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Exhaustive and exhausting
on 17 November 2013
Anthony Beevor's rather dry style contrasts with similar tomes from Max Hastings. To cover the whole of the war means economy of detail, but that means human aspects get less profound treatment than descriptions of battles and war politics. The range of the book is vast, and some aspects of WW2 such as the Chinese battles get much fuller description than I have read before.
One thing really stands out-the pivotal changes that came during 1943; before, all is Axis winning, after, all is their losing, but the point at which that happens is very clearly shown.
Of the two books, I marginally preferred Max Hastings' "Armageddon"-both detail the almost incredible scale of the death and destruction, not only of the Jewish race but of so many other victims of the Nazi regime. Both show how much worse it was than WW1, bringing perspective to the rather pro-British traditional views of both wars. But Max seems to convey the vast tragedy of it rather better.