By 1942 the civilised world had been brought to the brink of ruin. It had taken the Axis powers less than three years to command the high seas in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, to lay waste most of Europe and enslave millions in Asia, to drive deep into Stalin's Soviet empire and come within an ace of controlling the oilfields in the Middle East. At the height of their power the European dictators and the Japanese military autocracy ruled ruthlessly almost half the world. Standing alone, the British were bankrupt and the United States only driven from isolation by the humiliation at Pearl Harbour. Before the tide fully turned in 1943, millions had been put to death, the machinery of the holocaust was in place and nuclear devastation well on the way to become a reality. Yet, Deighton warns, fifty years on the lessons of the Second World War continue to reverberate unheeded. Racial hatred, ethnic cleansing, recession, trade wars and the widening gap between the world's rich and poor promise economic migration on a frightening scale. The dangers of today are seen all too clearly in this account of a recent time when humanity was consumed by violence and destruction.