By Max Hastings
A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children..
Reflecting Max Hastingss thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent.
The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who perished met their fate. He argues that, while Hitlers army often fought its battles brilliantly well, the Nazis conducted their war effort with stunning incompetence. He suggests that the Royal Navy and US Navy were their countries outstanding fighting services, while the industrial contribution of the United States was much more important to allied victory than that of the US Army.
The book ranges across a vast canvas, from the agony of Poland amid the September 1939 Nazi invasion, to the 1943 Bengal famine, in which at least a million people died under British rule- and British neglect. Among many vignettes, there are the RAFs legendary raid on the Ruhr dams, the horrors of Arctic convoys, desert tank combat, jungle clashes. Some of Hastingss insights and judgements will surprise students of the conflict, while there are vivid descriptions of the tragedies and triumphs of a host of ordinary people, in uniform and out of it.