Books by Richard Overy

RAF by Richard Overy
Released: May 15, 2018

"This is a story Overy has told in earlier, much longer histories, but this is a fine introduction."
A skillful pocket history of the founding of the Royal Air Force in 1918 and its fate after the armistice. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2015

"A good choice for new insights into aspects of the war we never knew, such as the 'other' D-Day in the Marianas and the great significance of the Eastern front in the final outcome."
Distinguished historians explore developments in the study of World War II. Read full book review >
A HISTORY OF WAR IN 100 BATTLES by Richard Overy
Released: Nov. 3, 2014

"Military buffs will turn up their noses at this well-written but unnecessary book, and beginners will be confused by the sketchy historical background and absence of maps. The illustrations are little help since they are mostly portraits of leaders or artists' renderings of battles, vivid but purely imaginary."
Despite the title, this is not a coherent history but rather isolated, generously illustrated accounts of battles from ancient Egypt to the present day. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 24, 2014

"Readers looking for dramatic accounts of specific bombing missions should read a selection of books by British military historian Martin Middlebrook. For a far more expansive view that includes those on the receiving end, Overy is the choice."
Historians still argue over how much, if at all, strategic bombing contributed to defeating Hitler. This magisterial overview will not end the debate, but it skillfully illuminates all sides. Read full book review >
1939 by Richard Overy
Released: Sept. 27, 2010

"Inevitable? Perhaps not, but the events of 1939 made the war 'hard to avoid.' Lucid and to the point, as is Overy's custom—of much value to students of the political dimensions of WWII."
Overy (History/Univ. of Exeter; The Twilight Years: The Paradox of Britain Between the Wars, 2009, etc.) limns the annus horribilis in which World War II broke out in Europe. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 29, 2009

"A bracing study that demonstrates how the drumbeat of doom became self-perpetuating."
Overy (Modern History/Univ. of Exeter; The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, 2004, etc.) chronicles the various forces of anxiety that gripped British society in the interwar period. Read full book review >
THE DICTATORS by Richard Overy
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"Still, a highly readable account of the two regimes, drawing on an impressive wealth of primary documents."
A sprawling study of the 20th century's foremost totalitarian systems and their infamous leaders, who are revealed to be, well, alike and different. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 2001

"To his credit, Overy puts these questions in context in an admirably crafted 200-page introduction."
The first publication of Allied interrogations of Nazi war criminals in preparation for the Nuremberg trials. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2001

"A well-crafted essay that will appeal to WWII buffs and professional historians alike."
A slender meditation on a critical episode in WWII history. Read full book review >
WHY THE ALLIES WON by Richard Overy
Released: April 1, 1996

Was the Allied victory in WW II an inevitable triumph of good over evil? No, says Overy (History/King's College, London; The Air War: 19391945, 1981, etc.), in this incisive analysis of the factors that led to victory over Germany, Italy, and Japan. In early 1942, Overy points out, the Axis powers were triumphant in every world theater. Japan had, in a single blow, crippled Allied fleets, had conquered all the Pacific islands within a 1,000-mile perimeter, and was threatening an apparently defenseless Australia. Germany had conquered much of Europe and had inflicted devastating, losses on the Soviet Union. Britain was prostrate, its lifelines threatened by relentless U-boat attacks. The US had yet to mount an armament program, and the Soviet Union seemed industrially exhausted. Yet by 1944 Allied victory was simply a matter of time. Overy explains this remarkable reversal of fortune by reviewing Allied success in each of four zones: the sea war, in which the Allies capitalized on vast US and British fleets, shrewd use of airplanes at sea, and superior intelligence; the Soviet victory on the Eastern front, where Hitler underestimated both the fighting spirit and the renewed production potential of the Soviets; the air war, in which Allied long-range bombing forced the Germans to fight the last two years of the war without air support; and the reconquest of Europe after the D-Day invasion, which sealed Hitler's fate. Overy also analyzes the superior control of resources by the Allies, the combat effectiveness of Allied and Axis troops, the leadership of the two sides, and the moral contrasts between them. He concludes that ``the Allies won . . . because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win.'' A cogent look at the 20th century's great turning point. (Book-of-the-Month Club selection; History Book Club main selection) Read full book review >