In detailing the clash of political philosophies that drove the war's savage engine, Davies also examines how factors as diverse as technology, economics, and morale played dynamic roles in shaping battles, along with the unsung yet vital help of Poland, Greece, and Ukraine (which suffered the highest number of casualties). And while the Allies resorted to bombing enemy civilians to sow terror, the most damning condemnation is saved for the Soviet Union, whose glossed-over war crimes against British soldiers and its own people prove that Communism and Nazism were two sides of the same brutal coin.
No Simple Victory is an unparalleled work that will fascinate not only history buffs but anyone who is interested in discovering the reality behind what Davies refers to as "the frozen perspective of the winners' history".
©2007 Norman Davies; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Enormously readable....This will explode all your ideas about the 'Good War.' " (Details)
"This is a self-consciously contrary book, cutting against the grain of much self-congratulatory Western writing since 1945." (London Sunday Telegraph)
"Davies' topical approach judiciously surveys the military, economic and political aspects of the war....His interpretations rest on solid scholarly work." (Publishers Weekly)
Overall a well done book. It jumped around a bit chronologically and it did contain the aforementioned temperature errors but I did not feel that it detracted from the book. It is not a narrative of the war but gives some perspective to the significance of the roles of the various combatants and some perspective that helps balance the home country centric view that you may have learned in school.
This is the most truthful, comprehensive book on WWII I have read. It is well written and divided into thoughtfully unique sections. The narrator is excellent. If you have any interest in WWII this would be the book you should start with, read other books and then come back to this one. I was very impressed. One warning - you may not like everything you hear. It is truthful and comprehensive.
There is some confusion on the temperatures given. It may be a conversion issue or the narrator may not have read negative numbers in every instance. I would have liked to have more information on POW camps.
I thought this book would be exactly what I wanted. A comprehensive modern history of World War II, performed by my favorite narrator. But the book was not for me. The author is strongly indignant that atrocities committed by all of the participants have been ignored or not fully reported. And also to a certain extent, the author wants to explain how he would have run certain aspects of the war if it had been up to him. I thought about citing examples, but mainly, all I am interested in is what happened (hopefully described in an interesting way). This book reads like a political blog, critical of both the actions and lack of action of the wartime participants and also the historians who have since recorded these actions.
A valuable addition to the written collection of WW2 history. Covers the causes and effects of the war from a myriad of perspectives, not otherwise commonly discussed.
I have listened to the book twice and may listen to it again
I thought I knew a lot about the second world war, I grew up at a time when everyone's father or grandfather had served in the conflict, but No Simple Victory made me rethink things.
The author makes two points at the beginning of this book; one, that the history of the second world war as we know it was written at the war's end with little attention paid to recent discoveries; and two, that we should view it as a larger conflict that began in 1914 with the assassination of archduke Fredinand and ended in 1989 with the fall of the soviet union.
He also does not pull any punches when it come to assigning blame to those that deserve it.
I highly advise that you buy the matching Kindle book along with the Audible version (no I don't work for amazon); there is so much info (much of it new) that you will get lost without it.
Geek Hippie Teacher Techie. Love history, Fantasy, classic SciFi, Science books, and short stories.
There are probably a good set of sermons here, but No Simple Victory is a labor to read. More of a collection of moralizing essays than a history, the author’s main points about the suffering on the Eastern front and the lack of Allied appreciation of the evil of the Soviet Union and Stalin, gets lost in the author’s obsession for assigning guilt to the western allies for crimes they had no real knowledge of and no control over.
The most serious problem is the author’s use of historical hindsight which he not so subtly uses to attribute knowledge of events and outcomes that the Allies simply did not possess. For example, he passes judgment on the Western bombing campaign against Germany as morally unjustified because it didn’t achieve all of the goals the Allies hoped it would. For example the Allies hoped that the bombing campaign would break the will of the German people to continue fighting. This obviously didn’t happen to the degree that the Allies hoped for, but they had no idea at the time how the bombing was effecting the German war effort.
I couldn’t escape the feeling while I was reading, that the author’s absolutely justifiable moral outrage over what happened on the Eastern Front (and especially Poland), had simply boiled over into a rage and the author was lashing out at any and all participants in an attempt to vent his anger. The author repeatedly returns to statistics about the suffering on the Eastern Front in a macabre dialog that basically amounts to “my pain is worse than your pain”.
Taken together, the unhistorical methods and selective remembering of events the author uses consistently combined with the accusative tone used by the author towards the reader make this a book that started with a noble purpose that degenerated into a long accusative diatribe that makes the reader want to stop reading.
I didn't know!
Yes - no stone left unturned in this book.
Thanks for our todays
If you think you know WWII listen to this and then rethink
This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.
No simple war is an impressive about the history of World War II which, uniquely, manages to simultaneously pay homage to the courage of the soldiers fighting on the wrong side of the moral line and document the many darker acts committed by these same soldiers.
Although the book is rich in detail and goes through all the parties involved in the conflict, there are two special places were the study deserves special praise and goes far beyond what other books in the area have done.
- The book takes special attention to describe the unknown German heroes of the war. These are the soldiers that won battles on two fronts, against sometimes impossible odds. Many of these soldiers had nothing to do with what was happening on the political front and were (soon enough) fighting, and dying, for Germany's survival. Few books document that well the German ordeal on the Eastern front, in particular, how this was all very different from a well-equipped and organized army.
- Second, the book is one of the few to be honest about a fact of the war, that it was mainly fought, and won, by the Russians with the allied mostly creeping in as a sideshow. But this was not easy and while the Russians numerous, it boggles the mind to imagine how they could transform from a second-class world power to one that could push back a major industrial power. According to the narrative, this was accomplished mainly by the Russian grit never to give up and fight until death.
No simple victory is marketed as a tale of the war atrocities committed by the victors but this is just a part of the story. More than this, the book tries to explain how we came to this by defining what "total war" really is. It is also a cautionary tale about a kind of war that might have occurred only once in the history of humanity.
somewhere between jawdropping and Oh...how 'bout that.
When the good guys win.
not sure but he is excellent
A normal persons brain would explode if you listened to it all at one time. Let me know when you decide your going to likely listen to it a second time.
history library must have.
My dad was in WW 2 and would NEVER talk about it, after listening to this book I know why. It is hard for me to wrap my brain around what took place. The numbers quoted in this book are staggering! The torture incomprehensible!
I keep thinking about the protesters complaining about the U.S. using water boarding!!
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