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4.0 out of 5 starsHow to get people interested in history
Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2018
I received an ARC copy from NetGalley.
This is the kind of history book that gets people interested in history. I found a lot of the information fascinating (i.e. the hydrogen balloons the Japanese used to bomb the West coast of the US, killing several - I’d never heard of that before!). I do wish that the information had been organized a bit better - for example, there were a decent amount of animal related facts that could have been put one after the other instead of interspersed throughout the book. There were a couple of typos (“for ever” should be “forever,” “Leutnant” should have been “Lieutenant,” etc.). I think reorganizing the book into proper sections could make an already good book greater. I would have liked more information about Japan, but understand that you have to be selective about what you do or don’t put in a book. I looked up a couple of the facts to see if they were accurate and it seems like the author did a good job of putting in accurate information while acknowledging that some may be myths. I really like the title of the book - I found it to be quite clever. There were many weird things mentioned in this book, but in a good way. If more of this kind of information was sprinkled in during history classes I think we’d have a better educated population due to increased interest.
4.0 out of 5 starsWacky behind-the-scenes look at World War II
Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2018
The signing of the Treaty of Versailles signaled the end of World War 1. In part, it stipulated that Germany pay reparations of 3.5 billion dollars which would in today's economy be somewhere in the neighborhood of 46 billion dollars. It was never paid.
Some twenty years later, Germany reclaimed some of its land lost through the ravages of war. And if that's not enough, the warring country began to build armaments once again; it knew not peace. To the amazement of the world, the battle-prone country was beginning to flex its military muscles once again. Fool me twice...
Finally, In September, 1939, Germany boldly invaded Poland. The world was in shock. In retaliation, Britain and France declared war on the invader. Notice had been served. It marked the beginning of World War II.
By May, 1941, blanket bombing had been responsible for the senseless death of 40,000 British civilians. Over a million homes were in ruins. Six million people had been exterminated in death camps the likes of Auschwitz, Dachau and Treblinka. At the hands of the merciless Japanese, thousands of British POWs died while building the Burma Railway. To cap it all off, the first use of a nuclear weapon on a civilian population ended the lives of tens of thousands of Japanese bringing the war to a tumultuous end.
Those were all some of the worst, most memorable tragedies that will live on in our minds and hearts for eternity. Out from the rubble of this nightmare, however, arose some of the weirdest, yet, interesting events that never made it into the history books.
In a well-written narrative, Richard Denham brings to light an overflowing assortment of the strangest occurrences to address the war such as: anti-tank dogs, balloon bombs and pigeon missiles, just to name a few. The author revealed countless uncanny events that could best be described as bizarre. This flip side of the war proved to be entertaining.
Contained in this book are a multitude of episodes that just seem too unbelievable to be true, in many cases, absurd would better describe it. If you have an unspoken desire to learn about the uncanny and curious events that baffled the world during World War II, then this is the book for you.
I offer my gratitude to NetGalley and Thistle Publishing for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
5.0 out of 5 starsA fun look at out of the box thinking that accompanied WWII and the desire for a technological edge.
Reviewed in the United States on September 9, 2018
Weird War 2 by Richard Denham is a look at the odd and experimental plans to gain the upper hand in the war. Aside from the curious, there are also some myths that are straightened out. Denham is the co-author of the popular 'Britannia' series with M. J. Trow. These books follow a group of soldiers and their descendants through the madness of a chain of events which will eventually lead to the fall of Roman Britain and the descent into the Dark Ages.
World War II was a conflict that killed well over 50 million people directly and many millions indirectly through displacement and famine. It is not a war that is associated with humor, but in hindsight, several programs that were taken seriously are now seen as almost comical. From sheep and cat bombs to antitank dogs there were a number of weaponized animal programs that failed miserably. There are also stories of actual products and event of the war from Fanta to Marines (not soldiers) raising the flag on Iwo Jima that are separated from their mythical in their origins. Other stories reflect heroes like the Navajo Code Talkers whose talk could not be decoded by the enemy and the allies own code breaker who was later charged as a homosexual.
Denham leads the reader through an improbable collection of stories and facts from World War II. Each item is only a page or two but provides enough information to explain the event or project. Are the stories true? There does seem to be enough supporting evidence although none of the stories are cited as the author claims there is still some disagreement among historians. Several of the stories I have had heard of before in my reading and history classes. Some, however, are very new to me. A fun look at out of the box thinking that accompanied WWII and the desire for a technological edge.