The Second World War: A Complete History

Martin Gilbert, Author
Martin Gilbert, Author Henry Holt & Company $29.95 (846p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0534-9
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
This masterful account of history's most destructive conflict explains the purpose and interrelationship of the major campaigns of the war and their effect on soldiers and civilians alike. Though the military aspect is told with noteworthy clarity and narrative power, most impressive is Gilbert's presentation of World War II as primarily a matter of organized evil and mass madness, a deadly virus originating in Berlin and Tokyo that infected victims on a global scale. That it was ``the last good war'' is a saying made dramatically comprehensible in the sections describing the opposition to the Axis. The scope of the book is astonishingly broad, ranging smoothly from Himmler's ``human stud-farms'' (dedicated to producing pure Aryans) to the importance of the Burma campaign, from a comparison of Nazi treatment of Jews and Japanese treatment of Filipinos to the SS doctrine that mercy was officially considered a crime. Gilbert is the author of the acclaimed eight-volume official Winston Churchill biography. Photos. (Nov.)
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