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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the biggest war in history
very informative history, well put together, some of the most dramatic filmed images ever recorded, to watch the very history of the world hang in the balance , on such a staggering scale. today it seems unbelievable the whole world at war. highly recommend this most important filmed document.
Published 14 months ago by chad

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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not the best
This is watchable DVD set with some interesting footage and informative but somewhat dry commentary. It's a tough call trying to cover the entire war, but it does a half reasonable job. This would be a good set for a student beginning a study of this period or someone with a casual curiousity, but otherwise it doesn't have enough depth. Also some of the footage is not...
Published on 31 Mar 2010 by Tony Scribble


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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not the best, 31 Mar 2010
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This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
This is watchable DVD set with some interesting footage and informative but somewhat dry commentary. It's a tough call trying to cover the entire war, but it does a half reasonable job. This would be a good set for a student beginning a study of this period or someone with a casual curiousity, but otherwise it doesn't have enough depth. Also some of the footage is not accurate for the particular subjects it covers. For example, clips from the episode covering the early Russian campaign are from much later in the war.

There is a distinct lack of hard facts - no one likes to be swamped with reams of numbers, but for anyone trying to grasp the scale of some of the encounters, there is little to tell the viewer how many troops were involved, casualties, duration of a particular event etc. There is some information like this but it tends to be too unspecific. Many major events are summarised in a few sentences which don't reflect the complexity of them, which gives a too simplistic "Black and White" picture. There was a general ambience of lack of research about most of the dialogoue.

Sadly the series has a strong American bias, which is not unusual and almost expected, but it would be nice if someone produced a series that took a greater account of the war in Russia, which is really where the war in Europe was largely decided. This can make people believe that the decisive actions were all instigated by the Western Allies, when in most cases these took place to relieve pressure on the Russian Front, where the conflict was on a vast scale. A classic illustration is an entire DVD dedicated to D-Day but about 5 minutes of commentary, (largely inaccurate), concerning Kursk, the largest tank battle of all time.

All in all, nothing special for the serious historian, but worth a look as it was on offer :-) Unlike the classic 1970 series "World At War", this DVD is unlikely to ever get viewed a second time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the biggest war in history, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
very informative history, well put together, some of the most dramatic filmed images ever recorded, to watch the very history of the world hang in the balance , on such a staggering scale. today it seems unbelievable the whole world at war. highly recommend this most important filmed document.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Watchable, but sloppy, 1 Feb 2013
This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
Must admit, I enjoyed watching this series on TV because anything about WW2 gets my attention. Plus, I much prefer the British narrator on the TV version to the American one on this DVD set. As watchable and entertaining as I find it, i was sorely disappointed when they got a few dates wrong. Firsty, they refer to the attack on Pearl Harbour as happening on December 11th 1941 (when it was December 7th), and HMS Hood was sunk by the Bismarck in 1941 - not in 1940 as the series states. Such discrepancies are unforgivable in a documentary like this and it sours the credibility of the series. But, I enjoy watching it all the same - even if it takes a while to tune my ears into the American narrator. Also, I love how the British narrator in the TV version pronounces 'Stalin' as 'Starleen' lol.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Laurence Olivier would turn in his grave, 11 Feb 2011
This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
A truly truly awful dumbed down american version of The World At War for a dumbed down middle american audience. The commentator sounds like Robert Peston on acid - you can imagine the result. Inappropriate stress on all the wrong syllables for extra dramatic effect.
The main facts are explained painfully slowly over black and white footage of the era as if the narrator was talking to a group of educationally subnormal and emotionally retarded fruit flies , losing any sense of reality by totally eradicating the sound from the original broadcasts themselves.
It reminded me of being back in infant school listening to a teacher instructing us how to chant the twelve times table. Unfortunately, despite being simplified, there are glaring errors in the series particularly when trying to describe what happened on the eastern front in 1941-2 and also in trying to explain the origins of the war itself. As in recent film travesties such as U-96, the importance and promincence (or even appearance) of the American participation is played up or invented to extremes whilst downplaying European involvement.
No mention is made for example of the fact that both Democrat and Republican candidates campaigned on an anti-war agenda for the 1940 US presidential Election vowing never to involve the US again in "somebody else's war" nor how hostile the american public were down to the last man to the idea of helping militarily (until the Pearl Harbor attack changed everything)
This is a series for Martians visiting the planet who had no previous knowledge of the war itself - a real 101 USA class lesson for first graders who have never heard of Europe before.
Perhaps the best way to exemplify how inane and banal this dvd set is , is to quote from the first lines of chapter 2 when the narrator is explaining the events of 1939 :-
" In 1939, The Polish Cavalry was STILL using horses " - extra drama queen emphasis is placed on the word STILL by the narrator ( just what exactly a CAVALRY is supposed to use instead of horses is not explained )
Do yourself a favour and get hold of the Granada TV "World At War" series and avoid this at all costs, "lest you forget" what REALLY happened.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A big disappointment., 28 Mar 2014
This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
Badly researched and poorly narrated. Quite often the narrator is reading sentences that are grammatically incorrect. The same tedious soundtrack is repeated in each episode again and again. Best suited to American high-schools.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Present, 16 Dec 2013
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This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
This was an ideal present for my friends Dad at Christmas and at a reasonable price with all the history of WW2 11 hours long so he will have hours of viewing
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor quality, with very subjective opinions, 14 Nov 2011
This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
I have not purchased this item, but instead came across it being broadcast by the History Channel, one sleepless night. What I saw in episode 1 moved me to watch two more episodes, and not for the best of reasons. What I saw confirmed what I suspected and moved me to write this review.

I have regrettably seen many poor histories of war in my time, but none quite so poor as this one. Indeed, to call it a history is misleading. Especially when compared with the benchmark of WW2 histories, the Granada series "The World at War". Here's why:

1. Lack of important detail: amazingly, some very important aspects (e.g., the causes of WW1) are glossed over (the narrator cites "increasing tensions"). Key important characters are completely omitted (e.g., Lord Halifax). I suspect insufficient research was done, leading the writer to make broad generalisations.

2. Clear bias: I am all for revisionism in history, as conventional wisdom should always be challenged (witness the various points of view on Capt. Scott's failed polar expedition, for example, and the value this debate has on weighing cultural and social norms). However, the writer descends into invective when it comes to his characterisation of Churchill and and his pre-war role. Instead of stopping at (understandably) questioning the conventional wisdom of Neville being wrong to appease Hitler (there is an interesting contrast to made here with current day situations, especially in Iraq), the writer appears almost to be on a holy crusade to vindicate Neville and vilify Winston. The amount of time this invective is repeated made me wonder if the author was some long lost relative of Neville. This bias continues into the author's characterisations of whole nation states (e.g., Poland is an aggressive, unstable state; Czechoslovakia is an unstable state that stood in the way of a rational peace deal with Germany), to the point where a more cynical person than I might be left wondering if he was a Nazi apologist. Certainly, if I were a relative of a Pole or Czech who had fought for the freedom of their country, I would be insulted by such characterisations.

3. A lack of balance. It seems to me that the author wanted to address some inbalances in conventional wisdoms, which if true is laudable. However, in doing so, balance has been thrown out of the window. Subjects such as Hitler's rise to power through popular vote, the mindset of of the German people, the Austrian and Sudeten Germans' willingness for Anschluss, America's view on the war, are dealt with in very simplistic, one dimensional terms, with the (possibly unintended) result of making it seem that Hitler was very justified in taking such action (a modern day parallel might be to lend uncritical support Russia for invading Georgia). In his rush to address these issues, the opportunity to address important psychosocial issues (with clear benefits for today) has been missed.

4. Clear inaccuracies. Some of the "facts" presented were completely inaccurate. For example, Poland is presented as a country born out of the Versaille Treaty, whereas I always understood it to be a country reborn from Russian occupation by Germany's peace treaty with the Bolsheviks (as was Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the Ukraine, all of which were reabsorbed by Russia after the Civil war). There is also an inference that Poland was a non-viable, "created" country that was really part of Germany and part of Russia. Again, notwithstanding Poland's long prior history as a nation state in its own right, this view seems to have little foundation, would be insulting to all the Poles I know, and could only be logical if one were seeking to support or excuse Germany's and Russia's invasion and occupation of the country (again, a modern parallel might be to support Russia's effective occupation of Poland since 1945).

5. Overall poor quality. The characterisation of key issues is poor and one dimensional. Language is poor (it does seem like a high school project, for which I would grade it D - must try harder) and some points are repeated often ("Neville was a reasonable man - wouldn't you do the same?", to paraphrase one point), just to make sure you heard it. There are other minor flaws (use of footage of a Hydrogen bomb being detonated, when such weapons were only first tested in 1952) but these pale into insignificance against other issues.

In its favour, there does seem to have been an otherwise genuine attempt to use appropriate footage. I have long tired of seeing incorrect footage (e.g., SS troops clearly in 1944 uniform supposedly representing troops who invaded France in 1940, etc), but cannot verify that this standard has been maintained throughout the series.

In summary, a very poor documentary and one likely to mislead students far more than other more conventional histories. I can understand why some reviewers state this "documentary" was "anti-American" but I doubt that was the author's intention. Frankly, it has been so poorly researched and written, so unbalanced and biased, that it is possible to draw many such conclusions.

One to avoid. I wish I could give it zero stars.

P.S: For the benefit of one US reviewer who seemed to think the Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons were Hydrogen fusion bombs, no they weren't: they were both fission weapons (one was a Plutonium bomb, the other a Uranium bomb).
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT VALUE FOR MONEY, 19 Jan 2010
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This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very good documentary style view of WW2. It appears very balanced and shows some footage that I have not seen before. A very comprehensive history of the war. Well worth the price and the time to watch.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD is not too bad but failed to keep my attention for long periods. It seems like a rehash of a lot of other war documentaries. It would be best bought by someone who is just starting to learn about WW2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Present, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: World War 2: The Complete History [DVD] (DVD)
Present for my grandson who is very interested in the war, he's not had them yet as his birthday is next week.
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