History of the Second World War by B.H. Liddell Hart

J.F.C. Fuller and B.H. Liddell Hart are considered the two prime British military historians of the old school, and both have written well regarded books on World War II. But I found Fuller’s book rather dull, while this one was quite enjoyable. It is primarily a strategic analysis of the war that leaves out the human dimension and the story of the ordinary soldier and sailor, but it is nonetheless interesting and readable. Hart agrees with Fuller that the use of aerial bombing against Germany was ineffectual and wasteful, but he departs from conventional wisdom in arguing that it effectively brought Japan to its knees, to the the point where the dropping of the atomic bombs was completely unnecessary. He is critical of Churchill and Montgomery, which as an Englishman he has every right to be. This is a rather long work, but its subject is worthy of such a lengthy treatment. We can only hope that there will be no need for books of comparable length on future wars.

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