Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Review: World War Two Day by Day.

The full title of this book is Campaigns of World War II Day by Day, edited and compiled by Chris Bishop and Chris McNab; this is a slightly less academic work than my usual fare, but it is filled with: fact, figures, maps, diagrams, and photos from the war. It covers all the major battles from 1939 to 1945 in both the Pacific and European theaters, but is a bit stilted towards the European theater; this is pretty common for books of this type, and I will say that this one does a better job than most when it comes to giving Japan equal time.

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The book is mostly broken into four page sections usually focusing on a single operation or large battle. The first two pages give a general and technically focused narrative of the subject. While the next two pages give a chronology listing major battles and events. For the most part the book is free of any hyperbole, but gives us the who, what, when, and where in an engaging and informative manner.

The book is published in full color and the visuals can be quite striking. The generally left hand profile diagrams of planes, tanks, and ships give a good idea of the look and style of the different technological ideals of the combating powers. While the full color maps bring clarity to the often confusing movements of fighting units at war. The book also contains a large number of photographs, while most are black and white, it also has a few impressive examples of war era color photography, including a stunning image of the USS Arizona foundered and burning at Pearl Harbor.

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While this book only tips the scales at a mere 256 pages, it is filled with so much information it can make for an invaluable reference tool. However, this is ultimately the book’s only real short fall. While it is certainly informative, and very fun to just flip through, it is not a book your going to want to just sit down and read cover to cover as it will likely put you to sleep, to dream of war.

In all, I’d have to say this is a great book for beginner historians, to those who know quite a bit but would like a great single volume reference, covering most the facts and figures of the war, anyone would normally have interest to know. I find it a great resource when I want to give some realism to my fiction, and give my readers some real world landmarks in the strange lands of my creation.