Part One. The Phoney War to Stalingrad.
The Second World War began in August, 1939, on the edge of Manchuria, and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects.
Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, and writing with clarity and compassion, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert, to the Burmese jungle, SS Einsatzgruppen in the borderlands, Gulag prisoners drafted into punishment battalions, and to the unspeakable cruelties of the Sino-Japanese War. Moral choice forms the basis of all human drama, and no other period in history has presented greater dilemmas both for leaders and ordinary people, nor offered such examples of individual and mass tragedy, the corruption of power politics, ideological hypocrisy, the egomania of commanders, betrayal, perversity, self-sacrifice, unbelievable sadism, and unpredictable kindness.
Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's The Second World War never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in this, the most terrible war in history. Part One of Antony Beevor’s magisterial history of the conflict takes listeners through the origins of the war to Stalingrad.
©2012 Antony Beevor (P)2012 Orion Publishing Group
Great run over the second world war. But nothing new for those who have studied it already. Best on the Western campaigns and less in-depth on the complex Japanese/Chinese conflict. Hoped that Antony Beevor with his detailed knowledge would have tried to maintain an analytical overview of the war. However, instead he leads us through battle to battle and campaign to campaign in his usual entertaining style with lots of specific stories to bring the scenes alive. Maybe I was expecting too much.
Excellent Audible history - up there with the rude boys.
The narrator is excellent. This is a long listen, so the narration is especially important and Sean Barrett's clarity, diction and expression are first class.
The mix of grand strategic overview mixed with the words of soldiers and civilians make this brilliantly written history extremely engrossing. I'm eagerly looking forward to Part 2.
The narration by Sean Barrett is simply outstanding and sensitive to the subject matter at hand.
THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE COME TO EXPECT FROM BEEVOR. WRITTEN HISTORY AT ITS BEST,CONCISE, WRITTEN WITH AUTHORITY AND VERY ENTERTAINING, I HAVE READ ALL OF BEEVORS BOOKS AND HAVE NOT BEEN DISAPOINTED. THE NARRATOR WAS EXCELLENT. IN ALL, A GREAT BUY
Harry Turtledove fan
Lacks the tautness of Stalingrad and Crete.
Not enough personal episodes.
Narration was bad. Not awful, but just bad.
Governator as Hitler, Tom Hanks as Churchill.
Love Books and listen while working out and on the way to and from work
It over all of the war and you get a much better picture of how it all unfolded. It was does not pull any punches and gives you enough details without overwhelming you.
"The Book on the Second World War!"
I have always wanted to read a book which gives a clear and accurate view of the second world for. This is that book. This never glamourises the War and it plays down the propaganda and the myths. In fact on reading this book i feel that no nation comes out with credit - just some were more guilty then others.
The book delves deep into the detail and it pulls no punches. this isn't a boys adventure tale. Its War and the worst of it.
Its so fascinating to see what strange and evil alliances the War bought together and I have never ever realised that some of the German allies were so close to the Uk. How the British had to fight the French after their surrender to Germany in some instances and how there was several nations who changed sides during the War - not just Italy.
The book delves into the reasons and the start of the War and Britain does not fare well. The brits were slow to start and let several nations down with their lack of support. France - then a super army never delivered and surprisingly fell to the Germany quickly and Italy panders to Germany without engaging in the War. America has to be cajoled into the War and it costs the Brits substantially to get them to join. Facts I never knew.
Its a big book an at times hard to follow - well at the start at least. But its well worth reading on. i just couldn't wait to get back into the book.
This book will be seen as THE BOOK ON THE SECOND WORLD WAR - I am sure of that.
"Concise, Interesting and Entertaining"
Beevor interweaves the stuff of war history - major campaigns, sea battles, the outcome of strategic decisions and the personalities involved, with the often gory detail of human suffering on a grand scale and post-event analysis which poses some interesting what-if scenarios. Humour occasionally lightens the mood - with the British General Staff and Il Duce's army bearing the brunt. Barrett's narration is excellent and he copes well with German, Russian and Japanese names and ranks. An often enlightening read which should be on the school curriculum, and read by all, lest we forget.
"Shallow but well paced"
A decent military history book, very well done considering the breadth of the topic. Decidedly focuses on military aspects of the war but includes some interesting sources, especially soldier letters, to add personality to the mid century war machines
I would say about equal but it is good to have both as the written book can be easier used as reference especially to remind th unbelievable numbers of poor soles who died for no purpose or reason
The reminder of history and the madness of War
The short story of the young Korean boy caught up in three wars
Nor really possible for me
Excellent and outstanding
"Just the right level of detail"
This book provided a brilliantly informative outline of the first half of the WW2. It had enough detail in it to give a good picture of what went on, where and with who. But wasn't so detailed that it became boring and lost the plot (Churchill's autobiography did this).
If you are looking to start learning about WW2 then this is the book for you. I would also recommend the 'Rise and fall of the 3rd Reich'. It will be equally suitable for someone who knows a fair bit but wants to fill in the gaps.
"Long but interesting and informative to the end."
This joined up my knowledge and then some. It is loaded with facts and figures from WWII and as much as I wanted to remember everything, just can't without another read. It's a long read but so interesting I found it difficult to put down. There are two books in this series and having read both, if you like one, you will like them both. The both move from front to front well and are well written.
"Such beauty in misery"
Beevors ability to make the gargantuan struggles of nations not only readable but also human makes this book something special. The scope is all encompassing but yet the stories of how the lives of real people are intertwined with these events make it engrossing. The narrator brings just the right amount of gravitas to the subject and somehow even manages to inject some wry humour from time to time. Overall I would recommend this not only as a scholarly tome with its impressive depth of research but also as a story of ordinary, and in some instances extraordinary, lives lived in terrible times. I will definitely be getting Part 2 at the earliest possible moment.
"A great read"
Found this covered both politics and battle details well. Enough detail given on the main events without becoming too technical. Great as an audio book as you dont have to keep re-reading details. Narrator is good - no-one I had heard of but just nice well spoken male english voice. I listen to this on train commute in morning and evening and it is helping pass the time nicely.
Anthony Beevor delivers again with this epic history of of WWII. Even those who already have a detailed knowledge of the conflict will find something new. The book is written in an engaging manner that brings the events to life. Strategic events are contrasted with individual tales of struggle and suffering. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Riveting listen, graphic in detail"
This book has been talked about and given high praise, I have to say that once I got started I found it really hard to put down (in the audio book sense).
Sean Barrett is a really good narrator who guides the listener through WW2 from beginning to end in an unforgettable book, the level of details is stunning and shows the level of research that has gone into this book.
Some of the book is hard going, not because it drags, but because the level of detail reminds you of the pain and suffering that millions went through.
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