I had read this authors book 'Europe - A History' and was just starting to read his book 'Microcosm' about the history of Breslau when I went away for a few days and forgot to take it with me. Searching in a bookshop for something to read I came across a copy of 'Europe at War 1939-45' and bought it.
I wasn't as impressed with this book as I was by the others I had read. I would be sympathetic with his stated aim of giving the Eastern Front its rightful place as the theatre where the forces of Nazism were really defeated. Having said that I felt his thesis that certain historians were wrong to describe the war in Europe as "Hiter's War" and by implication it should have been described more as "Hitler and Stalin's War" tended to downplay the crucial role of Hitler as instigator and mastermind of agression.
While Stalin was quite prepared to take advantage of the situation from Sept. 1939 to June 1941 to annex Eastern Poland, the Baltic states and attack Finland it was the racially motivated agressive policy to redraw the map of Europe pursued by the Nazi regime which brought about the war.
In his section 'further reading' at the end of the book he recommends Richard Evans first two volumes on the Third Reich, "The Coming of the Third Reich"The Coming of the Third Reich
and "The Third Reich in Power"The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation
. To these can be added his final volume "The Third Reich at War" The Third Reich at War: How the Nazis Led Germany from Conquest to Disaster (Allen Lane History)
which was published subsequently. Reading these books will leave one in no doubt that Hitler planned the war in Europe from the early 1920's, not in detail but its broad outlines.
I found some of the writing style in this book irritating such as his comparison of the destruction visited on Warsaw during the Rising of 1944 with that on New York on Sept. 11 2001 and his account of Hitler and Mussolini assisting the Fascists in Spain while Stalin is described as aiding the overthrow of the Republic.
The book shines light on certain forgotten areas of the conflict and rightly emphasises the scale and importance of the Eastern Front but this is a rebalancing that is already happening in modern books on WWII anyway.
The other strand in this book is the indictment of Stalin and the Soviet regime as criminal and murderous. I think there are few (in the West at least)who would quibble with this but sometimes he strays into the trap of downplaying the evil nature of the Nazis to emphasise the equivalent, as he would see it, evil of Soviet Russia.