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Norman Davies is a professor emeritus of the University of London. Simon Vance, a former BBC Radio presenter and newsreader, is a full-time actor who has appeared on both stage and television. He has recorded over eight hundred audiobooks and has earned five coveted Audie Awards, and he has won fifty-seven Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which has named him a Golden Voice.
The typical Western view of WWII's European Theater-as a struggle between freedom and fascism that climaxed with the Normandy landings-is harshly critiqued in this scathing reappraisal. Historian Davies (Rising '44: The Battle of Warsaw) argues that British and American campaigns were a "sideshow" to the titanic conflict between the Wehr-macht and the Red Army on the Eastern Front, where most of the fighting and decisive battles occurred. The war was therefore not a "simple victory" of good over evil, he contends, but the defeat of one totalitarian state, Nazi Germany, by another, the Soviet Union, whose crimes were just as vast, if less diabolical. Davies's topical approach judiciously surveys the military, economic and political aspects of the war, often from an Eastern European perspective. He observes, for example, that the region that suffered the most civilian deaths was Ukraine, and that the Soviet Union was initially as much an aggressor-against Poland, Finland and the Baltic states-as Germany. (Poland's travails, Davies's professional specialty, are somewhat overemphasized.) Davies cuts against the grain of popular war histories like Stephen Ambrose's accounts of D-Day and the Bulge, but his interpretations rest on solid scholarly work. Photos. (Sept. 10) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Davies, Norman. No Simple Victory; World War II in Europe, 1939-1945. Viking. Sept. 2007. 544p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 978-0-670-01832-1. $30. Davies (Supernumerary Fellow, Wolfson Coll., Oxford; Rising '44: The Battle of Warsaw) reappraises the war and demolishes many of the myths accreted around it. A lively and contrary historiography, skillfully written and far from humorless, this should be in any subject collection. Where were the seven battles fought that had the most casualties? Americans might know one or two. Hint: all were on the Eastern Front. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"A riveting, sustained performance." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review