All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945 Hardcover – 29 Sep 2011
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“This is the book he was born to write: a work of staggering scope and erudition, narrated with supreme fluency and insight, it is unquestionably the best single-volume history of the war ever written….. he writes with a wonderfully clear, unsentimental eye……and has a terrific grasp of the grand sweep and military strategy……But what makes his book a compelling read are the human stories……at the end of this gruesome, chilling but quite magnificent book, you never doubt that the war was worth fighting”. Sunday Times
“No other general history of the war amalgamates so successfully the gut-wrenching personal details and the essential strategic arguments. Melding the worm’s eye view and the big picture is a difficult trick to pull of – but Hastings has triumphed”. The Times
“majestic…it is impossible to emerge without a sense of the sheer scale of human tragedy…..To gather all these anecdotes together is a task in itself, but to assemble them in a way that makes sense is something entirely different….Hastings shapes all these stories, almost miraculously, into a single coherent narrative”. Daily Telegraph
“In this massive work, the crowning volume of the 10 impressive books he has written about the Second World War, Sir Max Hastings spares us nothing in portraying the sheer bloody savagery of the worst war that the world has yet seen….this magnificent book….is hypnotically readable from the first page to the last”. Sunday Telegraph
“a fast-moving, highly readable survey of the entire war…Hastings combines a mastery of the military events with invariably sound judgment and a sharp eye for unusual telling detail….this is military history at its most gripping. Of all Max Hastings’s valuable books, this is possibly his best – a veritable tour de force”. Evening Standard
About the Author
Max Hastings studied at Charterhouse and Oxford and became a foreign correspondent, reporting from more than sixty countries and eleven wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard. He has won many awards for his journalism. Among his best-selling books ‘Bomber Command’ won the Somerset Maugham Prize, and both ‘Overlord’ and ‘Battle for the Falklands’ won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize. After ten years as editor and then editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph, he became editor of the Evening Standard in 1996. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he was knighted in 2002. He now lives in Berkshire.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some real gems, however, are also to be found in this book, as Mr Hastings dips into aspects of the conflict often neglected in more precise histories of the war - for instance the partisan war that took place in Yugoslavia. Much of the book also concentrates on the Eastern Front struggle, correct in my view, given that 90% of German war deaths occurred in this theatre of war - a statistic that illustrates where the war was won and lost - although this does not diminish the sacrifices that other people made for freedom.
In short, most of the people who buy this will already be fans of Mr Hastings and thus will not be disappointed. To those who are not, I suggest this is a good starting point.
Weighing in at a huge 768 pages All Hell Let Loose certainly isn't a whistle stop tour through the conflict, and it doesn't dwell overlong on any particular areas.
The author himself in the forward says that he has deliberately steered clear of delving too deeply into the subjects of his previous books, so the fall of Berlin, the Overlord landings and the final days of Japan are barely commented on.
His researchers have dug up some interesting accounts, particularly from the Eastern front, and even long serving students of the second world war will find much new in the first person testimonies. This battlefield is firmly at the centre of the book - after all 90 per cent of the German fatalities occurred there and it is in Russia where the war was won and lost.
In a book of this scope one isn't really searching for a single revelation or argument. The conclusions - that the Russians would have won on their own, the Axis war effort was very incompetently run and by far and away the biggest allied contribution to victory was through America's industrial might - have been discussed in much greater depth elsewhere.
I felt that the biggest success of the book was how Hastings managed to convey the brutal indifference which characterised the Russian approach to victory - happily accepting enormous piles of their own dead with unimaginative tactics to eventually wear down the Wehrmacht.
The British don't come out overly well - our `finest hour' was having the courage, bolstered by the rhetoric and bulldog spirit of Winston Churchill, to stay in the war alone in 1940.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A comprehensive book taking an intimate and personal view on the consequences and impact of WW2. Well written and insightful it adds well to the comprehensive library on the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Tremendous tour-de-force. Readable, thoughtful, meticulously researched. The Author occasionally allows himself an opinion which seems to derive from knowledge gained after the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rev. John M. Bourne
Great read with plenty factual information on the conflict. Max Hastings makes reading these historical novels easy with individual accounts throughout his books which let the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Monty
Gut wrenching, disturbing, horrifying, absorbing and not a word of fiction to detract from the experience. A must read.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Max Hastings takes you on a quick trip through the second world war you follow can follow the progress into germany and the endPublished 3 months ago by bluenose
Good read! That's all I want to say, because I refuse to analyse what I read and why I enjoyed it so nanananana to you!Published 3 months ago by andra