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The Second World War Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 880 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; 1st Edition edition (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297844970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297844976
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Antony Beevor was educated at Winchester and Sandhurst, where he studied under John Keegan. A regular officer with the 11th Hussars, he left the Army to write. He has published four novels, and ten books of non-fiction. His work has appeared in more than thirty foreign editions. His books include The Spanish Civil War; Inside the British Army; Crete -- The Battle and the Resistance, which was awarded a Runciman Prize, and Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949 (written with his wife Artemis Cooper). He has also contributed to several books including The British Army, Manpower and Society into the Twenty-First Century, edited by Hew Strachan and to Russia - War, Peace & Diplomacy in honour of the late John Erickson.
Stalingrad, first published in 1998, won the first Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1999. The British edition was a number one bestseller in both hardback and paperback. Berlin - The Downfall 1945, published in 2002, was accompanied by a BBC Timewatch programme on his research into the subject. It has been a No. 1 Bestseller in seven countries as well as Britain, and in the top five in another nine countries. The book received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award.
In May 2004, he published The Mystery of Olga Chekhova, which describes the experiences of the Chekhov and Knipper families from before the Russian revolution until after the Second World War. His Russian research assistant Dr Lyubov Vinogradova and he edited and translated the war time papers of the novelist Vasily Grossman, published in September 2005 as A Writer at War - Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945.
He has also published a completely revised edition of his 1982 history of the Spanish Civil War, with a great deal of new material from Spanish sources and foreign archives. This came out in Spain in September 2005 as La guerra civil española where it became the No.1 Bestseller and received the La Vanguardia prize for non-fiction. It appeared in English in spring, 2006, as The Battle for Spain - The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. It has been a top ten bestseller in eight countries.
D-Day - The Battle for Normandy, published in June 2009, has been a No 1 Bestseller in seven countries, including the UK and France, and in the top ten in another eight countries. It has received the Prix Henry Malherbe in France and the Duke of Westminster Medal from the Royal United Services Institute.
His most recent book, The Second World War, published in June 2012, is being translated into twenty-one languages. It has already been a No 1 bestseller in Britain and four other countries, and a bestseller in another four. Altogether, more than five million copies of his books have been sold.
Antony Beevor was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1997 and in 2008 was awarded the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana by the President of Estonia. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. He was the 2002-2003 Lees-Knowles lecturer at Cambridge. In 2003, he received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award. He is also Visiting Professor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. In September 2003, he succeeded Philip Pullman as Chairman of the Society of Authors and handed over to Helen Dunmore in September, 2005. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from the University of Kent and the University of Bath. He was a judge of the British Academy Book Prize and the David Cohen Prize in 2004, and is a member of the Samuel Johnson Prize steering committee. He is married to the writer and biographer Artemis Cooper and they have a daughter Nella and a son Adam.

Product Description

Review

His singular ability to make huge historical events accessible to a general audience recalls the golden age of British narrative history, whose giants include Gibbon, Macaulay and Carlyle. (Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT)

Beevor can be credited with single-handedly transforming the reputation of military history. (David Edgar The GUARDIAN)

A truly outstanding historian of war (Michael Howard STANDPOINT)

A British historian of great distinction and range, who ... demonstrates his mastery of his sources. (Gordon Craig NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS)

His accounts of the key moments in the second world war have a sense of colour, drama and immediacy that few narrative historians can match (Dominic Sandbrook THE SUNDAY TIMES)

If you want to understand the war as military struggle, this book is all you really need. However well you thought you knew the subject, you will learn something new on every page. (Neill Denny WE LOVE THIS BOOK online)

You feel yourself being carried along on the narrative flow, channelled this way and that through the pools and rapids by Beevor's expert helmanship. (Patrick Bishop STANDPOINT)

Brocaded with details of the great campaigns and thoughtful explanations of Hitler's murderous belligerence, The Second World War is an absorbing, unsparingly lucid work of military history. (Ian Thomson THE SPECTATOR)

The myriad pieces of this intricate kaleidoscope are pieced together with exemplary skill. (Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

This is a splendid book, erudite, with an admirable clarity of thought and expression. (Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Beevor's book is a pleasure to read and an example of intelligent, lively historical writing at its best. (Tony Barber THE FINANCIAL TIMES)

Everyone who is interested in the Second World War should read this book. (Laurence Rees WW2HISTORY.COM)

This is as comprehensive and objective an account of the course of the war as we are likely to get, and the most humanly moving to date. (John Gray NEW STATESMAN)

The book that Beevor has been building towards writing - and everybody else has been anticipating reading. (Donal O'Donoghue RTE GUIDE)

remarkably well-written and informative (Norman Stone LITERARY REVIEW)

This is the place to begin if you need to get your knowledge of the war in order. (Hew Strachan EVENING STANDARD)

This is history writ large. (James Owen THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH magazine)

Beevor is excellent at catching the individual in the flood-tide of events. (John Lewis-Stempel SUNDAY EXPRESS)

The book could not really have been done better. (MILITARY HISTORY MONTHLY)

A magnificent performance - true excitement from one page to the next delivered in faultless prose. (Christoper Silvester DAILY EXPRESS)

the whole story told in the author's usual erudite yet highly readable prose (DESPATCHES Magazine)

The heart of Beevor's appeal is precisely that straightforward narrative approach, coupled with his lively, engaging style and his use of memorable, almost cinematic, set-pieces. (HISTORY TODAY)

He is the most humanitarian of historians, and covers huge sweeps of history through the real stories of the individuals who experienced them. Reading this will be like having him walk me through the history of the war like a personal guide. (Kate Mosse)

This is a book demanding to be read. (Christoper Bray THE OXFORD TIMES)

a masterly understanding of the conflict's many facets (THE MAIL ON SUNDAY)

For as harrowing and politically convoluted as the years 1939-1945 were, Beevor writes with such a panache and literary flair, that the reader is almost uncannily charged to keep turning the pages at a rate of ten by ten, twenty by twenty, chapter by chapter - until such point that s/he has stumbled upon the end as if by chance, as if by default. (David Marx)

By deploying his keen eye for tiny detail and penchant for story telling, and then marrying them both with an acute historical investigation, Antony Beevor has once again written a book that is simply superlative. (David Marx)

This imposing history can both be read as a whole or dipped into, and never fails to inform. (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?)

This book is a perfect mixture of world history and human experience, unbiased and highly readable. (THE JOURNAL)

As we have come to expect from this master, he excels at using eye-witness testimony to illustrate how mankind can be capable of both terrible cruelty and astonishing courage. (Andrew Rawnsley THE OBSERVER)

global history at its grandest and best (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

the most incredibly detailed research (Chris Tarrant THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE)

a truly rewarding account of the global conflict. Beevor has a special gift for linking great events with individual testimony (Amanda Foreman MAIL ON SUNDAY)

In his books on Stalingrad and Berlin, Beevor used evidence from ordinary people to bring home the reality of life at the front as opposed to the traditional HQ view... He crams in so much and does it so well because he can. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Beevor can be credited with single-handedly transforming the reputation of military history. (David Edgar THE GUARDIAN)

This is history writ large. (James Owen THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH SEVEN Magazine)

A magnificent performance - true excitement from one page to the next delivered in faultless prose. (Christopher Silvester DAILY EXPRESS)

This is a book demanding to be read. (Christopher Bray THE OXFORD TIMES)

the most incredibly detailed research (Chris Tarrant THE SUNDAY EXPRESS S MAGAZINE)

In his books on Stalingrad and Berlin, Beevor used evidence from ordinary people to bring home the reality of life at the front as opposed to the traditional HQ view... He crams in so much and does it so well because he can. (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ariadne on 26 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anthony Beevor's book provides an excellent and often compassionate account of this most appalling human tragedy. It is written in his well established authorative yet readable style. I am not an historian as such but as far as I can tell, from other books I have consulted, Beevor has successfully brought together the account of this event and clearly demonstrates why WWII still casts the long shadow across generations like mine, fortunate enough not to have experience of it at first hand. I have been a little surprised that some celebrated episodes are not referred to even in passing, but I accept that in a single volume like this, some events may have played a rather minor part in WWII as a whole. It is a harrowing account and one wonders how anyone who lived through the Second World War would not be altered and conditioned by it. The brutality of it as described here is at times utterly distressing.

The book suffers from a deficiency in maps (there are a few but they are not the best). A work like this could do with a supporting website to provide clearer and more detailed cartography, or failing that, at least perhaps a recommended war atlas to provide locations and campaigns that formed the contexts of the war, and the chapters of this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Thomas Macrery on 6 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm no expert. I assume the facts are accurate, and it is well told. Also has a lot of personal first-hand experiences and quotations. BUT the maps are TERRIBLE and far too few, most even lack a legend. To wit - even the end-paper map is almost totally useless! I'm surprised Mr. Beevor could allow this to occur. In contrast, his Stalingrad has better, more informative maps. For those who rely on maps for a more visual record of battles (as opposed to a verbal telling), The Historical Atlas of World War II (Chartwell Books, 2008) is about as good as it gets.
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268 of 285 people found the following review helpful By Ash Jogalekar on 7 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
The sheer immensity of the Second World War is even now, after more ink has been spilt on it than on almost any other event in history, almost impossible to grasp. The war affected countless people in every conceivable small and big way, it changed the fate of innumerable nations and set the tone for issues with which we are still grappling, and it showcased the very best and very worst in human nature. Very few historians are capable of capturing this epic panorama of tragedy and triumph on paper. Happily for us, Antony Beevor is one of those chosen few who can. In the past few decades he has established himself as a war historian of the first rank. This volume can be seen as the culmination of a stellar career during which he has introduced us to the very nature of war and its human elements. Beevor's sweeping, magisterial account of this great conflict excels in three ways that are characteristic of his past scholarship on D-Day, Stalingrad and Berlin.

Firstly, Beevor delivers the raw strategic and historical facts with a relentless, crisp pace, covering all major events, participants and theaters of war. The history is informed by a treasure trove of material cited in the notes, including personal sources such as the invaluable diary of Soviet correspondent Vasily Grossman. There are 50 chapters and the title of each chapter describes the one or two key events narrated in it. The brevity of the chapters makes the book accessible and great for bedtime reading. A particular skill of Beevor's is in condensing the most important information in relatively brief paragraphs. Rather than provide separate extended quotes from the prime participants, he excerpts these quotes within the paragraphs.
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful By markr TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a superbly written, and very readable, account which covers the global sweep of the Second World War, with clear explanation of the factors which drove events at the time, as well as excellent narrations of the events themselves. There is also a strong human dimension in the writing - the motivations of the key players and the effects of war on the lives of combatants and civilians is recounted superbly, often in the words of those who were there.

Antony Beevor's magisterial, and superbly researched, history is not biased towards coverage of a particular geographical region or country. This history explains the events of the war in each of the main, and many of the smaller, theatres of war; there is much here for, example, about the events in Asia, as well as the war in Western and Eastern Europe. As a general reader i found much that was new to me, and many fresh insights into the events of which I already had fairly good knowledge

Beevor makes clear the horror of war, and its appalling human cost, whilst providing a highly informative, beautifully illustrated and very readable narrative.

Highly recommended
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brawny Withed on 28 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Second World War by Antony Beevor is a well written book on an epic conflict on a global scale and a highly documented subject.

To take on a subject as complex and as multi-faceted as the second World War and still keep the narrative interesting would be a challenge to any author and yet Antony Beevor manages to do this in the books 879 pages.

The book deals with the all aspects of the War from the European and Pacific Theatres and their decisive battles and campaigns to the less well known ones such as those in North Africa, Burma and the campaigns in the Mediterranean region.

I also liked the way the book deals with not just the Major characters in the War such as Churchill, Hitler, Stalin etc... but also the perspective of ordinary soldiers on both sides and also the innocent civilians who got caught up in the conflict.

I first heard about the book through BBC History magazines Podcast where the Author Antony Beevor was interviewed and some aspects of his book and his approach to the material were discussed and it pricked my curiosity.

Needless to say the book is a compulsive read by an engaging author. I highly recommed it to those interested in the History of the World War Two and History lovers in general.
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