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No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945 Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

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3.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews from

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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a Infused with irony and paradox, qualities essential to understanding history . . . ["No Simple Victory"] rearranges and juxtaposes facts and events in often unexpectedly illuminating ways.a
a"The Atlantic"
a A lively and contrary historiography, skillfully written.a
a"Library Journal"

Infused with irony and paradox, qualities essential to understanding history . . . ["No Simple Victory"] rearranges and juxtaposes facts and events in often unexpectedly illuminating ways.
"The Atlantic"
A lively and contrary historiography, skillfully written.
"Library Journal"

? Infused with irony and paradox, qualities essential to understanding history . . . ["No Simple Victory"] rearranges and juxtaposes facts and events in often unexpectedly illuminating ways.?
?"The Atlantic"

? A lively and contrary historiography, skillfully written.?
?"Library Journal"

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Norman Davies is a supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society, and Professor Emeritus at London University. His books include Europe: A History (a New York Times Notable Book), The Isles: A History, and the definitive history of Poland, God s Playground." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing Eastern Theater-focused View of WWII 8 Aug. 2015
By Robert - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Norman Davies has correctly proven that the Eastern Theater was the most decisive
theater of operations in WWII. His analysis of WWII from an eastern focus has presented
a new way of thinking about and understanding the most destructive war in human history. He also places the
popular works of Stephen Ambrose in a more proper and more accurate perspective. However, this book
would have greatly benefited from a more thorough analysis of Operation Barbarossa, which is strangely
lacking in the necessary detail and attention that is truly deserves.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! 9 Jan. 2013
By Madoc Pope - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Davies does an excellent job of demolishing the myth about WWII that too many in the West hold about where the war's center actually was. Yet he does this without any Soviet hero worship, thankfully.

He also goes into excellent detail about all the other things going on over there in the other countries in Europe and its environs. It really wasn't just the US, the UK, the French, and the Soviets against just the Germans and the Italians. And nor was the fighting over there just between the various Allied powers against the various Axis powers. It's no surprise then when people could think the whole world was coming unglued when they realized all the different and various fighting going on over in Europe.

Davies also goes into excellent detail on the civilian costs. The "ethnic cleansing" that regularly took place and did so long before the term was invented in Serbia.

This is a great book to detail the stuff that they just don't bother with in school. It also well sets straight the overwhelmingly massive scale of the fighting on the Eastern Front when compared to anything else that took place on any other front in the world during WWII.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No simple history... 27 Sept. 2009
By HMS Warspite - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"No Simple Victory" is British historian Norman Davies' pungently written reset of the commonly understood context of the European theater of World War II. Davies, an expert on the Eastern front, drills home the point that the bulk of the fighting, whether measured by numbers or casualties, took place in the titanic struggle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Davies further insists on recognizing the reality that the Soviets were essentially undifferentiated from the Nazis in their level of barbarity.

Davies takes a broadbrush approach to the conflict, dealing with warfare, politics, soldiers, civilians and the portrayal of the war itself, and finishing with a superbly written "Incomclusions." The topical approacha and emphasis on the Nazi-Soviet conflict will be offputting to some readers invested in a chronological and/or Anglo-America-centric narrative. Perhaps inevitably, a few details get roughly treated along the way. However, Davies thoroughly documents his principal theme, with style.

The general reader may lack the background to appreciate Davies' theme, but knowing students of the conflict shoud find "No Simple Victory" to be an entertaining, even enlightening read. To those discerning students, this book is highly recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A view worth considering 17 April 2010
By Dr. Lee D. Carlson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is sometimes tempting to regard a historian as presenting a more objective and truthful picture of some historical time period just because this picture is different than that of other historians. Such an imputation of objectivity is further reinforced when the historian makes frequent claims of his/her objectivity and points out with equal regularity the weaknesses and biases of other historians. Those curious about the time period must therefore exercise great care in not succumbing to this temptation when studying the work of any particular historian. Strong skepticism should be the rule, and proper due diligence exercised, for those individuals who genuinely want the truth about some time period of history. Such individuals do not care if their patriotic sensitivities are insulted or their jingoistic impulses are violated. They want the truth, the raw naked truth, as much as possible under the constraints of time and historical records.

As the title of this book gives a hint of, the author has given the reader a very different view of the main principals responsible for fighting and ending the Second World War in Europe. His opinions, moralizing, and conclusions will certainly offend those readers who believe it was predominantly the United States, either through direct military action or financial contributions (lend lease to the Soviet Union), who played the predominant role in ending the war in Europe. Refreshingly, the author gives evidence for much of what he claims in this regard, and asks the reader to put aside their allegiances when considering this evidence. For this reviewer, the book is a welcome addition to the historical literature, and many surprising historical facts were encountered by its study. This is not to say that readers should take this book as final, as representing some sort of strange apodictic historical certainty, but it is well worth the time and effort for its perusal, even though at times the author clearly needs to engage in some simple statistical sampling methodologies.

Some of the strong perturbations to accepted thought include the discussions on the use of German concentration camps by Soviet authorities to intern people of their choosing; the doctrine of "collective punishment" that was evidently authorized by the Big Three at the Potsdam Conference; the atrocity of the Katyn massacres as being a Soviet culpability, not Nazi; the fact that lend-lease from the United States to the Soviet Union was not really that intense until 1943 and after, and before 1943 the Red Army had already finished the major battles on the Eastern front; that Belarus and the western Ukraine experienced the brunt of the fighting; the standing forces of the United States in 1939 was 175,000 (smaller than Poland at the time); the firebombing of Dresden by Britain and the United States, in which 60,000 people died with intent of breaking the morale of the German people; the paucity of fuel for Germany's armoured divisions as playing a major role in ending the war; the strength of industrial war production in the United States (one tank every five minutes in 1943); that the Polish response to the invasion of their country has been completely distorted and in fact the author asserts performed better militarily than British or French forces did a year later.

These and other discussions will certainly raise the ire of many a reader, but the author asks such readers to consider the consequences of belief in events or interpretations that are not true. The people who participated in this conflict are honored not by creating false impressions or monuments of stone, but rather by reporting as accurately as possible the contexts and struggles in which they found themselves. There cannot be a better testimony to their efforts and courage.
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile read 22 Oct. 2016
By moudan - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Typical Davies--focuses on the the Eastern Front of WWII which was by far the most important theater of action, albeit ignored by many historians. Also focuses, quite correctly, on the Battle of the Atlantic.
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