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The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War Hardcover – 6 Aug 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 808 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (6 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713999705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713999709
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Andrew Roberts's latest offering is a sparkling addition to the groaning shelves. Roberts offers refreshing judgements' --Robert Service, Observer

'what might be his best book yet' --Nigel Jones, Sunday Telegraph

'His mastery of the huge variety of subjects is truly impressive and his ability to marshal these subjects into a single compelling narrative stunning' --Keith Lowe, Daily Telegraph

'he presents stylish penmanship, gritty research and lucid reasoning, coupled with poignant and haunting detours into private lives ruined and shortened' --The Economist

'tightly written, every page packed with terse comment, well-organised facts and, often, telling details. Engrossing to read'
--Paul Johnson, Spectator

From the Back Cover

Andrew Roberts's acclaimed new history has been hailed as the finest single-volume account of this epic conflict. From the western front to North Africa, from the Baltic to the Far East, he tells the story of the war the grand strategy and the individual experience, the brutality and the heroism as never before.

Meticulously researched and masterfully written, The Storm of War illuminates the war's principal actors, revealing how their decisions shaped the course of the conflict. Along the way, Roberts presents tales of the many lesser-known individuals whose experiences form a panoply of the courage and self-sacrifice, as well as the depravity and cruelty, of the Second World War." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An excellent, well balanced history of the Second World War. Roberts writes extremely well and has a gift for expressing himself concisely, which is just as well considering the scale of his subject. It's not a `new' history in the sense of making any fresh revelations, the few paragraphs drawn from previously unpublished material are interesting but mostly not of great significance, confirming what has been appearing in other recent work. The book is, rather, a welcome new history of the war written in light of the excellent scholarship that has been carried out in recent years. Roberts is much more comfortable with the major issues than with the minor details of how the war was fought, and it is a pity that the publishers did not include a military specialist amongst those checking the drafts. That would have saved Roberts from some pretty basic errors. `Hull-down' does not mean that a tank has its hull pointing down (why would you do that??) it means that the hull is hidden by the terrain or by some other protection while the turret is exposed. The western allies were not so much short of the small landing craft that Roberts describes but of the larger craft - Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) particularly. The Panzerfaust was not "an anti-tank gun very accurate at short range" but an early RPG.
Does this sort of thing matter? Well, yes, in that if you don't know what you're talking about it is better to either write nothing or to check, which in these instances could easily have been done without going further than Wikipedia. The Panzerfaust was so devastating precisely because it was not a `gun' - that's why it could be mass-produced cheaply and in vast quantities to be effectively used by personnel with little training.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not a great fan of the author's political views, and I approached this with a degree of scepticism, but I was quickly won over by an engaging writing style allied to a keen eye for detail.It is a great 'refresher' book, reminding me of details once read but then forgotten, and is a festschrift in combining information from a number of reputable source authors. Where it scores is in producing the occasional juicy nuggets that are new to me and which have habitually slipped under the radar, such as the response of the French to German occupation, the levels of accomodation with and opposition to the invader, and the paying of rescuing mariners for their services at Dunkirk. He comments wryly on the absence of the great bulk of the Rye fishing fleet during the Dunkirk evacuation, for example. He also shoots down some old canards, such as the supposed attack of Polish lancers against German tanks, as the product of propaganda. While much is familiar (inevitably, given the existing volume of writing on the subject) there is sufficient new material to justify the title of the book as being a new history, and not simply a rehash.As a work it earns its place on the shelf amongst the better accounts of this terrible period.
The book would appeal to more general readers with an interest in the period, as his style is to approach the unravelling tale of the war in the manner of a thriller writer; he returns regularly to the unpredictability of some of the outcomes at given points of the conflict, and raises some interesting 'what if' scenarios that help to keep it fresh. While I would still take issue with his take on certain events and key players in the war, I would have no hesitation in recommending this book. It is a rattling good read!
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Format: Hardcover
As we reach the 70th anniversary of World War Two's beginning, this is a first-class new general history of the conflict. Roberts writes with clarity and enthusiasm: his survey is wide-ranging and thoughtful and full of fascinating insights. The focus is on Axis war strategy, and using fresh archive material, Hitler's blunders are put under the spotlight - particularly his invasion of the Soviet Union, and - once the tide of war had turned - his dogmatic orders to hold every scrap of occupied territory, denying the German Wehrmacht all tactical flexibility. At the heart of the book is the simple yet powerful truth that the hateful race prejudices of the Nazis ultimately undermined their military efforts - but Roberts also pays proper and moving tribute to the courage of those who stood fast against them.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Storm of War" is just superb as a one volume overview of World War Two. Because it is a one volume book, Roberts must necessarily pick and choose what he focuses on. That said, the writing is crisp and clear, and the details and quotes that he does provide are chosen extremely well. I lost track long ago of how many books I have read on World War Two, but I found myself being fascinated by this book and learning a lot from it. The main thing about this book is that it is just so damn fun to read. I haven't had this much fun reading a book since I read Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series almost forty years ago. Based on the quality of this book, I will seriously consider buying all the other books Roberts has written. "The Storm of War" is just that good.
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