Antony Beevor:


"World War II" (2012)

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This is by far the best book i have read about World War II. It covers both the European and the Asian wars. It provides vivid depictions of Hitler and Stalin, not to mention Churchill and Roosevelt. It is also a powerful source to realize the brutality and ferocity of the soldiers, especially Japanese, German and Soviet soldiers. It is common to count casualties, not so common to count the number of women who were raped, but millions of women were raped during this war, many of them multiple times, many of them later killed, and many of them were children. If you have the stomach to revisit the horrors of that war, this is the ultimate book. I am not completely convinced that the men who perpetrated those crimes were unusually evil. I am not completely convinced that this could never happen again. In fact, all it took was 19 kids armed with paper-cutters for the USA to reinstate torture. And Islamic terrorists all over the world are committing most of the same barbaric acts in the name of a medieval superstition.

My summary of World War II is here.