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Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory [Kindle Edition]

Norman Davies
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The conventional narrative of the Second World War is well known: after six years of brutal fighting on land, sea and in the air, the Allied Powers prevailed and the Nazi regime was defeated. But as in so many things, the truth is somewhat different. Bringing a fresh eye to bear on a story we think we know, Norman Davies.Davies forces us to look again at those six years and to discard the usual narrative of Allied good versus Nazi evil, reminding us that the war in Europe was dominated by two evil monsters - Hitler and Stalin - whose fight for supremacy consumed the best people in Germany and in the USSR . The outcome of the war was at best ambiguous, the victory of the West was only partial, its moral reputation severely tarnished and, for the greater part of the continent of Europe, ‘liberation’ was only the beginning of more than fifty years of totalitarian oppression.

‘Davies writes with real knowledge and passion.’ Michael Burleigh, Evening Standard

‘Punchy and compelling' Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph



Product Description

Review

'Davies challenges the myths of good and evil that colour popular perceptions of war'
-- Mail on Sunday

Book Description

A powerfully argued, provocative and vividly written account of the Second World War from one of our finest historians.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3519 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GGSSZE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #241,820 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed thoughts 29 Sept. 2012
By Carl
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Norman Davies' 'Europe at War: No simple victory' covers the European portion of the Second World War. Davies covers the military and political aspects of the entire European War and argues that the politics and diplomatic actions of the Eastern Front were the primary focus of the war. Davies argues that the Soviets were the clear victors of the war, that the efforts of the Eastern Front are largely downplayed in the west, that the war was not one of good vs. evil, and that the west is largely ignorant of the fact that the Soviet regime was just as evil as the Nazi regime.

Davies work is largely well written and easy to read, although there are numerous occasions were uncommon French sayings, German and Russian words and terms are used and translations are not provided. A key example is the use of the German term 'Ritterkreuz', over the more common English translation of 'Knights Cross'. Davies work is well researched with pages of endnotes providing the location of the sources he has used; although few primary sources appear to have been consulted resulting in what appears to be a reanalysis of already published secondary sources rather than a re-examination of actual evidence. There is a lack of a clear and complete bibliography and Davies notes early on that he would not cite everything as "there seems no point" due to the nature of his work.

The opening chapter presents Davies core themes: that the Soviet Union was just as evil - or even more so - as Nazi Germany and that the lion's share of the fighting took place in Eastern Europe. These themes are discussed in length and expanded on throughout the book. Davies argues his point well that the war was no battle of good vs. evil, in the end there was no moral victory in Europe.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A battle for the truth. 13 Jan. 2007
Format:Hardcover
This book addresses a basic but to date un-remedied defect consistently present in most books written about World War Two. Now that in excess of sixty years have passed since the war's end fresh, un-biased books on this most complicated and emotional of subjects are still few and far between. In particular from an English speaking perspective, one is still given the strong impression that Nazi Germany was beaten in equal measure by the combined efforts of Britain, America and the Soviet Union together with its associated allies such as the Poles, French and others. The reality is a good deal more surprising than such an orthodox view would suggest and to this end Norman Davies comprehensively and in a very readable manner dispels such myths. The book is also multifaceted in its perspective giving a comprehensive view of the war as fought in Europe, (the book is not an account of the Pacific conflict). It is rare for one book to cover the catalogue of World War Two issues documented here, it is rarer still to find such matters written about in a compelling, accessible yet scholarly way. In this regard, the book is a towering achievement and must have presented a massive task to compile. As you progress through the book, Davies repeatedly demonstrates that in essence the lion's share of fighting was done in the Eastern Front where both sides employed the most barbaric of practices to destroy their enemy and to compel their men (and women)to fight under the most grisly and inhuman of circumstances; and where on balance the Soviet Union under Stalin was prepared to go further than anyone else to gain the upper hand. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Not that I have read a lot of books about WWII in my life. Better, for most of my life and during my study I avoided it. So I mainly only followed my mandatory curriculum. But because I more and more get the feeling that if I want to understand something of the contemporary geo-political situation, reading about WWII is unavoidable. This book is doing an attempt to rectify the generally held impression that the war was won by the Allied Forces. Davis goes to great lengths to demonstrate that this is simply incorrect, as the biggest and the most decisive battles (Leningrad, Stalingrad & Kursk) were all fought on the eastern front. In school and in terms of public opinion we are completely indoctrinated with the importance of the Normandy Invasion but we hardly heard anything about what happened in the East. And one can wonder the level of respect. In the Siege Of Leningrad (that lasted for 900 days in which approx. 1.5 million people lost their lives), the Battle of Stalingrad (in which 1.5 to 1.8 million people lost their lives) and the Battle of Kursk (The biggest tank battle and most decisive battle in the war) all more people lost their lives than the Battle of Normandy (20 to 40.000 lives) or even the entire Operation Overlord which cost half a million lives. But still we keep on praising the Americans for opening a front, that was opened reluctantly, and was in the entire war, nothing more than a pinprick.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to demolish a lot of myths .. 15 Dec. 2007
By A. J. Sudworth VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I put this book down with a sigh because it completely explodes the myth of a good and bad side to WW2
I'd always been told that this was a war against the evil Nazis - but in fact a) we didn't do the majority of the fighting against the Nazis
b) the methods of our premier ally in the war was every bit as bad as what we fighting against (I clear case of 'they may be ********, but they are our ...'

Stalin may well have been right, in that England bought the time, the US the money and the USSR the blood' to the fight but the whole book just leaves you with a very nasty taste in your mouth, not just about the war but the methods used by the protagonists in pursuit of their aims

The image of two sides in the European war is demolished - there were qute clearly three on this evidence and the Allies had very different aims.
Its also quite clear that the battles that destroyed the German ability to attack were not fought by the US and UK - the USSR are shown to have destroyed that capability at Kursk and we should acknowledge that effort for the turning point that it was

The worst part of this book is not the campaigns but all the associated activity around the occupation of countries , police , summary justice, race murder and so on.

The Germans needed to be stopped - I still think that is a fact
But it was the USSR that did most the work in Europe and what the UK and US were unable to stop was the partition of Europe after the war that took another 50 years to change.

In fact the most chilling part of the book is the suggestion that the second world war was just the second military phase of a power struggle in Europe that lasted from 1914 to 1990

An excellent read with some uncomfortable conclusions
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent narrative undermined by a number of errors
There are many good books about the Word War II. This one is worth of attention for the provocative thoughts and totally valid arguments presented by the author. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Igor Vos Pitannik
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear and intelligent book
I bought several books about WWII, and this one is, by far, the best. It gives the reader the intelligence of the war, instead of overburdening him with details. Thanks Mr. Read more
Published on 15 May 2012 by Hellix
5.0 out of 5 stars The best single volume history of the Second World War
I've read many, many books on the Second World War and I must say that this is possibly the best single volume account of it. Read more
Published on 8 Jan. 2012 by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory (Paperback)
I've read a couple of books by Norman Davies, and heard him discuss the subjects he writes about on radio programmes. Read more
Published on 30 Dec. 2011 by Mr. R. J. Bogusz
3.0 out of 5 stars Europe at War Kindle Book Version
The book is interesting though rather overstated critique of other wordl war two histories.
Hoiwever the Kindle Book Version has a probvlem. Read more
Published on 23 Sept. 2010 by Jonathan C. H. Fish
5.0 out of 5 stars quirky historian, splendid synopsis
I have come to the book belatedly - but found it very rewarding. It's an excellent introductory survey and does a good job of rebalancing the usual Anglo-US-centric view of WW2,... Read more
Published on 10 Sept. 2010 by Tiresias
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine overview, with important messages but also errors
Mr Davies book gives a good overview of the conflict. It can be seen as a good introduction with some important messages: First and foremost the primacy of the Eastern Front. Read more
Published on 7 Aug. 2010 by Jan Wammen
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Opinionated Book.
Europe at War by Norman Davies is a very good book offering a different view of the Second World War in Europe. It is well-written, fast-paced, opinionated and very interesting. Read more
Published on 22 July 2010 by HBH
5.0 out of 5 stars A vital contribution
Norman Davies has written the most important book, yet,on the War in Europe. He will be attacked for a few errors, here and there, by jealous and rival historians. Read more
Published on 21 July 2010 by Massacio1423
5.0 out of 5 stars Helicopter overview
It was like Norman Davies took me in helicopter to have an overview of whole Europe during WO II, instead of explaining the story through the eyes of only one country's. Read more
Published on 15 July 2010 by Koos
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