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The first volume in a major, wide-ranging three-volume revisionist history of World War II in Europe, North Africa, and the Atlantic from a highly acclaimed young British historian
The Rise of Germany, 1939-1941
The War in the West, Volume 1
978-0-8021-2566-8 • $20.00 • Paperback • Nov. 2016
For seven decades, our understanding of World War II has been shaped by conventional wisdom, propaganda, and the dramatic but narrow experiences of soldiers on the ground. In this sweeping narrative history, the first of three volumes, British historian James Holland deploys deep research, incisive analysis, and a profound sense of humanity to revise and enhance our understanding of one of the most significant events in history.
It is commonly held that at the outset of war, Germany had the best army in the world and Britain barely managed to hold out against it until the Americans declared war and overwhelmed Nazi military prowess with economic might. But the picture looked much different in 1939: In advance of its Polish offensive, Germany was short on resources, tanks, and trained soldiers. Meanwhile, France had more men in uniform than Germany, and Britain, the richest country in Europe with a massive empire at its disposal, had the best navy in the world. Hitler was bluffing when he called for the wholesale destruction of Poland, but his bet that Western Europe wouldn’t get involved turned out to be fatally wrong.
Beginning with the lead-up to the outbreak of war in 1939 and ending in the middle of 1941 on the eve of the Nazi invasion of Russia, The War in the West, Volume I covers the war on several levels, from fascinating tactical revelationsblitzkrieg, Holland argues, is a mythto the personal stories of a German U-boat captain, a French reserve officer, a son-in-law of Mussolini, an American construction tycoon, civilians across the war zone, and many more. This is a major history, destined to generate significant scholarly debate and reader interest.