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Second World War [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Antony Beevor
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Kurzbeschreibung

7. Juni 2012
The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, and writing with clarity and compassion, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert, to the Burmese jungle, SS Einsatzgruppen in the borderlands, Gulag prisoners drafted into punishment battalions, and to the unspeakable cruelties of the Sino-Japanese War. Moral choice forms the basis of all human drama, and no other period in history has presented greater dilemmas both for leaders and ordinary people, nor offered such examples of individual and mass tragedy, the corruption of power politics, ideological hypocrisy, the egomania of commanders, betrayal, perversity, self-sacrifice, unbelievable sadism and unpredictable kindness. Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's THE SECOND WORLD WAR never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in this, the most terrible war in history. A beautifully produced hardback edition with embossed jacket, 53 black and white photographs and 25 maps.

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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 880 Seiten
  • Verlag: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (7. Juni 2012)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0297844970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297844976
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 5,1 x 16 x 23,4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 83.596 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

His singular ability to make huge historical events accessible to a general audience recalls the golden age of British narrative history, whose giants include Gibbon, Macaulay and Carlyle. -- Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT Beevor can be credited with single-handedly transforming the reputation of military history. -- David Edgar THE GUARDIAN A truly outstanding historian of war -- Michael Howard STANDPOINT A British historian of great distinction and range, who ... demonstrates his mastery of his sources. -- Gordon Craig NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS His accounts of the key moments in the second world war have a sense of colour, drama and immediacy that few narrative historians can match -- Dominic Sandbrook THE SUNDAY TIMES If you want to understand the war as military struggle, this book is all you really need. However well you thought you knew the subject, you will learn something new on every page. -- Neill Denny WE LOVE THIS BOOK online You feel yourself being carried along on the narrative flow, channelled this way and that through the pools and rapids by Beevor's expert helmanship. -- Patrick Bishop STANDPOINT Brocaded with details of the great campaigns and thoughtful explanations of Hitler's murderous belligerence, The Second World War is an absorbing, unsparingly lucid work of military history. -- Ian Thomson THE SPECTATOR The myriad pieces of this intricate kaleidoscope are pieced together with exemplary skill. -- Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY This is a splendid book, erudite, with an admirable clarity of thought and expression. -- Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY Beevor's book is a pleasure to read and an example of intelligent, lively historical writing at its best. -- Tony Barber THE FINANCIAL TIMES Everyone who is interested in the Second World War should read this book. -- Laurence Rees WW2HISTORY.COM This is as comprehensive and objective an account of the course of the war as we are likely to get, and the most humanly moving to date. -- John Gray NEW STATESMAN The book that Beevor has been building towards writing - and everybody else has been anticipating reading. -- Donal O'Donoghue RTE GUIDE remarkably well-written and informative -- Norman Stone LITERARY REVIEW This is the place to begin if you need to get your knowledge of the war in order. -- Hew Strachan EVENING STANDARD This is history writ large. -- James Owen THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH SEVEN Magazine Beevor is excellent at catching the individual in the flood-tide of events. -- John Lewis-Stempel SUNDAY EXPRESS The book could not really have been done better. MILITARY HISTORY MONTHLY A magnificent performance - true excitement from one page to the next delivered in faultless prose. -- Christopher Silvester DAILY EXPRESS the whole story told in the author's usual erudite yet highly readable prose DESPATCHES Magazine The heart of Beevor's appeal is precisely that straightforward narrative approach, coupled with his lively, engaging style and his use of memorable, almost cinematic, set-pieces. HISTORY TODAY He is the most humanitarian of historians, and covers huge sweeps of history through the real stories of the individuals who experienced them. Reading this will be like having him walk me through the history of the war like a personal guide. -- Kate Mosse This is a book demanding to be read. -- Christopher Bray THE OXFORD TIMES a masterly understanding of the conflict's many facets THE MAIL ON SUNDAY For as harrowing and politically convoluted as the years 1939-1945 were, Beevor writes with such a panache and literary flair, that the reader is almost uncannily charged to keep turning the pages at a rate of ten by ten, twenty by twenty, chapter by chapter - until such point that s/he has stumbled upon the end as if by chance, as if by default. -- David Marx By deploying his keen eye for tiny detail and penchant for story telling, and then marrying them both with an acute historical investigation, Antony Beevor has once again written a book that is simply superlative. -- David Marx This imposing history can both be read as a whole or dipped into, and never fails to inform. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? This book is a perfect mixture of world history and human experience, unbiased and highly readable. THE JOURNAL As we have come to expect from this master, he excels at using eye-witness testimony to illustrate how mankind can be capable of both terrible cruelty and astonishing courage. -- Andrew Rawnsley THE OBSERVER global history at its grandest and best THE DAILY TELEGRAPH the most incredibly detailed research -- Chris Tarrant THE SUNDAY EXPRESS S MAGAZINE a truly rewarding account of the global conflict. Beevor has a special gift for linking great events with individual testimony -- Amanda Foreman MAIL ON SUNDAY In his books on Stalingrad and Berlin, Beevor used evidence from ordinary people to bring home the reality of life at the front as opposed to the traditional HQ view... He crams in so much and does it so well because he can. Good Book Guide

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Antony Beevor served as a regular officer in the 11th Hussars in Germany. He is the author of Crete, which won a Runciman Prize; Paris After the Liberation (written with his wife, Artemis Cooper); Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature; Berlin - The Downfall, which received the first Longman-History Today Award; The Battle for Spain; and, most recently, D-Day which received the RUSI Westminster Medal. His books have appeared in 30 languages and sold five million copies. http://www.antonybeevor.com/ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Antony-Beevor https://twitter.com/antonybeevor http://www.youtube.com/antonybeevortest

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Masterpiece on Global Conflicts 27. Juni 2012
Von CPE Bach
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Another Beevor Masterpiece! Unlike so many other books on the topic the author is able to explain complex political and military logic in a stream of good story-telling. Even people 'familiar' with the topic might find a lot of meaningful new insights.

Most appreciated: it is not the usual "Eurocentric" view on the events, it is truly global. A lot of emphasis is taken on the Chinese trilateral conflict between Nationalists, Communists and Japanese forces.

Overall: shockingly good! And a 'warning' to those who like to change the world now by trying to disintegrate the European project.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen AMAZING! 17. Januar 2014
Von Richy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This book is an incredible read!!! Mr Beevor brings out the hard cold facts and mixes it with a sense of reality of what life was like in the War from the civilian, to the soldier & generals to the leaders of the age. A must read for everyone and if everyone read this book I think we would see the folly in using tools of war as "peace keepers".
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5.0 von 5 Sternen This book vs "Inferno" by Max Hastings... 12. Juni 2012
Von Lake - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
There are two interesting recent books out that detail the vast scope of WWII. I've bought both (and read other histories of the war), and can give some details as to their differences.

This book is a typical descriptive historical narrative of the war. It is great single source for those who haven't read a comprehensive history of it. It fairly and with good balance describes the political background and military events and while the writing is somewhat prosaic it is not 'dry', and it gives a well detailed overview of the events.

Hastings book "Inferno" (published in Britain as "All Hell Let Loose") carries with it a lot more personal observations from diaries, letters, etc of the participants, and clearly is written with the authors own subjective interpretation or points of view on the events, rather than being a pure description of the historical events. The writing is more elegant and provocative, as befits the journalist background of the author.

If one has no knowledge of this titanic struggle I would start with Beevor's book so as to capture the events and timelines as they historically occurred, written in a very readable manner. On the other hand if one is familiar with most of the history I would recommend Hasting's book as a source of opinionated (but supported) insight, along with the many descriptions of the war by participants that are included in his narrative and relate to the historical events.

Both are excellent in their own ways. They provide: 1)in the terms of Beevor's book a well written and accurate single volume historical description of the war and 2) in Hastings a more 'op-ed' description with personal stories of the conflict that he has derived from letters, diaries, interviews etc.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A panoramic tale of woe and triumph from a master historian 7. Juni 2012
Von A. Jogalekar - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The sheer immensity of the Second World War is even now, after more ink has been spilt on it than on almost any other event in history, almost impossible to grasp. The war affected countless people in every conceivable small and big way, it changed the fate of innumerable nations and set the tone for issues with which we are still grappling, and it showcased the very best and very worst in human nature. Very few historians are capable of capturing this epic panorama of tragedy and triumph on paper. Happily for us, Antony Beevor is one of those chosen few who can. In the past few decades he has established himself as a war historian of the first rank. This volume can be seen as the culmination of a stellar career during which he has introduced us to the very nature of war and its human elements. Beevor's sweeping, magisterial account of this great conflict excels in three ways that are characteristic of his past scholarship on D-Day, Stalingrad and Berlin.

Firstly, Beevor delivers the raw strategic and historical facts with a relentless, crisp pace, covering all major events, participants and theaters of war. The history is informed by a treasure trove of material cited in the notes, including personal sources such as the invaluable diary of Soviet correspondent Vasily Grossman. There are 50 chapters and the title of each chapter reflects the one or two key events narrated in it. The brevity of the chapters makes the book accessible and great for bedtime reading. A particular skill of Beevor's is in condensing the most important information in relatively brief paragraphs. Rather than provide separate extended quotes from the prime participants, he excerpts these quotes within the paragraphs. Even a book that is 800 pages long cannot possibly spend too much time on every single event; Beevor understands this and is remarkably facile at saying much in a minimum number of words. It's also worth comparing this volume with the acclaimed recent book by Max Hastings. Hastings's is more of an on-the-ground perspective detailing the travails and triumphs of ordinary people. Beevor's is a higher-level account that nonetheless includes enough personal details to bring out the brutality of the war. Both are outstanding.

Unlike many other works, Beevor begins his story not with the traditional German invasion of Poland in 1939 but with the Soviet defeat of the Japanese in Manchuria one month earlier. In fact one of the major strengths of the book that sets it apart from many other volumes is its constant focus on the conflict in the Far East between Japan, China and the Soviet Union whose origins preceded European events. This theme surfaces regularly in the book as it should since the Japanese invasion of China, as exemplified by the horrific Rape of Nanking, was as momentous for the future of the war as anything else. Along the same lines, while Beevor does cover major battles in Europe and the Pacific like the Battle of Britain, France, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Italy, Midway and the U-Boat conflict with verve and clarity, he also has separate detailed chapters on (relatively) minor but still key war zones like Egypt, Greece and Burma. An especially rousing story is of the small Finnish army virtually demolishing the overwhelmingly large Soviet forces at the start of the war through guerrilla warfare. Large, clear maps displaying movements and sites of major battles accompany every account. Descriptions of weapons systems, code-breaking and terrain-specific equipment all benefit from Beevor's concise style. In chapters on the Holocaust and Soviet purges, he chillingly documents the incalculably horrific crimes of the twentieth century's two genocidal tyrants, Hitler and Stalin, even as he does not fail to detail their shrewd genius in manipulating human beings and events. Stalin especially clearly comes across as an egomaniacal but calculating strategist who ensured his share of the postwar spoils during meetings with Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta, Tehran and Potsdam.

Secondly, just as he did in past works, Beevor is remarkable at documenting the human element in the war in all its terrifying cruelty and redeeming glory. All the horrors of the war are on full display here; the NKVD murdering its own people by the hundreds of thousands, the Japanese mutilating Chinese women with bayonets, the cold killing soldiers so swiftly that they resembled grotesque ice sculptures, the citizens of Leningrad eating their own children in the face of desperate starvation and madness, Russian soldiers raping every female between eight and eighty after "liberating" Berlin, and of course, the systematic, industrialized mass murder of Jews during the Holocaust. One of Beevor's more gruesome new revelations is the rather widespread practice of cannibalism among the Japanese, with both the local population and POWs being consumed to various extents throughout the Pacific occupation. Another particularly disturbing and startling fact which I was not aware of concerns horrible experiments with biological agents performed on American POWs by Japanese doctors, often with fatal results. The disturbing thing is that Douglas MacArthur granted immunity from prosecution to these doctors in the hope that they would provide detailed records to the Allies. This story only drives home the fact that the war which Beevor writes of was unimaginably horrific and blurred moral boundaries, and particularly because it is unimaginably so, the passage of time should never blind us to it. While many deeds in the war were undoubtedly immoral, ambiguous morality was also a constant theme, whether it concerned MacArthur's behavior or the strategic bombing of German cities. We are still debating these issues.

But there are also acts of incredible altruism described in here; ordinary Germans sacrificing themselves to protect Jews, hopelessly outnumbered Jews rising against monstrous despots (as in the Warsaw uprising), and people transcending religion, class and political sentiments to save the lives of total strangers. These accounts are accompanied by characteristically vivid - and at times amusing - character sketches which concisely showcase the essential qualities of major participants; for instance, Chamberlain is out of depth with his "winged collar, Edwardian mustache and rolled umbrella". All major human alliances, including the famously successful relationship between Churchill and Roosevelt, are chronicled with wit, compassion and insight. Another of Beevor's talents is in conveying the sheer absurdity and surreal nature of war; for example there's Hermann Goering complaining about the price of shattered glass panes during Kristallnacht, and the French gingerly broadcasting a song named "I will wait" even as German forces amassed across the border in plain sight in 1940. Most emblematic of how downright bizarre war can be is the story of a Korean private named Yang Kyoungjong who was captured and conscripted successively by the Japanese, the Soviets and the Germans.

Finally, Beevor does a stunning job at giving us an idea of the sheer irrationality and utterly brutalizing nature of war and how it changes everyone and everything. Fifty or sixty years after the fact, the Second World War appears like a series of rationally realized if tragic incidents culminating in the victory of good over evil. It's accounts like this that dispel that illusion and tell us that so many events were just based on good or bad luck. But in concluding this magisterial narrative, Beevor leaves us with the caveat that in the irrationality of war lies hope, the possibility that things could have been different had people acted just a little differently. In case of the Second World War that would have translated to France, Britain and the United States recognizing Hitler's ominous and growing power in the 30s and banding together to stop him. Of course it is convenient to conclude this in hindsight, but it still makes a case for always being alert in recognizing the wrong turns that human nature can take. Indeed, Beevor reminds us in the end that "moral choice is the fundamental element in human drama, because it lies at the very heart of humanity itself". This is a lesson we should remember until the end of time.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Detailed Overview of WWII. One of Many Great WWII Books 13. Juni 2012
Von Todd Carlsen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Thanks to recent good World War Two books (such as the masterpiece "Inferno" by Max Hastings) and enduring WWII classics, readers have a wealth of great WWII history books to choose from. The world tore itself apart in flames of war sweeping across planet Earth. 70 million people horrifically died. Beevor's WWII overview of WWII is especially good at filling in important details.

See WWII book list below.

Now Antony Beevor, an accomplished British historian of the Second World War (including "Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege"), has produced a comprehensive narrative of World War II that is one of the best. So much information is packed in each concise paragraph. Some of the stories are astonishing: Unprecedented combat violence across the globe. Cold exterminations. Textbook military tactics and misguided blunders. Rapes. Critical strategic interpretations are sometimes amiss or missing, unfortunately in this book, including the aims of Nazi ideology and USA's emerging influence for a new post-war world of free determination and free trade, as compared to the world before WWII with colonialism and the Versailles Treaty.

Contrasting Beevor's "Second World War" against other great and recent WWII overview books, this book has fewer gaps in details, without the book seeming scattered. For example, "Storm of War" by British historian Andrew Roberts focuses on Hitler and has "must read" interpretations, but the coverage of the Pacific is light. In contrast, Beevor's book has great coverage of Japan's overlooked war in China that killed millions and details other important areas. The bloodbath Eastern Front is covered well in both books. "Inferno" by Max Hastings, also British, tells the overall story of the war brilliantly and adds the individual's experience but omits essential strategic issues, such as the Atlantic Charter. Beevor, in contrast, is more comprehensive. Gerhard Weinberg (A World at Arms) brilliantly covers strategic dimensions, including Hitler and USA, while Beevor's book has better battle coverage but it misses the Nazi story and USA's strategic role, and Beevor's bibliography (at his website) does not include the best books on the strategic dynamics of USA. John Keegan (Second World War) sticks to the major military battles. Martin Gilbert (Second World War) abruptly begins with the invasion of Poland and hardly covers the Pacific.

See book list below. You will want to supplement Beevor's detailed book with other WWII books because some interpretations are debatable or missing. As an example, hundreds of thousands of French civilians packed-up and fled to the southwest away from the coming Germans, jamming the roads, and Beevor declares, "Once again it was the women who bore the brunt of the disaster and who rose to the occasion with self-sacrifice and calm. The men were the ones in tears of despair." Wow, that's a broad statement about a lot of people. As another example, Storm of War details how Hitler made a critical blunder in ordering the German tanks to stop from advancing into Dunkirk because of perceived soft ground and ideological neutrality with Britain, while Beevor just says Hitler stopped because his advancing forces were thin. Read other books (see list below), including books articulating Franklin Roosevelt's post-war influence for collective security to prevent world war 3, USA transitioning from isolationism to superpower, the Atlantic Charter based on FDR's freedom ideals and decline of colonialism, pivoting from Churchill's pecking at the Europe underbelly to the invasion of D-Day urged by US generals, the destruction of the Nazi Third Reich, the establishment of economically strong democracies in Germany and Japan, and post-war economic stability to prevent another Great Depression. (Weinberg: A WORLD AT ARMS; Black: FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT CHAMPION OF FREEDOM; Borgwart: A NEW DEAL FOR THE WORLD; Louis: IMPERIALISM AT BAY; Fenby: ALLIANCE THE INSIDE STORY OF HOW ROOSEVELT, STALIN AND CHURCHILL WON ONE WAR AND BEGAN ANOTHER; O'Connor: DIPLOMACY FOR VICTORY). That was a sharp contrast to the Versailles Treaty and world of colonialism before WWII.

Churchill was furious about the Atlantic Charter because he wanted colonialism but needed U.S. help. Later in 1944, Churchill and Stalin made a secret deal in Moscow called the "Percentages Agreement" or "Naughty Deal" to give USSR primary control of Eastern Europe countries, a sell-out of those countries, and Britain influence in Greece (and not self determination). Churchill told Stalin, "Might it not be thought rather cynical if it seemed we had disposed of these issues so fateful to millions of people, in such an offhand manner? Let us burn the paper." Stalin replied, "No, you keep it." Beevor discloses that but says nothing about FDR's post-war vision from the start, instead making him look naive at Yalta. Actually, the Yalta agreement called for free elections and proclaimed the freedom of self-determination, using Atlantic Charter language. President Ronald Reagan later said, "We reject any interpretation of the Yalta agreement that suggests American consent for the division of Europe into spheres of influence. ON THE CONTRARY, we see that agreement as a pledge by the three great powers to restore full independence and to allow free and democratic elections in all countries liberated from the Nazis after World War II." A great book on the cold war by Oxford Scholar and Thatcher adviser Archie Brown is "Rise and Fall of Communism," and another great Cold War Book is "The Cold War: A New History" by John Lewis Gaddis.

Here are my personal top WWII general history picks, other than Beevor's "The Second World War," in no particular order:

1. Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 is a masterpiece and the best WWII book I have read. It blends personal stories with the overall story (but misses some strategic aspects, so read a good FDR biography and "A World at Arms.")
2. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II is a masterpiece overall history with unsurpassed coverage of strategic perspectives, especially Nazi aims and USA.
3. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany won the National Book Award and is a phenomenal story of Hitler.
4. With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa is a masterpiece savage combat memoir.
5. Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan is the best book on the Pacific War and a great read.
6. FDR by Jean Edward Smith won the Francis Parkman Prize and is an excellent biography. Also consider conservative Conrad Black's "Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion Of Freedom," which the Economist called "a masterpiece" and is great at US WWII foreign policy. Consider the Pulitzer Prize-winning "No Ordinary Time" by Doris Kearns Goodwin or the Roosevelt biography by Brands. Consider the Francis Parkman Prize winning "COMMANDER IN CHIEF: FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, HIS LIEUTENANTS, AND THEIR WAR," the best book on USA's war leadership.
7. The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War is an excellent overview of WWII and has must-read interpretations.
8. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) won the Pulitzer Prize.
9. An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, Volume One of the Liberation Trilogy won the Pulitzer Prize.
10. The World at War (30th Anniversary Edition), the best DVD documentary on World War Two and an entertainment masterpiece.
British historians Keegan and Gilbert each wrote fine histories also called "The Second World War."

THE ATLANTIC CHARTER, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston S. Churchill (in Roosevelt's handwriting for both and FDR's vision and urging):

"The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.

"First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;

"Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;

"Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;

"Fourth, they will endeavor, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;

"Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;

"Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;

"Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;

"Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments."
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Good But Not Unrivaled 20. Juli 2012
Von Samuel J. Sharp - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is generally a good book that is well researched and fairly presented, but there are a few shortcomings worth pointing out. The narrative at times loses steam and is reduced to reporting which generals reached which river with which division on which date. General readers will wonder what the significance of these events are and military buffs will wonder why the type of equipment and weaponry used are never discussed. Beevor keeps most of his attention on the battlefield which may disappoint readers looking for a more comprehensive treatment of a global military/political/economic event, and his chapter on Yalta is an excellent example of how good this book could have been had he chosen to broaden his focus a bit. Other decisions, such as devoting pages to Hitler's final days in his bunker but only a few paragraphs to Hiroshima/Nagasaki are questionable.

I think this book is on par with Penguin's History of the Second World War. Penguin's volume has better maps, a broader focus, and does a much better job of addressing the causes and consequences of the war. It is also much longer though and separates the European and Pacific theaters into separate parts. I strongly recommend Rick Atkinson's series for readers wanting a battlefield narrative from an American perspective.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen A Surprisingly Flawed History 22. Juli 2012
Von C. F Fulbright - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
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Perhaps the most positive thing that can be said about Beevor's book is that it's better than Andrew Roberts' "The Storm of War". It includes nothing new in the telling, and displays a decidedly unbalanced priority of different battles and campaigns.

This is another British-authored history of World War II that devotes more ink to British defeats of arms than it does to American victories. The Battle of Crete is lavished with nine pages, while Coral Sea and Midway between them rate only five pages, and his three pages on Midway have many errors: the initial sighting of the Japanese fleet was to the Northwest, not Southwest; the Midway aircraft not only "failed to score many hits" they didn't score ANY hits; the US carrier aircrews weren't "barely out of flying school" except for the Hornet's, the Yorktown and Enterprise groups had flown and practiced together for at least two years; no Japanese battleship was "severely damaged". And he perpetuates the Mitsuo Fuchida myth that the Japanese carrier decks were full of armed planes when the American dive bombers appeared. Paschal and Tully demonstrated conclusively in their book "Shattered Sword", which came out seven years before this book, that the carrier decks were empty because the Japanese Carriers had been zigzagging for hours to avoid the string of attacks, and had cleared the decks to land CAP fighters. Why is Beevor's first description of the sublime American Admiral Raymond Spruance limited to, "a fitness fanatic"? Almost three of the fourteen paragraphs quote Japanese participants verbatim. There is only one concluding sentence from Chester Nimitz.

Iwo Jima has two listings in the index, Malta has fifteen and Hong Kong eleven. In fact he uses more ink criticizing American general Joseph Stilwell's conduct than he devotes to Midway.

He's confused about the Pearl Harbor attack. The Japanese planes did not take off at 6:05am on Sunday Dec. 8, but on Sunday Dec. 7 local time. Oklahoma sailors were not trapped "beneath the hull" but rather inside it.

Likewise he claims that MacArthur in Manila immediately called a staff meeting but then "hesitated" to give Brereton orders to bomb Formosa, when it is widely and well documented that MacArthur's staff wouldn't even let Brereton meet with their boss.

Beevor bizarrely characterizes Eisenhower as "politically naive". Ike's been criticized for many things, but his political savvy is one area most agree on.

He cites a story about American general Mark Clark having to board a British submarine near Algiers without his trousers as a "minor humiliation" and "undignified". Interesting that he chose to mention this rather than the many humiliations that the British suffered.

He even makes careless mistakes when writing about the British. Rommel certainly did not have "10,000 vehicles" at the beginning of his May 1942 offensive in North Africa, concealed by sandstorms or otherwise.

I was happy to see Beevor criticize Montgomery's conduct of el Alamein, though his sponsor and water carrier Alan Brooke comes off admirably.

A reviewer from Israel claims that the book gives scant coverage to the War in the East. I couldn't disagree more. Beevor probably gives more coverage to this front than he does to the Pacific. On the other hand, Beevor writes very little about the Combined Bomber Offensive, which tied down the bulk of the Luftwaffe, much of the Germans' store of 88mm guns, and over 600,000 flak troops, for two years. The Bomber Offensive may not have brought Germany to its knees directly, but it did help the Soviet Army's efforts quite considerably.

What was perhaps most disturbing was Beevor's apparent refusal to state that Hitler was aware of, let alone ordered, the specifics of the Holocaust. Very early in the book Beevor writes that Hitler had a "dismissive attitude toward administration," and claims that underlings "seizing on a random comment from the Fuhrer, or trying to second guess his wishes..would initiate programs." This excuse might have been useful to Thomas a Becket's killers, but is shameful in this case. A third of the way into the book, Beevor writes that Hitler "still does not appear to have made an irrevocable decision on a Final Solution" (in Dec 1941), even though Beevor wrote that "the Polish Diaspora had begun" in 1939 and mentions Hitler's specific orders to kill those with developmental disabilities.

And then it was over. After 781 pages, we get two pages that make absolutely no effort to summarize or draw conclusions.

If you don't have any other histories of World War II readily at hand, you might learn something from this book. But many other books written before this past year do a much better job of telling the full story more accurately.
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