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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most gripping book I've read in the last 5 years
The best thing about this book is that it is pure, unadulterated narrative. Symptomatic of Gilbert's approach is the way the very first lines of the book throw us straight in at the point Germany attacked Poland Sep 1, 1939. There's no long drawn out preamble or musings on the why and wherefores; you can find that in other books. Gilbert's approach is completely...
Published on 28 Dec. 1999

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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Historical lesson
Very complete, very concise (considering the enormity of the subject), this extremely well researched book offers an almost day-by-day history of the war. Unfortunately, it reads more like a textbook; there is no personal comment, little analysis of the personalities involved and no background. By starting the book on 1 Sept 1939 there is no consideration given to the...
Published on 10 Mar. 2005 by Gary J. Clark


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most gripping book I've read in the last 5 years, 28 Dec. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Second World War (Paperback)
The best thing about this book is that it is pure, unadulterated narrative. Symptomatic of Gilbert's approach is the way the very first lines of the book throw us straight in at the point Germany attacked Poland Sep 1, 1939. There's no long drawn out preamble or musings on the why and wherefores; you can find that in other books. Gilbert's approach is completely chronological, flitting from one theatre of war to another. His style is unobtrusive- as it should be- but elegant enough, and always authoritative. He wisely lets the facts speak for themselves - the horrors of the holocaust, the savagery and scale of the war between Russia and Germany, the amazing suicidal tactics of the Japanese in countless Pacific islands. These are so amazing in themselves that the narrative holds you breathless over 700 pages. I was flabbergasted by this book. I am not given to hyperbole but I am tempted to say this book changed my life; it certainly changed my views on human beings, history, politics and war.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both a Global and Personal view, 20 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Second World War (Paperback)
Sir Martin Gilberts masterful account of the history of the second world war. What makes this history so different from the others is the way in which Sir Martin can switch from the story of an entire offensive onslaught to tell the story of a single young private and his experience of that same battle. Somehow the results of the actions or the death of a single person or group of people can be so much more effective in explaining the true glory of war, or in debunking the great myth of the glory of war depending on your viewpoint. Sir Martin can and does give examples of both. The historical facts are still there, but so also is the humanity, with both of it's faces showing. A book for anyone with an interest in the Second World War who doesn't want just facts and casualty figures.
Boothers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, 11 Nov. 2014
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I had never read a complete account of the Second World War. I was looking for a book that would bring together all the various events that seemed in my own mind to define its progress. The Blitzkrieg of Poland, Dunkirk, Stalingrad, Pearl Harbour and so on towards D-day. I chose Martin Gilbert's book because of having read his history of WW1 and being impressed by his evident humanity and respect for all combatants and the recognition that all who died were individuals with loved ones. He does not disappoint here. The style is pure narrative and the larger events are interspersed with stories of individuals. There is very little judgement and Gilbert allows the events themselves to define "right" and "wrong" if we wish to try to define it beyond all the carnage and horror.

The text just became more and more harrowing, more and more gripping as the war unfolds. It became unrelenting in its record of shocking and virtually unbelievable horror. At times I was reduced to tears.

It has to be five stars. Or none.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling read for any history buffs!, 26 July 2011
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This review is from: The Second World War (Paperback)
I purchased this book a few years ago as I was writing an essay on the fall of the Nazis, I ended up reading the entire book in a few days as I was so hooked. The level of facts and details that are used put the reader in the middle of WWII and make the reader feel as if they are experiencing it all. A must buy for any history buffs! Be sure to buy any other history books by Martin Gilbert as he is a genius!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work, 6 Nov. 2014
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This is an excellent comprehensive history of the detail of the War. I found the variety of detail fascinating from the small stories about individual acts of bravery, the detail of the horror of the plight of the Poles and other nations under Nazi domination to the more famous events. Rather than be bogged down in post event analysis this simply converts the total nature of the war - well worth a read
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most in depth books ever, 23 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Second World War (Paperback)
An very intersting book which educates you on many aspects of the second world war especially the pace at which it was carried out, and the human loss involved. The persecution of the jews is shown in all the horror it deserves
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book,great service., 18 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Second World War (Hardcover)
Second time I bought this book,the original copy is back home in NZ,and I wanted a copy here. Great book,and the service was speedy and excellent.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Historical lesson, 10 Mar. 2005
By 
Gary J. Clark "garyjclark" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Second World War (Paperback)
Very complete, very concise (considering the enormity of the subject), this extremely well researched book offers an almost day-by-day history of the war. Unfortunately, it reads more like a textbook; there is no personal comment, little analysis of the personalities involved and no background. By starting the book on 1 Sept 1939 there is no consideration given to the German/European political situation 1918-1939. Likewise, whilst the Nazi atrocities are described in detail as part of the fabric of war (which they were, of course), background to the Nazi philosophies or pre-war history might would have given these details a further dimension. Of course, the book is big enough already, but less minutiae and more analysis - as in the superb histories by John Keegan - would have made the most momentous series of events in history a little more interesting.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect book for what i needed, 19 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Second World War (Paperback)
I finished this last night, and have logged onto Amazon to buy the first world war equivalent.I was looking for a comprehensive yet broad account of WW2 and this didn't disappoint. Quite simply this was exactly was i was looking for - rich with the details of the war in terms of the appalling numbers of troops/money/victims and salient facts about the mechanics of military mobilisation together with enough anecdotal points about several individuals. I was really impressed by the relative neutrality of the prose, at no stage did i feel the author was trying to judge any party particularly and just to present the facts together with a feel of the everyday horror of the conflict. An ideal read for anyone who wants to get a wide yet also sympathetic to indivudal history of this terrible event and if you are already well versed in the subject then a great tool for reference.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informed and exciting story telling, 1 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Second World War (Paperback)
For one born in the Second World War this account is rivetting in combining sweep and fascinating detail. It is compulsive in its following of various story lines - the Eastern Front, the persecution of the jews and the Poles, the war in the Far East etc. Unputdowanable.
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Second World War by Martin Gilbert (Hardcover - 14 Aug. 1989)
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