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The Second World War Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

4.7 out of 5 stars 309 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (1 Dec. 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1445024942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445024943
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,033,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


His singular ability to make huge historical events accessible to a general audience recalls the golden age of British narrative history, whose giants include Gibbon, Macaulay and Carlyle. (Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT)

Beevor can be credited with single-handedly transforming the reputation of military history. (David Edgar The GUARDIAN)

A truly outstanding historian of war (Michael Howard STANDPOINT)

A British historian of great distinction and range, who ... demonstrates his mastery of his sources. (Gordon Craig NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS)

His accounts of the key moments in the second world war have a sense of colour, drama and immediacy that few narrative historians can match (Dominic Sandbrook THE SUNDAY TIMES)

If you want to understand the war as military struggle, this book is all you really need. However well you thought you knew the subject, you will learn something new on every page. (Neill Denny WE LOVE THIS BOOK online)

You feel yourself being carried along on the narrative flow, channelled this way and that through the pools and rapids by Beevor's expert helmanship. (Patrick Bishop STANDPOINT)

Brocaded with details of the great campaigns and thoughtful explanations of Hitler's murderous belligerence, The Second World War is an absorbing, unsparingly lucid work of military history. (Ian Thomson THE SPECTATOR)

The myriad pieces of this intricate kaleidoscope are pieced together with exemplary skill. (Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

This is a splendid book, erudite, with an admirable clarity of thought and expression. (Roger Moorhouse THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Beevor's book is a pleasure to read and an example of intelligent, lively historical writing at its best. (Tony Barber THE FINANCIAL TIMES)

Everyone who is interested in the Second World War should read this book. (Laurence Rees WW2HISTORY.COM)

This is as comprehensive and objective an account of the course of the war as we are likely to get, and the most humanly moving to date. (John Gray NEW STATESMAN)

The book that Beevor has been building towards writing - and everybody else has been anticipating reading. (Donal O'Donoghue RTE GUIDE)

remarkably well-written and informative (Norman Stone LITERARY REVIEW)

This is the place to begin if you need to get your knowledge of the war in order. (Hew Strachan EVENING STANDARD)

This is history writ large. (James Owen THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH magazine)

Beevor is excellent at catching the individual in the flood-tide of events. (John Lewis-Stempel SUNDAY EXPRESS)

The book could not really have been done better. (MILITARY HISTORY MONTHLY)

A magnificent performance - true excitement from one page to the next delivered in faultless prose. (Christoper Silvester DAILY EXPRESS)

the whole story told in the author's usual erudite yet highly readable prose (DESPATCHES Magazine)

The heart of Beevor's appeal is precisely that straightforward narrative approach, coupled with his lively, engaging style and his use of memorable, almost cinematic, set-pieces. (HISTORY TODAY)

He is the most humanitarian of historians, and covers huge sweeps of history through the real stories of the individuals who experienced them. Reading this will be like having him walk me through the history of the war like a personal guide. (Kate Mosse)

This is a book demanding to be read. (Christoper Bray THE OXFORD TIMES)

a masterly understanding of the conflict's many facets (THE MAIL ON SUNDAY)

For as harrowing and politically convoluted as the years 1939-1945 were, Beevor writes with such a panache and literary flair, that the reader is almost uncannily charged to keep turning the pages at a rate of ten by ten, twenty by twenty, chapter by chapter - until such point that s/he has stumbled upon the end as if by chance, as if by default. (David Marx)

By deploying his keen eye for tiny detail and penchant for story telling, and then marrying them both with an acute historical investigation, Antony Beevor has once again written a book that is simply superlative. (David Marx)

This imposing history can both be read as a whole or dipped into, and never fails to inform. (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?)

This book is a perfect mixture of world history and human experience, unbiased and highly readable. (THE JOURNAL)

As we have come to expect from this master, he excels at using eye-witness testimony to illustrate how mankind can be capable of both terrible cruelty and astonishing courage. (Andrew Rawnsley THE OBSERVER)

global history at its grandest and best (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

the most incredibly detailed research (Chris Tarrant THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE)

a truly rewarding account of the global conflict. Beevor has a special gift for linking great events with individual testimony (Amanda Foreman MAIL ON SUNDAY)

In his books on Stalingrad and Berlin, Beevor used evidence from ordinary people to bring home the reality of life at the front as opposed to the traditional HQ view... He crams in so much and does it so well because he can. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

[Antony Beevor] crams in so much and does it so well because he can. (THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anthony Beevor's book provides an excellent and often compassionate account of this most appalling human tragedy. It is written in his well established authorative yet readable style. I am not an historian as such but as far as I can tell, from other books I have consulted, Beevor has successfully brought together the account of this event and clearly demonstrates why WWII still casts the long shadow across generations like mine, fortunate enough not to have experience of it at first hand. I have been a little surprised that some celebrated episodes are not referred to even in passing, but I accept that in a single volume like this, some events may have played a rather minor part in WWII as a whole. It is a harrowing account and one wonders how anyone who lived through the Second World War would not be altered and conditioned by it. The brutality of it as described here is at times utterly distressing.

The book suffers from a deficiency in maps (there are a few but they are not the best). A work like this could do with a supporting website to provide clearer and more detailed cartography, or failing that, at least perhaps a recommended war atlas to provide locations and campaigns that formed the contexts of the war, and the chapters of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
The sheer immensity of the Second World War is even now, after more ink has been spilt on it than on almost any other event in history, almost impossible to grasp. The war affected countless people in every conceivable small and big way, it changed the fate of innumerable nations and set the tone for issues with which we are still grappling, and it showcased the very best and very worst in human nature. Very few historians are capable of capturing this epic panorama of tragedy and triumph on paper. Happily for us, Antony Beevor is one of those chosen few who can. In the past few decades he has established himself as a war historian of the first rank. This volume can be seen as the culmination of a stellar career during which he has introduced us to the very nature of war and its human elements. Beevor's sweeping, magisterial account of this great conflict excels in three ways that are characteristic of his past scholarship on D-Day, Stalingrad and Berlin.

Firstly, Beevor delivers the raw strategic and historical facts with a relentless, crisp pace, covering all major events, participants and theaters of war. The history is informed by a treasure trove of material cited in the notes, including personal sources such as the invaluable diary of Soviet correspondent Vasily Grossman. There are 50 chapters and the title of each chapter describes the one or two key events narrated in it. The brevity of the chapters makes the book accessible and great for bedtime reading. A particular skill of Beevor's is in condensing the most important information in relatively brief paragraphs. Rather than provide separate extended quotes from the prime participants, he excerpts these quotes within the paragraphs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a superbly written, and very readable, account which covers the global sweep of the Second World War, with clear explanation of the factors which drove events at the time, as well as excellent narrations of the events themselves. There is also a strong human dimension in the writing - the motivations of the key players and the effects of war on the lives of combatants and civilians is recounted superbly, often in the words of those who were there.

Antony Beevor's magisterial, and superbly researched, history is not biased towards coverage of a particular geographical region or country. This history explains the events of the war in each of the main, and many of the smaller, theatres of war; there is much here for, example, about the events in Asia, as well as the war in Western and Eastern Europe. As a general reader i found much that was new to me, and many fresh insights into the events of which I already had fairly good knowledge

Beevor makes clear the horror of war, and its appalling human cost, whilst providing a highly informative, beautifully illustrated and very readable narrative.

Highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
I'm no expert. I assume the facts are accurate, and it is well told. Also has a lot of personal first-hand experiences and quotations. BUT the maps are TERRIBLE and far too few, most even lack a legend. To wit - even the end-paper map is almost totally useless! I'm surprised Mr. Beevor could allow this to occur. In contrast, his Stalingrad has better, more informative maps. For those who rely on maps for a more visual record of battles (as opposed to a verbal telling), The Historical Atlas of World War II (Chartwell Books, 2008) is about as good as it gets.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is already a much more erudite and in depth review of the book above so all I can add are my impressions of it which may be of value to you.
Whilst I eagerly devour just about anything written about WWII I was particularly looking forward to this all encompassing book on the war. I am probably in the majority in that I have just finished Max Hastings' similar effort before tackling this and I have to say that this book is a much more - the only word I can think of is - entertaining read. It is truly a delight and I have finished it in a two day readathon. This has NOT been time wasted. I have one, probably obvious, caveat in that similarly to Mr Beevor's last book on D-Day there is not much new on display here. This could have been a problem had not well known events take on new resonance with the author's brisk and incisive style. For me this style still didn't make "D-Day" the great book it promised to be but it would appear that there is enough room when writing about the war as a whole to find nuggets that keep the pace going to the end.
All in all this book created a dilemma for me because in some eyes a 5 star review should be reserved for uncondtionally great books, and because this book largely goes over old ground perhaps it cannot be deemed "great" in that sense but I have looked at Amazon's "rules" and apparently a five star review should be reserved for a book one has "loved" and i loved this book.
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