Home » Book Review » World War II: The Axis Assault, 1939-1942

World War II: The Axis Assault, 1939-1942



Editor: Douglas Brinkley
Chapter Introductions:  David Rubel

Published:  2003

So this book is a “New York Times Living History” book, and I’m having trouble finding out if these are actually a thing, or if just happens to be this one and Volume II of World War II.  Regardless, this book was pretty nifty.

Basically, the book is divided into parts and the parts are divided into chapters.  Each part is some big stage of the war (or leading up to the war), and then the chapters are events that were part of  that stage.  In each chapter, there is a brief introduction of the event, then a copy of an article from The New York Times that covered that event, and then some other primary document – a transcript of a speech, a copy of a letter, a series of telegrams, etc.  While obviously you are still getting some biased information (someone is deciding which primary documents you read), it was still super interesting to read some of these documents for myself, especially speeches given by FDR, Hitler, and Churchill.  I’ve always been down on FDR, so I enjoyed reading this speeches and picking them apart on my own.  ;-)

The newspaper articles are interesting as well.  We read them with the 20/20 (sort of) vision of looking at the past, so it’s intriguing to read articles that were written when the person writing didn’t know what was going to happen next.  There are loads of pictures as well, and this was, overall, just an excellent way to get an overview of the war, and to be reminded that when history is happening, the future is uncertain.  I have Volume 2 on my shelf and am looking forward to reading it.

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