- Hardcover: 736 pages
- Publisher: Bodley Head; 1st edition edition (3 Sept. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847920993
- ISBN-13: 978-1847920997
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.6 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 114 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–45 Hardcover – 3 Sep 2015
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"A terrific book. Nicholas Stargardt brilliantly explores diaries, letters and other previously untapped sources to provide more vivid and nuanced insight than ever before achieved into the motivation of ordinary Germans fighting the most horrific war of all time" (Ian Kershaw)
"A gripping new book…To write like this requires a rare sensitivity and psychological sophistication coupled with a degree of fearlessness…Stargardt impresses not only as a cultural historian. He also has an impressively strong grasp on the military narrative of the war. And this is indispensable…Stargardt has given us a truly profound piece of history" (New York Times Book Review)
"Beautifully written and convincingly argued, this book is a must" (Saul Friedlander, author of Nazi Germany and the Jews)
"A considerable success" (Simon Heffer Literary Review)
"Sympathetic and nuanced portraits of German men and women… Intimate account of individual Germans’ experiences of war, Stargardt explores private emotions… Beautifully written… He writes with the correct tone and sensitivity." (Wendy Lower Times Literary Supplement)
"Superbly researched and clearly written, The German War is an important and significant book" (Dominic Green Spectator)
"For the first time, the wartime chronology of German sentiment, of popular hopes and fears, realism and fantasy, becomes truly visible. A powerful and compelling account" (Mark Roseman, Professor of History, Indiana University)
"Insightful, illuminating, complex, and convincing... Seven decades and a mountain of monographs later, I wouldn’t have thought there’d be much more to say about WWII. Stargardt has proven me wrong" (Robert Moeller, Professor of History, University of California, Irvine)
"The German War is an outstanding book by a master historian... a masterpiece of historical writing, blending seamlessly a ‘bird’s eye’ view with intimate micro-history of this calamitous period in twentieth century Europe" (Jan Gross, author of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland)
"Stargardt negotiates the considerable risks of writing from inside German experiences of this brutally destructive war with subtlety, humanity, and wisdom. This is a rich and deeply impressive lesson" (Jane Caplan, Emeritus Fellow, St Antony’s College, Oxford)
The first social history of Germany during the Second World War for over forty yearsSee all Product description
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Really interesting and engaging book that made me think about how people cannot be trusted to admit their failings.
There was very little going backwards and forwards along the timeline - except when absolutely necessary to draw some thoughts together. A little bot of repetition did irritate me, but only mildly.
The biggest are for improvement for me would be the maps. Time after time places were mentioned which were not on the maps. I am a newcomer to learning the WW2 history and so I had to look up the locations on google everytime.
Starting in 1939 we are treated to the Nazi's version of the attack on Poland - the Nazi's specifically murdered Polish prisoners, in Polish army uniforms and placed them at a German military installation making it look as though the Poles were the aggressors.
Moving through the timeline we see how the Aryan mindset affected everyday civilians and the denial and downplaying that existed about the extermination of the 'untermenschen' Jews, Slavs, Poles and Soviets. The casual dismissive nature of the various sources quoted in letters shows how effective Goebbels propaganda regime was in slowly convincing Germany that they needed to wage total war.
The initial success of the Blitzkrieg into Poland and Russia, and the eventual fallout from the 9th army being destroyed at Stalingrad, the relentless allied air supremacy over Germany, the steam-roller of the Red Army in their never-ending onslaught against Germany, the paradoxical nature of Germany's total war, racial purity nonsense (coupled with their eventual reliance on foreign labour and their so-called subhuman prisoners propping up the German war effort), this book paints a vivid picture of a nation at odds with the world and the maelstrom they released on their own people.
I would recommend this book to any student of history or anyone who wants an understanding of the fragmented and chaotic last years of the war.
I think most people interested in this period have a broad understanding of post-war analysis of events such as the wider German population's knowledge and/or acquiescence of the Holocaust; the sense of 'equal victims' from 'Total War' where Germans pointed to the Hamburg or Dresden bombings as vindictive retribution rather than targeting military objectives. But, to what extent are these analyses true?
It was as a journey of understanding that I bought 'The German War' and I confess when I received it, I felt the 570 pages of dense reading, was going to be an academic work for a similar audience. This is not the case, although my only note of criticism pertains to the maps, which. contain far too much detail and are difficult for the uninitiated to work through. However, they take nothing away from the narrative.
Nicholas Stargardt's, account of Germany at war is seen through the experience, letters and diaries of ordinary Germans , around which he weaves his formidable research of the period to provide insight, observation, anecdote and commentary.
His writing style draws you into the events. Far from being a dry read as I had feared, once started you quickly become engrossed. This book is extremely well written. It is an unsanitised, closely analysed, account of Germany at war.
For me, the introduction and early chapters of the book did most to help my understanding of the 'post-Versailles' mentality of not just a defeated, but a humiliated, Germany. The restoration of national pride which pitched peoples and countries as natural enemies of an emerging Germany does much to explain the 'us or them' attitudes which provided the backdrop for the persecution of Jews, the handicapped, the mentally infirm and anyone else who did not fit in with the German Nazi ideal. It set the scene for atrocities in war from the first offensive in Poland in 1939 and for campaigns to come.
There is not much light in the darkness of these pages, but this book deserves to be read by anyone who is interested in understanding the German psyche which lead to and prosecuted the war in all its forms. One of the most sobering and enlightening books I have read.
It is highly recommended.
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