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Sir Max Hastings: Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945

No matter how far the fire may have spread — standing in the midst of an inferno, one sees only flames.

Inferno is a single-volume history of World War II, drawing inspiration from classics such as Gerhard Weinberg's A World at Arms. But in the midst of his global narrative, Hastings frequently takes a small-picture view, focusing on events of the war as they appeared to the people experiencing them — without the benefit of hindsight or historical perspective.

What did the cryptographers at Bletchley Park know about the urgency of the work they were doing? How did Hitler manage the information available to citizens of Berlin, and how did they react when they learned more? What point could the people of India see in fighing the Axis powers if it only meant continuing British colonial rule? Through human portraits like those, Hastings shows how larger strategic considerations were shaped by factors often omitted from the story of the Second World War.

Max Hastings is the author of more than twenty books, most recently Winston’s War. He has served as a foreign correspondent and as the editor of Britain’s Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph. He has received numerous British Press awards, including Journalist of the Year in 1982 and Editor of the Year in 1988.