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World War Two: A Short History [Kindle Edition]

Norman Stone
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A pacy, compelling and penetrating account from Wolfson Prize-winning author Norman Stone, that shows World War Two in a fresh new light



The Second World War is the nightmare that sits at the heart of the modern era - a total refutation of any notion of human progress and a conflict which still haunts us seventy years on.



Norman Stone's gripping new book aims to tell the narrative of the war in as brief a compass as possible, making a sometimes familiar story utterly fresh and arresting. As with his highly acclaimed World War One: A Short History, there is a compelling sense of a terrible story unfolding, of a sceptical and humorous intelligence at work, and a wish to convey to an audience who may well have no memory of the conflict just how high the stakes were.



This is a beautifully written, clever and imaginative attempt to convey what can almost not be conveyed.



About the author:



Norman Stone is one of Britain's greatest historians. His major works include The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 (winner of the Wolfson Prize and published by Penguin), Europe Transformed and The Atlantic and Its Enemies (published by Penguin). He has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bilkent, where he is now Director of the Turkish-Russian Centre. He lives in Ankara.



Reviews:



'Professor Norman Stone has achieved the impossible; he has somehow written a comprehensive history of the Second World War in just under 200 pages, summarising the entire conflict while leaving out nothing of importance and bringing his lifetime of study of the subject to bear in a witty, incisive and immensely readable way ... Norman Stone has proved yet again that he is one of the most original, witty and powerful British historians writing today' Andrew Roberts, Standpoint



'The joy and strength of this compact history, besides its trenchancy and, in the publishers' words, the "sceptical and humorous intelligence at work", is its narrative clarity ... a book to clear the mind after the grand tour of the big volumes' Allan Mallinson, The Times



'Novices will receive a painless introduction, but educated readers should not pass up the highly opinionated prologue and epilogue and the author's trademark acerbic commentary throughout ... Readers of all stripes ... will find plenty to ponder' Kirkus Reviews


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Review

Professor Norman Stone has achieved the impossible; he has somehow written a comprehensive history of the Second World War in just under 200 pages, summarising the entire conflict while leaving out nothing of importance and bringing his lifetime of study of the subject to bear in a witty, incisive and immensely readable way ... Norman Stone has proved yet again that he is one of the most original, witty and powerful British historians writing today (Andrew Roberts Standpoint)

The joy and strength of this compact history, besides its trenchancy and, in the publishers' words, the "sceptical and humorous intelligence at work", is its narrative clarity ... a book to clear the mind (Allan Mallinson The Times)

Novices will receive a painless introduction, but educated readers should not pass up the highly opinionated prologue and epilogue and the author's trademark acerbic commentary throughout ... Readers of all stripes ... will find plenty to ponder (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

Norman Stone is one of Britain's greatest historians. His major works include The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 (winner of the Wolfson Prize and published by Penguin), Europe Transformed and The Atlantic and Its Enemies (published by Penguin). He has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bilkent, where he is now Director of the Turkish-Russian Centre. He lives in Ankara.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3722 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846141397
  • Publisher: Penguin (8 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141037148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141037141
  • ASIN: B00AFLLUNA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #169,383 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By William Fross VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a brief, gripping account of the second world war in under 300 pages. Stone is a good writer: I stormed through the book in just a few days and enjoyed it hugely. As a Brit with basic knowledge of the war, having picked up details over the years about various events - say the Blitz, Dunkirk, D-Day, Pearl Harbor, Stalingrad - it was satisfying to read a clear narrative to put everything in place.

I only discovered the three maps after I finished reading: they are printed at the back of the book. If I had realised they were there it would have helped me to understand some of the detail, particularly Hitler's war on the eastern front, but it is testament to Stone's clarity that I was able to understand and appreciate the narrative without feeling the need to refer to any maps to guide me. (Any fault is mine - the maps are mentioned in the table of contents.)

I would highly recommend this book. For people with only a vague understanding of the big picture, like me, it is gripping and informative; it also seems from other reviews that historians are enjoying Stone's attempt to summarise a complex period in such a short book. And on top of all that, he has some cracking anecdotes!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Level History 25 Mar. 2013
By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an admirably short book which (as Pascal might have said) must have taken a long time to write. It endeavours to cover the beginnings, course and end of the most destructive war we have yet had. In doing this it must detach (mostly) from tanks, mines and calibres, and rise to economies, vast distances and the unbalancing effect of Big Men. As such of course it invites the reader to argue back; was, for example, Bomber Command the waste of resources that Stone believes? I read it in two bites and probably spent more time thinking about it than reading. In a topic where we know so much (but not necessarily in the right order) it is most interesting to lift above the Brownian motion to discern the trends. Stone is, of course, an academic cheeky-chappie not afraid to tweak noses. I did, however, find his dedication of the volume both touching and historically appropriate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A skilful introduction to World War Two. 5 Feb. 2013
By Uncle Barbar TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a great little book if you don't know a lot about WW2 and want to "dip your toes" into the subject before getting to grips with a meatier volume or more on the subject.

I was a little disappointed with the introduction chapter though. I am unsure that 25 pages of introduction which sort of summarises the whole period from Bismarck and the unification of Germany to the end of the Second World War. I think the book would have benefitted from the introduction putting more detail into that unification, the causes of WW1, the course of WW1 and Versailles before the book started proper. Yes they are mentioned, but more detail here would have been a much better intro to the main subject here and given valuable background.

In the rest of the book Stone does an excellent job at summing up the period "between the wars" of Germany's economic meltdown and the growth of Nazi Germany and the drift towards war. Then the theatres of war are described and the end game and aftermath. Here Stone really does a superb job - I greatly admire someone who is able to describe such complex and detailed events in a short and lucid style - this takes great skill.

Three black and white maps accompany the text to show the spread of Nazism and the Pacific theatre.

Overall a superb effort from a great historian!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Witty and Powerful 15 Jan. 2013
By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
If you have read accounts of WW2 by Hastings, Beevor, Roberts plus a host of others why would you bother with yet another book on the subject? You probably wouldn't if it had not been written by a superb historian called Norman Stone. Professor Stone has a reputation as one of the finest historians around thanks to his magnificent account of the Eastern Front in WW1 and his excellent short book on Hitler. He is also a first-class tutor.

In this book he has achieved the almost impossible task of writing a comprehensive history of the Second World War in under 200 pages, 200 pages of very readable, incisive and witty writing. The book does not claim to be a detailed account of the war. To criticise it for not repeating what is available elsewhere is therefore unfair.

Norman Stone reaches back into the 19th century and many of his pithy points raise important questions for today. He, unlike many, does not regard the British contribution to victory as irrelevant. He says Britain was the hero,the USA the victor while Poland was the martyr. This will upset those who claim the war was won by Russia. Stone rightly praises the importance of Ultra and the anti-U-boat campaign. A welcome point is that he recognises the importance of the strategic bombing campaign and how it stopped the Germans gaining command of the air. This was a major reason why the USSR survived. For far too long this has been ignored by historians, some of whom are still unable or unwilling to understand the importance of the bombing of Germany.

Stone loves sweeping generalisations many of which are nevertheless insightful and accurate. His wit is on display when he writes:'The French tiptoed from the Maginot Line, and when fired upon, tiptoed back'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief, succinct - good companion to his book on WW1
Stone's book on WW2 is a refreshing alternative to the bloated, rambling accounts of the conflict that continue to be pedalled by publishers and historians alike, all intent on... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jl Adcock
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good quality!
Published 11 months ago by Rebecca
4.0 out of 5 stars Good short history.
A very good short history giving all the essential details without confusing you with too much information. Read more
Published on 19 Aug. 2013 by Ronald Tushingham
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise overview with wit
How on earth do you provide a complete history of the Second World War in 200 pages?

Norman Stone has managed to do this, providing those of us who are curious as to the... Read more
Published on 3 July 2013 by M. Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, pacy Account
I last studied the 2nd World war at school and aside from the odd film haven't really paid much attention since. Read more
Published on 14 May 2013 by A. I. Mackenzie
4.0 out of 5 stars A great primer for anyone new to the subject
Before I start this review, I should say that my husband actually read the book as this is firmly 'his sort of thing' (see some of my other reviews for details of 'his thing')... Read more
Published on 24 April 2013 by FLB
5.0 out of 5 stars Potted history for anyone to pick up...
Can so hefty a subject be whittled down to a slender(ish) tome that is at once both accessible and fun to read?

Evidently, yes. Read more
Published on 18 April 2013 by C. Porter
1.0 out of 5 stars One for Norman Stone fans only
I couldn't really see the point of this, certainly not in a hardback edition. It is very short; there are plenty of blank pages and no real photos. Read more
Published on 16 April 2013 by The Emperor
4.0 out of 5 stars Achieves the aim but not perfect
If you are looking for an entertaining introduction to the major themes of World War 2 then this is a good place to start. Read more
Published on 16 April 2013 by Mark H
2.0 out of 5 stars flawed, opinionated and a poor representation of WW2
I knew that this book was part of Norman Stone's "A Short History" series of books but I wasn't expecting this. Read more
Published on 15 April 2013 by Su
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