Gilbert, Martin - The Second World War - ( Item 117247 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2011. First Thus. 2 Fine or Near Fine Hardbacks. Spine slightly marked on volume 2. No inscriptions or bookplates. Near Fine slipcase. Slight marks to panels of slipcase. Bound in cloth. Blocked with a design by Joe McLaren. Set in Utopia. Book Size: 10" x 6¾". 2 volumes. 1,050 pages in total. Colour frontispieces. 64 pages of black & white plates. An epic account of the most destructive conflict in human history. On the evening of 31 August 1939, an unknown prisoner in one of Hitler's concentration camps was dressed in a Polish uniform, taken to the German frontier town of Gliewitz, and shot in a fake 'Polish attack' that was meant to make Germany appear the target of Polish aggression. He was the first casualty of a war that would claim the lives of more than 46 million soldiers and civilians. In this history, Martin Gilbert goes behind the statistics to uncover a multitude of tragic stories: soldiers, sailors and airmen; partisans, spies and resistance fighters; men, women and children, bombed in their homes or sent starving and defenceless to their deaths. A truly epic history, The Second World War covers all the fronts on which this deadly six-year conflict was fought: on land, at sea and in the air, from Finland and Norway to Burma and Japan. Interwoven with this overview are the often heroic actions of individuals. There was the German Major General Friedrich Mieth, who spoke out against the crimes of the SS in Poland and was dismissed from his post; Mary Linde ll, who parachuted into France to establish an escape line for Allied airmen and prisoners of war and saved hundreds of lives; Jakub Grojanowski, who escaped from the Polish concentration camp of Chelmo and told an underground newspaper about the murder of Jews there. Gilbert is eloquent on the 'war within the war' waged by the Nazis against the Jews, the mentally ill, Gypsies and other 'sub-humans'. The most memorable stories of courage and cruelty are found here, from the sailors who rowed almost the whole Jewish population of Denmark to safety in Sweden, to the six-year-old boy who was one of the first Italian Jews to be murdered in Auschwitz. The war officially ended in 1945 with the surrender of Germany and Japan. Yet, as the final chapter 'Unfinished Business' reminds us, the relics of war lingered, from the remains of American bombers found in the Libyan desert to the controversy that raged in 1989 over the funeral of Emperor Hirohito of Japan, who had been accused of war crimes. As Gilbert puts it, 'How else could it be with an event, lasting for nearly six years, in which courage and cruelty, hope and horror, violence and virtue, massacre and survival, were so closely intertwined?'
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