The Great Crusade: A New Complete History of the Second World War, Revised Edition

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The Great Crusade: A New Complete History of the Second World War, Revised Edition. By H.P. Willmott Dulles VA: Potomac Books, 2008. Maps. Notes. Photographs. Appendices. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xiv, 505. $22.00. ISBN: 1-59797-191-1

Willmott gave himself a daunting goal to cover World War II in just over 500 pages. Despite the subtitle, this is not a "complete" history. In fact, it is not all inclusive but, rather, quite selective. Willmott, a retired professor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, attempts to give a balanced account of significant events. This work should be used as a guide rather than as an encyclopedia. For more detailed information, a reader can look at the recommended bibliography which, conveniently, is divided into fourteen categories.

That being said, the book does, however, stand alone as overall coverage. It deals with the higher levels of how nations make war and how their armed forces plan and execute campaigns. Therefore, this is not a book that covers the movement of units on the battlefield or the exploits of individuals. Wilmott shows that the outcome of war is determined by several factors. By definition, the military is probably the most decisive; but other factors such as economic, political, and geographic, and the interrelationships of these are not ignored.

World War II was made up of partially concurrent conflicts in an amazing variety of locations that bring it under the rubric "World." However, there is inconsistency in any interconnection among these parts. …