Interesting – Moral Combat: A History of World War II

This book could be better. The author obviously knows a lot and has done a lot of research. Unfortunately, the editing left much to be desired. Burleigh is clearly out of his depth here in going outside his expertise areas of The Third Reich and Nazism.

The shortcomings are obvious in the early chapter on the Nanking Massacre where contradictory and vague statements like these are made-

‘Killing is less easy to understand. Although Japanese soldiers had a sense of right and wrong, there was no transcendental moral code to offset the absolute dictates of officers… If they said kill, you killed. ‘

Contrast the above passage with another passage that said ‘ General Mutsui and eighty of his staff officers tried to stop the genocide ‘ (p 20)

`A more recent estimate of the victims is in the region of one hundred thousand or fewer ‘ This is an area where there has been much literature. When one checks the endnote for the source of this quote given in support of this statement one finds a different topic!

That said, the chapter on Churchill is wonderful.

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