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THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
‘His masterpiece’ Antony Beevor, Spectator
‘A masterful performance’ Sunday Times
‘By far the best book on the Vietnam War’ Gerald Degroot, The Times, Book of the Year
Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people.
Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas.
No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
A masterly history of the Dambusters raid from bestselling and critically acclaimed Max Hastings.
Operation Chastise was one of the most extraordinary episodes of the Second World War, yet it has also become one of the most misunderstood.
Max Hastings tells the gripping story of the Dambusters raid, from the invention of the bouncing bomb to the moonlit cockpits of young pilots flying at treetop height through lethal enemy fire. But Hastings also challenges what we think we know about the Dambusters, bringing to light the difficult truths that have often been left out of the legend.
‘Brings it to life as never before … Hour by nerve-jangling hour’ Daily Mail
‘Superb … The heroes shine, but their achievement haunts’ Times
‘A virtuoso performance from a veteran military historian. It is a white-knuckle narrative that brings clarity and insight to a much-loved tale, as well as offering a vital corrective to the drum-thumping conclusions of earlier books’ Sunday Times
‘As a military historian Max Hastings has few equals.’ – Times Literary Supplement
One of the greatest military feats during the Second World War was the transformation of the German force's activities in the weeks following the battles in Holland and on the German border, where the Allies had finally inflicted the greatest catastrophes of modern war on them.
Somehow the Germans found the strength to halt the Allied advance in its tracks and to prolong the war to 1945. Armageddon by Max Hastings is the epic story of those last eight months of the war in northern Europe.
A companion volume to his bestselling ‘Armageddon’, Max Hastings’ account of the battle for Japan is a masterful military history.
Featuring the most remarkable cast of commanders the world has ever seen, the dramatic battle for Japan of 1944–45 was acted out across the vast stage of Asia: Imphal and Kohima, Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Soviet assault on Manchuria.
In this gripping narrative, Max Hastings weaves together the complex strands of an epic war, exploring the military tactics behind some of the most triumphant and most horrific scenes of the twentieth century. The result is a masterpiece that balances the story of command decisions, rivalries and follies with the experiences of soldiers, sailors and airmen of all sides as only Max Hastings can.
‘As gripping as any spy thriller, Hastings’s achievement is especially impressive, for he has produced the best single volume yet written on the subject’ Sunday Times
‘Authoritative, exciting and notably well written’ Daily Telegraph
‘A serious work of rigourous and comprehensive history … royally entertaining and readable’ Mail on Sunday
In ‘The Secret War’, Max Hastings examines the espionage and intelligence machines of all sides in World War II, and the impact of spies, code-breakers and partisan operations on events. Written on a global scale, the book brings together accounts from British, American, German, Russian and Japanese sources to tell the story of a secret war waged unceasingly by men and women often far from the battlefields but whose actions profoundly influenced the outcome.
Returning to the Second World War for the first time since his best-selling ‘All Hell Let Loose’, Hastings weaves into a ‘big picture’ framework, the human stories of spies and intelligence officers who served their respective masters. Told through a series of snapshots of key moments, the book looks closely at Soviet espionage operations which dwarfed those of every other belligerent in scale, as well as the code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park – the greatest intelligence achievement of the conflict – with many more surprising and unfamiliar tales of treachery, deception, betrayal and incompetence by spies of Axis, Allied or indeterminate loyalty.
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From one of our finest historians, a magisterial account of the most terrible event in history – World War II.
The horror of World War II touched the lives of millions across the globe. Few could find the words to describe it, only that the carnage they experienced resembled ‘all hell let loose’.
The eminent historian Max Hastings here encapsulates life through war for the ordinary people involved –soldiers, sailors and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad: Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews. This ‘everyman’s story’ employs top-down analysis and bottom-up testimony to reveal the meaning of this vast conflict and ultimately answer the question ‘what was World War II like?’.
An exhilarating and uplifting account of the lives of sixteen ‘warriors’ from the last three centuries, hand-picked for their bravery or extraordinary military experience by the eminent military historian, author and ex-editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sir Max Hastings.
Over the course of forty years of writing about war, Max Hastings has grown fascinated by outstanding deeds of derring-do on the battlefield (land, sea or air) – and by their practitioners. He takes as his examples sixteen people from different nationalities in modern history – including Napoleon’s ‘blessed fool’ Baron Marcellin de Marbot (the model for Conan Doyle’s Brigadier Gerard); Sir Harry Smith, whose Spanish wife Juana became his military companion on many a campaign in the early 19th-century; Lieutenant John Chard, an unassuming engineer who became the hero of Rorke’s Drift in the Zulu wars; and Squadron Leader Guy Gibson, the ‘dam buster’ whose heroism in the skies of World War II earned him the nation's admiration, but few friends.
Every army, in order to prevail on the battlefield, needs a certain number of people capable of courage beyond the norm. In this book Max Hastings investigates what this norm might be – and how it has changed over the centuries. While celebrating feats of outstanding valour, he also throws a beady eye over the awarding of medals for gallantry – and why it is that so often the most successful warriors rarely make the grade as leaders of men.
From Pan Military Classics, The Korean War by Max Hastings is the best narrative history of the conflict.
On 25 June 1950 the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam.
Max Hastings drew on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and incisive reassessment of the Korean War, bringing the military and human dimensions into sharp focus. Critically acclaimed on publication, The Korean War remains the best narrative history of this conflict.
The famous D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 marked the beginning of Operation Overlord, the battle for the liberation of Europe. Max Hastings’ acclaimed account overturns many traditional legends in this memorable study.
Drawing together the eyewitness accounts of survivors from both sides, plus a wealth of previously untapped sources and documents, Overlord provides a brilliant, controversial perspective on the devastating battle for Normandy.
The Falklands War was one of the strangest in British history – 28,000 men sent to fight for a tiny relic of empire 8,000 miles from home. At the time, many Britons saw it as a tragic absurdity, but the British victory confirmed the quality of British arms and boosted the political fortunes of the Conservative government. But it left a chequered aftermath; it was of no wider significance for British interests and taught no lessons. It has since been overshadowed by the two Gulf Wars, however, its political ramifications cannot be overestimated.
Max Hastings’ and Simon Jenkins’ account of the conflict is a modern classic of war reportage and the definitive book on the war. Republished as part of the Pan Military Classics series, The Battle for the Falklands is a vivid chronicle of a call to arms and a thoughtful and informed analysis of an astonishing chapter in the history of our times.
'I would choose this account over and above the rest. It is a fabulous book: full of perceptive insight that conveys all the tragedy, triumph, humour and intense drama of Churchill's time as wartime leader; and it is incredibly moving as a result' James Holland, Literary Review
A moving, dramatic narrative of crisis and fortitude, Hastings offers one of the finest biographies of one of Britain’s finest men.
When Churchill took power as Prime Minister in 1940, it was with the unprecedented support of the nation. People rallied behind their new commander in extraordinary fashion, but thereafter, as Hastings argues, there came a deep divide.
Churchill was a hero, a dogged worker dedicated to steering the country through the war. He expected more from the British people than they were perhaps able to deliver.
Taking us on an intimate, stirring journey through the war years, Hastings tells a story of triumphs and tragedies. In Churchill, who was to become a paragon of leadership in tough times, he finds both folly and nobility. In the British nation as it faced its greatest challenge, he takes us through moments of both weakness and tremendous strength.
'One of the best books ever written about Churchill … He has drawn on copious original sources and consulted experts familiar with them, enabling him to cast fresh light on familiar episodes … A magnificent performance'
'The book's portrait of Churchill is scrupulously fair and often deeply moving … In fact Hastings excels with all his character portraits, especially with Roosevelt and Stalin. Hastings is truly a master of strategy and high command'
Antony Beevor, Mail on Sunday
Within days of the D-Day landings, the Das Reich 2nd SS Panzer Division marched north through France to reinforce the front-line defenders of Hitler's Fortress Europe. Veterans of the bloodiest fighting of the Russian Front, 15,000 men with their tanks and artillery, they were hounded for every mile of their march by saboteurs of the Resistance and agents of the Allied Special Forces.
Along their route they took reprisals so savage they will live for ever in the chronicles of the most appalling atrocities of war. Max Hastings' Das Reich is a powerful account of their progress and a true military classic.