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The Last European War: September 1939 -…

The Last European War: September 1939 - December 1941

by John Lukacs

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813226,214 (4.07)1
This absorbing study of the first--and decisive--phase of World War II tells not only how events happened but why they happened as they did. Eminent historian John Lukacs presents an extraordinary narrative of these two years, followed by a detailed sequential analysis of the lives of the peoples and then of the political, military, and intellectual relations and events. "Lukacs's book is consistently interesting, surprising, and provocative."--James Joll, New York Times Book Review "This dispassionate, humorous, serious, and brilliantly written book marks an important step forward in our understanding of a past that is still within living memory."--Economist "An excellent, valuable, and highly readable book. . . . It makes both fascinating and extraordinarily valuable reading. It is a major contribution to historical scholarship."--Joseph G. Harrison, Christian Science Monitor "A brilliant, original study of what this era meant--socially, politically, artistically, intellectually--in the lives of the peoples of Europe. . . . [Lukacs's] grasp of emotional as well as intellectual history is commanding."--New Yorker "Deserves to be widely read, seriously considered, and vigorously debated."--Gordon Wright, American Historical Review… (more)



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This is a typical scholarly Lukacs work, with high clarity insights and no inhibitions about expressing his informed critique of the work of other historians.
Lukacs illuminates the events, the leadership and the popular sentiments of "national" populations during the period leading up to the start of World War II and the initial conflict prior to the entry of the United States into the war in December 1941. The word "national" is highlighted to note the emphasis explained by Lukacs in the text, based on his interpretation that national sentiments were of paramount importance in shaping both the popular reaction to war and the popular reception of the conflict.
A strong impression: The people and leaders who were living through this turmoil had only marginal appreciation of the effectiveness and impact of their actions. Nevertheless, the Nazis' rise to power was significantly facilitated by the passivity (an informed passivity, not a state of ignorance) of too many individuals who didn't advocate a morally-framed opposition. ( )
  rsubber | Nov 4, 2012 |
War German
  Budzul | May 31, 2008 |
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