More Book Reviews

Well, yes, it's another book review, but until the QDR (quadrennial defense review) is published, there's not likely to be a lot of meaty national security issues to comment on...I mean Obama's Homeland Security Plan may as well be written by Inspector Clouseau as Janet Napolitano.

Anyway, Max Hastings has written a pair of really outstanding books on the last years of World War II in Europe and the Pacific.  They are exceptionally well researched, written and cover previously untold portions of the war.  His book on Europe does an excellent job of telling the story of the end of Germany from both the Eastern and Western Front perspective and really shows how, in particular, the Germans fought with utter desperation to stop the Russian advance into their country.  When you read his chapters on the absolute rape, murder and plunder of Russian soldiers aganist German civilians you'll know why.  I don't think many people understand the depths of the hatred the Germans and Russians had for each other in World War II.

In his Pacific book, Hastings covers a theater of the war that has been really neglected, China, and it is easy to see why so much animosity still exists between Japan and other Asian nations even today.

Hastings gives his own take on the atomic bomb controversy and puts another nail into the coffin of the revisionist historians who think the dropping of the bomb wasn't necessary.  The Japanese were no more ready to surrender than the Germans were in 1945 before Hitler died and the Russians overran Berlin.  The margin of error for ending World War II without a bloody invasion of Japan was much closer than most people realize.

I highly recommend both books to anyone wanting to understand what was really the bloodiest era of World War II, the final two years of the war.