation is unconvincing in light of the available evidence. The true cause of Chamberlain's and Daladier's unconditional support of Poland in the German-Polish dispute over Danzig was rather a great exertion of pressure from across the Atlantic, specifically from President Roosevelt and his ambassador William Bullitt, who wanted an Anglo-French war against Germany in 1939. Historian Robert Herzstein summarizes:

"In the bitter words of [US Ambassador to Britain] Joseph P. Kennedy, uttered at a later time, 'neither the French nor the British would have made Poland a cause of war if it had not been for the constant needling from Washington.' On another occasion, Kennedy blamed Bullitt for the outbreak of hostilities. Polish and French documents bear out much of Kennedy's charge." ("Roosevelt and Hitler: Prelude To War" (1989), p. 297)

It is understandable that Overy does not make this belligerent Trans-Atlantic diplomacy his main focus, but it is not acceptable to simply leave out this vital fact when one is writing a general overview of the outbreak of the war. By blaming only European statesmen, he offers a very skewed picture of the actual course of events.

Another weakness of his book is Overy's uncritical acceptance of several documents of very dubious provenance. For example, the so-called "diary" of Major Gerhard Engel is cited, without even noting that this book was actually written up after the war, years after the events it notionally records, and contain numerous demonstrable anachronisms and other errors. (See my review.) Similarly, Overy approvingly cites the absurd piece of Soviet propaganda issued in English translation under the title "The Hitler Book" (edited by Eberle and Uhl) in several places.

In short, then: This thin little volume may serve as an introduction to the diplomacy that preceded the outbreak of World War II, but it is not the best book for this. It would seem too expensive for its relatively slim content, as well as beset by many of the usual weaknesses of works of this sort. This is not to call it worthless, by any means; a novice with the money to spare may well benefit from it. To one already substantially familiar with the progression of events, however, it is of fairly slight utility.
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