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Blood, Tears, and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II Paperback – 30 Dec 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 653 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; Reprint edition (30 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060925574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060925574
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,790,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

‘A splendid read … He has a novelist’s eye for the sort of facts that bring a narrative to life’ Evening Standard

‘Every page of Deighton’s work glows with the excitement of discovery … What wonderful stuff it is!’ Guardian

‘The skill with which he unmasks his villains, the brilliance with which he can sketch a scene and the sharpness of his characterisation are all unrivalled’ Independent

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

After FIGHTER and BLITZKRIEG, Len Deighton now sets a drama of war on a world stage, revealing the reality of global conflict in moving individual accounts by participants at every level. 'Remarkable and absorbing. . . an absolute landmark as regards the history of the Second World War. ' Jack Higgins --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The history of wars are usually told as a matter of astute planning, luck, perseverance, self-sacrifice, and outright heroism. Len Deighton turns this convention on its head and charts the course of World War II by focusing on the faulty planning, mistaken preconceptions, bad luck, ineptitude and downright incompetence that characterized Axis and Allied war efforts as much as their more successful endeavours - and that determined victory or defeat just as surely. If you are reasonably familiar with the usual narrative, this alternative history of World War II - no more "objective" than the usual telling - is an entertaining and rewarding read, ultimately enriching the picture you thought you already knew.
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Format: Paperback
This is excellent. Led Deighton has written three other non-fiction books on the Second World War. Fighter, Blitzkrieg and, with Max Hastings, another book on the Battle of Britain. I thought that this was going to be a stitch together of the others but it's incredible in scope. It takes the first three years of the war, when, as he puts it "evil was in the ascendant, goodness diffident and the British - impetuous, foolish and brave beyond measure - the worlds only hope". His real gift comes from his story telling, his spy and war novels. Applied to history, the effect is profound. You only have to compare this to John Keegans work, The Second World War, which, although good, is the work of an academic, a lecturer at Sandhurst, not a story teller. My only criticism is that he doesn't go all the way through the war. I would like to have read his take on the Burma campaign, for instance, and Iwo Jima.
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Format: Paperback
Blood, Tears and Folly works on several levels.

For long-time devotees of Deighton, it ties a neat, red ribbon around his fiction writing by bringing together so many of the historic references in his many novels and short stories in one cohesive narrative. Class analysis always brings out the best in British writers: Deighton's contempt of the British officer caste is matched only by the revulsion he expresses for the inept pacifism of the labour movement.
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This really is an exceptional book about the years of the Axis ascendency (1939-41.) It would be fair to say that a lifetime's knowledge have gone into producing this book and although Deighton is not a 'university man' or an academic I doubt if anyone else alive knows more about the war.

The breadth of coverage and detailed knowledge contained within this long book(600 pages) is staggering. Deighton's knowledge of every aspect of the war is unsurpassed. He really can tell us what life was like aboard a battleship, flying in a bomber or inside a tank. He is also old enough (b.1929) to have interviewed countless veterans of all ranks.

Given that so many books have been written about the war, much of the book covers familiar ground but Deighton's writing is always fresh. His coverage of the Battle of Britain, for example, focuses on Britain's parlous financial state as much as the aerial combat: by the autumn of 1940 most of Britain's gold reserves had gone. Deighton is also scathing about the class and education system; both of which held the country back.

As well as covering familiar episodes Deighton also succeeds in telling the story of some of the war's more neglected campaigns. Prior to reading this book I knew nothing about the bitter east African campaign to restore Haile Selasse to his throne or the RAF's struggle to hold on to a besieged Iraq with a scratch force of obsolete bi-planes and bombers.

I also didn't feel the book to be too Anglocentric. The book clearly shows us just how complicated World War Two was.
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By A Customer on 31 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
A superb read. Deighton looks at the development of technology, political motivations of key individuals and governments and giving an eye opening background context to the key events and battles of the war. His ability to clearly develop a complex situation into a frighteninlg accurate account is second to none. Also highlights how close we came to defeat at varing times due to blunders, poor planning and political point scoring
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Format: Paperback
I have never read any of len deighton's previous work but this book gives the reader a real empathy of world leading upto and including the second world war.The narrative has the same effect as reading a fiction novel and so makes it easy to follow, this is what i have enjoyed about reading the book. I would recomend this book for any person who wants to read a good unbiased factual account of this time period, even if history is not a subject they would normally choose books about.
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Format: Paperback
My first purchase on WWII history - and what a start! Having set the scene on events leading to the outbreak of war, Deighton then leads you through the battle for the Atlantic, the Battle of Britain, North Africa, the Eastern Front, war in the Pacific and others, with an incisiveness and detail I found both amazing and alarming. Can't praise it enough - thoroughly recommended.
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