cover image Blood, Tears, and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II

Blood, Tears, and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II

Len Deighton / Author HarperCollins Publishers $30 (653p) ISBN

The author of City of Gold here takes a pragmatic look at the early years of WW II, ``that complex and frightening time in which evil was in the ascendant, goodness diffident, and the British--impetuous, foolish and brave beyond measure--the world's only hope.'' His absorbing narrative concentrates on six major phases of the 1939-1941 period: the Battle of the Atlantic (U-boats versus convoys); Hitler's blitzkrieg victories in Western Europe and the Dunkirk evacuation; the tank battles between the British and the Germans in the Western Desert; the struggle between the Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force for command of the air; the German invasion of Russia; and the complex combination of events and hardening attitudes that led to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Deighton pays close attention to Winston Churchill's thorny relations with his generals, and is especially critical of the British failure to prepare for an attack in Malaya, since the peninsula's rubber and tin made it an obvious target. Americans are largely absent from the narrative, but Deighton comments on U.S. isolationism and adds a stirring tribute to Air Corps General Henry Arnold for his foresight in organizing a pilot-training network before Pearl Harbor. Illustrations. $20,000 ad/promo. (Nov.)