I found "Inferno" to be one of the most complete overall views of World War II. While other books of this type tend to drift off into one specific area of the Second World War, such as Andrew Roberts' solid "The Storm of War" being more about the British effort in Europe than the whole of World War II, Hastings delves in good detail into just about every aspect of World War II. And that detail is well distributed into all the major theaters: Europe, Scandinavia, the Pacific, the Battle of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, China, Burma, Africa and the Middle East to name a few.
Hastings touches on not just the obvious things, like battles and politics, but also the areas most people don't normally consider. That includes such topics as the participants' various home fronts and the colonial aspects (especially in regards to Great Britain). Hastings is keen to turn a just as critical eye on the Allies and he does the Axis. The horrors of war are definitely brought forward, regardless of the perpetrator.
This is a highly recommended book, even for those well versed in the subject of the Second World War.
It is a strong entry on an operational level of World War I history. There are many excellent books on the First World War, but many of them deal with cause and effect - what started the war and how it ended. Books such as The Guns of August and Paris 1919 are superb in this respect. But there care few books that deal with World War I at the operational level of a specific battle or battles and this one covers the Battle of the Marne quite well.
I especially liked author Holger H. Herwig's descriptions of color. World War I is known as mainly a black and white war. There are very few color photos available and Herwig does a fine job in describing the colors of the war, for example, the uniforms. It gives you a unique visual sense of the war that other books do not.
One reviewer noted the unwelcome reading all the footnotes. While I agree that it can be a bit distracting at times, I do not feel it is enough to detract from the strong narrative.
The Marne, 1914 is a welcome addition to the field of World War I histories.
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