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There are many alternatives if you are looking for books about WW2. I recently read the not so creatively named "second world war" by Anthony Beevor, a thousand page book that gives the reader a comprehensive account of the entire war.
All hell breaks loose is in many ways similar to Beevors book, however, it did not seem to put as much emphasis on covering all aspects of the war. Instead this book frequently quoted personal correspondence from people who were involved in the war. Indeed I think that this is the primary reason why someone should choose rather than some other book.
You often read or hear about wars and the number of fatalities and how many starved etc etc, however, it is very hard to take the perspective of the individuals involved. The letters and diaries in this book takes you one step closer. Upon reading such material you can easily feel a bit ill (unless you are a complete psychopath), but at least for me the stronger feeling is one of gratitude that you have not been caught up in a war...
Reviewing my notes on this book I realized that it also contained quite a bit of information that was new to me, things that I had not considered important before. For example, the author convincingly argues that had Germany not attacked England with their airforce, England would not have been able to maintain the moral of their army and the political climate would probably have swayed towards peace with Hitler.
Another slightly comical story relates to Italy's inability to do, well, anything at all. As a part of a propaganda stunt meant to demonstrate the superiority of the Italians, a boxing fight was arranged between a famous boxer and an African man woo had never boxed before. Much to Mussolini dismay, the African man knocked the professional Italian boxer unconscious...
All in all, this book is kind of average if you are looking to get an overview of the war, however if you want to understand better what it was like for the soldiers and civilians who were actually involved in the war, this book is a sound choice. It is not that optimistic to suggest that there will be no conflict as destructive as WW2 again.
Any additional comments?
The best narrator in the business. Sheer pleasure to listen, even if you are not interested in WWII. Cameron Stewart should cover all the books in the store, and earn tonnes of money for his narration.
A balanced and unbiased look at the second world war from the perspective of not only the military and political leaders of the time but if the normal everyday people that experienced the horror of war themselves.
This is a book that I can see myself revisiting time and time again.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I also have the hardback version of this and initially hesitated buying the audio, but I am glad that I did. It is superbly read by Cameron Stewart. I have listened to each day as I walk to and from work. Loosing track of what you have listened to can be a problem with some of the larger history books, but not in this case. It is entirely memorable. The detail is superb and there is a wealth of little known detail through out. I am looking forward to listening to part 2.
22 of 26 people found this review helpful
What a brilliant overview of WW2 - a detailed study of the world-wide nature of the war. The follies of leaders, the bravery of partisans, the enormous depths to which ordinary men and women can sink. All told with even-handednesss and with no gilding of the lily. Thankyou Max Hastings for the best and most enthralling telling of the story I have so far come across.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
even if you have read heaps on the 39 to 45 time line still compelling and awesome. pimpery