World War II Map by Map

DK. Sept. 2019. 288p. photos. maps. index. ISBN 9781465481795. $40. REF
Through more than 100 maps, this resource chronicles World War II, beginning with the rise of nationalism, communism, fascism, and militarism (1918–39) and continuing through early German military successes, the war’s expansion into Russia and Asia, the tipping point (1943–44), and the conflict’s close and consequences. Maps are enlivened by abundant, informatively captioned archival photos (many in color), brief articles, time lines, quotations, propaganda posters, and graphs. Generous dimensions stress the volume’s spine but permit cartography with legible detail; numbered text boxes superimposed on the maps elucidate complex developments, such as Operation Cartwheel and Stalingrad. Concise overviews cover topics such as the League of Nations or the Sino-Japanese War, though with such a broad topic not everything can be foregrounded. For instance, the Katyn Massacre appears only as a time line entry, as does the Burma Railway. The military rationale for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is made clear; only a passing reference questions the morality of Allied incendiary carpet-bombing (Dresden, Tokyo). Two final pages, “The Price of War” and “Remembrance,” make a fitting close.
VERDICT Casual and serious readers alike will find the engaging cartography of this superb, data-rich volume conveys the exceptional range, duration, costs, and intensity of a war that dramatically altered history.

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