The Rise of Germany, 1939–1941: The War in the West, Vol. 1

James Holland. Atlantic Monthly, $30 (512p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2397-8
In this first of a three-volume history of WWII in Western Europe and the Mediterranean, British historian Holland (The Dam Busters) discusses the major battles, events, and factors important to the first two years of conflict in Western Europe. Relying on archival research, extensive secondary sources, and personal memoirs, Holland nimbly weaves the complex military, diplomatic, political, economic, and social patterns that marked the conflict on a global scale. He organizes the book by the major military events of the early war period: the road to war, the fall of France, the Battle of Britain, and the war at sea and operations around the Mediterranean. Impressively for so weighty a subject, Holland keeps the reader engaged by showing the major events through the eyes of the participants—at the strategic level with politicians and generals, and at the tactical level with common soldiers and civilians. Though it would have been easy to fill the book with descriptions of combat, Holland balances those with such critical topics as political relations, economics, and the role of technology. Holland has produced a worthy history that both general readers and WWII enthusiasts can enjoy. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/24/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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