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Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 | [Max Hastings]

Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945

From one of our finest military historians comes a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences. Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the 20th century.
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Publisher's Summary

From one of our finest military historians comes a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences.

World War II involved tens of millions of soldiers and cost sixty million lives—an average of twentyseven thousand a day. For 35 years, Max Hastings has researched and written about different aspects of the war. Now, for the first time, he gives us a magnificent, singlevolume history of the entire war.

Through his strikingly detailed stories of everyday people—of soldiers, sailors, and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad, some of whom resorted to cannibalism during the two year siege; Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews—Hastings provides a singularly intimate portrait of the world at war. He simultaneously traces the major developments—Hitler’s refusal to retreat from the Soviet Union until it was too late, Stalin’s ruthlessness in using his greater population to wear down the German army, Churchill’s leadership in the dark days of 1940 and 1941, Roosevelt’s steady hand before and after the United States entered the war—and puts them in real human context.

Hastings also illuminates some of the darker and less explored regions under the war’s penumbra, including the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, during which the Finns fiercely and surprisingly resisted Stalin’s invading Red Army, and the Bengal famine in 1943 and 1944, when at least one million people died in what turned out to be, in Nehru’s words, “the final epitaph of British rule” in India.

Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the 20th century.

©2011 Max Hastings (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“This is the book [Hastings] was born to write: a work of staggering scope and erudition, narrated with supreme fluency and insight, it is unquestionably the best single-volume history of the war ever written.” (Sunday Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Vicki In Crete Chania, Greece 05-24-14
    Vicki In Crete Chania, Greece 05-24-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible Insights The real history WWII"

    This is an incredible book. I learned more about WWII from this book then from other histories combined. After reading this book one has a better idea of why it was called a world war and a better understanding of the complex relationships between the Ally and Axis powers. Wars are not simple events and they are not attractive, Mr. Hastings respects both facts. The narration is excellent. In all ways a great audible book. I would recommend this book to anyone trying to understand the historical background to events after WWII and to contemporary events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom S. 04-29-14
    Tom S. 04-29-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Boring! Bounces around, impossible to follow!"
    Has Inferno turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    This book simply jumps around too much to keep my interest. I couldn't make it through the first part before I gave up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Covington, KY, United States 02-07-14
    Scott Covington, KY, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Lots I didnt know about WW 2"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    Both the material and the reader.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Moved is probably not the right term. I was shocked by the hypocrisy present even in the days of WW 2. Countries seldom do the right thing because its the right thing to do. I was shocked by the atrocities committed by the japanese and the worlds {us} wiling ness to turn a blind eye. The whole war is surely far more complex than we are led to believe today.


    Any additional comments?

    This narrator fit this book as well as is humanly possible. Listen and I think you will agree. Its almost as if Churchill were reading to you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brittain Grasonville, MD, United States 01-26-14
    Brittain Grasonville, MD, United States 01-26-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Facinating"
    What made the experience of listening to Inferno the most enjoyable?

    The author's in depth research and the way he addressed so many topics relating to the war. The war in Asia, Russia, Great Britain, Southeast Asia, Japan, the air phase, weaponry, Naval warfare (on the water, below the surface and naval aviation), the effects of war on the citizens of the countries at war; all of these topics are examined in a way we haven't seen previously


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the way he personalized so many events. His research must have uncovered personal diaries and letters.His quotes of those involved brought the event to life.I also enjoyed his analysis of phases of the war and how today the view of WWII personalities varies from the immediate post war view.


    Any additional comments?

    For those that enjoy lengthy detailed stories as I do, this book will capture you. Max Hastings brings history to light.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Texas 11-03-13
    Kindle Customer Texas 11-03-13 Member Since 2013

    I teach history at a community college and thus enjoy historical non-fiction. I also enjoy a good mystery novel from time to time.

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    "A Great Listen"
    Would you listen to Inferno again? Why?

    Absolutely. The pacing of the narrative was very good. Writing a book about World War 2 is a difficult undertaking due to the sheer scope of the project. I think this one did an outstanding job in giving the reader (okay, listener) a good overview of the war.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Inferno?

    The use of frequent quotations by participants in the events described made the book feel more human.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    This may sound strange, but when I listen to a World War 2 book, I prefer the reader to have an English accent for some reason. Mr. Cosham did a wonderful job with the narration.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    By allowing the participants of these events to speak for themselves, the book provoked a range of emotion from laughter to tears.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this to anyone interested in the Second World War be they a newcomer to the subject or a veteran reader. I have a BA and an MA in History and I teach at a local community college. I've spend a large portion of my life reading and studying World War 2. I would rank this book among some of the best that I have ever come across. Max Hastings is one of the best WW2 historians out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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