cover image The Second World War: 2an Illustrated History

The Second World War: 2an Illustrated History

John Keegan, Alan J. P. Taylor, A. J. P. Taylor. Viking Books, $29.95 (608pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82359-8

This account of WW II, though controversial, is rich in fresh perception, interpretation and opinion. In addition to penning a fast-paced campaign chronicle, Keegan ( The Mask of Command ) makes a convincing case for the prime motivations of Allied and Axis leaders, pinpoints the practical results of Allied summit conferences and defines the war's geopolitical dimensions. He maintains that Stalin's purge of the Soviet high command was beneficial in certain respects, and explains why Guadalcanal was a cheap victory for the U.S. Keegan argues that Churchill's hope that resistance forces would ``set ablaze'' Europe was a romantic notion, and that the British ``descended to the enemy's level'' in the strategic bombing of Germany. Most provocative are his comments on Roosevelt: while many historians would agree that FDR was the most enigmatic of the war's major figures, few will concur that his policies were ``profoundly ambiguous.'' Photos. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (Jan.)