In World War Two, Stone provides a remarkably concise account of the deadliest war of human history, showing how the conflict roared to life from the ashes of World War One. Adolf Hitler rode a tide of popular desperation and resentment to power in Germany, promptly making good on his promise to return the nation to its former economic and military strength. He bullied Europe into giving him his way, and in so doing backed the victors of the Great War into a corner. Following the invasion of Poland in 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany--a decision that, Stone argues, was utterly irrational. Yet Hitler had driven the world mad, and the rekindling of European hostilities soon grew to a conflagration that spread across the globe, fanned by political and racial ideologies more poisonous--and weaponry more destructive--than the world had ever seen. With commanding expertise, Stone leads readers through the escalation, climax, and mournful denouement of this sprawling conflict.
World War Two is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the twentieth century and its defining struggle.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-11-05
- Reviewer: Staff
In this slim volume, British historian and former Cambridge lecturer Stone (World War One) attempts to deliver an overview of WWII, beginning with its post–Great War origins, working through the conflict on multiple fronts, and skipping to its final, formal end with the 1991 German peace treaty. Operating under the theory that overly harsh sanctions on Germany following the previous war sparked the start of the next, Stone spends little time on the subject before moving on; though he does examine the volatile political landscape between wars, it's mostly in passing. With chapters devoted to the rise of Germany, the struggle between Germany and Russia, the North African campaign, and various aspects of Allied efforts, this work hits the highlights of the war, but fails to provide in-depth analysis. The author moves from one topic to the next at breakneck speed, relentlessly throwing out names and facts along the way. Additionally, Stone's presentation is wordy and convoluted—it might work at a lectern, but here it's awkward and often confusing. Too short to be comprehensive, and too dense to be an easy read, Stone's book might serve, at best, as a springboard for further exploration of other sources. 10 b&w photos, 3 maps. Agent: Caroline Michel, Peters Fraser & Dunlop. (Jan.)