Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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What a wonderful book. It is not a comprehensive overview of World War II in its entirety, but rather a narrative illustrating global consequence from the perspective of the general population and warfare participants. It truly illuminates in real world context the intimacy of war and the consequential suffering to all those involved. It is a portrait of leadership (good and bad) which eventually led to an altering of the political alignment and social structure of the world. This is a striking depiction of war beautifully written. Thank you Mr. Hastings.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Asian Fronts
Jungle Bashing and Island Hopping
High Hopes Sour Fruits
CHAPTER NINETEEN War in the
CHAPTER TWENTY Victims
CHAPTER TWENTYONE Europe Becomes a Battlefield
CHAPTER TWENTYTHREE Germany Besieged
CHAPTER NINE Japans Season of Triumph
CHAPTER TEN Swings of Fortune
CHAPTERELEVEN The British at
Russia in 1942
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Living with
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Out of Africa
Russia in 1943
CHAPTER SIXTEEN Divided Empires
CHAPTER TWENTYFOUR The Fall of the Third Reich
CHAPTER TWENTYFIVE Japan Prostrate
CHAPTER TWENTYSIX Victors and Vanquished