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Publisher's Summary

If history really belongs to the victor, what happens when there's more than one side declaring victory? That's the conundrum Norman Davies unravels in his groundbreaking book No Simple Victory. Far from being a revisionist history, No Simple Victory instead offers a clear-eyed reappraisal, untangling and setting right the disparate claims made by America, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union in order to get at the startling truth.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

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  • Overall


The narration is amazing, because this is an insanely long book that says almost nothing interesting but one finds oneself listening anyway and learning a little trivia along the way.
The premise of this book is that it's busting some big myths of what happened in WWII. But its big thing is that the Germans had a terrible time on the Eastern Front . Who doesn't know that even if all your WWII history is from watching Hogan's Heroes? The other big shocker is that Stalin killed millions of his own citizens. Again, the scale may have been up for debate immediately post-war but even in the 1950s, it was well understood in the West that the Stalinist totalitarian regime was guilty of terrible atrocities.
The little "discoveries" are things like that the Germans had war heroes too, that they weren't all evil coward Nazis.
I understand that the propaganda during the war may have been that all Germans are evil and that Uncle Joe Stalin was our benevolent friend, but I find it hard to believe that the standard history textbooks all repeat this as fact today. Maybe they do, but if so, then that's the story.

4 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Could be better

I am bothered by the number of mistakes in the book. Whether this is in the book or is from the narrator, I don't know. Couple of examples:
1) when describing frigid Eastern front conditions, the narrator states that temperatures got down to 30 deg C (where's the 'minus'). One time, I'll forgive this but not multiple.
2) After a lengthy discourse about the 1 Sep invasion of Poland, the narrator says that Hitler gave the order on 31 July for the invasion to begin the next day....
I don't like sloppy books, this one is sloppy

5 of 20 people found this review helpful