It is a brave undertaking to write a single-volume history of World War II. As Max Hastings notes, we already have many good books in this category: Weinberg, A World At Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994); Calvocoressi, Wint, and Pritchard, Total War: The Causes and Courses of the Second World War (1989); Millett and Murray, A War To Be Won: Fighting the Second World War (2000); and Hastings might have mentioned Parker’s Struggle For Survival: The History of the Second World War (1989) and Ellis’s Brute Force: Allied Strategy and Tactics in the Second World War (1990). He was too late to notice Andrew Roberts’s latest contribution.
Perpetuating a couple of hoary old myths
All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939–1945
by Max Hastings
HarperCollins, $32.99 pb, 768 pp, 9780007431205
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Robin Prior was born in rural South Australia. He studied at the University of Adelaide, completing a doctorate in 1979. He was an ARC Fellow at Adelaide for three years before taking a position with the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He was Head of the School of History from 1998 to 2004 and Foundation Head of the School of Humanities and Social Science from 2004 to 2007. He is now Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Adelaide. He has published widely on World War I: Command on the Western Front, Passchendaele: The Untold Story (1996) and The Somme (2005) with Trevor Wilson, and Churchill’s ‘World Crisis’ As History (1983) and Gallipoli (2009), as sole author. He is an editor of The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (1995). He is working on a book on Britain in 1940.
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