Well, folks, we did it! If you read along with us this summer, you’ve now completed an overview study of World War II as presented by Max Hasting in Inferno: The World At War, 1939-1945. And if reading those hundreds of pages wasn’t quite your “cup of tea,” perhaps the chapter notes every Wednesday here on the blog added some more history facts to your knowledge!
This was the first official read-along Gazette665 hosted, and we’ve got more planned for the future. For today’s first blog post, though, I wanted to share a few final thoughts on Inferno and welcome your opinions as we wrap up the discussion.
I wanted to learn about World War II. Although most people know about my in-depth research focused on the American Civil War, I actually am interested in many different historical era and people. World War II was one of those highly important global events that I read the overviews in high school and college and a few special topic books in more recent years, but never really tried to understand in the broad strategic and military aspects.
This summer I wanted to remedy that. As World War II era letters have emerged from the files of my family history, I knew I needed a better understanding of the whole conflict before I narrow in on the specific theater, campaigns, divisions, and units where my ancestors fought and wrote their letters.
So…I reached out to a colleague who is truly a World War II expert and asked what books he would recommend. And I reached out to you readers to see who wanted to “read-along.” I know a few of you took the challenge with me, and many others followed the chapter notes. Thank you for being part of my summer reading adventure.
Where Are All The Chapter Notes?
Looking for all the chapter notes blog posts? Eventually, we’ll prepare a special webpage on Gazette665 to house our read-alongs. For now, just use this link to reference that entire series in the archives!
The Top 5 Things I Learned
- There’s a reason World War II is called World War II. As I read, I realized that my perspective on the conflict was quite narrow and almost exclusively focused on the American role in the conflict. That knowledge is important, but not completely accurate perspective on its own. A global perspective is needed to understand the entire conflict…and the U.S.A.’s role in it.
- I was aware of the civilian casualties, but had not spent much time thinking of the millions of civilians who perished in the conflict. Famine and refugeeing killed so many, in addition to those caught in battle, bombed, or sent to concentration camps.
- I appreciated the closer look at the embattled British Empire and how the empire soldiers formed so many armies and would eventual spark nationalism, leading to the break up of the empire in some regions.
- It was insightful observations that the Axis nations were not the only ones to practice or allow wartime atrocities. Certainly, the Soviet Union loomed large in mass killings, but the other Allies had their own cruelties and cover-ups.
- I had always wondered about Japan’s motivations and why their soldiers kept fighting; learning that the nation continually hoped to negotiate a peace with the United States offered much to think about in the historical setting and modern times.
How many “stars” would you give this book? We are aware that it was not family-friendly and are working to include more genres and books that will be accessible to Gazette665’s fans.
What five things did you learn?
Did you like the chapter notes as an alternative to reading the book or as a “review cheat sheet” if you were studying?
Stay tuned – ’cause we’re releasing the title of our autumn read-along later today!