This history is interesting as far as it goes, but the focus is heavily on Europe and the Nazis. The Pacific Theater is given such cursory attention that I found myself wondering if the scope of the book had changed during the writing. By the end, I felt as if I knew many of the Nazi generals intimately -- not something I necessarily wanted -- whereas the quirky Japanese leaders are almost entirely ignored.
Andrew Roberts justifiably dedicates long chapters to the Nazi - USSR conflict, the scope of which was apparently unappreciated for decades. But comparably historic battles in the Pacific are given mere paragraphs, and many fascinating cultural aspects of that conflict are not mentioned at all, even in passing.
I'm also sorry to say that the author's biases are readily apparent. He is not overtly anti-American, but subtly and consistently so. He never misses an opportunity to mention, for example, that American soldiers ran from battle on at least one occasion and also committed rape. Yet he provides no comparable information on other Allied troops, other than the Soviets.
I suspect his neglect of the Pacific is related to this bias. He does detail the conflict in Burma, which is edifying, as it has probably been largely overlooked in other WWII histories. But this simply allows Mr, Roberts to linger lovingly on marginally effective British jungle heroics while minimizing the American initiative on the high seas. He gives the Americans full credit for producing huge quantities of weapons, but he could hardly fail to do that.
The American soldier -- whose toughness was amply demonstrated, especially in the Pacific -- is not given much credit in this book. For a deeper appreciation, I recommend UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand.
Christian Rodska does a fine job of narration. He is a gifted mimic of Winston Churchill, and this is especially enjoyable. He is less successful with Roosevelt and other American accents.
David Copperfield. The same great Dickens-Vance combo.
The characters are individualized, and truly brought to life with his subtle accents. His characterizations are never over the top -- just perfect.
Law and disorder.
Charles Dickens should have been knighted. Simon Vance's salary is probably too low.
EVERYONE should read this book. It's easy to understand, funny, compassionate, and exactly the right prescription to end the suffering.
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