Part One. The Phoney War to Stalingrad.
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. Part One of Antony Beevor's magisterial history of the conflict takes listeners through the origins of the war to Stalingrad.
©2012 Antony Beevor (P)2012 Orion Publishing Group
"The Book on the Second World War!"
I have always wanted to read a book which gives a clear and accurate view of the second world for. This is that book. This never glamourises the War and it plays down the propaganda and the myths. In fact on reading this book i feel that no nation comes out with credit - just some were more guilty then others.
The book delves deep into the detail and it pulls no punches. this isn't a boys adventure tale. Its War and the worst of it.
Its so fascinating to see what strange and evil alliances the War bought together and I have never ever realised that some of the German allies were so close to the Uk. How the British had to fight the French after their surrender to Germany in some instances and how there was several nations who changed sides during the War - not just Italy.
The book delves into the reasons and the start of the War and Britain does not fare well. The brits were slow to start and let several nations down with their lack of support. France - then a super army never delivered and surprisingly fell to the Germany quickly and Italy panders to Germany without engaging in the War. America has to be cajoled into the War and it costs the Brits substantially to get them to join. Facts I never knew.
Its a big book an at times hard to follow - well at the start at least. But its well worth reading on. i just couldn't wait to get back into the book.
This book will be seen as THE BOOK ON THE SECOND WORLD WAR - I am sure of that.
"An excellent and gripping listen"
Having greatly enjoyed this author's previous work, which dealt in fine detail with some of the great set piece battles of the Second World War, I was intrigued to see how he would cope with the broad canvas of the entire war. The book (both part one and two) proved to be an excellent and gripping listen. One of the great strengths of Mr Beevor's previous books was the fine detail showing the individual's experience of history. I was pleased that despite that despite the vast sweep of the subject matter, he still finds room for this fine detail.
Well read by Sean Barrett.
"Concise, Interesting and Entertaining"
Beevor interweaves the stuff of war history - major campaigns, sea battles, the outcome of strategic decisions and the personalities involved, with the often gory detail of human suffering on a grand scale and post-event analysis which poses some interesting what-if scenarios. Humour occasionally lightens the mood - with the British General Staff and Il Duce's army bearing the brunt. Barrett's narration is excellent and he copes well with German, Russian and Japanese names and ranks. An often enlightening read which should be on the school curriculum, and read by all, lest we forget.
"Long but interesting and informative to the end."
This joined up my knowledge and then some. It is loaded with facts and figures from WWII and as much as I wanted to remember everything, just can't without another read. It's a long read but so interesting I found it difficult to put down. There are two books in this series and having read both, if you like one, you will like them both. The both move from front to front well and are well written.
"Such beauty in misery"
Beevors ability to make the gargantuan struggles of nations not only readable but also human makes this book something special. The scope is all encompassing but yet the stories of how the lives of real people are intertwined with these events make it engrossing. The narrator brings just the right amount of gravitas to the subject and somehow even manages to inject some wry humour from time to time. Overall I would recommend this not only as a scholarly tome with its impressive depth of research but also as a story of ordinary, and in some instances extraordinary, lives lived in terrible times. I will definitely be getting Part 2 at the earliest possible moment.
"A great read"
Found this covered both politics and battle details well. Enough detail given on the main events without becoming too technical. Great as an audio book as you dont have to keep re-reading details. Narrator is good - no-one I had heard of but just nice well spoken male english voice. I listen to this on train commute in morning and evening and it is helping pass the time nicely.
Anthony Beevor delivers again with this epic history of of WWII. Even those who already have a detailed knowledge of the conflict will find something new. The book is written in an engaging manner that brings the events to life. Strategic events are contrasted with individual tales of struggle and suffering. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Riveting listen, graphic in detail"
This book has been talked about and given high praise, I have to say that once I got started I found it really hard to put down (in the audio book sense).
Sean Barrett is a really good narrator who guides the listener through WW2 from beginning to end in an unforgettable book, the level of details is stunning and shows the level of research that has gone into this book.
Some of the book is hard going, not because it drags, but because the level of detail reminds you of the pain and suffering that millions went through.
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