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on 6 September 2014
A brilliant factual account of the second world war in northern Europe after D day to the German surrender.If you have seen the films 'A bridge too far' and 'The battle of the bulge' among many, you should read Max Hastings to find out what really happened. This book is really readable and contains a multitude of first hand accounts from those who took part, from senior officers of the Allied, Russian and German forces to the children caught up in the carnage.
At my advanced age, I can remember the second World War and have read dozens of books about it. Together with 'Stalingrad' by Anthony Beevor this is probably the best,
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on 29 March 2013
Reading this book you will understand how it was like to fight in the British, American, Soviet or German armies, thanks to more than 170 interviews with eye witnesses and to research in Archives of four countries.
This book covers the history of WWII on the main part of the European theater ( France, Germany, Poland) since September 1944 till the end of war., so the book doesn't include the description of the fightings in Italy and in the Balkans.
The book is very detailed because of the first hand accounts even if the maps are just ok.
For sure a good buy for the passionates of the WWII in the European theater.
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on 23 January 2017
Max H is a great writer, and an analytical one. So this has good stories, from combatants and civilians, as well as core military history. And because he is analytical, the book never descends into one damn thing after another, in the way of some history books
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on 27 August 2013
If you are interested in WW2 then you should buy and read this. Hastings writes extremly well and draws you into the narrative with anecdotes and a command and understanding of nature of warfare. A minor criticism is that he devotes more space to the western allies at the expense of the soviet effort. I also find his rejection of the allied bomber offensive on moral grounds is rather feeble however he is swift and correct to talk up the western allies leadership inadequacies and the brutality of the soviet armies. All in all it's a great read...totally absorbing.
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on 5 January 2015
Essential reading, like many I knew about D day etc but often wondered why it took so long to finish the job. The western front almost seemed civilised compared with the Russian efforts, the brutal and horrendous way they fought shows the underlying ethos of Russia that even with shards of democracy appearing the crude nationalism and martyrdom ingrained into their culture explains a lot of the current situation.
2 people found this helpful
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on 27 August 2015
Well researched, often interviewing those involved. Shocking, scarcely believable, but compelling reading about the Nazi fight to the bitter end. Equally perceptive comments about major figures of the Allies showing personalities, their impact and their mistakes. A must to read that shows the utter devastation of war, its impact on culture and fragile human life.
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on 28 March 2018
Excellent book which really brings home the horrors of the final months of WWII.

Another authoritative and very readable account by Max Hastings. Highly recommended.
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on 8 January 2016
As usual Hastings has written an enthralling, if harrowing, account, well researched & written.

I was somewhat taken aback by his criticism of the Anglo American political & military leaders, but eventually accepted that it was justified. They were, after all, just human beings, with their usual flawed personalities & failings.
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on 22 September 2014
A well researched book which overturns some misconceptions about the way the war in Europe was fought on the ground after the break out from Normandy. Max Hastings reveals a lot about the thought processes (or lack of them) of the Allied Generals and the variable quality of the troops on the ground. Eisenhower emerges as a far wiser man than many credit him and Montgomery as just as self centred and egotistical as we feared. Well worth a read.
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on 26 January 2016
Have read it twice so far, certainly puts into doubt the image portrayed by Hollywood on how heroic Allied soldiers really were. Also cast's a shadow over Patton's ability as a General and his character. Well worth reading to give a different truthful perspective on the final months of WW2
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