Intelligent, readable, detailed and (dare I say it?) thought provoking. It may be excessive praise to compare ‘Storm’ to Rick Atkinson’s work, but those who are familiar with Atkinson will probably be interested in this. It comes off as pretty reliable throughout, but I felt ‘Conclusions’ was unworthy in that Roberts did not make a serious effort to identify the causes of the conflict beyond discussing Hitler’s role. As a prophet of evil and the worst of a bad lot, Hitler deserves particular study. But Nazism was still the collective work of a nation, and only one example of an illness that infects societies here and there. You’d think Roberts would have considered Germany’s Eastern ally; an empire built on fanaticism, surprise attack, slave labor and other atrocities, and ultimate strategic overreach. That is to say the Axis had more in common than military alliance. ‘Storm’s’ end might be a letdown as is, but if he suggested to readers they were at risk, would it have been a best-seller?
Allied bombing of Germany has often been condemned as immoral and ineffective. Roberts argues convincingly that it was effective and vital.
One aspect of WWII that nobody discusses was The Battle of the Painters. For all his dilettantism, some of Churchill’s efforts had some artistic merit, whereas Hitler’s never had any.
I give this one of my highest ratings for WWII histories because the author has included many never-before-accessed records, accounts, quotes and entire passages.
The one warning: he supports Claire Chennault's "air power wins everything" view instead of Stillwell's "infantry will make final decision" choice. And the author doesn't make a solid or even consistent reasoning for this.
But his great use of 1990s and early 2000s records make this a fascinating read. It might not be The Best for a WWII introduction, by the way.
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