Top critical review
An admirable attempt at a different approach. Not sure it works.
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2018
The most interesting thing about this book is that I finished it. It is highly repetitive. If the author wanted to make a checklist of what the Axis did wrong and the Allies did right, he could have done so in a few pages, or maybe even one. Instead, he rehashes the same points over more than seven hundred pages. The ongoing anecdotes were sort of interesting, but I was very much aware that any given topic had already been addressed several times. The author said he didn't want to write a book that said "This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened..." His end product is nevertheless equivalent, just all jumbled up. The topical approach he takes isn't strong enough to support the volume of material he throws at it. I admire this author for his thinking, but his book-length works often end up being a ramble in search of a point. In this case, there are several points, and you may find yourself thinking "What, again?"
If you want to know what the points are, here are some of them. There probably aren't many more.
0) If Hitler had stopped before invading Russia, he would have gotten away with it.
1) All of the Axis powers were geographically overextended.
2) None of the Axis powers could afford what they embarked upon.
3) The German land war was literally harnessed to horses.
4) The Axis didn't develop its air power in the ways that mattered.
5) The Russian T-34 was a great tank, but most German tanks weren't really very good.
6) By WW2, battleships were an expensive distraction from carriers and subs.
7) Invading Russia is a really bad bet.
8) Picking a fight with America is a really bad bet.
9) Hitler was an idiot.
One thing I learned from this book: the B-29 cost more to develop than the Bomb. I think that's interesting. I'm just not sure it's interesting enough to carry the number of times I was told.