One of the world's leading historians re- examines World War II and its outcome
A clear-eyed reappraisal of World War II that offers new insight by reevaluating well-established facts and pointing out lesser-known ones, No Simple Victory asks readers to reconsider what they know about the war, and how that knowledge might be biased or incorrect. Norman Davies poses simple questions that have unexpected answers: Can you name the five biggest battles of the war? What were the main political ideologies that were contending for supremacy? The answers to these questions will surprise even those who feel that they are experts on the subject.
Davies has established himself as a preeminent scholar of World War II . No Simple Victory is an invaluable contribution to twentieth-century history and an illuminating portrait of a conflict that continues to provoke debate.
The typical Western view of WWII's European Theater--as a struggle between freedom and fascism that climaxed with the Normandy landings--is harshly critiqued in this scathing reappraisal. Historian Davies (Rising '44: The Battle of Warsaw) argues that British and American campaigns were a sideshow to the titanic conflict between the Wehr-macht and the Red Army on the Eastern Front, where most of the fighting and decisive battles occurred. The war was therefore not a simple victory of good over evil, he contends, but the defeat of one totalitarian state, Nazi Germany, by another, the Soviet Union, whose crimes were just as vast, if less diabolical. Davies's topical approach judiciously surveys the military, economic and political aspects of the war, often from an Eastern European perspective. He observes, for example, that the region that suffered the most civilian deaths was Ukraine, and that the Soviet Union was initially as much an aggressor--against Poland, Finland and the Baltic states--as Germany. (Poland's travails, Davies's professional specialty, are somewhat overemphasized.) Davies cuts against the grain of popular war histories like Stephen Ambrose's accounts of D-Day and the Bulge, but his interpretations rest on solid scholarly work. Photos. (Sept. 10)
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August 24, 2008
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