“This is the book he was born to write: a work of staggering scope and erudition, narrated with supreme fluency and insight, it is unquestionably the best single-volume history of the war ever written….. he writes with a wonderfully clear, unsentimental eye……and has a terrific grasp of the grand sweep and military strategy……But what makes his book a compelling read are the human stories……at the end of this gruesome, chilling but quite magnificent book, you never doubt that the war was worth fighting”. Sunday Times
“No other general history of the war amalgamates so successfully the gut-wrenching personal details and the essential strategic arguments. Melding the worm’s eye view and the big picture is a difficult trick to pull of – but Hastings has triumphed”. The Times
“majestic…it is impossible to emerge without a sense of the sheer scale of human tragedy…..To gather all these anecdotes together is a task in itself, but to assemble them in a way that makes sense is something entirely different….Hastings shapes all these stories, almost miraculously, into a single coherent narrative”. Daily Telegraph
“In this massive work, the crowning volume of the 10 impressive books he has written about the Second World War, Sir Max Hastings spares us nothing in portraying the sheer bloody savagery of the worst war that the world has yet seen….this magnificent book….is hypnotically readable from the first page to the last”. Sunday Telegraph
“a fast-moving, highly readable survey of the entire war…Hastings combines a mastery of the military events with invariably sound judgment and a sharp eye for unusual telling detail….this is military history at its most gripping. Of all Max Hastings’s valuable books, this is possibly his best – a veritable tour de force”. Evening Standard
Recommended for viewing on a tablet.
From one of our finest historians, a magisterial account of the most terrible event in history – World War II.
The horror of World War II touched the lives of millions across the globe. Few could find the words to describe it, only that the carnage they experienced resembled ‘all hell let loose’.
The eminent historian Max Hastings here encapsulates life through war for the ordinary people involved –soldiers, sailors and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad: Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews. This ‘everyman’s story’ employs top-down analysis and bottom-up testimony to reveal the meaning of this vast conflict and ultimately answer the question ‘what was World War II like?’.