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The Road to War [Paperback]

R. J. Overy , Andrew Wheatcroft
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Oct 1999
Without resort to hindsight, this study looks at why the world's greatest powers were at war 60 years ago. It aims to recapture the concerns, anxieties and prejudices of the statesmen of the 30s and the people they led.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (28 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014028530X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140285307
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,302,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Richard Overy brilliantly charts The Road to War'Piers Brendon, Mail on Sunday

Book Description

A revised and updated edition of a classic history book exploring the beginnings of World War II in concise, accessible and enjoyable prose. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In early March in the last year of the First World War peace was signed between Germany and Russia at Brest-Litovsk. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 8 July 2004
I purchased this after reading "Interrogations" by the same author - 'Road to War' is even better. Chapter by chapter it deals with the years running up to the outbreak of war from the perspective of the major combatant nations. What makes it stand out, in my opinion, is the fact that it is careful to place the outlook and decisions taken by countries in the context of what was known and believed at the time, i.e. without hindsight.
I found the chapter about Japan particularly interesting as although many people are familiar with European politics of the period, I previously knew very little of pre-war Japanese foreign policy and objectives.
I hope that "The Dictators" is as good.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive Overview of the Road to WW2 24 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This book, written by one of today's most reputed historians of WW2, focuses on the years immediately preceding the war. Each chapter is devoted to one of the future belligerants and describes how they perceived the approaching crisis, what their objectives were, and what choices they faced. This approach is very successful in showing how each nation saw the situation at that time, as opposed as we see it today.
Although all sections are stimulating, a few are especially worth mentioning. The section on Germany makes it clear that a "readjustment" of Germany's post-WW1 eastern frontiers was inevitable and that indeed western powers themselves recognized it as inevitable. The section on Poland is very interesting and iconoclastic, balancing today's popular image of Poland as a helpless victim (which indeed she became AFTER its defeat in 1939) with a well-documented picture of an arrogant, racist state that western European states in the 30s generally despised. The chapter on England highlights the key importance that the English attributed to the Empire, and shows how Great Britain tried to defend this anachronistic creation against the revisionist powers, even in the face of its own economic decline.
The book is valuable both for its convincing general arguments and for its analysis of specific issues. At the general level, the picture of the 30s that emerges is that of a world constrained by a geopolitical straitjacked that was growing increasingly inadequate. The author argues that Britain and France, who were (and clearly perceived themselved to be) the biggest beneficiaries of the status quo, tried as long as possible to defend it against appeasing the revisionist powers while preparing for the worst with rearmament.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I concise and readable volume. 1 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been an avid reader of WW2 books for some time now and am also interested in the interwar years. This book has filled many of the gaps in my knowledge.
It is broken down into country chapters which makes it easy to follow. It is clearly argued, logical and consistent in its approach. It can be read rather than studied.
For those looking to understand the situation within the major players prior the WW2, this is an excellent place to start.
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