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Der Zweite Weltkrieg (1989)

von John Keegan

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1,2331112,671 (3.98)31
Examines each theater of the war, focusing on five crucial battles and offering new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare.
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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Excellent one-volume military history of World War II. The author is a well-known military historian who taught at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He acknowledges learning from colleagues who were veterans of the war, and from his students; I sense the voice of someone who had a lot of experience teaching this material.

A strong point of this book is its organization, first by time, then by place, then by topic. This makes such a vast topic much more accessible. The writing is clear and readable, and at its best moments (such as the account of the battle of Kursk on the Eastern front) it sparkles and thunders. There are several good maps, and evocative photographs. Within each section, there is a high-level discussion of the strategic issues, looking by turn at the perspective of each of the commanders – Hitler, Tojo, Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt; and a focused look at a selected battle that illuminates the evolution of war-making and its machinery.

I struggled with the book’s perspective, not so much that it’s British (Keegan actually tries very hard to look from all sides of the conflict, and has some of his toughest critique for Britain’s strategic aerial bombing of German cities), but that it’s so much a military discussion, focused on strategy, military decision making, the evolution of war-making and its machinery, and battles that proved to be turning points. How can you write a book on World War II and say so little about the Holocaust? Keegan was not unaware of political and humanitarian issues; he discusses them tellingly, but not at great length or much detail here. So, highly recommended and I hope it isn’t the only book you read about this period.
  aquariumministry | Aug 26, 2019 |
Great overview of WWII. The analysis was enlightening and conservative. ( )
  JaredChristopherson | Nov 16, 2015 |
Une somme accessible, claire et finalement concise. ( )
  Nikoz | Aug 5, 2015 |
A good introductory Book on the Global Catastrophe. Everything is included, the proportion of coverage is good for an English Language Book, and there is acknowledgement that the Soviet Army killed the bulk of the German one. The maps are not the best feature but the ones on the air war are good as I've seen. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 22, 2013 |
John Keegan's "The Second World War" (1989) is the Apollonian counterpoint to Max Hastings "Inferno" (2011). Mr. Keegan purges much of the blood and guts from the story: The million who died in the siege of Leningrad are a dependent clause. But he delivers a narrative of such intelligence, clarity and grace that the reader leaves the book with an elevated understanding of what happened and why. Mr. Keegan, the author of "The Face of Battle" and other books in the military canon, is superb on the war lords. "Hitler's attitude towards Russia," he observes, ". . . was suffused by ideology drawn from many sources—racial, economic, historical—and fermented by his own rancours and ambitions into a self-intoxicating potency." Contrasting FDR with "the devious, double-dealing and treacherous" Stalin and Churchill, "transparently a patriot, a romantic and an imperialist," Mr. Keegan writes: "Roosevelt had dozens of attitudes and a few deeply held values, which were precisely those of Americans of his class and his time: He believed in human dignity and freedom, in economic opportunity and in political compromise; . . . he had few policies, either for peace or for war, while war itself he found utterly distasteful." An elegant, seamless account of the strategic, military and industrial dimensions of the war, with penetrating analysis of its leading figures.
 
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To my pupils at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, 1960-1986
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'The First [World] War explains the second and, in fact, caused it, in so far as one event causes another,' wrote A.J.P. Taylor in his "Origins of the Second World War".
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Don't combine with the Illustrated edition of Keegan's Second World War (ISBN 0670823597).
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Examines each theater of the war, focusing on five crucial battles and offering new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare.

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