The Second World War

“A war epic close to perfection” Mail on Sunday
“This is history write large. . . unexpected vignettes linger in the memory” Daily Telegraph
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Most people seem to expect a history of the Second World War to begin with the invasion of Poland and end with the death of Hitler or V-J Day. But that is because for all too long we have had black holes in our knowledge of the subject. My narrative history in fact begins in August 1939, with General Zhukov’s defeat of the Japanese at Khalkin-Gol on the Mongolian-Manchurian border.

Although small in comparison to some of the titanic clashes to come, it had a crucial influence on the later course of the war. And the book ends almost exactly six years later in August 1945 with Soviet armies sweeping across Manchuria and North China, thus providing a strange symmetry.

The point of this book is to bring together all those conflicts from the Sino-Japanese War to the Winter War in Finland which were different facets of what we know as the Second World War. It was not simply a monolithic clash of state against state, of three great Allied powers against the Axis and Japan.

In many countries, especially in those occupied by the Germans and the Japanese, people found themselves crushed by rival factions in an international civil war. And the story of those ordinary people, caught up in huge political forces over which they had no control, is of course an absolutely essential part of the book.



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“A general history of the war needs to embrace this variety of experience and capture the interplay between the momentous events unfolding on different continents and the high seas. Antony Beevor effectively meets this challenge. A former British army officer and author of admired works on Stalingrad and the Allied invasion of Normandy, Beevor is a gifted writer who knows how to keep a good story rolling... The brutality and courage of individual soldiers and civilians emerge in Beevor's powerful accounts... Beevor's book is a pleasure to read and an example of intelligent, lively historical writing at its best” The Financial Times 2 June
“You feel yourself being carried along on the narrative flow, channeled this way and that through the pools and rapids by Beevor's expert helmsmanship.  As we have come to expect from the author, great events are leavened by telling vignettes and anecdotes” Patrick Bishop in Standpoint June issue
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United Kingdom Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Phoenix
United States Little Brown
Holland Ambo-Anthos
France Calmann-Levy
Finland WSOY
Germany C.Bertelsmann
Norway Cappelen-Damm
Denmark Lindhardt & Ringhof
Spain Pasado y Presente
Portugal Bertrand Editora
Sweden Historiska Media
Estonia Tanapaev
Poland Znak
Italy Rizzoli
Japan Hakusuisha
China Hainan
Korea Geulhangari
Serbia and Montenegro Laguna Publishing
Hungary Gold
Brazil Record
Russia Azbooka-Atticus
Israel Yedioth Ahronoth
India (Marathi) Mehta Publishing
Roumania RAO
Greece Govostis