The Second World War in the West
Cassell | C. Messenger | 1999 | 226 Pages | ISBN: 0304352241 | PDF | 87 Mb
The Second World War is so well documented that any new history usually relies to a large extent on the added value of untapped primary sources or personal experience to make its mark. The Second World War in the West is the exception to the rule. Charles Messenger sticks to the conventional wisdom about the causes of the 1939-1945 war–the Treaty of Versailles, for example–and his analysis of the main conflicts and turning points will find few dissenters. Where he scores heavily, though, is in steering a careful path between detail and simplicity to provide a vivid picture of the breadth of the war in the four major European theaters–northwestern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle-East, and the Third Reich and the East. Messenger's clarity is consolidated by superb design, but pride of place must go to the chronology, the maps and the brief biographies. Many histories are too self-important to give a week-by-week guide to the war, but Messenger's simple chronology does more to connect seemingly disparate European events than many complete books. The 21 maps, some of which are virtually in 3D, are minor artworks and, to complete the package, we get a brief résumé of which campaigns the leading generals on both sides were engaged in. If you already have an extensive library of military history, you can probably give this book a miss. But if you are new to the subject and are looking for a comprehensive, comprehensible introduction to one of the key events of the 20th century, then Messenger is your man.