The complete magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. This shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world - soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.
Reflecting Max Hastings's 35 years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience. There are vivid descriptions of the tragedies and triumphs of a host of ordinary people, in uniform and out of it, in an 'everyman's story'.
This is now the entire audiobook, not in two parts.
©2011 Max Hastings (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction addict.
There are many alternatives if you are looking for books about WW2. I recently read the not so creatively named "second world war" by Anthony Beevor, a thousand page book that gives the reader a comprehensive account of the entire war.
All hell breaks loose is in many ways similar to Beevors book, however, it did not seem to put as much emphasis on covering all aspects of the war. Instead this book frequently quoted personal correspondence from people who were involved in the war. Indeed I think that this is the primary reason why someone should choose rather than some other book.
You often read or hear about wars and the number of fatalities and how many starved etc etc, however, it is very hard to take the perspective of the individuals involved. The letters and diaries in this book takes you one step closer. Upon reading such material you can easily feel a bit ill (unless you are a complete psychopath), but at least for me the stronger feeling is one of gratitude that you have not been caught up in a war...
Reviewing my notes on this book I realized that it also contained quite a bit of information that was new to me, things that I had not considered important before. For example, the author convincingly argues that had Germany not attacked England with their airforce, England would not have been able to maintain the moral of their army and the political climate would probably have swayed towards peace with Hitler.
Another slightly comical story relates to Italy's inability to do, well, anything at all. As a part of a propaganda stunt meant to demonstrate the superiority of the Italians, a boxing fight was arranged between a famous boxer and an African man woo had never boxed before. Much to Mussolini dismay, the African man knocked the professional Italian boxer unconscious...
All in all, this book is kind of average if you are looking to get an overview of the war, however if you want to understand better what it was like for the soldiers and civilians who were actually involved in the war, this book is a sound choice. It is not that optimistic to suggest that there will be no conflict as destructive as WW2 again.
The best narrator in the business. Sheer pleasure to listen, even if you are not interested in WWII. Cameron Stewart should cover all the books in the store, and earn tonnes of money for his narration.
"A superb history of the second world war"
This is a very long book, but I was gripped throughout by the fast-paced narrative that illuminated the horrors of war and the extraordinary heroism of the men and women who put up with unspeakable conditions in all the theatres of war. The basic details of the war are well-known but where this book excels is in combining the global/national facts with extensive material from letters and diaries that more than anything evoke what it was really like on the ground, in the air, and on and under the seas.
This is no jingoistic telling of WWII from the British perspective. The failings, mistakes and barbarities of all the protagonists are revealed, often with hindsight as the author acknowledges.
It’s not a book to be ‘enjoyed’ as the sheer number of people killed was enormous and the devastation of parts of the world catastrophic for many years after the war, however I finished the book feeling humbled by what the generation before mine had endured.
It’s a salutary reminder that megalomaniacs, such as Hitler and Stalin, can galvanise such monumental horrors in the 20th century and depressing that people are still enduring these tyrants and horrors on Europe’s doorstep.
The narrator is superb.
I also have the hardback version of this and initially hesitated buying the audio, but I am glad that I did. It is superbly read by Cameron Stewart. I have listened to each day as I walk to and from work. Loosing track of what you have listened to can be a problem with some of the larger history books, but not in this case. It is entirely memorable. The detail is superb and there is a wealth of little known detail through out. I am looking forward to listening to part 2.
"Gripping Fascinating, Illuminating"
This has been in my library for some time but I have only just got around to listening to it - why I can't imagine!
I was a child during the war and experienced some bombing, rationing and so on but it was all quite exciting and I had no idea how close we came to losing, how ill prepared and ill equipped we were or how much of the propaganda was far from accurate and designed, reasonably effectively as far as I can recall, to keep up our spirits.. The book is rich in quotations from indiviuals involved which bring home the sheer scale of the misery experienced by millions and from which I, secure in my Devon village for much of the time, was largely protected.I very strongly recommend this to anyone, who like me , lived through the war, but also for a younger generation who I find are woefully ignorant about it - why it occurred, how it progressed and , above all, how the outcome could have been very different had better decision been made, especially by Hitler. I shudder to think what our lives would be like today had he won. This excellent book makes it very clear that a German victory was a distinct possibility. With the aid of hindsight, and Max Hastings's insight, some of Hitler's decisions beggar belief - Thank God!
"A heavy going book but well worth praising with."
An amazing book, I learnt so much about the war and the horrors that were committed during it... Well done Max Hastings !
An amazing account of WW2, I was most impressed by the narration! Kudos Cameron Stewart!
"You think you know the WWII history!"
Fills in the lesser known facts. Provides a 360° view covering the non Anglo-Saxon viewpoint.
"Truly enlightening, it will change how you see the world"
Great pace, top notch narration, moving and humbling. Answered so many questions, an awesome book.
"40 hours long yet still felt too short."
A balanced and unbiased look at the second world war from the perspective of not only the military and political leaders of the time but if the normal everyday people that experienced the horror of war themselves.
This is a book that I can see myself revisiting time and time again.
"a fine and substantial account of this period"
this very long book gives great value. is also very well read, and keeps the listeners interest.
"Awesome in detail and refreshing in perspective."
I thought I knew a great deal already but this book taught me more. Particular credit for the real life stories included. Only downside is the audio at times alters in tone due to recording inconsistency.
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