A definitive account of World War II by America’s preeminent military historian
World War II was the most lethal conflict in human history. Never before had a war been fought on so many diverse landscapes and in so many different ways, from rocket attacks in London to jungle fighting in Burma to armor strikes in Libya.
The Second World Wars examines how combat unfolded in the air, at sea, and on land to show how distinct conflicts among disparate combatants coalesced into one interconnected global war. Drawing on 3,000 years of military history, bestselling author Victor Davis Hanson argues that despite its novel industrial barbarity, neither the war’s origins nor its geography were unusual. Nor was its ultimate outcome surprising. The Axis powers were well prepared to win limited border conflicts, but once they blundered into global war, they had no hope of victory.
An authoritative new history of astonishing breadth, The Second World Wars offers a stunning reinterpretation of history’s deadliest conflict.
“The Second World Wars by Victor Davis Hanson is breathtakingly magisterial: How can Mr. Hanson make so much we thought we knew so fresh and original?”―Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal
“An extraordinary array of facts and statistics, [The Second World Wars] offers an account of the fatalism of war.”―New Yorker
“The Second World Wars is an outstanding work of historical interpretation. It is impossible to do justice to such a magnificent book in a short review. Given the vast quantities of ink expended on accounts of this great conflict, one would think that there was not much more left to say. Hanson proves that this belief is wrong. His fresh examination of World War II cements his reputation as a military historian of the first order.”―National Review
“Lively and proactive, full of the kind of novel perceptions that can make a familiar subject interesting again.”―New York Times Book Review
“[The Second World Wars] is written in an energetic and engaging style. Mr. Hanson provides more than enough interesting and original points to make this book essential reading. One thing becomes increasingly clear: The complex of conflicts between 1937 and 1945, because of their unprecedented reach and their death blow to colonialism, brought world history together for the first time.”―Wall Street Journal
“Hopefully, [The Second World Wars] will become required reading for students at professional military schools as an introduction to war in the industrial age as well as to students studying how the 20th century shaped who we are today.”―Washington Times
“In his exposition of this thesis, displaying a depth of knowledge of the period that is often simply astounding, Hanson has written what I consider to be the most important single-volume explanation of World War II since Richard Overy’s Why the Allies Won (1996)-that is, for a generation.”―Andrew Roberts, Claremont Review of Books
“Even if you feel like you’ve read everything and then some about World War II, you will find a huge amount in [The Second World Wars] that is new, fascinating, and enlightening. And more than that, you’ll find a way of thinking about how the lowliest practicalities and logistical challenges of war are connected to the highest reaches of geopolitics that will change how you think about both. This is what a great, enduring work of military history looks like.”―Yuval Levin, National Review
“[The Second World Wars] is a brilliant and very original and readable work by a great military historian and contemporary commentator.”―New Criterion
“As I struggle in my office to capture Hanson’s analytical tour de force in review, I can see the shelf full of books on World War II that I’ve read over the decades. After reading Wars, I believe I have a firmer grasp of the big picture–very big picture indeed–of how this conflict began, the various tortuous paths it took, and how it resolved the way it did than after digesting all of these other volumes. Reviewers are sometimes over-quick to label a book essential. For readers who wish to fully understand World War II, this book is.”―American Spectator
About the Author
Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of more than two dozen books, ranging in topics from ancient Greece to modern America, most recently the New York Times bestseller The Case for Trump. He lives in Selma, California.