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Above you will see price and availability details for One Day In A Very Long War: Wednesday 25th October 1944 by John Ellis from the leading UK book stores.
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|Book Details / Review - supplied by Amazon UK|
Of all the days, in all the years, John Ellis has to choose Wednesday, 25 October, 1944. And the first thought is--why? The idea of providing a snapshot of the Second World War by looking at the events of just one day out of the best part of 2,500 is both unusual and attractive, but to most of us 25 October, 1944, will mean next to nothing. Couldn't he have chosen oneof the better-known days, like Pearl Harbour, the German surrender at Stalingrad, the Anzio landings or D-Day? But Ellis is not being willfully obtuse. Very few battles were ever decided over the course of a single day and those that were invariably were fought at sea. So for maximum impact, his choice of day is immediately narrowed down to one of the great naval engagements and Ellis has opted for the epic showdown between the American and Japanese fleets at the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines, which proved to be a key turning point in the war at the Pacific. It wasn't exactly quiet elsewhere, either. Hitler was planning the Ardennes offensive which culminated in the Battle of the Bulge, London was subject to V2 attacks, Essen was being blanket-bombed, the death camp at Auschwitz was undertaking the Final Solution and back in the US the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb was at a crucial stage.
Ellis has a shrewd grasp of military history and he presents a convincing strategic analysis of both the Allies and the Axis operations. Moreover he does so as they might have seen it, without resorting too frequently to the academic high ground of hindsight. To some extent, though, all this can be found elsewhere but what makes the narrative special is his global perspective. Historians frequently present the Second World War as a series of different theatres of operations that were only loosely connected to one another. Ellis gives the lie to this. On the 25 October, 1944, the war was truly international. American, Russian, Canadians, French, Czech, Polish, Chinese, Australian, New Zealander, Rumanian, Italian, Finnish, Brazilian, Yugoslav, Greek, Bulgarian, Albanian, Kenyan, Jamaican, Nigerian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese and Filipino troops and civilians were all engaged in the fight against fascism. Inevitably Ellis is unable to keep entirely to his brief because some events need a more detailed explanation, but his style and research can't be faulted and he presents a compelling picture of a world at war. Unwittingly he has also captured a rare moment when the majority of the world was united in a single idealistic purpose. Just take a look at the list of those fighting for the Allies in 1944; now tick off those that have succumbed to their own version of fascism. Sober reading. --John Crace
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