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Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-45 Hardcover – 15 Oct 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 221 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition edition (15 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333908368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333908365
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Armageddon' offers an impressively researched, beautifully crafted narrative of the Second World War's European finale. -- Douglas Porch in TLS

Book Description

Armageddon tells the story of the climatic months of the Second World War, the destruction of Hitler's Germany --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I had previously read 'Overlord' by Max Hastings and found that he told that story (the battle of Normandy) very well. I read this book in hardback and found that it is similarly well told. As well as the pure facts of the allied & Russian advances and German counter-attacks, Max Hastings adds colour and interest from the personal accounts of many people he has interviewed (I contrast this with Berlin The Downfall - Beevor - which I found too dry in this respect). It also deals well with the problems faced by the allied leaders between themselves.
The book covers the western and eastern fronts and the concentration camps. It does not cover the war through Italy.
One thing I think could be much improved is the maps - there are a few, but not enough (e.g. one per chapter), they are very basic and don't tie in well with the text. There could be many more, illustrating the text, and use colour.
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Format: Paperback
Hastings' 'Armageddon' is one of the best WWII books I've read. Clearly he has undertaken painstaking desk and field research and the results show it. But it is not just the sheer details that make the book shine, it is Hastings' opinions and judgements - however camouflaged - that give the book its deserved plaudits. He does not shirk from telling the unpalatable truths that need airing if the history of the war is to be a full one.

Allied atrocities such as the shooting of German prisoners of war and the strafing of civilians are detailed, as are those by the Germans and Russians. He spends much time on the many episodes of rape by Russian soldiers - it is thought some 2m German women were raped - and clearly has strong views on it without expressing them. He finds time for pity for the German civilian, despite acknowledging the overwhelming case for collective guilt, and sometimes one suspects even for the dogged German soldier, who Hastings rightly describes as the best fighting professional of the war. Similarly he carefully awards professional respect for the Waffen-SS, whilst in no way condoning their sometimes atrocious battlefield behaviour. He reserves much criticism - supported by much evidence - of Montgomery and the American generals, Patton included. But despite Eisenhower's faults as a strategist, Hastings is fullsome in his regard for him as a leader and politician who held together what was becoming a fractious partnership between Great Britain and the USA.

I was surprised at the observation by Hastings that the Allied soldier was a factor in why the war did not end in 1944.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the most shocking books I have ever read. Brought up on 2nd WW films in which the British or Americans were invariably the heroes, having read Churchill's The Second World War, all six volumes, and having known a number of British serving soldiers it now all begins to make sense.

This is nothing like Beevor's Stalingrad, good as that is, but this is the real thing with no punches pulled. It takes you to the front lines in all their horror and is a mastery of strategic oversight. I also know now how some of the 2nd WW officers that I knew considered the whole thing a "cake walk", after the bloody D Day landings, it was because they were not doing the real fighting.

The observation of the military "top brass" is superb, the detail this book goes into is terrific, the mistakes the Anglo-American forces made horrendous, the lack of fighting spirit appalling. If it has done one thing more for me it has explained Putin's current belligerence with the West - OK the USA supplied the materiel but the Russians won the war. Not, at all as we have been brought up to believe, the Allies in the West. History is written by the victor but this rubbishes most of the 2nd WW history I have ever read. The British and Americans come out of this as a bunch of bungling amateurs, awfully nice you know but not really cut out for fighting, whereas the Germans and Russians come out as tough, professional and ruthless.

On the whole it is beautifully written, I have only found one typo, very engaging - you just want to plow on through because each page is a revelation. I read about a serious book a week (OK, War and Peace takes two) but I simply must say this is the best book I have read in a very long time.
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Format: Paperback
...is a very appropriate title for a book about the battle for Germany if ever there was one. Especially at the Eastern Front. Hastings achieves a good balance between the wider picture - embracing the politics and military strategy of the campaign as a whole - with the experience of individuals who were in the thick of the action, whether they are soldiers, civilians, POWs or Hitler's concentration camp victims. This really is a very good book and I recommend it highly. I think this book is complemented particularly well by Norman Davies's "Rising '44: the Battle for Warsaw" and Anthony Beevor's "Berlin: The Downfall", both of which, incidentally, Hastings praises in his acknowledgements at the end of the book.
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