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World War II: Day by Day by Donald…

World War II: Day by Day

by Donald Sommerville

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"Irreducible Complexity" is a concept which has failed, dramatically, in biology. In history -- there may be something to say for it. Some events are so complex that it is almost impossible to describe them in a straightforward, annalistic way. World War II -- fought on four continents with multiple fronts and involving all the major powers of the world -- probably qualifies.

But this book does a valiant job of attempting the impossible. The title tells what it is: A story of history's largest war, told sequentially, with organization by theatres and campaigns. Along with the text, it features many useful illustrations and photographs.

Since the task is impossible, the result is not entirely perfect. You can't learn all about World War II from this book; there are too many things that need to be explained and then followed through to the end.

On the other hand, if you already have a pretty good understanding of World War II, this book is invaluable, because it lets you trace a chronology -- or see what is going on somewhere else in the world at the time of a particular event. Quick: What was happening in Europe and Africa at the time the Battle of Midway was fought? Do you know? Off the top of my head, I don't. This book will answer that.

Summary: This isn't suitable if you want a first history of World War II. Indeed, you should probably have three or four before acquiring this book. But once you have that overview, it is a very useful item. And it can be quite interesting to have it and try studying the war in different ways. ( )
  waltzmn | Nov 16, 2012 |
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