Great Crusade: A New Complete History of the Second World War

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9780029347157: Great Crusade: A New Complete History of the Second World War

After 50 years, World War II still looms large in contemporary thought as a great crusade which kept the world free from the tyranny of the Axis Powers. How the Allied Powers managed to forge their victory, and defeat the enemy, is an oft-told story which has changed little since 1945 when the first memoirs and histories began to appear. Now, in this original and provocative book, H.P. Willmott offers a fresh examination of the two concurrent conflicts that led up to war. Interweaving episodes from the European and Far East theatres chronologically, Willmott narrates the entire course of the conflict from the earliest Japanese and Italian battles of the thirties through the fall of Berlin and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Challenging traditional perceptions of the belligerents and their battles, Willmott places them in the broader context of political, diplomatic and economic struggles that extended from the Versailles Treaty of 1919 into the third quarter of the 20th century. "The Great Crusade" takes issue with commonly held notions about the war, offering new interpretations of major campaigns and individuals and a striking comparison between the American Civil War and the Pacific wars. It argues and debunks the myth of German military superiority.

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This work stands out from its counterparts because of the high quality of its operational analysis. Willmott, a lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sand hurst, accepts Allied material superiority as crucial to the war's outcome. He stresses Axis strategic errors, demonstrating in particular that the Wehrmacht was better at winning battles than waging war. But he recognizes that World War II was won and lost at its sharp end. Willmott's treatments of the Russo-German War, the Battle of the Atlantic, and the Allied bomber offensive stand out; they combine clear discussions of events with stimulating, controversial interpretive frameworks. U.S. readers will also welcome the balanced presentation of a Pacific theater that most British historians tend to dismiss as a sideshow. The Great Crusade compares favorably with John Keegan's The Second World War ( LJ 11/1/89), and deserves a place in both public and university libraries.
-Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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