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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Second World War, 17 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: Armageddon. the Second World War (Hardcover)
Having spent my childhood immersed in 1:72 scale model aeroplanes, toy soldiers, Commando books and a immense variety of WW2 themed television from Dads Army to the excellent World at War, I approached adulthood suffering from WW2 fatigue. When I started reading history in a more serious away I tended to shy away from the vast mountains of material in existence and daily growing with regard to that conflict. It's not that I think that the War is unimportant or uninteresting it's just that I feel, unlike the schedulers of the average History channel on cable or satellite, there is more to the history of the World than WW2 despite its central role in the history of the last century.

Never the less I still read the odd gifted, lent or recommended book on the War and Clive Pontings "Armageddon: The Second World War" is one such book that I picked up in the Library not because its subject was WW2 but because its author was Clive Ponting, a historian whose other works such as The Crimean War, Breach of Promise: Labour in Power, 1964-70 and A New Green History of the World I have always found stimulating and interesting. His book on WW2 is not quite up with the best of his works, but is none the less a worthwhile read.

Avoiding the standard chronological approach, Ponting elects to divide the War into eleven concisely labelled topics (Origins, Neutrals, Allies, Mobilisation, Strategy, Technology, Combat, Civilians, Occupation, Liberation and Aftermath). A different organisation of the material may sound trivial, but it allows the author to present the War from a fresh angle. The result is a more comparative view of the experiences of the War, for example in the chapter on Civilians it considers the full spectrum of civilian experience of War from the prosperity of the U.S. to the Blitzed British, occupied Western Europe, German civilians during the strategic bombing of the wars second half, the brutal experiences of Poland squeezed between the Germans and the Russians, to eastern Europe and Russia under the Nazi invasion to that ultimate in horrors - the Holocaust of European Jews.

He is impartial throughout, stating the facts and by and large letting them speak for themselves. Published in 1995 no doubt some of the recent research and new interpretations, for example in The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, supersede the research that Pontings synthesis was founded upon. But that asides, it is a book that should appeal to those who already have a reasonable amount of general knowledge of that War and are interested in a book that looks at the War in a fresh way. It can also be picked up 2nd hand reasonably cheap.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Factual History at its best, 3 July 2011
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This review is from: Armageddon. the Second World War (Hardcover)
Here given are the basic, raw facts behind what occurred during this awful global conflagration - much of it being relatively little known ( at least to me ! ) prior to reading the book. The thinking BEHIND the thinking is often explained, in terms of the REAL strategic and political interests that lay at the heart of decision-making, not only by the major proponents of the Second World War ( Germany, Britain, the Soviet Union, Japan and the USA ), but also by those of lesser - but not necessarily less interesting - note ( and including those of individual politicians and decision-makers, some of whom are not always often mentioned elsewhere ). There are also reams and reams of interesting statistics given, in order to better explain the real horror and damage that this dreadful war caused - it's a successful attempt to take the episode away from some of the clichés that we have all come to know over the years. For the "serious" hobby historian of World War II, the book is, in my opinion, essential reading, and I must applaud Mr. Ponting - not only for his backbone and moral rectitude w.r.t. the "Belgrano Affair" - but also for his obviously brilliant research, his constantly unprejudicial analysis, and, not least, for his most eloquent prose ( which is always most enjoyable to read ) - a marvellous book, and one to be highly recommended !
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Armageddon. the Second World War
Armageddon. the Second World War by CLIVE PONTING (Hardcover - 1995)
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