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The Story of World War II: Revised, expanded, and updated from the original text by Henry Steele Commager

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Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published. Here are the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury. Miller gives us a Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published. Here are the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury. Miller gives us an up-close, deeply personal view of a war that was more savagely fought—and whose outcome was in greater doubt—than readers might imagine. This is the war that Americans at the home front would have read about had they had access to the previously censored testimony of the soldiers on which Miller builds his gripping narrative. Miller covers the entire war—on land, at sea, and in the air—and provides new coverage of the brutal island fighting in the Pacific, the bomber war over Europe, the liberation of the death camps, and the contributions of African Americans and other minorities. He concludes with a suspenseful, never-before-told story of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, based on interviews with the men who flew the mission that ended the war.


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Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published. Here are the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury. Miller gives us a Drawing on previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, prizewinning historian Donald L. Miller has written what critics are calling one of the most powerful accounts of warfare ever published. Here are the horror and heroism of World War II in the words of the men who fought it, the journalists who covered it, and the civilians who were caught in its fury. Miller gives us an up-close, deeply personal view of a war that was more savagely fought—and whose outcome was in greater doubt—than readers might imagine. This is the war that Americans at the home front would have read about had they had access to the previously censored testimony of the soldiers on which Miller builds his gripping narrative. Miller covers the entire war—on land, at sea, and in the air—and provides new coverage of the brutal island fighting in the Pacific, the bomber war over Europe, the liberation of the death camps, and the contributions of African Americans and other minorities. He concludes with a suspenseful, never-before-told story of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, based on interviews with the men who flew the mission that ended the war.

30 review for The Story of World War II: Revised, expanded, and updated from the original text by Henry Steele Commager

  1. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lou McCall

    I thought I had "WW II'd" myself into a coma, listening to or reading more than 50 books and watching a kazillion documentaries and online videos about World War II in the past year. I was just about to pass on this 25 hour account when I became outraged by one of the written reviews. While giving the book an overall favorable review, without the 5-star rating of the other written reviews, this listener claimed that her only criticism was that the book overdid the contributions of African-Americ I thought I had "WW II'd" myself into a coma, listening to or reading more than 50 books and watching a kazillion documentaries and online videos about World War II in the past year. I was just about to pass on this 25 hour account when I became outraged by one of the written reviews. While giving the book an overall favorable review, without the 5-star rating of the other written reviews, this listener claimed that her only criticism was that the book overdid the contributions of African-Americans to the war. REALLY? This is one of the very few books NOT written by a black author that even MENTIONS the many minority members of the military who fought in ALL of our wars, including the Civil War. Blacks were originally seen by the US as "not fit for combat duty" and were given positions as cooks, supply clerks, deck hands, etc. Eleanor Franklin changed all of that. Was this reviewer aware of the MAJOR support that the 761st Tank Battalion - the first all-black tank battalion - gave to General Patton, helping him win the war? Black soldiers were relegated to what the military termed as "iron coffins" due the cumbersome movement of the tanks and the ever-present carbon monoxide leaking INSIDE the vehicles (often killing black soldiers silently, to be found by their comrades sitting up, eyes open, mid-sentence). Yet, Patton openly claimed "that a colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor." (In the 1970 film "Patton", the 761st unit was depicted as WHITE soldiers coming to the general's aid!) While saving the lives of hundreds white "comrades", who openly called the members of the 761st "niggers" and "monkeys", the unit suffered 156 casualties; 24 men killed and 88 wounded, in the month of November 1944 ALONE! The unit also lost 14 tanks and another 20 damaged in combat. In December 1944, the battalion was rushed to the aid of the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne. After the Battle of the Bulge, the unit opened the way for the U.S. 4th Armored Division into Germany during an action that breached the Siegfried Line. In the final days of the war in Europe, the 761st was one of the first American units to reach the Steyr in Austria, at the Enns River, where they met with Ukrainians of the Soviet Army. THAT IS JUST ONE UNIT IN ONE BRANCH OF THE MILITARY! Black Americans fought and died with distinction in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. But the real tragedy is that, after serving their country in order to stop the industrial murder of the European Jews at the hands of the Nazis and helping to end the war so that thousands of American, British, Australian and Chinese military and civilians could be liberated from the unparalleled cruelty in Japanese prisoner of war camps, black Americans returned to the United States to sit in the back of buses, drink from "Colored Only" water fountains, be assaulted, lynched and murdered, to be denied the same veterans benefits given to their white counterparts such as employment, housing, education, medical care, etc. Sgt. Isaac Woodard Jr. was BLINDED by South Carlina police officers while in uniform, just hours after being honorably discharged from the US Army! These men's accomplishments were ignored by the military and America, their records of bravery suspiciously "lost". These AMERICANS were not honored for decades. After being rejected countless times, the members of the 761st Tank Battalion were finally recognized in 1978, eventually receiving 1 Medal of Honor, 296 Purple Hearts, 11 Silver Stars, and 69 Bronze Stars. In 1994, the THREE surviving members of the Navy ship USS Mason were awarded a letter of commendation for "meritorious service". The famous Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007 - given mostly to their widows or posthumously. The black Marines weren't recognized until 2012. That said, this book - TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AND 58 MINUTES LONG - served the black Americans who fought and died in World War II both fairly and without undue bias. They were an integral component of the war effort and for anyone to disparage an author giving credit where it is long overdue smacks of the continued institutional racism that the U.S. is still guilty of. I know that my review will receive more "Not Helpful" ratings than "Helpful" but I really don't care! I'm willing, once again, to stick my neck out to say what needs to be said. This is a great book about a major historical event. Black Americans were a part of that war and deserve to be included just like Hitler, Hirohito, and Patton. ALL three of those "men" were the worse racists ever but no one has a thing to say about the hundreds of accounts written about them! If you want to learn more about our contributions in war, check out "Brothers In Arms", a fantastic book about the 761st written by NBA great Kareem Abdul Jabbar. You will be surprised to learn that baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, was a member of the 761st! Truth be told, there can NEVER be too much revealed about the bravery and heroism of the black members of American military ranks!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    My rating here is really three and a half stars. This is a good book with some qualifications. I think a more accurate title for this book would be “The Story of America’s Involvement in World War II.” An attempt is made to include every part of the Second World War but it really is very heavily weighted toward the American point of view. If the war had been covered based on the size and significance of each part, most of this book would be about the Eastern front in Europe. I don’t fault the au My rating here is really three and a half stars. This is a good book with some qualifications. I think a more accurate title for this book would be “The Story of America’s Involvement in World War II.” An attempt is made to include every part of the Second World War but it really is very heavily weighted toward the American point of view. If the war had been covered based on the size and significance of each part, most of this book would be about the Eastern front in Europe. I don’t fault the authors for that. It’s is a legitimate point of view, as long as we understand what we’re getting. When you reach the halfway point of this book, you might be surprised to discover, for example, that the Normandy invasion has already been covered. That way we’ve gotten through the trivial matter of the first five-fifths of the war and can get down to the much more important business of America liberating Europe and battling the Japanese in the Pacific. Okay, now that I’ve gotten that bit of snark off my chest we can get on to the rest of the review. This really is a bit of a primer more than a comprehensive coverage of the Second World War (from the point of view of the United States). This is a huge subject and if the book were twice as long, it wouldn’t be close to being comprehensive. I kept wanting to tell the authors that they left out this or that. The truth is if you want to know about this war in minute detail, there is a whole massive reading list you’ll need to consider. No one book, no matter how long it is, could possibly cover it all. For what it’s worth, this one doesn’t do a terrible job within its boundaries. I certainly learned a lot about the war in the Pacific that I hadn’t known before. The liberation of the Philippines, for example, was something I knew next to nothing about. So there you go. Also, I definitely have to give the authors credit for holding nothing back about the systemic and profound racism that permeated the US military, as well as all aspects of society, at that time. African-American troops are given their due in this history, including the extra barriers that were thrown up against them as if they didn’t have enough to deal with in fighting the enemy. The legendary Tuskegee airmen get their moment in this book as do the Japanese who signed up to fight for their country despite what their country and done to them. The real strength of this book lies in the personal accounts from the point of view of people who were in the middle of it all. You get a sense of what it was like to be there, to live through it. The atrocities committed in that war, and the hatreds they spawned, come into raw and bleeding focus when you see things from the point of view of the people who lived through them. It all packs an emotional wallop that I won’t soon forget. That is powerful and makes the book a worthwhile read all on its own. The accounts of the war in Italy were particularly significant to me. The Americans had a big part in it so it’s well covered. My dad fought with the Canadian Army in Italy all the way from Sicily to the Po Valley in the North. He left home a cheerful, optimistic young man and returned a grim, haunted, pessimistic person subject to depression, outbursts of anger and headaches. When I was growing up, he barely talked about his war experiences. Then, after he’d had a stroke, his tongue loosened and I had a better idea of the things he saw and why it changed him. He had manned a Bren light machine gun and had killed people with it. He’d seen men die horribly in front of him. He once described seeing an Italian woman, carrying laundry, step on a landmine. “There was laundry flying everywhere,” he said in a flat voice. He never did talk about getting seriously wounded in the Netherlands and ending up in a hospital without his identification tags. Before he was conscious enough to identify himself, his family had already gotten the “missing in action,” telegram which usually means the soldier in question is dead. I’m not sure if he remembered much from that time. Maybe it’s just as well. Near the end of his life, he showed no interest in having any part in commemorations of the war. It was just too painful. Yeah, I think it’s the personal accounts that really moved me about this book. The cost of that war wasn’t just in the destruction and the deaths and the maimings. There’s quite a number of accounts in this book the deep, profound emotional toll it took on the people caught in those horrific events. It’s almost a cliché now to say that the emotional injuries were every bit as damaging as the physical ones, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It is the truth. I saw that for myself. All in all, despite its limitations, this really is a worthwhile read. *** ADDENDUM: I don’t want to belabor the point too much, but I think more attention should have been paid to the largest part of World War II, that vast, incomprehensibly violent, genocidal struggle in Eastern Europe. I know this is really a book about the war from the point of view of the United States, but the war between Russia and Germany would’ve been the largest in history just by itself. If you really want to know more about that part of the war, a good place to start is to go to www.dancarlin.com and go to the merchandise section, find "Classic Hardcore History Compilations" and, for six dollars, download the four-part series from the Hardcore History podcast called “Ghosts of the Ostfront.” It’s a classic episode that I don’t think is available for free anymore, but it’s only six bucks (or eight bucks if you get the parts separately) and it's six hours long. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest podcasts ever made. The introduction alone is the most memorable I’ve ever listened to.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    This is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a book titled the Story of WWII. It's a broad compendium of the important events from the different theaters, major battles and important figures in WWII. Lots of cool little excerpts from the perspective of different political leaders, generals, field commanders, soldiers and civilians. Lots of big insights about the extreme hardships people can endure and what kinds of bonds people can form under such conditions. Lots of really gross, really grap This is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a book titled the Story of WWII. It's a broad compendium of the important events from the different theaters, major battles and important figures in WWII. Lots of cool little excerpts from the perspective of different political leaders, generals, field commanders, soldiers and civilians. Lots of big insights about the extreme hardships people can endure and what kinds of bonds people can form under such conditions. Lots of really gross, really graphic descriptions of some truly ghastly carnage. Lots of accounts of unconscionable racism. Lots of grim as hell descriptions of some the worst atrocities committed in history. An estimated 20 to 80 million people died In WWII. Countless others were maimed or wounded or were psychiatric casualties. Each of those individuals was a human being who wanted to live and be happy. Trying to take all that in literally staggers the mind. Anyway, reading these stories and first hand accounts not only opens my eyes to what people can endure, it also helps me put my personal challenges into perspective. Two generations ago I might have been eating horse manure and corpses in order to survive a famine or crouching in terror as my city was carpet bombed with incendiaries. I'm grateful to say that today my worst anxieties are the advanced mileage on my leased Prius and the differed maintenance on my house. If people can fly 25 bombing missions over hostile enemy territory or storm the beach at Normandy I aught to be able to handle that. I have been reading a bunch of WWI and WWII history lately. The experience has been truly inspiring and disturbing and insight provoking. I have to say, some of the most poignant material in the book is towards the end in the section that covers the atomic bombing of Japan. The book gives you the perspective of the executives planning the mission, the crew in the plane that dropped the bomb and the people on the ground in the aftermath of the bombing. You feel real empathy with everyone of the perspectives. What your left with is a very complex, hard to describe feeling. If you're in the mood for what I'm describing, this book is like an all you can eat buffet. You can really pig out, and by the end you'll have had way more than enough, probably even too much.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Review of the audiobook narrated by Michael Kramer. It's been over a year since I listened to this book but it is still one that I think about frequently, more so now (December 2018) that I'm in the middle of a book on World War I. This is one of the least reviewed books of any that I have read on Goodreads and I think that it deserves a written review so that hopefully it can get more recognition. This is the only nonfiction book that I have read which covers World War II so I don't have anything Review of the audiobook narrated by Michael Kramer. It's been over a year since I listened to this book but it is still one that I think about frequently, more so now (December 2018) that I'm in the middle of a book on World War I. This is one of the least reviewed books of any that I have read on Goodreads and I think that it deserves a written review so that hopefully it can get more recognition. This is the only nonfiction book that I have read which covers World War II so I don't have anything to compare to. While it may not cover the strategy as thoroughly as some other World War II books, what it does amazingly well is cover the on the field experience of American soldiers through first-hand accounts. In doing so all aspects of the war are covered and we do follow the general passage of the war from the start of American involvement until the war's conclusion. Many of the 1st person accounts are disturbing and/or heartbreaking, but they are definitely important to hear so you can really get a sense for what it was like to be in World War II. Highly recommended. This was the fist audiobook that I listened to with Michael Kramer as the narrator. I have since gotten into Brandon Sanderson and Michael Kramer (the sole or dual narrator for most of his books) has become one of my favorites. As with any other book he narrates it is excellently done. Again, I'm surprised that this book has so few reviews with such a top tier narrator. Final verdict: 5 star story, 5 star narration, 5 stars overall

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Chapman

    "The Story of World War II" taught me a lot about the great war of nations. Great, of course, in the sense that even still it's hard to believe that the whole thing actually took place in a space in time, less than a hundred years ago. And that, though now few, there are survivors still with us to tell the tale. As an old 82nd Airborne paratrooper myself, I went into this book with little knowledge, very little actually, of some of the airborne operations and fighting that took place in Europe. "The Story of World War II" taught me a lot about the great war of nations. Great, of course, in the sense that even still it's hard to believe that the whole thing actually took place in a space in time, less than a hundred years ago. And that, though now few, there are survivors still with us to tell the tale. As an old 82nd Airborne paratrooper myself, I went into this book with little knowledge, very little actually, of some of the airborne operations and fighting that took place in Europe. But what I loved about this book was the detail of all that was taking place leading up to the United States joining. It also opened my eyes to the things that the U.S. Marines and others endured down in the Pacific war. I had no idea the brutality of Guadalcanal. Or the the sufferings of Peleliu and on into Iwo Jima. Or the almost catastrophic failings of the Nagasaki drop of "Fat Man". Or the terrors of the POW conditions in Japan. Or the unimaginable evil of the concentration camps. What a story, all just unbelievable. I cannot help but think and wonder what it might have been like to belong to such a war. Or living in such a time. I'm thankful that there were men and women willing to answer the call when it came. Highly, highly recommend this book. It's worth the time for the personal narratives alone. Seriously, take a moment to look back and admire the bravery of those who have gone before us.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    The title of this book is somewhat misleading, it should read "The Story of America's World War II". Little to no attention is paid in other fronts of the war. The book is very heavily biased by America's perspective of the war, which agreeably makes sense since most of content is comprised of interviews from American soldiers. There are many instances of "America's Triumphant Moments" in effort to glorify the impact they had on war, but it leaves readers with the impression that they were the o The title of this book is somewhat misleading, it should read "The Story of America's World War II". Little to no attention is paid in other fronts of the war. The book is very heavily biased by America's perspective of the war, which agreeably makes sense since most of content is comprised of interviews from American soldiers. There are many instances of "America's Triumphant Moments" in effort to glorify the impact they had on war, but it leaves readers with the impression that they were the only unrelenting force opposing the enemy. The issue is not that it is told from an American perspective, but that little to no light is shone on other significant and turning points in the war. It instead dedicates chapters worth of very detailed and specific experiences of soldiers, and excerpts from interviews with them. This may or may not be a bad thing, depending on who's reading this book. For me however, I came in with the expectation that, condensed, biased, or otherwise, it would tell a complete story of the significant events that unfolded during World War II, and it simply failed to do that for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Umstattd Jr.

    You have to admire an author for trying to capture all of WWII in one book. I think he does an admirable job of giving a good overview of America's involvement. The author glosses over the Eastern Front which is where most of the fighting was but to be fair to the author he tells us in the introduction that the focus is on America. If you wanted one book to cover all of WWII I could not think of a better place to start than here. You have to admire an author for trying to capture all of WWII in one book. I think he does an admirable job of giving a good overview of America's involvement. The author glosses over the Eastern Front which is where most of the fighting was but to be fair to the author he tells us in the introduction that the focus is on America. If you wanted one book to cover all of WWII I could not think of a better place to start than here.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This book encompasses the entire war and is, for the most part, organized chronologically. Much of the narrative, probably about 1/3, is dedicated to quoting the soldiers, airmen and reporters who participated in the various campaigns. Because of the extensive use of first-hand accounts, the book has a very personal feel to it. The book was originally written by Henry Steele Commanger shortly after the war and was revised and extended by Donald Miller in the 2000's. This book encompasses the entire war and is, for the most part, organized chronologically. Much of the narrative, probably about 1/3, is dedicated to quoting the soldiers, airmen and reporters who participated in the various campaigns. Because of the extensive use of first-hand accounts, the book has a very personal feel to it. The book was originally written by Henry Steele Commanger shortly after the war and was revised and extended by Donald Miller in the 2000's.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tomas

    This book was fascinating. I never realized how little I really knew about the Second World War, but the reality is that I only had a broad understanding of the major events of the war. The book takes a more human approach to telling the story by using letters, interviews, and other writings from the people who were there. You learn about the major events and battles of the war and then the author takes you into the minds of the people who were there and fought in those battles. By the end, I kn This book was fascinating. I never realized how little I really knew about the Second World War, but the reality is that I only had a broad understanding of the major events of the war. The book takes a more human approach to telling the story by using letters, interviews, and other writings from the people who were there. You learn about the major events and battles of the war and then the author takes you into the minds of the people who were there and fought in those battles. By the end, I knew how the soldiers on Okinawa would feel based on what I had learned about those on Normandy. Prior to this I considered myself to be fairly well educated on the subject, but I never knew about the many strokes of luck or of the individual men and women that decided the outcome of this World War.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pankaj Kumar

    I love history in general, but this book just raises the bar a bit higher. It covers the era from the beginning of the World War 2 to the very end when Japan surrenders. Loved the details the book captures, it takes the reader in a journey of fear, sheer amazement, anger and pity. Even though the book is a collection of true stories, one will find the descriptions hard to believe. But yes, as Michael Scott rightly puts it in "From Democrats to Kings" - history is always like looking out from a w I love history in general, but this book just raises the bar a bit higher. It covers the era from the beginning of the World War 2 to the very end when Japan surrenders. Loved the details the book captures, it takes the reader in a journey of fear, sheer amazement, anger and pity. Even though the book is a collection of true stories, one will find the descriptions hard to believe. But yes, as Michael Scott rightly puts it in "From Democrats to Kings" - history is always like looking out from a window, and the window in this case is US. So most instances will be as seen/experienced by soldiers of the USA. A sure book to read if you love war history. And i dare say, this book is not for the frail hearted!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Toufic Osseiran

    Not an easy book, but a must read

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sonja

    If all history books were as fascinating as this one, I would never read anything else. This book was excellent. Its focus on a vast array of firsthand accounts made huge historical events vivid and immediate, and allowed me to get a sense for what WWII was like in the moment, without taking for granted that an Allied victory was a foregone conclusion. It's almost absurd to say this about a 700 page book, but I think it ended a tad abruptly. I would have wanted more than one or two accounts of th If all history books were as fascinating as this one, I would never read anything else. This book was excellent. Its focus on a vast array of firsthand accounts made huge historical events vivid and immediate, and allowed me to get a sense for what WWII was like in the moment, without taking for granted that an Allied victory was a foregone conclusion. It's almost absurd to say this about a 700 page book, but I think it ended a tad abruptly. I would have wanted more than one or two accounts of the de-escalation of the conflict and returning to "normal life." Aside from that: I learned so much that I didn't know, and I was fascinated throughout.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Mann

    A truly heart-wrenching, encompassing story of the most inhuman experience of the human race. It's unbelievable that it was actually a World War and so many people died because of the megalomania and insanity of so few. I now understand why my dad never wanted to talk about his experiences with his family, none of us would have believed what he saw and had to do to survive. Let's hope this never happens again. A truly heart-wrenching, encompassing story of the most inhuman experience of the human race. It's unbelievable that it was actually a World War and so many people died because of the megalomania and insanity of so few. I now understand why my dad never wanted to talk about his experiences with his family, none of us would have believed what he saw and had to do to survive. Let's hope this never happens again.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Teri Pre

    This is a great "Understanding WW2 For Beginners" book. If you've only read fictional accounts of the war, this is the perfect way for you to dip into non-fiction. Since I've read quite a few books about this war, I found myself saying "I know the story behind that little bit of information." This is a great "Understanding WW2 For Beginners" book. If you've only read fictional accounts of the war, this is the perfect way for you to dip into non-fiction. Since I've read quite a few books about this war, I found myself saying "I know the story behind that little bit of information."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sotiris Makrygiannis

    one sided real life interviews of was veterans. covers few allied atrocities like blind bombing of Berlin and napalm bombing of Japan. didn't contain the view of the other side, something that must be a must for any modern historian. leaves room for book 2.0 version one sided real life interviews of was veterans. covers few allied atrocities like blind bombing of Berlin and napalm bombing of Japan. didn't contain the view of the other side, something that must be a must for any modern historian. leaves room for book 2.0 version

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nikhil

    Donald Miller's The Story of WW II is quite an exceptional book and a must read for WW II enthusiasts. Unlike various strategic, fifty thousand feet literature on this bloodiest war ever, Miller relies on the eye-witness accounts of the ordinary American soldier who put his life on the line to fight the Axis powers, in a battle that he was happy sitting out of till the Japs came visiting Pearl Harbour. Being eye-witness accounts, they take the reader right into the battle-field and bring to bear Donald Miller's The Story of WW II is quite an exceptional book and a must read for WW II enthusiasts. Unlike various strategic, fifty thousand feet literature on this bloodiest war ever, Miller relies on the eye-witness accounts of the ordinary American soldier who put his life on the line to fight the Axis powers, in a battle that he was happy sitting out of till the Japs came visiting Pearl Harbour. Being eye-witness accounts, they take the reader right into the battle-field and bring to bear the horrors of war, whether of the actual fight, or the anticipation of a fight. It brings to fore the horrific conditions in which the soldiers fought without much resources and in extremely challenging conditions. The three most fascinating aspects of the book to me are, one, that it really delves into the emotional and psychological condition of the soldiers on the battle front, including to some extent of the Axis soldiers. Secondly, it really brings out the barbaric brutality with which the Japanese fought the war. For those like me, WW II has always been about the war in Europe which ended with the atomic bombs in Japan. By delving into the gruesome details of the battles of Okinawa or Saipan or the Bataan death march, Miller really brings the battle to the reader's living room. One can easily sympathise with the 17-year old who has become a veteran of war well before he even finished school. And the third and most engrossing aspect is the detailed description of the deathly runs by Enola Gay and Box Car as they showered death on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Nagasaki bomb drop by Box Car is particularly gripping when one realises that the only reason the people of Nagasaki got annihilated was due to a series of mistakes by the crew on Box Car. Its quite an eye-opener of a book which brings to life the horrors of death that made of WW II. However, given that it is the story of the American soldier, it focuses significant portions of its real-estate on the Pacific theatre and the war between Japan and America. The war in Europe and Africa also get covered but do not carry the same weight as the battles of the Pacific theatre.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Jessee

    I've always wanted to take some time to truly understand this war a bit better. After all, I have two Uncles that served (one in Europe and one in the Pacific). I'm not really sure where to begin. To hear the stories of what happened during WWII is heart-wrenching, infuriating, inspiring, and above all, sobering. The book is written largely in a chronological format, explaining mostly the American participation in the war. That being said, there are plenty of first-hand accounts that keep the boo I've always wanted to take some time to truly understand this war a bit better. After all, I have two Uncles that served (one in Europe and one in the Pacific). I'm not really sure where to begin. To hear the stories of what happened during WWII is heart-wrenching, infuriating, inspiring, and above all, sobering. The book is written largely in a chronological format, explaining mostly the American participation in the war. That being said, there are plenty of first-hand accounts that keep the book from descending into a dry story of which General fought which battle. Considering the exhaustive nature of the book, I'd recommend it to anyone that has had family that served in WWII. I found myself blown away when reading about D-Day up to the Hurtgen Forest as that is where one of my uncles served. Again, I was surprised to hear that he covered the attack on the Franklin (where my other uncle served). Such thoroughness made it easy for this to become a personal book to me as I am sure it has been for others. I couldn't keep from wondering how my uncle felt in the Hurtgen Forest, being wounded with shrapnel and sent back home only to find that his unit went to the Bulge. I was also humbled by my other uncle, knowing that the carnage of a kamikaze attack had him fearing for his life just off of the coast of Japan. These stories, told throughout the world by soldiers, sailors, survivors, and ancestors should not be forgotten. This book does an excellent job of capturing them.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    This WW2 book was different than others I've read. It covered the bigger picture war in an easy narrative style, mixed with very specific, graphic, and riveting first-hand accounts. For example, the author would describe the Iwo Jima campaign in big-picture terms and then share first-hand accounts. I liked the mix of big picture and very specific details. I got the sense that the book might be a bit confusing without a general understanding of the framework of WW2 but I can't say for sure. And It This WW2 book was different than others I've read. It covered the bigger picture war in an easy narrative style, mixed with very specific, graphic, and riveting first-hand accounts. For example, the author would describe the Iwo Jima campaign in big-picture terms and then share first-hand accounts. I liked the mix of big picture and very specific details. I got the sense that the book might be a bit confusing without a general understanding of the framework of WW2 but I can't say for sure. And It seemed the story was a little light on the Eastern front. The book does a good job of depicting the absolute chaos and despair of war, contrasting this with the more sanitized version of the war that the American public was getting in newspapers at the time. All of the major events of the war are covered. The author also covers African-American and Japanese-American contributions to the war, including the Tuskegee Airmen, black infantry units in Italy, and Nisei units that fought in Europe.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    This was a surprisingly good overview of World War II. One of the strengths of this book was that the author includes many individual stories so it reads as both a broad summary of the war, but also gets you into the ground level experience of individual soldiers. I found the part on the Pacific, fighting Japan fascinating, including the just horrific treatment of POWs from the Japanese, brutal and vicious. The story of dropping the bomb on Nagasaki was new to me and wow, what a near disaster tha This was a surprisingly good overview of World War II. One of the strengths of this book was that the author includes many individual stories so it reads as both a broad summary of the war, but also gets you into the ground level experience of individual soldiers. I found the part on the Pacific, fighting Japan fascinating, including the just horrific treatment of POWs from the Japanese, brutal and vicious. The story of dropping the bomb on Nagasaki was new to me and wow, what a near disaster that was. The aircrew landed short of their destination on the way back and one engine shutdown from lack of fuel as they turned off the runway. Very poorly managed mission by the mission commander. Some good lessons of what NOT to do (One lesson being: don’t fly over your prospective target THREE TIMES hoping you’ll catch sight of it and burning precious fuel, not to mention making yourself a sitting duck.). Anyway, this is one of my favorite one-volume histories of WW II.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fred Lombardo

    With every book on World War II that I have read, I always gain new insights. While at the start of this book I thought I would be disappointed with the less than nitty gritty details I appreciate; I came to realize that given the scope of what this book covers, and as I got further into it, I found the details more than satisfactory. Many readers of specific history find a great many events rehashed and repeated. I think that is to be expected in such a narrow, relatively speaking, focus of the With every book on World War II that I have read, I always gain new insights. While at the start of this book I thought I would be disappointed with the less than nitty gritty details I appreciate; I came to realize that given the scope of what this book covers, and as I got further into it, I found the details more than satisfactory. Many readers of specific history find a great many events rehashed and repeated. I think that is to be expected in such a narrow, relatively speaking, focus of the events of World War II. This book has that but also paints a new and grander picture that so many brave men and women on both sides had to face. While this book does not cover the details of such works as Helmet For My Pillow or With The Old Bree’s, it offers enough to keep any would-be history buff fully engrossed. I recommend this book to anyone interested in such a topic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    This was an excellent summation of the entirety of the Second World War. From the initial German aggression to the bombing of Nagasaki Donald Miller's updated version of this book is made personal with accounts from combatants on the ground, sea and air. In this way he covers all of the major events and their impact on the war as a whole and also on the people who fought and were affected by them. An aspect I was appreciative of was that he avoids revisionist history. He conveys the attitudes an This was an excellent summation of the entirety of the Second World War. From the initial German aggression to the bombing of Nagasaki Donald Miller's updated version of this book is made personal with accounts from combatants on the ground, sea and air. In this way he covers all of the major events and their impact on the war as a whole and also on the people who fought and were affected by them. An aspect I was appreciative of was that he avoids revisionist history. He conveys the attitudes and feelings of the time and in some instances graphically portrays incidents that help modern audiences understand the depth of feeling that was prevalent during the war years. Overal, an outstanding work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    R Fontaine

    After reading The Story of World War II,'m quite sure that I will never loosely use the term 'war' again. The various 'wars' on drugs,poverty,opiods etc.are serious,but none pack the sheer horror and sacrifice of the men & women who fought in the European and Pacific battles. 471,000 were killed, many dying unthinkable deaths, while many more were seriously injured. The history, giving separate detailed-attention to the defeat of Nazi horror, and the incredibly bloody defeat of Japan are incredibl After reading The Story of World War II,'m quite sure that I will never loosely use the term 'war' again. The various 'wars' on drugs,poverty,opiods etc.are serious,but none pack the sheer horror and sacrifice of the men & women who fought in the European and Pacific battles. 471,000 were killed, many dying unthinkable deaths, while many more were seriously injured. The history, giving separate detailed-attention to the defeat of Nazi horror, and the incredibly bloody defeat of Japan are incredible. All 652 pages are riveting. Historical writing at its best.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    This was a wonderful beginner's read of an expansive and complex war. The way the subject matter is organized both chronologically and by region made it easy for me to make a list of narrower topics that I can choose from when I choose another book. Because of its nature, however, it is obvious that certain aspects of the war got reduced and lost some of their complexity in the descriptions so that Miller could touch a bit on everything. I also really liked how the author really focuses on the c This was a wonderful beginner's read of an expansive and complex war. The way the subject matter is organized both chronologically and by region made it easy for me to make a list of narrower topics that I can choose from when I choose another book. Because of its nature, however, it is obvious that certain aspects of the war got reduced and lost some of their complexity in the descriptions so that Miller could touch a bit on everything. I also really liked how the author really focuses on the contributions of African American soldiers. One thing that was not focused on in much detail was the Holocaust and the concentration camps.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Macmartin

    After consuming many books and documentaries on WW2 over the years, I went into this assuming it would be a rehash of more of the same. How very wrong i was. The entire book is crafted from 1st hand accounts collected out of journals, interviews etc from the folks who were at every pivotal event throughout the war. While the European theatre was described very much as one has heard about it, but the description of the Pacific theater blew my mind. I had never heard it described in this manner and After consuming many books and documentaries on WW2 over the years, I went into this assuming it would be a rehash of more of the same. How very wrong i was. The entire book is crafted from 1st hand accounts collected out of journals, interviews etc from the folks who were at every pivotal event throughout the war. While the European theatre was described very much as one has heard about it, but the description of the Pacific theater blew my mind. I had never heard it described in this manner and it will stay with me forever. Fantastic book and if you are even remotely interested in the subject -and if you are reading this you are- then you will love it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Thank you for all the accounts collected in this book and thank you for bring it onto Audible. For one it's a 26hours of intense listening experience, also I feel my WW2 knowledge has been improved so much after finishing this book. It's really helpful to be able to see things on an different angle during the war. This book had so many forgotten stories of WW2 which should have been taught to us in school. Even by listening to it made me wet my eyes many times. Now it would be hard for me to fin Thank you for all the accounts collected in this book and thank you for bring it onto Audible. For one it's a 26hours of intense listening experience, also I feel my WW2 knowledge has been improved so much after finishing this book. It's really helpful to be able to see things on an different angle during the war. This book had so many forgotten stories of WW2 which should have been taught to us in school. Even by listening to it made me wet my eyes many times. Now it would be hard for me to find a similar book for my next read......

  26. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    Recently, as I work my way through American history, I've read a lot of books about the people and events surrounding WWI and WWII. There are countless reading options on the intriguing people and events during these war periods, but this book is the only one that falls into the "must read" category for me. It truly is a "story" of WWII, where the authors go through the chain of events, interspersing soldier accounts of battles/conditions/morale throughout the entire book. One doesn't need to be Recently, as I work my way through American history, I've read a lot of books about the people and events surrounding WWI and WWII. There are countless reading options on the intriguing people and events during these war periods, but this book is the only one that falls into the "must read" category for me. It truly is a "story" of WWII, where the authors go through the chain of events, interspersing soldier accounts of battles/conditions/morale throughout the entire book. One doesn't need to be obsessed with WWII or even extremely interested to get through this book, as the accounts of people living through the hell make this more a human story than a recap of an event. There are very few history books that have made me think about a time period/event as much as this book has made me think about WWII and war in general.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mithlesh Kumar

    Why should you read the book ! Because it gives the account from both sides and more importantly it makes you feel as if you are a part of the story and have your stake in every single battle. Most of the people know that it all started with Germany and France + Britain but it ended with Japan and United states + 2 Atom bomb. But if you want to understand the roots you have to read this. It also tells you the cause effect relationship in war time and strategies. While reading this book, you go b Why should you read the book ! Because it gives the account from both sides and more importantly it makes you feel as if you are a part of the story and have your stake in every single battle. Most of the people know that it all started with Germany and France + Britain but it ended with Japan and United states + 2 Atom bomb. But if you want to understand the roots you have to read this. It also tells you the cause effect relationship in war time and strategies. While reading this book, you go back to the old times.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robert B

    Ive read a ridiculous amount of world war 2 subject matter and none compare to this. I love Kershaw, Hastings, Beevor and Ambrose, but Miller takes the cake with this comprehensive yet concise look at the great war and its effects on the world. He does a great job of showing a broad overview and still finds a way of telling the stories of french natives and Philippine victims of the axis. Bravo Miller, you have made the all encompassing book about the most complex event of the 20th century while Ive read a ridiculous amount of world war 2 subject matter and none compare to this. I love Kershaw, Hastings, Beevor and Ambrose, but Miller takes the cake with this comprehensive yet concise look at the great war and its effects on the world. He does a great job of showing a broad overview and still finds a way of telling the stories of french natives and Philippine victims of the axis. Bravo Miller, you have made the all encompassing book about the most complex event of the 20th century while still breaking down in a way that it works and works well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Horton

    Not a story of World War II at all. Rather, it a chronological collection of stories of Americans in battle. All the other countries are portrayed as either brutal sadists, mad marauders, inept fuddy-duddies or naive colonials. America, or more accurately American armies, in this version, save the day time after time after time, even when it is they who need saving. I don't doubt that this book, presented in this way with such a title, bothers a large section of the reading pubic not in the leas Not a story of World War II at all. Rather, it a chronological collection of stories of Americans in battle. All the other countries are portrayed as either brutal sadists, mad marauders, inept fuddy-duddies or naive colonials. America, or more accurately American armies, in this version, save the day time after time after time, even when it is they who need saving. I don't doubt that this book, presented in this way with such a title, bothers a large section of the reading pubic not in the least.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    A very good collection of stories, walking through World War II from start to end via the servicemen who fought the battles and won the war. Mostly from a US point of view, the stories drove greater interest and understanding for many aspects of the war, including how it was perceived at the time, the monumental challenges faced at the time but not included in the narrative, and why certain actions were taken in the war strategy. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a general, but expansive A very good collection of stories, walking through World War II from start to end via the servicemen who fought the battles and won the war. Mostly from a US point of view, the stories drove greater interest and understanding for many aspects of the war, including how it was perceived at the time, the monumental challenges faced at the time but not included in the narrative, and why certain actions were taken in the war strategy. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a general, but expansive view of World War II.

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