Brute Force

John Ellis, Author Viking Books $29.95 (672p) ISBN 978-0-670-80773-4
Ellis's argument, backed with statistics, is that the Allied victory in WW II was the inevitable consequence of enormous advantages in manpower and materiel, but that the deployment of this overwhelming force was so maladroit that the war dragged on longer than necessary. In his lucid summaries of the major campaigns (Blitzkreig, Battle of Britain, Eastern Front, Battle of the Atlantic, Bomber Offensive, Mediterranean, Northwest Europe, Pacific) the author is highly critical of the conduct of Allied operations, charging British General Bernard Montgomery, for instance, for overcautious tactics, and RAF Marshall Arthur Harris with ``insane insistence'' on area bombing. Ellis ( Cassino: The Hollow Victory ) contends that the U.S. Navy ignored the speediest and most cost-effective way to defeat Japan, choosing to squander resources in the Central Pacific instead of strangling the country economically by severing its access to the raw-material deposits in the East Indies. The book's pragmatic interpretation is convincing, and fundamentally changes the received wisdom about WW II. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
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