The Second World War was an experience like no other, and the many men and women who lived through it struggled to find the words to describe what they faced. In this definitive, single-volume history of a war that continues to fascinate and horrify us in equal measure, Max Hastings brings together the many realities that emerged from this period, touching on almost every country in the world.
With its battlefields dispersed across the globe, the vastness of the Second World War was unparalleled. This was a time when nearly everything which civilized people took for granted in peace time was invalidated or destroyed. Between 1939 and 1945, 27,000 people died, on average, every single day.
In this seminal book, Hastings stresses that it is impossible to compare the suffering of people during WWII - it would have seemed monstrous to a British soldier facing a mortar barrage, with his comrades dying around him, to be told that Russian casualties were many times greater. However, there were some aspects of wartime experience that were virtually universal: fear and grief; the conscription of young men and women for new lives remote from their choice, and mass migration. ALL HELL LET LOOSE charts these experiences, along with the numerous battles on land, at sea and in the air, all over the world, that form the greatest event in human history.
Using a huge range of sources, including new material from Russia, Italy and Poland, ALL HELL LET LOOSE is not only a magnificent and movingly written book; it is arguably one of the most important books on the Second World War ever published.