Reviews of Books

All trite on the Western Front

Wednesday 03 December 2003 The Observer, Jan Morris
Europe at War 1939-1945
Davies succeeds in making a historical whole of the two main elements of the European War - the war in the west, fought by Britain, America and a host of allies; the war in the east conducted by the Soviets with a multitude of ancillaries willing and unwilling. This unifying emphasis is justified, because even now historians, film-makers, authors and journalists are apt to treat 1939-45 as two separate conflicts. Davies treats the two campaigns more or less as one, but he has no doubts about their relative strategic importance. The battle of Kursk, the greatest tank battle in history, rightly gets far more space than El Alamein, or even D-Day. This is salutary, not because it tells us anything new, but because it does chip away at deeply ingrained national myths and stereotypes. 

Read more