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on 7 June 2015
This book is near drivel. The book is aimed at a US audience to give them what they want to hear to sell a book, people who have been fed the Hollywood version of the history of WW2, not the real one. Avoid if you want to know how matters really progressed.

At no time during the Battle for Britain was the RAF near finished as he is putting across. Spitfire production increased, the RAF was never short of fighters, while Me109 production decreased and the Germans were losing pilots like crazy, while British pilots who bailed out went back into battle - sometimes the same day. The British early warning system of radar and visual spotters was the first ever "intranet". The Battle was rather one sided and stacked hopelessly against the Germans. The Luftwaffe had first been defeated over Dunkirk, the first German defeat, when the Spitfire made its first appearance. The RAF, and a few French, kept the Luftwaffe largely away from the evacuation beaches hence why it was such a success. More German planes were lost than British. He goes on about that the RAF was nearly defeated. The RAF were far from defeated.

If the Germans had a foothold on the English coast they had to be supplied. As they had virtually no navy facing the largest in the world that is a tall order. They faced a well dug in and well supplied army waiting with heavy armour. They would have been slaughtered. Churchill said he wished they would have made an invasion attempt to give them a bloody nose. Operation Sealion was a ruse to push the British to make peace - nothing else. The author is convinced a German foothold would have meant defeat for the British. Looking at the forces and their equipment in summer 1940 tells you something else.

"Germany First" was Churchill's idea and his statesmanship and powers of persuasion convinced the USA that was the right way. He suggested appointing an American as the head to lead the European campaign, to soften them up. The US assumed a Brit would be in charge. This author is saying it was the US politicians and generals who came up with the idea.

Roosevelt stated in May 1940 he was to make 50,000 planes per year, on top of UK production. UK industry was about the same size as Germany's, Hitler knew this mass of planes were to come his way with or without US pilots in them. The lead to a fully operational plane from order was 18 months and Hitler knew that, hence the gamble to invade the USSR to gain the resources of the east to build the planes. No resources came from the rest of the world as the RN blockaded Germany. Hitler was preparing for the coming air war with the UK. It came - he was right. This author never knew this.

The Japanese took a hiding from the Soviets in 1939 at the Battles of Khalkhin Gol in which the Japanese took 45,000 casualties. All through WW2 the Soviets kept 40 armoured divisions in the Soviet Far East facing the Kwantung army. The Japanese only had poor light tanks and no match against Soviet armour. The Japanese were not going to advance on the USSR, with almost certain defeat if they attempted, when they needed resources for the battles in the south. Again this author is wrong.
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on 4 October 2009
I'm a 74 year old history fanatic, especially of the '30's an '40's war years, having read a hundred plus books of this era.
"The Storm of War" is by far the most engrossing, all-encompassing, revealing book of that period that I've ever read; could hardly put it down. I know of no other published book that reveals so much of not only the enormity of the struggle, but the complexities and personal flaws and strengths of the leaders and men on all sides, and pivotal events previously unknown to me; especially the unparalleled coverage of war on the eastern/Russian fronts.

If you read but one history of the War years --- let it be this one.
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on 27 April 2010
I enjoyed reading this account of the second world war. The account kept to what was important rather than getting bogged down in details. The author also allowed himself the licence to express his own opinion in a very upfront manner rather than trying to order facts to obscure a hidden agenda. The author's own political views are very obvious but do not get in the way. The book got me thinking about Stalin's motives at the build up to war, something that I would have liked more of, and how the war set the scene for the cold war and then the modern world.
One of the strengths of the book was the insight into the personalities of the people at the centre of the conflict and the world in which they moved.
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on 6 May 2010
Looking at those reviews I thought there couldnt be much risk, but I was wrong. I very much enjoy reading anything about WW2 especially when it concerns the eastern front, but this book is more of "novel" rather then a good piece of research and it uses old and already proven false data. Quite quickly I turned to pages where the eastern front was described and immediatly found stupid errors that were rewritten from other less careful authors... example

battle of prohorovka (kursk)[in my opinion one of the most common mistakes and therefore a good check point for any east front book]:
- acoording to author 900 german tanks fought 900 russian tanks on a small terrain (tanks raming each other etc). Result was 300 german tanks destroyed and 400 russian tanks destroyed. According to Zetterling and Nipe which have actually done research on this it wasnt a big tank battle as the russian propaganda says, comparing it to those medieval cavalry clashes, but rather a series of attacks by russians on different frontlines - separate and smaller battles. In total it might be that around 300-500 german tanks (depending on what sectors you choose) and 600 - 800 rusian tanks were involved in a series of "local battles". The actual result was 60 german tanks destroyed and more than 300 russian.
- according to the author lufwaffe supporting zitadelle lost a lot of planes. Of course no mention of the fact that the russian airforce lost so many airplanes in the first days of the battle that they needed a few days to recuperate and the germans were free to roam the skies.
- mention of german attrocities but no mention of soviet attrocities... seems kind of out of proportion since the soviets had at least as many on their account.

I know that these might seem like smaller details to some, but it actually tells me wether the author went through some hard work to get the facts right or just rewrote others in nicer words - after all it should describe history (do other sections also have such "gaps"?).

It seems like a good read for a general discussion 1 star + nice style 1 star.
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on 16 September 2009
Storm of War

Seventy years ago, on the last day of summer, German police pulled a terrified man from a prison cell, drove him to the Polish border, stripped him and then dressed him in a Polish soldier's uniform. As he stood shaking by the frontier, they shot him dead. With the corpse as evidence, German radio announced the invasion of the Fatherland by Polish forces. Immediately, Wehrmacht troops stormed over the border to seek revenge. The Poles were comprehensively crushed.

It was a cruel and bloody beginning to a cruel and bloody war. When it was over, 6 years later, 50 million were dead. Many perished fighting on the battlefield, but many others were incinerated by fire bombs, starved, or killed by infectious disease. Jews and Gypsies were singled out for persecution, and tortured and gassed in concentration camps. Hell had invaded earth.

The story of the Second World War has been told often. Now Andrew Roberts, a British historian, has produced a new, one-volume account of the struggle. (It is available in Britain now, and will be published next year in the United States.) His account is succinct, and the single volume seems adequate for a modern reader. The author has researched his topic well, and has had access to primary sources not available previously. A reader feels he is hearing an accurate and complete account. (Last year Roberts published Masters and Commanders, an account of the formation and maintenance of the Allied alliance; it makes an excellent prelude to this work.)

Mr. Roberts has focused especially on the elements of Nazism that enabled Hitler's forces to storm successfully through Western Europe, defeating all but the British in a few weeks of blitzkrieg. He extols the astonishing genius of the Wehrmacht generals and the prowess of their troops. He notes the efficiency of the command structure, with an omnipotent fuehrer directing everything without opposition or delay.

And he also lays out in detail how it all eventually went hopelessly wrong for Hitler. His strategic blunders (especially his failure to finish off England before taking on the Soviet Union), his obdurate refusal to contemplate even strategic withdrawals, and his utter ignorance of the power of the enemy he had aroused in America, all eventually brought him to ruin. Indeed, his warped Nazi ideology, which forced him to disdain, because they were Jews, the very intellectuals who might have helped his cause and, instead, were driven into the arms of his enemies, brought about his downfall.

Although told from a European perspective (Roberts is British, and the war was fought for 2 years in Europe before Pearl Harbor moved the center of conflict toward the Pacific), the book covers both hemispheres fairly. Maps are arranged in chronology with the text, which helps the reader keep geographically oriented. And special topics, especially the horror of the Holocaust get their well documented due. Roberts includes transcripts of conversations among captured German officers, secretly taped by the British, that indict most of the military, not only the detested SS, as sharing in the vicious persecutions of Jews or others thought "subhuman."

This is military history at its best. The prose is crisp, the story moves steadily forward, and the vast enterprise is made understandable. And, of course, for a reader from the Western democracies, this is a Manichean tale of the victory of Good over unimaginable Evil. It is a ripping good story!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 March 2011
Do we really need another history of the Second World War? Andrew Roberts certainly thinks so, which is why he has written this 700-page account of the conflict. It is a readable, at times even engrossing narrative, yet the sheer mass of similarly focused books on the war creates the standard by which it must be judged. What does it offer that we have not seen already? To what degree does it improve upon its predecessors?

It is by this criteria that Roberts disappoints. Contrary to the misleading subtitle there is little that is new here, nor is there any sustained effort to examine the tale in a new light. While he does incorporate much of the recent literature about the war, his account is little different from John Keegan's The Second World War or Peter Calvocoressi and Guy Wint's Total War, works with which he is quite familiar judging from his endnotes. It certainly lacks the comprehensive scope of Gerhard Weinberg's much superior A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II, with a highly Euro-centric account that addresses the extensive fighting in the Pacific and Asia to only three of the book's eighteen chapters. Roberts can't even be bothered to correct such long-debunked myths as the one about the guns of Singapore being unable to face landward (p. 202), probably because the myths better support his arguments than the reality does.

Because of this, this book underwhelms. Instead of undertaking the challenge of saying something fresh or adopting a new perspective about the war Roberts has chosen instead to write history of the conflict that recycles a familiar narrative about it. It's clear from the detail-loaded sentences that he has read much of the literature about the war, but he fits it into an account that ultimately tells the reader little that they could not have read elsewhere. Its publication will probably take good advantage of any interest coinciding with the seventieth anniversary of the start of the war, but readers seeking anything more than a traditional retelling of the war from a British perspective would be better served turning to a different book.
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on 31 August 2009
There have been many hundreds of books written about WWII; some being an "easy read", some being more difficult. This book is an easy read. It is not a chronology in the literal sense. Rather has the author captured certain aspects of the conflict with imagination, imparting them in his own individual, but highly acceptable, style. I read it over a week, and I'll certainly read it again.
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on 29 August 2009
An extremely well written and short account of WW2. Very readable and covering most of the aspects of the war. Detail was very good considering the 6 year struggle across the whole world. Thoroughly recommended for both those of us who lived through those times and also for anyone with an interest. A good introduction for more detailed reading on most topics. The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
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on 28 August 2009
The Storm of War - A New History of the Second World War by Andrew Roberts is a very good history of World War II. It is a well-written, fast paced and opinionated book which is a joy to read. Due to space restrictions it does not cover everything and some areas are not explored in great detail but all the major campaigns and issues are dealt with. It is primarily focused on Germany and Europe but does not ignore the Far East and Africa and the bibliography is excellent if you are interested in further reading. Overall an excellent and insightful book written by an author who is forthright in his opinions on many of the figures and events in this time period and does not subscribe to some of the popular conclusions and generalisations.
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on 30 August 2015
Roberts manages to cover WW2 on all its fronts, convincingly and often movingly. Much of it is seen, inevitably, from the point of the senior leaders, but he is always aware of the terrible costs to civilians, common soldiers, and innocent victims of brutality. It is never less than compelling reading, and doesn't spare the stupidities of generals and politicians alike.
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