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Ariel Hell is empty and all the devils are here A fast ride through World War Two This will be unspeakable, but we must speak.Here goes.Poland the only nation in which there was no collaboration with the Nazis when the Soviets invaded Finland the Finns joked There are so many and our country is so small, where shall we find room to bury them all A Norwegian officer reported that one British unit was composed of very young lads who appear to come from the slums of London They have taken Ariel Hell is empty and all the devils are here A fast ride through World War Two This will be unspeakable, but we must speak.Here goes.Poland the only nation in which there was no collaboration with the Nazis when the Soviets invaded Finland the Finns joked There are so many and our country is so small, where shall we find room to bury them all A Norwegian officer reported that one British unit was composed of very young lads who appear to come from the slums of London They have taken a very close interest in the women of Romsdal and engaged in wholesale looting of shops and houses Eight million French people abandoned their homes in the months following the German assault, the greatest mass migration in west European history the London Blitz lasted about nine months Some 43,000 British civilians were killed and a further 139,000 injured 160 deaths every day for 9 months for almost a year following France s surrender, scarcely a single German soldier fired a shot Germany was not an advanced industrial country by comparison to the USA which it lagged by perhaps thirty years while fighting the Italians in Albania a Greek soldier has to abandon his horse Starving, soaked to the bone, tortured by endless movement on rocky ground, he was doomed to stay there I emptied my saddlebags to follow the others on foot, then stroked the back of his neck a little and kissed it He might be an animal, but he had been my comrade in war We had faced death many times together We had lived through unforgettable days and nights I saw him looking at me as I walked away What a look that was, my friends It revealed so much anguish, so much sadness I wanted to cry but the tears did not come War leaves no time for such things Momentarily I thought of killing him but I could not bear to do so I left him there, staring at me until I disappeared behind a rock I came to realise that for every man sweating it out in the muck and dust of the Western desert, there were twenty bludging and skiving in the wine bars and restaurants, night clubs and brothels and sporting clubs and race tracks of Cairo the gunner was smiling at me cheerfully though his right arm was smashed to bits beneath the elbow A total of around 300,000 Russian soldiers are believed to have been killed by their own commanders for alleged cowardice and desertionthan the entire toll of British troops killed by enemy hands during the course of the war Since the 1917 revolution the population of the Soviet union had endured the horrors of civil was, famine, oppression, forced migration, and summary injustice But Barbarossa transcended them all in the absolute human catastrophe that unfolded in its wake and eventually became responsible for the deaths of 27 million of Stalin s people, of whom 16 million were civilians War correspondent Vasiliy Grossman met a peasant carrying a sack of frozen human legs, which he proposed to thaw on a stove in order to remove the boots The ruthlessness of the Soviet state was indispensible to confound Hitler No democracy could have established as icily rational a hierarchy of need as did Stalin, whereby soldiers received the most food, civilian workers less, and useless mouths , including the old, only a starvation quota More than two million Russiams died of starvation during the war in territories controlled by their own government at the end of 1940 only 16% of Americans wanted the USA to join the war in the absence of Pearl Harbor it remains highly speculative when, if ever, the USA would have fought I couldn t see anything for the swirling spray The wind shrieked through the rigging and superstructure It looked as though we were sailing through boiling water as the wind whipped the wave tops into horizontal spume, white and fuming, which stung my eyes and face Now and again I caught a glimpse of one of the big merchant ships being rolled on its beam ends by the huge swells sweeping up The Russians attach little importance to what they eat or wear It is surprising how long they can survive on what to a western man would be a starvation diet they move freely by night or in fog, through woods and across swamps They are not afraid of the dark, nor of their endless forests, nor the cold Lt Gen Gunther Blumentritt Gen Vasiliy Chuikov said Time is blood you send off a liaison officer to find out what s happening, and he gets killed That s when you shake all over with tension Stalin s orders were simple and readily understood the city must be held to the last man or woman We have fought for fifteen days for a single house the front is a corridor between burnt out rooms Stalingrad is no longer a town By day it is an enormous clud of burning, blinding smoke animals flee this hell, the hardest stones cannot bear it for long Only men endure the NKVD report from Leningrad was optimistic In connection with the improvement in the food situation in June, the death rate went down by a third the number of incidents of use of human flesh in food supply decreased Whereas 236 people were arrested for this crime in May, in June it was just 56 An Italian general asserted in 1942 that 99 per cent of his fellow countrymen not merely expected to lose the war but now fervently hoped to do so as soon as possible Half the British population moved home in the course of the war On that particular day the butcher let me have some rabbit I didn t want the rabbit cause I d rather give my small children an egg So I took the rabbit round to my neighbour She was so thrilled On that particular day her son was killed In this place one s mind returns continually and dwells longingly on food I think of duck and cherry casserole, scramled eggs, fish, scallops, chicken stanley, kedgeree, trifle, summer pudding, fruit fool, bread and butter pudding.When American machine gunner Donald Schoo s driver had a hand blown off, the man ran in circles laughing hysterically I m going home Thank you, God I m going home I should add that this is a brilliant book, recommended to all I think you probably got that Inferno The World at War, 1939 1945The author of this book, Max Hastings, is a military author and historian In 2012 he received the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing Don t for an instant think that an author with such credentials is going to deliver anything but a book that focuses primarily on military aspects of the Second World War He writes about the war from a global perspective The emphasis is not on politics nor the genocide of t Inferno The World at War, 1939 1945The author of this book, Max Hastings, is a military author and historian In 2012 he received the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing Don t for an instant think that an author with such credentials is going to deliver anything but a book that focuses primarily on military aspects of the Second World War He writes about the war from a global perspective The emphasis is not on politics nor the genocide of the Jews I thought the book would focus on the soldiers experiences The book does not really do that, even if there are numerous quotes from combatants.The book moves forward chronologically It covers the air force, the army and the navy, the Allies and the Axis powers Battle after battle is related.For me what made the book most outstanding is its global perspective The book is comprehensive It covers not only land, sea and air battles, but also food deprivation, cannibalism, and civilian suffering in countries all over the world The barbarism and savagery committed on both sides is not shied from The author draws the reality of war What is drawn is not pretty The Baatan Death March in the Philippines Indonesian atrocities The starvation and hunger in Greece The consequences of war for women not only their becoming part of the labor force, but as well the prevalence of rape and being pushed into prostitution for food The Bengali Famine of 1943 1944 Half of China was occupied by Japan, and they used biological weapons, dropping cholera, dysentery and the plague by air There were 15 million wartime dead in China alone The war lasted for 71 months The book shows the biting, ugly reality of war.I would like to recommend one other book A Woman in Berlin Eight Weeks in the Conquered City A Diary.The narrator of the audiobook is Cameron Stewart The tempo varies some sections he reads way too fast other sections are fine He articulates words clearly I have given the narration as well as the book four stars I finish this book with the same thought i ve had all along that this is how modern history should be written.Hastings has put together one of the most comprehensive, detailed, and moving books on the Second World War that i ve ever read Most importantly, he has addressed the issue of it being a WORLD war in a way that few manage From Burma to Australia to Egypt to India, he includes information and reflections from combatants on both sides and from all the arenas of the conflict His use of I finish this book with the same thought i ve had all along that this is how modern history should be written.Hastings has put together one of the most comprehensive, detailed, and moving books on the Second World War that i ve ever read Most importantly, he has addressed the issue of it being a WORLD war in a way that few manage From Burma to Australia to Egypt to India, he includes information and reflections from combatants on both sides and from all the arenas of the conflict His use of sources was fascinating, upsetting, and piercingly effective While statistics and numbers have shock value when heard read, the details quickly fade from memory, yet the pictures created by personal memories, written in the words of people who experienced themwell, this book has revealed to me images that I will never forget If we are to teach people about what war really is, it is books like this that need to be used Hastings never shies away from the inglorious frozen babies in the snow, canibalism, men fighting with trousers filled with excrement, having to scrape body parts from the bottom of your vehicle to continue, starvation, rapeon and on and on these images batter you with their truth At points, simply listening to the narrator retell these horrors gave me a physical reaction, shocked stillness, shudders of disgust, an urge to vomit.This book is not simply about winning the good war , it is about the destructive power of violence in all its forms While Hastings makes clear that should Nazi Germany have won, many people would have suffered a much a worse situation, he rejects the easy delineation between good and evil One of the most interesting sections of the book was on this idea of the Allies fighting for freedom and justice Yet, in the US black men and women were considered second class citizens, or worse, and the British Empire refused to let go of its Indian colony, using brutal oppression to prevent it Never has it been so clear as when reading this book that violence begets violence And that ideals, or ideology, are not always the same as reality Atrocities committed by the Axis powers may have been on a unprecedented scale the Holocaust obviously stands out as one of the worst actions in history , but nobody came out of this war with clean hands People may talk of scale, and it is important of course, but perhaps the lesson has always been that in war, everybody loses If nothing else, this book makes you think, really think about what war is, what it does, when or if it is necessary, how it should be conducted, what happens to the people who fight and the people who don t At the very least, reading about this war should lead to this kind of consideration and evaluation What else is history for, except to make us think about who we are and how we should live Truly an unmissable piece of historical research from Hastings Inferno The World at War, 1939 1945 is a Five Star masterwork, revealing fresh stories and perspective on the many theaters and events of WWII Hastings brings you into all of the major and many minor battles of the war A one volume summary of the war could be so broad and high level that it fails to grab attention Not so with Inferno I so appreciated how he relates the sweeping events through the eyes of participants, often soldiers on both sides of a particular battle and sometimes the civ Inferno The World at War, 1939 1945 is a Five Star masterwork, revealing fresh stories and perspective on the many theaters and events of WWII Hastings brings you into all of the major and many minor battles of the war A one volume summary of the war could be so broad and high level that it fails to grab attention Not so with Inferno I so appreciated how he relates the sweeping events through the eyes of participants, often soldiers on both sides of a particular battle and sometimes the civilians caught in the horror He is able to convey the clash of vast forces yet he enables you to see it through the eyes of the participants and witnesses Mr Hastings does presume you have some familiarity with the course and geography of the conflict Hastings goes into some major fights with little lead up Individual stories and vignettes are used to fill in the progress of the battles There aren t enough maps to help orient you to the force dispositions, which is a weak point the maps are often misplaced as well But there are so, so many strong points The bravery and tragedy of the Poles, how they were left holding empty promises from the British and French, and went into battle against the might of the Germans How the German army was not nearly as efficient and smooth running as everyone thought at the beginning but improved quickly The Poles deserve note as the only conquered nation that did not collaborate with the Germans to any extent and were treated as slaves for it How sad it is at the end as the brave Polish soldiers watch as their country is sold to the Russians at Yalta What did they fight for The campaign against France comes to new light, especially the sense of betrayal the French feel after the escape at Dunkirk This shows up later as Vichy French forces choose to fight the Allies in the Middle East and on the seas These weren t just actions for token resistance, but delivered real damage and many French soldiers and sailors chose to be repatriated to France rather than become part of Free French forces The unimaginable scale of the fighting in Eastern Europe and the USSR is brought home through many stories of the attackers and defenders The incredible victories achieved by the Nazi armies and then the impact ofGeneral Winteras the armies fight in front of Moscow Truly, the Soviet forces bore the brunt of the war, 90% of the German forces were destroyed there The western theater pales in comparison yet we know so muchabout that fight Hastings view is that the Russians cruelty and indifference to massive losses defeated the Germans under Hitler with little contribution, other than materiel, by the western allies Hastings also points out how the western armies were so reticent in taking casualties and used superior mass technology airpower to keep the number of wounded and killed to a minimum The fight in Southwest Asia is interesting for how relatively small Japanese forces are able to overcome much larger forces and cover huge distances The incompetence of the colonial rulers and forces are revealed and the natives look for their freedom Yet the Japanese are just as racist, if not , as the white rulers, squandering opportunities to have native allies by their side Hastings puts the issue of colonialism and empire in context, with the US vs British French Dutch desires in the conduct of the war against Japan The victims of the war are covered in greater detail than I expected for a single volume on the war Hastings writes in a way to make you understand the daily impact of the war, simple things like being unable to buy a birthday present for a wife or child I was transfixed by the description of the transition from an environment where the rule of law and societal restrictions held sway to one where the conqueror had no compunctions on whom to kill, imprison or condemn to slave labor The Holocaust is covered as well as the extent of anti Semitism in all the major players But he also brings out how many others were caught up in the excesses of the Axis conquests The scale of killing is enormous The role of the USA as the arsenal of democracy , as well as, the arsenal of communism is brought forth clearly The Allies allowed the Soviets to bear the heaviest burden for a long time but assuaged their embarrassment at the failure to engage the Germans early by shipping immense amounts of equipment and supplies to the USSR The convoys to Murmansk, a terrible mission that chills the soul, were demanded by Churchill as a way to help the Soviets stay in the war and not sue for peace, are covered well Germany and Japan were simply not able to carry on an extended war and failed to come to terms with their weakness Be forewarned, if you have some high opinions of your nations forces performance, be ready for some clarity Hastings does not spare any nation from criticism and exposes the bad with the good He says, with some backup, that the Germans and Japanese were superior at the tactical level, while the allies were better at the operational and strategic level.I feel this book iseasily read by someone already familiar with the major theaters and chronology of the war That doesn t mean you shouldn t start with this book if you aren t familiar with the various theaters of the war Just have a pad of paper handy to jot notes because you are going to have to go look up many episodes to get a better understanding Also a source of maps would be good to have around unless you are familiar with the territory on which the war was fought If you are familiar with the major events and theaters of WWII, you will like this book for a refreshing and candid look at the times Highest recommendation Under normal circumstances this would have received 5 stars as it is as good as Liddell Harts one volume tome I read in my youth The final chapter has covered various opinion of the author, not that I have an issue with that per se, but to mention the present state of Russia under Putin lets the chapter down somewhat as histories such as this should be of the ages and not this age A minor quibble in the end maybe Ultimately though this was a very good read indeed The mixture of military and Under normal circumstances this would have received 5 stars as it is as good as Liddell Harts one volume tome I read in my youth The final chapter has covered various opinion of the author, not that I have an issue with that per se, but to mention the present state of Russia under Putin lets the chapter down somewhat as histories such as this should be of the ages and not this age A minor quibble in the end maybe Ultimately though this was a very good read indeed The mixture of military and oral history gave this a readability that the average reader would have enjoyed No dry reading at all and Hastings is to be admired for being able to appeal to a vast audience with a fast paced volume that I would recommend to those that would like an overview of what is already a very dense and highly covered subject More than any other book I ve read, this gives a real sense of the global nature of WW2 both geographically Russia Eastern Europe, the Pacific North Africa are covered in as much detail as Western Europe and in terms of its impact on people with as much emphasis given to civilians and ordinary soldiers as to Presidents, Prime Ministers and Generals Hastings moves seamlessly from grand strategy to individual eye witness accounts, using a multitude of letters, diaries and interviews with More than any other book I ve read, this gives a real sense of the global nature of WW2 both geographically Russia Eastern Europe, the Pacific North Africa are covered in as much detail as Western Europe and in terms of its impact on people with as much emphasis given to civilians and ordinary soldiers as to Presidents, Prime Ministers and Generals Hastings moves seamlessly from grand strategy to individual eye witness accounts, using a multitude of letters, diaries and interviews with combatants and civilians on all sides This is less of a military history than Beevor s Second World War, but it s a much better account of the human impact of war.Hastings is also happy to share his opinions, and is equally critical of all sides and occasionally even the Wehrmacht He doesn t shy away from uncomfortable truths, such as allied war crimes or British treatment i.e abandonment of its colonial subjects in South East Asia The final chapter Victors and Vanquished is an excellent summing up, worth reading on its own, and ends, fittingly, with the holocaust .FREE PDF ♿ Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 ♡ From one of our finest military historians, a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences World War II involved tens of millions of soldiers and cost sixty million lives an average of twenty seven thousand a day For thirty five years, Max Hastings has researched and written about different aspects of the war Now, for the first time, he gives us a magnificent, single volume history of the entire war Through his strikingly detailed stories of everyday people of soldiers, sailors and airmen British housewives and Indian peasants SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad, some of whom resorted to cannibalism during the two year siege Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews Hastings provides a singularly intimate portrait of the world at war He simultaneously traces the major developments Hitler s refusal to retreat from the Soviet Union until it was too late Stalin s ruthlessness in using his greater population to wear down the German army Churchill s leadership in the dark days ofandRoosevelt s steady hand before and after the United States entered the war and puts them in real human contextHastings also illuminates some of the darker and less explored regions under the war s penumbra, including the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, during which the Finns fiercely and surprisingly resisted Stalin s invading Red Army and the Bengal famine inand , when at least one million people died in what turned out to be, in Nehru s words, the final epitaph of British rule in India Remarkably informed and wide ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the twentieth century Very good overall look at WW II Mr Hastings has very readable writing style and integrates both the high level strategic threads with the bottom up, what are the privates and civilian feeling, very well He uses letters, diaries and memoirs of the people involved extremely well giving the reader a glimpse of what it must have been like, both at home and in the trenches with the PBI.Hastings has very strong point of view and for the most part makes coherent arguments in favor of those POVs How Very good overall look at WW II Mr Hastings has very readable writing style and integrates both the high level strategic threads with the bottom up, what are the privates and civilian feeling, very well He uses letters, diaries and memoirs of the people involved extremely well giving the reader a glimpse of what it must have been like, both at home and in the trenches with the PBI.Hastings has very strong point of view and for the most part makes coherent arguments in favor of those POVs However once in a while he tosses them out in one liners i.e his statement that Devers, commander of the US 7th Army Group, was one of the best US generals of the war.He has strong opinions of the generalship of the warring parties mainly negative and the necessity of the various ground campaigns mainly they weren t esp in the Pacific Asia after 1944 as well as the quality of the various armies western infantry was not very good, the best infantry was from the totalitarian gov ts USSR, Germany, Japan , however he does think that western artillery was very good.In addition to the Axis war crimes The Holocaust, Japan s experience in China , he does cover Allied atrocities killing of POWs by US troops in Sicily, the famine in Bengal While doing this he is careful to note that the Allied atrocities don t come anywhere near the magnitude of what the Axis perpetrated.For US readers he does a very good job of covering British ops that they might not be overly familiar with the Malaya campaign, Burma, the situation in India Britain had 50 infantry Bns deployed to keep the lid on India There are some obvious errors in the book that should have been caught, keeps it from being a 5 star book the most obvious one being the Battle of the Bulge beginning on 18 December.This would be a worthwhile read for both the general audience and those who are familier with WW II For a one volume history over 600 pages of the Second World War this book is quite all encompassing and thorough I felt there were two strengths to this book One was the brilliant eloquence Mr Hastings can summarize events succinctly with a remarkable poignancy.The other asset is the authors ability to bring us to the ground level to view situations from the perspective of the common soldier whether from Britain, Russia, the U.S., Japan The same for the civilians who suffered and e For a one volume history over 600 pages of the Second World War this book is quite all encompassing and thorough I felt there were two strengths to this book One was the brilliant eloquence Mr Hastings can summarize events succinctly with a remarkable poignancy.The other asset is the authors ability to bring us to the ground level to view situations from the perspective of the common soldier whether from Britain, Russia, the U.S., Japan The same for the civilians who suffered and endured so much during the war years whether in a bombed city, or as a refugee, as a captive to the occupying forces Mr Hastings brings the horror and the total dismemberment of society to the reader This book does not merely recite statistics or troop movements.One of the themes of the book, and Mr Hastings is correct, is the distinction between the way war was waged by the democracies Britain, U.S., Canada and the non democratic countries Germany, Japan and especially the Soviet Union Soldiers, for the Soviet Union, were an expendable item If victory was attained at a 25 percent casualty rate, so be it Not so for the Western democracies, where troops were treated farhumanely One reason why the Normandy landings were delayed until 1944 was because causalities would have been prohibitive in the years before, when the Allied air forces were not controlling the skies over Europe The Western democracies relied faron their technology and mass production to defeat the enemy As another example, Patton was publicly reprimanded for slapping a soldier this would have been inconceivable in the Soviet, Japanese and German armies.There are a few omissions in this book the Japanese occupation of China is scarcely mentioned Neither is the tragedy of the use of sex slaves sometimes denoted by the euphemism comfort women by the Japanese.The author discussesof the war as fought by the Western Allies than from the Soviet Union To his credit Mr Hastings does emphasize that it is the Soviet Union that primarily defeated Nazi Germany the Western Allies only major contribution was in the last ten months of the war after the landings in France At that stage the Germany had really lost the war.Sometimes I found that when the author shifts to the top level commanders and decision makers the writing is somewhat perfunctory There is not a strong sense of prelude to many of the dire circumstances brought forth in this book This is an inherent short coming to a one volume book on World War II One just glimpses, from time to time, the agonizing decisions that the major players, like Churchill, were undergoing.Nevertheless this book does capture this epochal era We get a remarkable view of the context of these turbulent times As Winston Churchill remarked all things are always on the move simultaneously In terms of world war 2 books I don t think they come much better than this Superbly written Fast paced and no unnecessary padding out of the subjects The personal accounts are harrowing and as much of a cliche as it is to say, it really does bring things into perspective I have some other books of Max Hastings to read but will do them in stages due to the heavy subject matter.Brilliant, an utterly brilliant book.