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In this comprehensive history, John Keegan explores both the technical and the human impact of the greatest war of all time. He focuses on five crucial battles and offers new insights into the distinctive methods and motivations of modern warfare. In knowledgable, perceptive analysis of the airborne battle of Crete, the carrier battle of Midway, the tank battle of Falaise, the city battle of Berlin, and the amphibious battle of Okinawa, Keegan illuminates the strategic dilemmas faced by the leaders and the consequences of their decisions on the fighting men and the course of the war as a whole.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780712673488
ISBN-10: 0712673482
Format: Paperback
(233mm x 154mm x 40mm)
Pages: 528
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 6-Nov-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » The 50th anniversary of WW II's onset has triggered a spate of books from British and American authors. Few if any will be superior to Keegan's lengthy (592-page)but concise overview. The former Sandhurst lecturer (The Price of Admiralty, The Mask of Command, Soldiers, Six Armies in Normandy, et al.) begins his panoramic narrative deep in the past, i.e., with a coherent account of the socioeconomic advances that permitted global conflicts in the 20th century. Having provided stage-setting perspectives, he delivers insightful appreciations of the crucial battles and turning-point campaigns that - at no small cost in blood and treasure - enabled the allies to defeat the Axis powers. Covered as well are the strategic dilemmas that confronted Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, and Tojo as they deployed arms and men throughout the European and Pacific theaters, from the fall of 1939 through the late summer of 1945. Along the way, Keegan offers acute commentary on the major combatants' industrial capabilities, home-front morale, and espionage efforts, plus resistance movements in occupied countries. A graceful writer as well as a knowledgeable student of martial history, he enlivens his chronicle with wry wit, e.g., "(Semyon) Budenny had a fine mustache but no military brain." An informed and informative accounting of a horrific war that, the author suggests in an affecting epilogue, might just have saved the world from wider-ranging hostilities. The text is profusely illustrated, with dramatic photographs and helpful maps throughout. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - John Keegan

John Keegan, who was knighted in the Millennium Honours List, was the Defence Editor of the Daily Telegraph and Britain's foremost military historian. The Reith Lecturer in 1998, he authored many bestselling books including The Face of Battle, The Mask of Command, The Second World War, A History of Warfare (awarded the Duff Cooper Prize), The First World War, Intelligence in War, The American Civil War and The Iraq War. John Keegan died in 2012.

Books By Author John Keegan

Face of Battle by John Keegan

The Face of Battle

Paperback, April 2014
Nation in Arms by John Keegan

A Nation in Arms

Paperback, March 2014
First World War by John Keegan

The First World War

Paperback, January 2014
American Civil War by John Keegan

The American Civil War

Paperback, August 2010