Why the Allies Won Paperback – 1 May 1997
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A clear-sighted, interesting explanation of the reasons for the victory.
'Outstanding... Overy has written a masterpiece of analytical history, posing and answering one of the great questions of the century' - Niall Ferguson, Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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A couple of things, I am missing in his account of the allied victory is two things. One is the role of intelligence, which he himself writes that he do not attribute to having a war-winning effect, and therefore do not single out, but instead mentioning it, when it is important, to his account. I don't think that you can underestimate the value of allied intelligence. The Soviet union had througout the war very good direct and indirect sources as regards German military planning. I Overy puts to little emphasis on this.
Another thing is that Overy puts emphasis on the importance of the weather in the context of D-Day, but he doesn't do it in relation to the Eastern front. There is no doubt that "General Mud" and "General Winter" played a very important role in slowing down the German offensive on the Eastern front.
It is also a very sweeping statement that "he (Hitler) did not consider economics as central to the war effort." (p. 206) Hitler put a very strong emphasis on certain aspects of war economics for instance raw materials. He stopped the advance on Moscow in 1941 and didn't repeat in 1942 because he wanted to focus on the natural wealth of the Ukraine and the Caucasus, and in this context said that "His generals didn't understand the economics of war". He even talked about the reconquest of the Rumanian oil wells in the Bunker in 1945. Eventually, neither Hitler nor his generals had a deep understanding of the essentials of the war economy such as mass production etc., which is also mentioned by Overy.
And all in all, a very good book, which also gave me new information for instance of the effect of allied air power.
The chapters are clearly categorised enabling the reader, scholar or lay, to dip in and seek the answer to the question he/she might have. His focus on the role economics play in war is both useful and understandable. It is at such points that even the keenest of readers can get lost in a plethora of statistics. Yet Overy draws out the essentials in a digestible way.
I commend this book to you, whatever level you feel you're at. I guarantee you'll learn something knew about this exciting epoch in world history. His closing chapter has rekindled my passion for the subject.
The analysis that bears the most fruit is that of the economies of WW2, and the contrast between the Axis and Allied powers in how they understood what Total War meant. For the Axis powers, they didn't get it. Germany is a good example - lauded for the technical sophistication of its blitzkrieg forces, it failed decisively to understand that quantity mattered as much as quality. As a demonstration of this lack of understanding, the author points out the inefficiencies in German production. One example cites the Germans using something ridiculous like 0ver 100 different types of trucks - all of course, needing different parts and made in different factories, making the job of a panzer division's mechanic a nightmare. Soviets and Americans however had 1 type of truck, produced on a very few locations. The Soviets took it to almost minimalist levels - for much of the war producing 2 types of rifle, 1 type of tank, 2 types of planes. To say they out produced Germany puts it mildly. Germany may have created blitzkrieg, but they had an economy only ready to fight small short-term conflicts. They didn't step up production under Albert Speer's production until it was much too late in the war to make any difference. What is more, the allies really did embrace blitzkrieg, by the end of the war having completely mechanised and motorized divisions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd give the author and the seller SIX stars if I could! Arrived in no time at all and helped me no end with the writing of my dissertation for my Masters Degree in History. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ronan Hayes
Fascinating and enormously well-researched. This is one of those essential books that, while not re-writing what we know about WW2, certainly fills in a huge amount of very... Read morePublished 20 months ago by D. Peet
why turns out to be more interesting than how and this book covers the ground wellPublished 21 months ago by Frank Bond
Outstanding work. Thought provoking and good use of data to support and dispell. Best analytical work on WW2 i've read if that counts for anything!Published 21 months ago by Mr. Christopher M. Child