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War, 1939-1945: A Documentary History Paperback – 1 Mar 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1142 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press Inc; 1st Da Capo Press Ed edition (1 Mar. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306807637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306807633
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.3 x 5.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,927,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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In the summer of 1939 Hitler's Germany, having annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia with the acquiescence of the rest of the world, turned eastward towards Poland. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 5 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an edited collection of first person accounts of World War Two. I turned to this book largely because I'd just read Keegan's "Second World War," a strategic level, numbered-units-crossing-important-rivers retelling of the war. I was left cold by Keegan. This smattering of excerpts from first person accounts was the perfect antidote to the chilled feeling Keegan gave me with his "ghost units" and "divisions of less than the first quality." I kept thinking of the human stories behind those repeated stock phrases. This book is a collection of those stories. I would strongly recommend this as a book for the general history reader. It might occasionally lose a reader who isn't familiar with the skeleton of the war's events, as the personal diaries from which excerpts are taken sometimes fall between the cracks of the great events that would appear on a war timeline. That isn't a weakness; it's a strength. Those passages are sometimes the ones that bring the reader most fully into the confusion and the real human experience of the war. And the great events are well represented, at any rate, and in a highly personal and emotional way. Where the usual general history concentrates on the innovations of blitzkreig, this book gives us the matter-of-fact diary of Rommel - and another journal by a 12-year-old belgian boy, waiting in an air raid shelter for his mother to come back and trying to comfort his steadily more anxious younger brother. There are times when the narrative pauses to 'fill in' some big event in an editor's voice, and when that happens I'm jarred by the shift in tones. No book could tell this whole story, and of course this one isn't perfect. As a starting point, though, and just as a read, this is without question the first book I would recommend on World War II. The strength of the bibliography makes this a fantastic resource for other choices later, too. Very, very highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
First Person Accounts of Great Power 20 July 2000
By I. Westray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This monumental collection of first person accounts from World War II was the perfect antidote to the chilled feeling John Keegan's "Second World War" gave me. With his "ghost units" and "divisions of less than the first quality," Keegan turned my stomach. I kept thinking of the human stories behind those stock phrases. This book is a collection of those stories.
I would strongly recommend this as a book for the general history reader. It might occasionally lose a reader who isn't familiar with the skeleton of the war's events, as the personal diaries from which excerpts are taken sometimes fall between the cracks of the great events that might appear on a timeline. That isn't a weakness; it's a strength. Those passages often bring the reader most fully into the confusion and the real human experience of the war.
The great events are well represented, at any rate, in a highly personal and emotional way. Where the usual general history concentrates on the innovations of blitzkreig, this book gives us the diary of Rommel - and another journal by a 12-year-old belgian boy, waiting in an air raid shelter for his mother to come back and trying to comfort his steadily more anxious younger brother.
No book could tell this whole story, and of course this one isn't perfect. There are times when the narrative pauses to 'fill in' some big event in an editor's voice, and when that happens I'm jarred by the shift in tones. As a starting point, though, and just as a read, this is without question the first book I would recommend on World War II. The strength of the bibliography makes it a fantastic resource for other choices later, too.
Very, very highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Breadth beyond the generic "histories of" 27 Jan. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an edited collection of first person accounts of World War Two. I turned to this book largely because I'd just read Keegan's "Second World War," a strategic level, numbered-units-crossing-important-rivers retelling of the war. I was left cold by Keegan.
This smattering of excerpts from first person accounts was the perfect antidote to the chilled feeling Keegan gave me with his "ghost units" and "divisions of less than the first quality." I kept thinking of the human stories behind those repeated stock phrases. This book is a collection of those stories.
I would very highly recommend this as a book for the general history reader. It might occasionally lose a reader who isn't familiar with the skeleton of the war's events, as the personal diaries from which excerpts are taken sometimes fall between the cracks of the great events that would appear on a war timeline. That isn't a weakness; it's a strength. Those passages are sometimes the ones that bring the reader most fully into the confusion and the real human experience of the war.
The great events are well represented, at any rate, and in a highly personal and emotional way. Where the usual general history concentrates on the innovations of blitzkreig, this book gives us the matter-of-fact diary of Rommel - and another journal by a 12-year-old belgian boy, waiting in an air raid shelter for his mother to come back and trying to comfort his steadily more anxious younger brother. There are times when the narrative pauses to 'fill in' some big event in an editor's voice, and when that happens I'm jarred by the shift in tones.
No book could tell this whole story, and of course this one isn't perfect. As a starting point, though, and just as a read, this is without question the first book I would recommend on World War II.
The strength of the bibliography makes this a fantastic resource for other choices later, too. Very, very highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
First Person Accounts of great power 5 Feb. 1999
By Ian Westray (ianwestray@macol.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an edited collection of first person accounts of World War Two. I turned to this book largely because I'd just read Keegan's "Second World War," a strategic level, numbered-units-crossing-important-rivers retelling of the war. I was left cold by Keegan. This smattering of excerpts from first person accounts was the perfect antidote to the chilled feeling Keegan gave me with his "ghost units" and "divisions of less than the first quality." I kept thinking of the human stories behind those repeated stock phrases. This book is a collection of those stories. I would strongly recommend this as a book for the general history reader. It might occasionally lose a reader who isn't familiar with the skeleton of the war's events, as the personal diaries from which excerpts are taken sometimes fall between the cracks of the great events that would appear on a war timeline. That isn't a weakness; it's a strength. Those passages are sometimes the ones that bring the reader most fully into the confusion and the real human experience of the war. And the great events are well represented, at any rate, and in a highly personal and emotional way. Where the usual general history concentrates on the innovations of blitzkreig, this book gives us the matter-of-fact diary of Rommel - and another journal by a 12-year-old belgian boy, waiting in an air raid shelter for his mother to come back and trying to comfort his steadily more anxious younger brother. There are times when the narrative pauses to 'fill in' some big event in an editor's voice, and when that happens I'm jarred by the shift in tones. No book could tell this whole story, and of course this one isn't perfect. As a starting point, though, and just as a read, this is without question the first book I would recommend on World War II. The strength of the bibliography makes this a fantastic resource for other choices later, too. Very, very highly recommended.
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