Stuart D. Goldman: is the Scholar in Residence, National Council for Eurasian and East European Research. He is formerly the senior specialist in Russian and Eurasian political and military affairs at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. He holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University.
We have long relied on historians to sift through the debris of history and piece together narratives to shape our understanding of events. But it is in the letters, diaries, speeches, song lyrics, newspaper articles, and government papers that history comes alive. The New York Times Living History books reinvigorate history by presenting the actual documents and images of the day.
For the volume World War II: The Axis Assault, 1939-1942 eminent historian Douglas Brinkley has carefully chosen fifty critical documents that chart the Axis's grip over Europe and the Pacific--such as Churchill's Blood and Toil speech and the text of the Atlantic Charter. Readers will find FDR's cables to Japan in the hours before Pearl Harbor, Edward R. Murrow's broadcast during the Blitz, an American G.I.'s last message from Corregidor, and a Dutch boy's diary recounting Germany's invasion.
Each primary document is accompanied by New York Times reporting or commentary from the period and original text illuminating their historical significance. News photos and other images add a strong visual component to this vivid re-creation of history.
The book recounts the formation of the "C" Force and its departure to Hong Kong where it arrived just three weeks before the Japanese attack. It outlines the course of the battle from December 8, 1941, until the inevitable surrender of the garrison on Christmas Day. It places appropriate emphasis on the Canadian contribution, refuting 1947 allegations by the British General-Officer-Commanding - allegations which were only made public in 1993 - that the Canadians did not fight well. Greenhous attacks these charges with solid evidence from participants and eye-witnesses.
Finally, the book tells the story of life and death in the prison camps of Hong Kong and Japan.
With the aid of 300 black-and-white and colour photographs, The Illustrated History of World War II tells the full story of the war and the individuals who led it – Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Mussolini, Togo, Rommel, Montgomery and De Gaulle, among many others. In addition, the book examines life beyond the frontline: the Holocaust, living under occupation, refugees, the Blitz and evacuations, the changing role for women, and food. Full-colour maps complement the lively text and pictures, leading the reader through many of the principal engagements on land, sea and air.