A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (2nd Edition)

TitleA World at Arms: A Global History of World War II / Edition 2
Author(s)Gerhard L Weinberg
Publisher2005 Cambridge University Press
ISBN0521618266, 9780521618267
Length1208 pages

In a new edition featuring a new preface, A World of Arms remains a classic of global history. Widely hailed as a masterpiece, this volume remains the first history of World War II to provide a truly global account of the war that encompassed six continents. Starting with the changes that restructured Europe and its colonies following the First World War, Gerhard Weinberg sheds new light on every aspect of World War II. Actions of the Axis, the Allies, and the Neutrals are covered in every theater of the war. More importantly, the global nature of the war is examined, with new insights into how events in one corner of the world helped affect events in often distant areas.

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“This is an extraordinary book. Moral and human feelings underpin his copious scholarship at every point, giving admirable depth and dimension to this monumental intellectual performance.” Paul Fussell, The Washington Post

“…a coherent–in fact, hypnotic–narrative offered up in a single, handsome volume… surely the finest one-volume history we have of the most important event of the century.” American Heritage –From the Publisher

Beginning with the German invasion of Poland and concluding with the Japanese surrender, this majestic overview of WW II concentrates on the tactical decisions made by Allied and Axis leaders and the interrelationship among the various theaters. Weinberg ( The Foreign Policy of Hitler’s Germany ) depicts the struggle to control the oceans, the effort to halt the German and Japanese advances and the development of postwar plans which influenced the course of battle. In his well-documented study, Weinberg shows the linkage between grand strategy and diplomacy, highlights intelligence gathering and tactics. He describes how the conflict affected the economies and morale of the countries involved and offers a revised estimate of deaths and casualties suffered by the belligerents. Rich in content and sharply interpretive, Weinberg’s book is a stunning achievement. History Book Club main selection; BOMC dual selection. (Feb.) Publishers Weekly – Publisher’s Weekly

Weinberg’s unrivaled command of archival sources combines with a smooth writing style to produce a definitive one-volume history of World War II. Weinberg balances well his coverage of the western theater and the Russian front; Europe and the Pacific; and land, sea, and air operations with equal facility. The focus of the work, however, is on the war’s human factors. Weinberg is particularly critical of German and Japanese leaders for lacking a global perspective for a global war. Allied generals and leaders had significantly broader visions, which contributed significantly to their success in producing large, efficient citizen armies. Weinberg’s conclusion that World War II demonstrated humankind’s potential for organizing constructive programs and policies, as well as establishing its capacity for self-destruction, makes this work a signpost to the future as well as a guidebook to the past.– D.E. Showalter, U.S. Air Force Acad., Colorado Springs Library Journal

At once accessible, concise, and comprehensive: a masterful overview of WW II. Drawing on previously unavailable archives as well as standard sources, historian Weinberg (Foreign Policy of Hitler’s Germany, etc.; Univ. of North Carolina) begins his chronicle of the great conflict with an analysis of the post-WW I events that led to a second world war. Getting down to business, he documents the fundamentally different intentions of latter-day belligerents like the Axis partners, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan, whose objectives encompassed a total reordering of territory, resources, and populations, while by contrast their WW I counterparts had fought mainly to preserve traditional balances of power. In pursuing his enormous theme, the author focuses on the strategic why rather than the tactical how of major clashes, leaving the details of such landmark engagements as the Battle of Britain to others with less lofty ambitions. This isn’t to say that Weinberg shortchanges his readers in any substantive way. In addition to assessing the global implications of big-picture campaigns, for example, he offers short-take perspectives on action in hitherto neglected theaters. Cases in point range from the Allied seizure (from the Vichy French) of Madagascar on to so-called sideshows in Burma, Eastern Africa, and Iraq. Covered as well are the roles played by intelligence operatives, diplomats, Wehrmacht bureaucrats responsible for the Holocaust, civilians in scores of countries, and scientists recruited to develop the atomic bombs that helped hasten V-J Day. Weinberg’s chronological narrative occasionally verges on the kaleidoscopic, but, this cavil apart, the author offers an authoritativesurvey of a huge conflict that, he suggests in an affecting afterword, might just have saved a weary world from even more destructive hostilities. The text has over 20 helpful maps. (Book-of-the-Month Dual Selection for March; Main Selection of the History Book Club)Kirkus Reviews

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