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Delivered From Evil - The Saga of World War 2


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With over a thousand pages, "Delivered From Evil—The Saga of World War II" is a one-volume history of WW2, beginning with the Treaty of Versailles and concluding with Japan's surrender. As with most books dealing with the history and facts about WW2, there are debatable inaccuracies.  

The book's author is Robert Leckie.  Robert Leckie (author) - Wikipedia  Of interest Leckie's war memoir, "Helmet for My Pillow", along with Eugene B. Sledge's book "With the Old Breed", formed the basis for the HBO series "The Pacific" (2010), the follow-up series to "Band of Brothers". In the miniseries, Leckie is portrayed by James Badge Dale.

51SDV9D1PL.jpg.05a45a9f5afdb52d39c0defb0d8160bf.jpgWhereas most books about WW2 cover a rather narrow topic, this is, without a doubt, a massive undertaking. Because of this, certain aspects may be underrepresented in a reader's view, while other theatres of operations are given much more attention by the author. 

A one-volume retelling of World War 2 may seem dubious, but this veteran writer of popular history has done an outstanding job. Wisely beginning with Versailles, he uses a topical approach to illuminate the characters (all real) and events.  There is more storytelling than serious analysis here, but the wartime drama is related with deftness and interesting detail. His portrayal of personalities is excellent. He does for World War II what author John Costello did for "The Pacific War."

There are three ways to write about a war: from a foxhole, providing a narrow, intensely human view of a very small piece of hell; from the generals' vision of the tactical or battlefield situation; and, most difficult of all, from a global or strategic perspective.  Many journalists and historians have written from one or another of these vantage points. Occasionally, someone can combine these parts. Very rarely does a popular or academic writer combine into a coherent whole.

Still, military historian Leckie attempts just that sort of comprehensive work in his history of World War II. To reduce the task, he has all but eliminated or overly simplified the geopolitical factors that drove the war.  The result is a distended history, one that gives too much credit to field commanders like Eisenhower and too little to staff officers like the almost forgotten Brehon Somervell, a master of military procurement, and Leslie McNair, the man who trained the 8.5 million soldiers the United States would field. Understandably, mobilization and armament are complex and not very sexy, but considering that the United States did serve as "the arsenal of democracy," the subject surely deserves serious review in a comprehensive history.

This book would be ideal for someone interested in WW2 as a whole. It provides a platform for the reader to explore other, more focused events of WW2.  

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