, Volume 92, Number 5

Geoffrey Warner
Following on from earlier three-volume histories of the Cold War and the First World War, Cambridge University Press completes a trilogy with this detailed treatment of the Second World War. Multi-authored in the Cambridge tradition, the individual chapters cover a wide range of events and topics and the 81 contributors, mainly but not exclusively from the United Kingdom and the United States, include both scholars who have already established a reputation in the subject as well as those who are in the process of doing so. Perhaps the greatest strength of the volumes is the treatment given to what may be loosely referred to as the Pacific War. No one who uses them properly is going to have any doubts about the nature and importance of the struggle between Japan and its opponents between 1937 and 1945, and it is particularly encouraging to note the use of Chinese and Japanese sources by the authors, when so many English-language books on the subject cite none. The principal weakness of the enterprise is its division into an unnecessarily complicated series of topics, which is not always adhered to by the authors and which often compels the unfortunate reader to skip backwards and forwards, not only within but between volumes. Despite this flaw, however, this remains an important contribution to the history of the Second World War and will need to be consulted by any serious student of the subject for many years to come.

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