The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 22 Jan 2013
Andrew Roberts' relatively new title The Storm of War was the author's attempt at writing a generalist history of the war, which was a daunting task as such titles were already abundant. I had mixed feelings about this work.
First, and perhaps the most trivial and quickest to get off my chest, was the title "A New History of the Second World War". I felt that the book did not contain significant "new" material, and that the author's focus was the US-UK-USSR war against Germany, thus the book would be much better served if the title was "A History of the War on Germany". But again, this was perhaps trivial.
That aside, Roberts did indeed offer an informative overview of the European War, covering wide array of topics including the abilities of German field generals, Adolf Hitler's political successes and military failures, Joseph Stalin's ruthless push toward victory, Lend-Lease, the Anglo-American rivalry, war crimes and the Holocaust, etc. Interweaved with the narratives were the author's own analysis and opinions on the war, which were helpful. Particularly interesting was his view on Hitler's traits that served both as the reasons behind his unbelievable success as well as behind his inevitable downfall. Counterfactual "what-if" scenarios he posed at various points of the war were interesting, examining the possibilities of a German focus on North Africa and the Middle East rather than Eastern Europe. Would Germany be able to deal a greater blow on the western Allies had the Germany Navy built more submarines and the German Air Force devoted more resources on jet fighter research? What if Hitler was able to see that Stalingrad was not worth the manpower that he had thrown at it?
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Christian Rodska did a generally good job overall; minor imperfections such as attempting to act different historical figures with too few distinctive voices (eg. Heinz Guderian sounded not much different than Adolf Hitler) did not distract from the work.
I would likely recommend this book to someone not yet familiar with the history of the European War and not wanting the typical cursory overview. For those already having a general understanding with the development of the war against Germany and looking to dig deeper, there might be better books than The Storm of War.
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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944