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The Second World War: A Short History

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The Second World War is a compact but comprehensive and absorbing history of the war. It examines the causes of the war, how it was won and lost, and its far-reaching consequences for humanity. In tracing the key events of both the European and the Far Eastern wars, R. A. C. Parker outlines clearly the strategies of the participants, the economies and societies that underl The Second World War is a compact but comprehensive and absorbing history of the war. It examines the causes of the war, how it was won and lost, and its far-reaching consequences for humanity. In tracing the key events of both the European and the Far Eastern wars, R. A. C. Parker outlines clearly the strategies of the participants, the economies and societies that underlay them, and the strengths and weaknesses of their fighting forces. He describes the decisive battles and analyses the reasons for their outcome, paying close attention to special features of the war: mobile warfare, forced migration, the Holocaust, strategic and nuclear bombing. Unlike many other histories of the war this book places British and European involvement squarely in an international perspective, and the author never shies away from raising fundamental questions.


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The Second World War is a compact but comprehensive and absorbing history of the war. It examines the causes of the war, how it was won and lost, and its far-reaching consequences for humanity. In tracing the key events of both the European and the Far Eastern wars, R. A. C. Parker outlines clearly the strategies of the participants, the economies and societies that underl The Second World War is a compact but comprehensive and absorbing history of the war. It examines the causes of the war, how it was won and lost, and its far-reaching consequences for humanity. In tracing the key events of both the European and the Far Eastern wars, R. A. C. Parker outlines clearly the strategies of the participants, the economies and societies that underlay them, and the strengths and weaknesses of their fighting forces. He describes the decisive battles and analyses the reasons for their outcome, paying close attention to special features of the war: mobile warfare, forced migration, the Holocaust, strategic and nuclear bombing. Unlike many other histories of the war this book places British and European involvement squarely in an international perspective, and the author never shies away from raising fundamental questions.

30 review for The Second World War: A Short History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    The worst IIWW book I've ever read. The style of writing is very mundane and chaotic at the same time. Literally one sentence could be about Japan, next about Hungarian Jews, one after about Britain and Poland with no apparent motif.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clayton Whisnant

    One of the few short surveys of the Second World War, Parker's book basically does a good job at quickly surveying the course of the war. It was written in 1989, so a few things feel slightly dated. Occasionally, a strangely sympathetic reading of Stalin's intentions and behavior creeps in, which I take as a product of the lingering influence of revisionist histories of the Soviet Union. At least with regards to Stalin, much of this has been discredited by post-Soviet research. A much bigger fla One of the few short surveys of the Second World War, Parker's book basically does a good job at quickly surveying the course of the war. It was written in 1989, so a few things feel slightly dated. Occasionally, a strangely sympathetic reading of Stalin's intentions and behavior creeps in, which I take as a product of the lingering influence of revisionist histories of the Soviet Union. At least with regards to Stalin, much of this has been discredited by post-Soviet research. A much bigger flaw is the lack of a chapter or even a decent section on how the Nazis governed Europe, especially with regards to the looting and forced labor that was routine. There is a brief mention of this, but I think if the book was written today the author would have dealt with this topic in a lot more detail. Still, some interesting chapters on "Economies at war" and "Strategic Bombing." Given that most books on the Second World War run to 500+ pages, this was a good choice for classwork. I wish the author was still alive to give an updated version.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James King

    This is not a light read for a casual World War II enthusiast. If you want a deep dive into many aspects of World War II than this is a good book for you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo

    Recomendado como crónica general en Europa en Guerra. Recomendado como crónica general en Europa en Guerra.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

    This really deserves all the stars, because I can honestly say: if you are looking to buy a one volume history of WWII, this is definitely the one to buy. It is written by a Brit, so there is a little tiny bit of bias towards the British point of view, but for the most part it is very evenhanded. It really is remarkable how much information Parker is able to pack into these chapters, and the reader can pick around some of the more detailed sections. If you're into the nitty-gritty of the economi This really deserves all the stars, because I can honestly say: if you are looking to buy a one volume history of WWII, this is definitely the one to buy. It is written by a Brit, so there is a little tiny bit of bias towards the British point of view, but for the most part it is very evenhanded. It really is remarkable how much information Parker is able to pack into these chapters, and the reader can pick around some of the more detailed sections. If you're into the nitty-gritty of the economics of war, then that chapter has all kinds of interesting facts for you about war production. If you don't really care about that stuff, you can skim that part. Great general history to keep around. If you sit down and read it cover to cover, you basically know everything you'll ever need to know about the war.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alexachcar11

    Was a very good general cover of World War Two.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dan Cohen

    A good short history of the second world war - does exactly what the title suggests. Also includes some plates and a fair selection of maps (I could always use more but this was a good effort). Recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James

    Nice and concise

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aarthika

    For school. The reasoning behind the catalysts of the second world war were very interesting to read about. #Nomoreworldwarspls

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beanbrenner

    The definitive short history of the Second World War - brief, but with impressive depth and winning frankness.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Henri

    very engaging, easy to read. I picked & chose what chapters I wanted. So much was clarified. very engaging, easy to read. I picked & chose what chapters I wanted. So much was clarified.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    Remarkably compact yet complete account of World War II.

  13. 5 out of 5

    JARED A MCCOMB

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brian M

  16. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Dotolo

  17. 5 out of 5

    Reynaldo Rhormens Alves Natel

  18. 4 out of 5

    XOXO JP

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brad

  20. 4 out of 5

    Charles Lee

  21. 4 out of 5

    Travis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Levesque

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alotor

  24. 4 out of 5

    Salim Azak

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Duke

  26. 4 out of 5

    Levi Miles

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mehmet Mertcan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Philip

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jason Borseth

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