A Herculean undertaking: a complete history of WW II, from Versailles to Tokyo Bay; and Leckie, author of Warfare (1970) and 27 other books, pulls it off with intelligence and style. He offers little that's dramatically new in this monumental (900 pp. +) effort, but Leckie succeeds as few before him in bringing to vivid life the military, economic, social, and political woof and web of the war. For example, he opens: ""At eleven o'clock in the morning of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918 the guns of the Great War began to fall silent. At dusk, a sickle moon rose. . ."" And thus he continues, limning with a novelist's close focus both the historical sweep and human-interest particulars of WW II: (""Wagner turned to Hitler and said, 'Mein Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, are you willing to take Eva Braun as your wife?' 'I do,' Hitler replied in a sonorous voice."") A noteworthy achievement.