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World War 2

Some sunny day!

30 December 2009
Demobbed Alan Allport

Yale, pp.288, 20

In August 1945 Cyril Patmore of the Royal Scots Fusiliers returned on compassionate leave from India. A few weeks earlier his wife had written to confess that she was expecting… Read more

Poisonous relations

30 December 2009
England’s Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy, 1940-1942 Colin Smith

Weidenfeld, pp.490, 25

‘The Axis powers and France,’ declared Marshall Pétain and Hitler at Montoire in October 1940, ‘have a common interest in the defeat of England as soon as possible.’ Why this… Read more

When words were scarce

11 November 2009
Where the Hell Have You Been? Tom Carver

Short Books, pp.246, 16.99

Most of us are brought up not badly, but wrongly. Trained to the tenets of Mrs DoAsYou-WouldBeDoneBy, we are easily trampled underfoot by students of the Master DoItMyWay-OrBeDoneOver school. Consider… Read more

From Madrid with love

21 October 2009
Papa Spy Jimmy Burns

Bloomsbury, pp.395, 18.99

In June 1943 the film star Leslie Howard was mysteriously killed when his plane was shot down by the Luftwaffe on a return flight from Spain. This was an unprovoked… Read more

Magnificent killing machine

23 September 2009
Lancaster: The Second World War’s Greatest Bomber Leo McKinstry

John Murray, pp.581, 20

Lancaster: The Second World War’s Greatest Bomber, by Leo McKinstry Leo McKinstry’s Lancaster: The Second World War’s Greatest Bomber offers more than is promised by the title. As in his… Read more

Concentrating on sideshows

16 September 2009
Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord, 1940-45 Max Hastings

HarperPress, pp.576, 25

It is becoming difficult to say anything new about Churchill as a war leader. The basic facts about the conduct of allied strategy have been known for many years. Diaries… Read more

Recent crime fiction

9 September 2009

An Empty Death (Orion, £18.99) is the second instalment of the series Laura Wilson began with her previous book, the award-winning Stratton’s War. An Empty Death (Orion, £18.99) is the… Read more

Rich pickings

9 September 2009
The Man in the Wooden Hat Jane Gardam

Chatto, pp.213, 14.99

Delicious is a word that keeps coming to mind as one reads Jane Gardam’s new novel. Delicious is a word that keeps coming to mind as one reads Jane Gardam’s… Read more

Dangerous liaisons

24 June 2009
Surviving Allan Massie

Vagabond Voices, pp.224, 10

The Death of a Pope Piers Paul Read

Ignatius Press, pp.215, 19.95

Coward at the Bridge James Delingpole

Simon & Schuster, 12.99

Surviving, by Allan Massie The Death of a Pope, by Piers Paul Read Coward at the Bridge, by James Delingpole Alcoholism, with its lonely inner conflict between escapism and conscience,… Read more

Darkness at dawn

20 May 2009
D-Day: The Battle for Normandy Anthony Beevor

Viking, pp.590, 25

The Forgotten Voices of D-Day Roderick Bailey, in association with the Imperial War Museum

Ebury, pp.401, 19.99

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, by Anthony Beevor The Forgotten Voices of D-Day, by Roderick Bailey, in association with the Imperial War Museum Sixty-five years ago the largest seaborne assault… Read more

Reading between the lines

7 April 2009
Hitler’s Private Library Timothy W. Ryback

The Bodley Head, pp.278, 18.99

Oscar’s Books Thomas Wright

Chatto, pp.370, 16.99

‘Voltaire and the Sun King rolled into one’ is how Elizabeth Longford has described her Oxford tutor Maurice Bowra. If the promoters of the e-book have their way, personal libraries… Read more

Not just Hitler

26 November 2008
The Third Reich at War, 1939-1945 Richard L. Evans

Allen Lane, pp.926, 30

The Third Reich at War, 1939-1945, by Richard L. Evans Any historian attempting a survey of Nazi Germany during the second world war confronts formidable challenges. First, the available literature… Read more