BLOOD, TEARS, AND FOLLY by Len Deighton

BLOOD, TEARS, AND FOLLY

An Objective Look at World War II
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Deighton returns to his longtime avocation of military history--here, by focusing on the early years of WW II. Unfortunately, the result shows precious little evidence of original research, let alone fresh perspectives. Drawing mainly on secondary sources--including his own Fighter (1978) and Blitzkrieg (1980)--Deighton offers a digressive, mildly contrarian appreciation of WW II from its onset through the moment more than two years later when the US was drawn into the global conflict. His purpose is to document the poor performance of world leaders before and during this time, as well as the bravery with which those they governed or ruled supported their manifold follies. The author's also at pains to remind his British compatriots that the sun has long since set on their empire--and that their finest hour was a very near thing. Moving backward and forward in time to provide context for his principal themes, Deighton focuses on a half-dozen big-picture events--ranging from the Battle of the Atlantic through the Nazi conquest of Europe; Mediterranean campaigns (North Africa, Greece, etc.); the early stages of aerial combat; and German's ill-advised invasion of Russia. Assessed as well are the factors that led Japan to launch its reckless attack on Pearl Harbor, thereby unleashing America's vast resources against the Land of the Rising Sun and its Axis partners. Save for brief asides on sideshows in eastern Africa and Iraq, however, the lengthy, accentuate-the-negative narrative covers ground that will be familiar to even casual students of the war's initial phase--and affords few new insights to boot. At best, then, a serviceable synthesis. (Photographs, line drawings, and maps)

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-017000-X
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1993




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