One of Britain’s greatest historians, Norman Stone, sets out to relate the nightmare that was World War Two in as brief a compass as possible yet somehow making a familiar story fresh and arresting. The work is beautifully written, full of cultural references such as Victor Hugo’s description of the white plains of Russia, and alive with anecdotes such as Hitler reducing the Austrian chancellor to a nervous wreck by refusing to allow him to smoke.
World War Two: A Short History follows the author’s World War One: A Short History. Stone’s other works include The Eastern Front, 1914-1917, winner of the prestigious Wolfson Prize. He has taught at both Oxford and Cambridge universities and now lives part of the year in Turkey, where he is director of the Turkish-Russian Centre in Bilkent.