Book Recommendation: The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson
This terrific book was lent to me by a friend. I have read hundreds of books about WWII or various aspects of it. This was by far the best. There are a thousand books that will tell you what happened. “The Second World Wars” tells also tells you why things happened as they did. As he did for the Peloponnesian War in “A War Like No Other,” Hanson does not write in chronological order, but breaks the various wars (he says that many wars joined into one) down into parts like Airpower, Sea Power, Land Power, Industrial and Economic Power, Sieges, Invasions, the leaders, and at the end, who gained what. Perhaps the most powerful section is entitled “The Dead,” which gives casualty estimates by country. WWII killed over 60 million people, about as many as died during Mao’s various purges, revolutions and famines in China after he came to power. You will be both overwhelmed and surprised. He says that about 23,000 civilians died every day of World War II, about four times the dead at Gettysburg. This is a must-read for military history and WWII buffs. It should be read by every college student, but of course few could read a book of this length (over 500 pages). Get it.