Book review: The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45 by Nicholas Stargardt, 2015

I don’t think we can ever understand too much about how the Second World War and the Holocaust happened – nor can we ever reach a complete understanding of these events. The approach Stargardt uses in this masterly, sweeping portrait of the German nation during the war is to describe events through the diaries andContinue reading “Book review: The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-45 by Nicholas Stargardt, 2015”

Book review: Mud, Blood, and Poppycock by Gordon Corrigan

I am going to assume that Gordon Corrigan is a nice man. In this 2003 Cassell edition of Mud, Blood, and Poppycock he shares with us that he is married and a church-goer, so this is a reasonable assumption. I genuinely do not want to spend ages telling you why this book is terrible –Continue reading “Book review: Mud, Blood, and Poppycock by Gordon Corrigan”

Book review: Trench Warfare 1914-1918 – The Live and Live System, by Tony Ashworth

I do read some interesting books don’t I? This is one of the Pan Military History series, originally published in 1980 (that date is important by the way, and I will come back to it) and was a bit dry to be honest. It’s more of a reference book than a page-turner. Which was aContinue reading “Book review: Trench Warfare 1914-1918 – The Live and Live System, by Tony Ashworth”

Book review: The Last Days of Adolf Hitler by Hugh Trevor Roper

Probably the last thing the world needs is another book about the Nazis, but I bought this (second hand) at the same time as the Bullock biography, read it, and it seems daft not to review it for risk of repetition. It does overlap with the later chapters of the Bullock book to some extent, andContinue reading “Book review: The Last Days of Adolf Hitler by Hugh Trevor Roper”

Book review: Hitler, A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock

This is probably the definitive Hitler biography, against which all others are judged. It was originally published in 1952, seven short years after the end of the Second World War, and despite some subsequent updating; it inevitably shows its age. Since 1952 we have learnt a lot more about the history of the Third Reich,Continue reading “Book review: Hitler, A Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock”

Book review: War: What is it good for? The role of conflict in civilisation, from primates to robots by Ian Morris

I have only read a handful of pages of the introduction to this long, weighty book, but I can honestly say I have never disagreed so profoundly with so much in so many different ways as I do with this author. To be precise, if the introduction is a faithful summary of the book asContinue reading “Book review: War: What is it good for? The role of conflict in civilisation, from primates to robots by Ian Morris”

Book review: The Real Band of Brothers – First-hand Accounts from the Last British Survivors of the Spanish Civil War by Max Arthur

This book is a collection of eight first person narrative accounts of the Spanish Civil War, told by International Brigade survivors. Accounts such as this, obviously inspired at least in part by the fading away of the last of the Great War veterans, are an important historical legacy. This is not a history of theContinue reading “Book review: The Real Band of Brothers – First-hand Accounts from the Last British Survivors of the Spanish Civil War by Max Arthur”

Comment: Thankful Villages

This entry isn’t about reading or books at all really, except that in a way it fits in with much of my non-fiction reading over the last twelve months,which has kept coming back to the World Wars of the twentieth century. Humans are famously unable to comprehend large numbers. We deal much better with dozens,Continue reading “Comment: Thankful Villages”

Book review: Savage Continent by Keith Lowe

This survey of post war Europe is a natural sequel in terms of my reading to Ian Kershaw’s “The End”, reviewed here last month. “The End” described and explained the utter destruction of much of central Europe at the end of the Second World War – this books follows on by describing some of the consequencesContinue reading “Book review: Savage Continent by Keith Lowe”

Book review: The End: Germany, 1944-45 by Ian Kershaw

As readers we are as guilty as the rest of the media when it comes to our insatiable obsession with the second world war. We just keep returning to it, drawn irresistibly, by that haunting “what if?”. Here the focus is on the last year of the war in Europe (incidentally, it would have beenContinue reading “Book review: The End: Germany, 1944-45 by Ian Kershaw”