Cover image for A war to be won : fighting the Second World War
A war to be won : fighting the Second World War
Murray, Williamson.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xiv, 656 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 12.7 54.0 43135.
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D767.98 .M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
D767.98 .M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
D767.98 .M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
D767.98 .M87 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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In the course of the 20th century, no war looms as profoundly transformative or as destructive as World War II. Its global scope and human toil reveal the true face of modern, industrialised warfare. Now, for the first time, we have a comprehensive, single-volume account of how and why this global conflict evolved as it did. This book is a history of the Second World War that tells the full story of battle on land, on sea, and in the air.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Any attempted one-volume study of World War II must either be superficial or a large book. Two distinguished military historians choose the latter course, with satisfactory, if not perfect, results. They effectively combine narrative, analysis, and backgrounding on economics, technology, etc., and, therefore, can be profitably read by comparative newcomers to military history. An occasional fact has gone astray (the Japanese had more than a "reinforced division" in Manchuria in 1939), the grasp of naval affairs isn't quite as firm as that of land and air doings, and the authors have an axe to grind against Douglas MacArthur. But the quantity of data crammed between the book's covers, including particularly fine treatment of the war on the Eastern Front, compensates for those shortcomings. Murray and Millett unapologetically consider the war just and necessary, refuting those who have challenged that view without ever mentioning them. If a trifle below the level of achievement of Gerhard L. Weinberg's A World at Arms (1994), this book can rest on the same shelf deservedly. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Scholarship and insight place this book in the front rank of military history written in the 20th century's final decade. The authorsDMurray is senior fellow at Washington's Institute for Defense Analyses and Millett is a chaired professor of military history at Ohio StateDmake no secret of their convictions on personal, institutional and operational issues, but are nevertheless remarkably successful at avoiding the armchair debunking that mars so many histories of the period. Backed by meticulous operational analysis, Murray and Millett compellingly view the war as a death grapple between civilization (however imperfect) and genocidal, racist imperialism. Both sides absorbed unprecedented levels of punishment and still functioned effectively, yet the authors show that the Allies mobilized resources to an extraordinary degree and developed unprecedented levels of cooperation against Germany and Japan, with U.S. armed forces in particular demonstrating high learning curves. After recovering from Stalin's purges, by 1943 the Red Army was successfully combining numbers and technology to take full advantage of every opportunity offered by a declining Wehrmacht. On the other side of the front, instead of making the hard choices required by Germany's limited resources, Hitler and his military leaders attempted everything simultaneously. They increasingly substituted ideology for men and equipment. Japan, too, fought a vitalist war, with will power unsuccessfully substituting for both fire power and rational calculation. The result, Murray and Millett brilliantly show, was to exclude negotiation and persuasion, leaving victory in battle the only choice in modern history's only total war. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Writing a military history of WW II in less than 600 pages is a daunting task. This possibly explains the author's intent, stated in the preface, to focus on operational aspects. The resulting analysis is both less and more than intended. Although the economic, intellectual, political, and ideological facets of operational decisions are lucidly and sympathetically explained--the latter no mean feat from the hindsight of a historian's armchair--Murray offers no concluding chapter to summarize, belligerent by belligerent, the lessons learned. The reason for this is simple: what the author envisioned as an operational history is actually a comprehensive history of the conflict. How else to explain the encapsulation of Japanese history in the 1920s and 1930s, the trenchant digressions on grand strategy, and the chapter "Peoples at War" chronicling the increasing intrusion of the total-war state in people's lives? As is evident from military discussion lists, e.g., H-War Net, those who teach classes on the history of WW II recognize the usefulness of this book as an undergraduate resource comparable to John Keegan's The Second World War (1989) and the work of Gerhard Weinberg. General and undergraduate collections. ; Felician College

Table of Contents

1 Origins of a Catastrophe
2 The Revolution in Military Operations, 1919?1939
3 German Designs, 1939?1940
4 Germany Triumphant, 1940
5 Diversions in the Mediterranean and Balkans, 1940?1941
6 Barbarossa, 1941
7 The Origins of the Asia-Pacific War, 1919?1941
8 The Japanese War of Conquest, 1941?1942
9 The Asia-Pacific War, 1942?1944
10 The Battle of the Atlantic, 1939?1943
11 Year of Decision for Germany, 1942
12 The Combined Bomber Offensive, 1941?1945
13 The Destruction of Japanese Naval Power, 1943?1944
14 The Killing Time, 1943?1944
15 The Invasion of France, 1944
16 The End in Europe, 1944?1945
17 The Destruction of the Japanese Empire, 1944?1945
18 The End of the Asia-Pacific War, 1945
19 Peoples at War, 1937?1945
20 The Aftermath of War
Epilogue: In Retrospect
1 Military Organization
2 The Conduct of War
3 Weapons
4 Exploring World War II Notes
Suggested Reading
Credits Index