Author(s): DONALD SOMMERVILLE
World War II took the themes of World War I to new and frightful extremes. The processes of war production and supply, the mobilization of civilian populations, the role played by code-breaking and intelligence and the types of weapons employed by the belligerents all underwent new levels of specialization and advancement. Not least, the movement towards the mechanization of killing took new and terrible directions. This impressive and authoritative book begins with the aftermath of World War I and the troubled times of the 1930s, when new political movements and grievances took shape. Worldwide economic instability, the rise of fascism and communism and the belief in the superiority of some races over others led to aggressive international politics. The main section of the book covers the war in a detailed chronology. From the rapid advance of Nazi forces across Europe to Operation Barbarossa, and from the battles in North Africa to the war in the Pacific, key engagements are discussed with the aid of helpful maps and battle plans. Feature spreads devoted to weaponry cover the key machinery and tactics with which war was waged. Key facts boxes give battle outcomes and weapons statistics at a glance, and also provide a detailed impression of the most important political and military leaders. Life during this time for civilian populations and prisoners of war is also considered, as is the terrible truth of the genocide of these years and the creation of weapons of mass destruction. The final chapter covers the themes which went on to shape the second half of the 20th century - the establishment of the Iron Curtain, the beginning of decolonization and the reconstruction of Europe. The brutal history and sheer scope of World War II is well-served by this intelligent and wide-ranging illustrated account of the conflict, told in an accessible style that is perfect for the both the general and specialist reader.
Donald Sommerville is a writer and editor specialising in military history. His previous books include Monty, A Biography of Field Marshal Montgomery; 1916: The Year of Attrition; Revolutionary Warfare; World War II Day by Day, and other titles on various aspects of 20th-century warfare. He holds degrees in History from University College, Oxford University, and in War Studies from King's College, London.