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The Penguin History of the Second World War [Paperback]

Guy Wint , Peter Calvocoressi , John Pritchard
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Sep 1999
First published in 1972 under the title TOTAL WAR, THE PENGUIN HISTORY OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR was designed by its authors to show a rising generation why the Second World War happened and how it was conducted. In this bold feat of compression they give as much stress and space to political, social and moral forces (not to mention intelligence and other activities 'behind the line') as to the ensuing clashes of arms. This acclaimed analysis of the causes and courses of the Second World War has stood the tests of time and criticism.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1344 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 3Rev Ed edition (2 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140285024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140285024
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 5.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Combines elegance of style with mastery of the subject....It retains its preeminent position." --Lawrence Freedman, Sunday Times (London) "A key work." --Financial Times

From the Author

Widely acclaimed as the best one-volume history of the war:
This volume, previously published by Viking in a hardcover edition and by Penguin in paperback as Total War: The Causes and Courses of the Second World War, has now been accorded the highest seal of recommendation available to its publishers who have relaunched it as their flagship Penguin History of the Second World War. The new edition, which like its 1995 reprint unobtrusively improves upon the extraordinarily well-received 2nd edition published in 1989, is a far cry from the 1st edition published as long ago as 1972 (which in its day was widely regarded as the finest single-volume history of the Second World War). The changes to the half of the volume devoted to the war against Germany and Italy are subtle but significant. The changes to the second half of the volume which concerns the war against Japan are far more sweeping and amount to a radical re-interpretation of the war and its context. Fortunately, the critical acclaim which accompanied the appearance of the 1989 and 1995 editions has proven that the transformation was entirely successful, and both the authors and the publishers look forward to its continued success as it meets the needs of a wide readership in the Twenty-First Century.

Here's what professional historians have said about the book: * "It combines elegance of style with mastery of the subject.... [I]t retains its pre-eminent position.... This massive investigation into the causes & courses of the Second World War has been extensively revised... an impressive level of detail." — The Sunday Times

* "Few written records deserve, like Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, to rank for generations to come as the authoritative work on decisive events in world history. This is fairly certain the category in which Total War belongs." — H.M. Consuls List

* "Of the large number of general histories published in the past two decades, Total War... has been the best single-volume account of the conflict since it first appeared in 1972. The new edition enhances its reputation.... Not the least of this splendid volume's merits is its comprehensive and moving account of the terrible costs of the war in material destruction and suffering." — Brian Bond & Michael Dockrill, British Book News

* "If you want a really sound history of the conflict from origins to denouement, then be grateful.... Its fluency and clarity are even more unusual than the separate treatment of western and eastern theatres, which gives a satisfying feeling of getting two hefty books for the price of one." — Dat Van Der Vat, The Guardian

* "For the student, eager to understand better what led to the war, how it was fought and ended, and what happened afterward, Total War can be well recommended." — Alan Brown, Morning Star

* "Still longer, and still finer, Total War promises to be much the best of all the books that salute a great war’s anniversaries." — The Economist

* Total War "is especially strong on Asia and the Pacific.... The result is a riveting and challenging analysis which is sure to stand the test of time." — Hatchards Guide to the Best Books on World War Two

* "The new revised edition of Total War remains such a crucial account. The book has been brought up to date in the light of the latest research." The contribution made "an impressive young historian, John Pritchard" is especially noteworthy: "Few of the original chapters by the late Guy Wint remain untouched. Pritchard has added a whole new dimension to our understanding of the Japanese internal situation and the international environment in which its leaders operated." Moreover, "Drawing upon his extensive knowledge of the Japanese war trial records and his own work in the archives, Pritchard takes a highly original view of British policy towards Japan in 1939 and a strong revisionist line on 1941.... This remains a key work." — Zara Steiner, Financial Times

* "A book that merits exhaustive study, and will almost certainly become a collector’s item... [Total War] will surely become the definitive textbook on total war."— The Sunday Independent

* "Its original insights and excellent writing make it outstanding.... a model of compressed clarity.... Indeed, taking almost any subject from the Russo-Finnish War to the V bombs, one finds a similarly clear, concise discussion.... Pritchard shares with the late Louis Allen that ability, rare in British writers, to convey a ‘feel’ for Japanese motivation and thinking." — E.D. Doyle, The Irish Times

* "If only one book were to be chosen on World War II history, this would be tops in line for the nomination: it is exhaustive yet personal; technical in its research, yet involving in its presentation. The new, expanded edition offers insights beyond the original publication and should be considered a standard reference work for any history collection." — Diane Donovan, The Midwest Book Review

* "more sophisticated, and has been much strengthened by use of doucmentary material not previously available" — Robert Key, The Observer

* "Excellent." — Dr. David Reynolds, The Independent Observer

* "Immense tome... to which students or writers of military history can refer" — Field Marshal Lord Carver, The Times Literary Supplement

* "The wartime term "blockbuster is one which could well fit this particular volume, running as it does to no less than 1,315 pages... The second revised edition illustrates how much fresh documentary material and expansive memoir publication coupled with the passage of time can enrich judgments and qualify evaluations.... This volume, at first intimidating, is enlivened by a fluent narrative style and illuminating, pointed pen portraits of ... the commanding personalities of wartime leadership.... Books will proliferate, but for those who wish to grasp what "total war" meant... this is an innocuous but penetrating blockbuster, well worth the price. Even more important, it is a book well worth pondering at length." — John Erickson, The ScotsmanSupplement

* "A book that merits exhaustive study, and will almost certainly become a collector’s item... It will surely become the definitive textbook on total war."— The Sunday Independent


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There are two extreme views about the European origins of the Second World War. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Not for the faint hearted, this 1224 page volume is perhaps the definitve work on the second world war. Focusing on the political and military aspects of the war, a proffesional and dignified view is mainted throughout, rarely straying into personal views or mini-biographies. If you are looking for a book about why Hitler did what he did this is not it. If you are looking for a book which fits all the pioeces of the jigsaw of the second world war together, this is DEFINETELEY it. taking a grown up view of the British Empire, German forgein policy, Japenese aggression in the pacific, American involvement, and all the other issues of the war, this book deilvers an uncompasionate, proffesional overview of the conflict with great style.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive 1 Dec 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wanted a single volume of the second world war and was glad I got this one. It's well written, objective and concentrates more on the geo-political and strategic overview of events rather than the minute detail of individual military actions. There's plenty of coverage too of the social aspects of the war, the affect on occupied countries and the "home front".
I've only read the first part so far - the European theatre - but I feel already I've learnt a lot more about the how and why of it all, and now have a jumping-off point for reading around particular events or campaigns. I'm taking a breather for a couple of weeks now before I start the 700 odd pages on the Pacific campaign.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Microscopic look at WW2 26 Jun 2002
Format:Paperback
An excellent book which breaks down the war in the west and the war in the east. The narrative is unbiased and goes into the minute details of the economic, social as well as militaristic factors involved the beginning, duration and end of the war. A particularily good insight to the working of the Japanese regime and the governments relationship with the Emperor and Amred Forces.
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