Review – The Second World War by Antony Beevor
Beginning in 1939, with the Russian victory over Japan at Khalkin-Gol, and going through the dropping of the atomic bombs and occupation of Japan, “The Second World War” by Antony Beevor is an account of World War II like no other. Whether you are an amateur or professional historian, I guarantee you will learn something new by reading this book. Antony Beevor, being of British Nationality, writes without the American bias, and gives an unfiltered account of the war that engrossed the entire world. To what extent the entire world felt the repercussions of this war was unknown to me until I read this book. The war engulfed all of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
While the battles were long, ferocious, and deadly, Beevor sheds light on the atrocities the civilian non-combatants faced from occupying armies. The huge loss of life throughout the war was not comprised solely of soldiers. Civilians accounted for huge losses, more than any other war. Due to rampant nationalism and propaganda hatred for the enemy led soldiers to do horrible things. They knew what they were doing was wrong too, because we have letters written home, but did it anyway. The prejudices each side had towards each other, especially the Germans and Soviets, led to many terrible losses in battles and human life. The various leader’s egos also contributed to huge loss of life on all sides, both Allied and Axis.
One thing that is especially exciting about this book is the detail given to every battle. No detail is spared in describing each and every battle. From battle formations, to orders from the top, a clear picture is painted on exactly how the battles unfolded. Using journals, letters home, communiques, and official reports, Beevor dives headfirst into firsthand accounts in order to pull every detail possible a provide the clearest account to date.
I will warn you, reading the entire book is quite an undertaking. Weighing it at 783 pages “The Second World War” is not for the casual reader. You’re going to want to block off about a month to read the whole thing, but it’s worth it because the chapters are short enough not to bore you, and at times you might find it difficult to put it down. In order to make it through this meaty book you need to enjoy the topic and want to know everything about it. It’s so comprehensive you could probably use it as a textbook in a college classroom. So if you’re looking for your next World War II book, pick up “The Second World War” by Antony Beevor, because it might just be your last.Google+