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Summary

A magisterial, single volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known, by our foremost military historian.

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, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert.

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.

Read by Sean Barrett.

©2012 Antony Beevor (P)2012 Orion Publishing Group

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What members say

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Graham BC
  • Rayleigh, United Kingdom
  • 30-08-12

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.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Come for the story, stay for the voice

Overall: very good
It took a while to get used to the voice and I ended up appreciating each pronounciation -- especially the German and Russian bits.
On to part two...

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Len
  • Moss, Norway
  • 14-02-14

Inhumane Madness

Would you consider the audio edition of The Second World War, Part One: The Phoney War to Stalingrad to be better than the print version?

I would say about equal but it is good to have both as the written book can be easier used as reference especially to remind th unbelievable numbers of poor soles who died for no purpose or reason

What did you like best about this story?

The reminder of history and the madness of War

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The short story of the young Korean boy caught up in three wars

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Nor really possible for me

Any additional comments?

Excellent and outstanding

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

DWISOTT

This, together with its second volume, are exactly what you would expect from Anthony Beevor - a comprehensive, well researched and thorough account of a monumental event. Sean Barratt reads it beautifully, and it is well written, but I thought it is probably both too long and too short - it can drag in places (the build up to Operation Torch for instance) and too short to cover the whole WW2 in sufficient detail (the book acknowledges this.) Having said that, and having a better knowledge of the war since I first listened to this, I'll probably give it another go.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very comprehensive background to all theatres of WW2

As the title suggests the book is all about WW2; the causes of; the actions in all theatres; the main characters responsible for those actions and some interesting anecdotes. The book also briefly talks about the main allied powers and there rivalries, some of which were very worrying indeed, and how they were preparing for a cold war after Germany's defeat.

I enjoyed this book immensely; although a little long it's incredibly detailed. The reader will get a full understanding of what happened during WW2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration

A detailed review of ww2 with fantastic and engaging narration. The reader really pulls you into the discussion

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • YEOVIL, United Kingdom
  • 18-04-16

Chilling

Amazing & chilling overview of the worst conflict in human history. May we never spill so much blood again. Should be complusory listening at secondary school!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • james
  • rhyl, United Kingdom
  • 16-02-16

don't read the Bible read this! what are we?

you need reminding sometimes and this book did it for me . just how unbelievably cruel and evil people are. humanity is not the force for good that it should be. thank you Antony bevoor.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • 26-07-12

Superb and enthralling - highly recommended.

Where does The Second World War, Part One: The Phoney War to Stalingrad rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Excellent Audible history - up there with the rude boys.

Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narrator is excellent. This is a long listen, so the narration is especially important and Sean Barrett's clarity, diction and expression are first class.

Any additional comments?

The mix of grand strategic overview mixed with the words of soldiers and civilians make this brilliantly written history extremely engrossing. I'm eagerly looking forward to Part 2.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • F-M
  • 11-11-12

Expected more from Antony Beevor

Great run over the second world war. But nothing new for those who have studied it already. Best on the Western campaigns and less in-depth on the complex Japanese/Chinese conflict. Hoped that Antony Beevor with his detailed knowledge would have tried to maintain an analytical overview of the war. However, instead he leads us through battle to battle and campaign to campaign in his usual entertaining style with lots of specific stories to bring the scenes alive. Maybe I was expecting too much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andrei Ivanesei
  • 26-08-17

Good overview of the second world war

Mostly focused on Germany, US and USSR with very little time spent on the minor nations involved

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul Hannah
  • 25-11-16

This will become the seminal work on WWII

Truly global in its scope, any serious study of the war will necessarily include a careful reading of this work.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christian Jorgensen
  • 05-11-16

Stunning and comprehensive

If you could sum up The Second World War in three words, what would they be?

Stunning, elaborate and comprehensive.

What other book might you compare The Second World War to and why?

It is definitely the best overall history of the Second World War I have read so far. It might be supplemented with a more analytical look at the war by reading Norman Davies "Europe at War 1939-1945. If one wants to explore the different campaigns further Beevor wrote great books on Berlin, D-Day and Stalingrad as well.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Great Tragedy

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Halldor
  • 27-10-13

Difficult subject matter, great narration.

Any additional comments?

The narration by Sean Barrett is simply outstanding and sensitive to the subject matter at hand.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anand
  • 28-08-12

Not that great narration.

Would you try another book from Antony Beevor and/or Sean Barrett?

Lacks the tautness of Stalingrad and Crete.
Not enough personal episodes.
Narration was bad. Not awful, but just bad.

Would you be willing to try another book from Antony Beevor? Why or why not?

Good writer.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Sean Barrett?

Ray Porter

Could you see The Second World War, Part One: The Phoney War to Stalingrad being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Governator as Hitler, Tom Hanks as Churchill.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • 11-07-12

Great Overview of WW2

It over all of the war and you get a much better picture of how it all unfolded. It was does not pull any punches and gives you enough details without overwhelming you.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • lloyd
  • 11-10-12

ALONZO

THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE COME TO EXPECT FROM BEEVOR. WRITTEN HISTORY AT ITS BEST,CONCISE, WRITTEN WITH AUTHORITY AND VERY ENTERTAINING, I HAVE READ ALL OF BEEVORS BOOKS AND HAVE NOT BEEN DISAPOINTED. THE NARRATOR WAS EXCELLENT. IN ALL, A GREAT BUY

0 of 1 people found this review helpful