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From one of our finest military historians, a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences. World War II involved tens of millions of soldiers and cost sixty million lives--an average of twenty-seven thousand a day. For thirty-five years, Max Hastings has researched and written about different aspects of the war. Now, for the first time, he gives us a magnificent, single-volume history of the entire war. Through his strikingly detailed stories of everyday people--of soldiers, sailors and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad, some of whom resorted to cannibalism during the two-year siege; Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews--Hastings provides a singularly intimate portrait of the world at war. He simultaneously traces the major developments--Hitler's refusal to retreat from the Soviet Union until it was too late; Stalin's ruthlessness in using his greater population to wear down the German army; Churchill's leadership in the dark days of 1940 and 1941; Roosevelt's steady hand before and after the United States entered the war--and puts them in real human context.Hastings also illuminates some of the darker and less explored regions under the war's penumbra, including the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, during which the Finns fiercely and surprisingly resisted Stalin's invading Red Army; and the Bengal famine in 1943 and 1944, when at least one million people died in what turned out to be, in Nehru's words, "the final epitaph of British rule" in India. Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the twentieth century.From the Hardcover edition.
In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler's army was beaten and expected the bloodshed to end by Christmas. Yet a series of mistakes and setbacks, including the Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered this timetable and led to eight more months of brutal fighting. With Armageddon, the eminent military historian Max Hastings gives us memorable accounts of the great battles and captures their human impact on soldiers and civilians. He tells the story of both the Eastern and Western Fronts, raising provocative questions and offering vivid portraits of the great leaders. This rousing and revelatory chronicle brings to life the crucial final months of the twentieth century's greatest global conflict.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the acclaimed military historian, a new history of the outbreak of World War I: the dramatic stretch from the breakdown of diplomacy to the battles--the Marne, Ypres, Tannenberg--that marked the frenzied first year before the war bogged down in the trenches. In Catastrophe 1914, Max Hastings gives us a conflict different from the familiar one of barbed wire, mud and futility. He traces the path to war, making clear why Germany and Austria-Hungary were primarily to blame, and describes the gripping first clashes in the West, where the French army marched into action in uniforms of red and blue with flags flying and bands playing. In August, four days after the French suffered 27,000 men dead in a single day, the British fought an extraordinary holding action against oncoming Germans, one of the last of its kind in history. In October, at terrible cost the British held the allied line against massive German assaults in the first battle of Ypres. Hastings also re-creates the lesser-known battles on the Eastern Front, brutal struggles in Serbia, East Prussia and Galicia, where the Germans, Austrians, Russians and Serbs inflicted three million casualties upon one another by Christmas. As he has done in his celebrated, award-winning works on World War II, Hastings gives us frank assessments of generals and political leaders and masterly analyses of the political currents that led the continent to war. He argues passionately against the contention that the war was not worth the cost, maintaining that Germany's defeat was vital to the freedom of Europe. Throughout we encounter statesmen, generals, peasants, housewives and private soldiers of seven nations in Hastings's accustomed blend of top-down and bottom-up accounts: generals dismounting to lead troops in bayonet charges over 1,500 feet of open ground; farmers who at first decried the requisition of their horses; infantry men engaged in a haggard retreat, sleeping four hours a night in their haste. This is a vivid new portrait of how a continent became embroiled in war and what befell millions of men and women in a conflict that would change everything.
Having written Armageddon about the closing year of the Second World War in Europe, veteran British journalist Hastings here turns his attention east for a similar project about the Pacific theater. His integrated military history of the final year of war before Japan's surrender attempts to treat all the campaigns of the Eastern theater of a piece, including such neglected aspects as the Chinese experience and the Russian assault on Manchuria, with the exception of indigenous anti-colonial resistance movements, which were too large a topic to include. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Heroism in battle has been celebrated throughout history, yet it is one of the least understood virtues. What makes some men and women perform extraordinary deeds on the battlefield? What makes them risk their lives in the pursuit of victory? Max Hastings, one of our foremost military historians, has seen combat up close and written about it for decades. In Warriors, he brings us the experiences of fourteen soldiers who fought in the wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From an exuberant cavalry officer in Napoleon's army to an abused orphan who in World War II became America's youngest general since Custer, to an Israeli officer who recovered from a devastating injury to save his country, each portrait depicts a unique and remarkable story. A tribute to soldierly valor and a deeply insightful study of combat, this is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand what it means to be at war.
With unparalleled insight, Hastings presents a vivid and incisive portrait of Winston Churchill, bringing to life the man and his complexities, from his courage in the face of certain defeat to his shortcomings and private anxieties.
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