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Inferno : the world at war, 1939-1945
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World war
World War II
Military history
Military campaigns
War victims
Effects of war
Homefront during war
World history
Social history
- International
Time Period
1939-1945 -- 20th century
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  Library Journal Review

Former UK journalist Hastings (Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45), a popular war historian who has covered World War II from many perspectives, here relates what individuals in the armed forces and the home fronts on all sides experienced. He employs excerpts from mostly contemporary diaries and letters illustrating the shortages, sufferings, destruction, fear, and death that permeated lives violently upended by the all-consuming conflict. There are also passages that bring readers back to the big picture and what various leaders were doing, but it's the stories of what ordinary people experienced at such great cost that make this an engrossing book. VERDICT This well-written history is recommended for all readers and libraries. (Photos, maps, and index not seen.)-D.K.B. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Hastings continues a recent substantial body of general audience writing on WWII (Armageddon; Retribution,) in this equally well-researched and well-presented account focusing on the conflict's human dimension, looking at both soldiers and civilians, members of both Allies and Axis. For millions of ordinary people the war was "hell let loose," imposing, at the least, drastic change and, at worst, incomprehensible horror-60 million died. Participants assembled the "vast jigsaw puzzle" of war with the pieces they had and made sense of it in terms of their own circumstances. Hastings succeeds admirably in synthesizing the results in a globe-girdling context from Guadalcanal to the Dnieper River. He establishes, in some sense, the temporary nature of war-that soldiers seldom lost their identity as civilians in uniform, and civilians counted the days until normality returned. That mind-set determined the war's nature: structured by mass participation and institutional effectiveness. In Russia, for instance, the German invasion led to "a surge of popular enthusiasm" to support Russia, followed rapidly by despair and men trying to evade the draft. As Hastings makes clear, the war's impact also outlasted the conflict: for decades people judged one another by their wartime behavior; for many the psychological impact of the horrors never left them. Illus., maps. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Mapsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Chapter 1Poland Betrayedp. 3
Chapter 2No Peace, Little Warp. 26
Chapter 3Blitzkriegs in the Westp. 43
1Norwayp. 43
2The Fall of Francep. 52
Chapter 4Britain Alonep. 77
Chapter 5The Mediterraneanp. 102
1Mussolini Gamblesp. 102
2A Greek Tragedyp. 113
3Sandstormsp. 121
Chapter 6Barbarossap. 137
Chapter 7Moscow Saved, Leningrad Starvedp. 162
Chapter 8America Embattledp. 180
Chapter 9Japan's Season of Triumphp. 198
1"I Suppose You'll Shove the Little Men Off"p. 198
2The "White Route" from Burmap. 214
Chapter 10Swings of Fortunep. 224
1Bataanp. 224
2The Coral Sea and Midwayp. 232
3Guadalcanal and New Guineap. 249
Chapter 11The British at Seap. 264
1The Atlanticp. 264
2Arctic Convoysp. 279
3The Ordeal of Pedestalp. 288
Chapter 12The Furnace: Russia in 1942p. 293
Chapter 13Living with Warp. 316
1Warriorsp. 316
2Home Frontsp. 328
3A Woman's Placep. 342
Chapter 14Out of Africap. 351
Chapter 15The Bear Turns: Russia in 1943p. 369
Chapter 16Divided Empiresp. 387
1Whose Liberty?p. 387
2The Raj: Unfinest Hourp. 404
Chapter 17Asian Frontsp. 414
1Chinap. 414
2Jungle Bashing and Island Hoppingp. 419
Chapter 18Italy: High Hopes, Sour Fruitsp. 427
1Sicilyp. 427
2The Road to Romep. 436
3Yugoslaviap. 449
Chapter 19War in the Skyp. 455
1Bombersp. 455
2Targetsp. 464
Chapter 20Victimsp. 480
1Masters and Slavesp. 480
2Killing Jewsp. 490
Chapter 21Europe Becomes a Battlefieldp. 508
Chapter 22Japan: Defying Fatep. 540
Chapter 23Germany Besiegedp. 557
Chapter 24The Fall of the Third Reichp. 577
1Budapest: In the Eye of the Stormp. 577
2Eisenhower's Advance to the Elbep. 584
3Berlin: The Last Battlep. 592
Chapter 25Japan Prostratep. 611
Chapter 26Victors and Vanquishedp. 630
Acknowledgementsp. 653
Notes and Referencesp. 655
Bibliographyp. 691
Indexp. 701
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