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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling historian Andrew Nagorski “brings keen psychological insights into the world leaders involved” (Booklist) during 1941, the critical year in World War II when Hitler’s miscalculations and policy of terror propelled Churchill, FDR, and Stalin into a powerful new alliance that defeated Nazi Germany.

In early 1941, Hitler’s armies ruled most of Europe. Churchill’s Britain was an isolated holdout against the Nazi tide, but German bombers were attacking its cities, and German U-boats were attacking its ships. Stalin was observing the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and Roosevelt was vowing to keep the US out of the war. Hitler was confident his aim of total victory was within reach.

But by the end of 1941, all that changed. Hitler had repeatedly gambled on escalation and lost: by invading the Soviet Union and committing a series of disastrous military blunders; by making mass murder and terror his weapons of choice; and by rushing to declare war on the US after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Britain emerged with two powerful new allies - Russia and the US. By then, Germany was doomed to defeat. 

Nagorski illuminates the actions of the major characters of this pivotal year as never before. The Year Germany Lost the War is a stunning and "entertaining" (The Wall Street Journal) examination of unbridled megalomania versus determined leadership. It also reveals how 1941 set the Holocaust in motion and presaged the postwar division of Europe, triggering the Cold War. The year 1941 was “the year that shaped not only the conflict of the hour but the course of our lives - even now” (New York Times best-selling author Jon Meacham). 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Andrew Nagorski (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about 1941: The Year Germany Lost the War

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Interesting but problematic

“1941” is and interesting book but is problematic in its assertions. The detail of the events and the research is evident. I have done substantial reading in this area and found this I was unaware of. This is enough to recommend it. However, it first relies a bit to much on post war German General writings. Most of these follow the format of “if Hitler would of just listen to us Generals, we would have won”. This is not even close to the case. The blame should be shared a bit more equally. Second, he makes some grand strategic assertions about going for Moscow that are at least questionable. The logistics were doubtful, and Moscow was not necessarily the center of gravity for the Soviet Union. A lot of this originally comes from the first point about German Generals shifting blame. Finally, he really dislikes the Soviet Union. He even alludes to historic family reasons for this. I am not in anyway defending one of the worlds most horrific regimes. He just can’t separate himself from the full history of the Soviet Union and Stalin to be more fair in the judgement of the interpretation of historical actors and there decisions. But as long as you keep this in mind, the book is certainly worth the read for most of the content.

8 people found this helpful

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One of the best WWII books

This is an amazing book. It does not only cover the pivot year of 1941, but also their impacts and what lead to it. Great details about the wrong assessments from Stalin and Hitler and how Churchill was the main figure of this War. A must read for those who are interested in this relevant period of our history.

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Similar to The Storm of War, by Robert Andrews

If you know a lot about the 3rd Reich and Hitler, most of this book won’t be new to you. Still, the distillation of Hitler’s mishaps is a fascinating topic. If, say, I was explaining the Dunning-Kruger effect, I could use half a dozen examples from this book as illustration. Hitler’s gargantuan megalomania is the source of all his fatal strategic flaws. One could argue, I suppose, that Hitler lost the war in 1889 on the day he was born. The thesis of this book is very similar to Andrew Robert’s “The Storm of War,” which doesn’t provide an exact moment in time when Hitler lost the war, but rather that Nazi ideology itself is so out of step with the nature of reality (i.e. assuming the Soviets, those unter Menschen, would capitulate to Hitler’s Aryan über Menschen). They had to learn the hard way in Stalingrad, though I doubt Hitler’s fanaticism allowed him to learn much of anything.

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Vital History Everyone Should Learn

This is fascinating history. Considering how reluctant Hitler was to consider opinions of people better informed, it’s amazing how successful he was ... for a while. Could there be parallels in today’s politics? The retelling is very complete and informative. The narrator is excellent and a pleasure to listen to except when he mispronounces names and even English words. Averell Harriman and Gallipoli are among the casualties. I wish young narrators and their producers would consult online pronunciation guides or maybe watch a documentary. Ah well, nevertheless I recommend this to all serious history buffs.

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SUPREMELY IMPORTANT--NOTHING NEW

No one can refute 1941 in importance. Coverage of Stalin and the invasion of USSR certainly demand details, as provided. What about North Africa and the plans to encircle most of the oil supplies? That receives short shrift. Need to cover the pocket battleships in deference to building many more U boats: a great error. Not building heavy bombers to multiply English terror of the Blitz, and perpetrate in 1941 what waited until 1944-5 from the V-weapons. (I mercifully shall spare you further of my facts.)

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Excellent history about WW II

Highly recommended if you are a WW II reader. Gave a background regarding WWII and also the beginning of the Cold War. Both sides made many many errors. Illustration of the insanity of both Hitler and Stalin. You gain an understanding-of why many Russians are so bitter.

1 person found this helpful