The Second World War is one of the most significant conflicts in history, but for seven decades our understanding of the war has remained mostly fixed, framed by the accounts of participants and an early generation of historians. James Holland, one of the leading young historians of World War II, has spent over a decade conducting new research, interviewing survivors, and exploring archives that have never before been so accessible to unearth forgotten memoirs, letters, and official records. In The Rise of Germany, Holland draws on this research to reconsider the strategy, tactics, and economic, political, and social aspects of the war. The Rise of Germany is a masterful book that redefines our understanding of the opening years of World War II. Beginning with the lead-up to the outbreak of war in 1939 and ending in the middle of 1941 on the eve of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of Russia, The Rise of Germany is a landmark history of the war on land, in the air, and at sea.
Praise for The Rise of Germany, 1939-1941: The War in the West, Volume 1 A Military History Book Club Main Selection This is narrative history as intimate, intricate tapestry . . . Mr. Holland s success is built in part on an engaging writing style and in part on a genuinely fresh approach to events that have been so oftenand apparently definitivelyrecounted. This is at heart an operational narrative, but with a difference: Mr. Holland takes the time and space to enhance his recounting of troop and ship movements and clashes of arms with the stuff of wider humanity. He deftly interweaves the experiences of refugees, of civilians, of the warriors loved ones and of the political elites, while never distracting us with meaningless sentimentality or extraneous personal detail. This is harder to do than it looks. Mr. Holland s achievement is exceptional . . . [An] epic narrative. Wall Street Journal A lively, unique and original study, shredding many misconceptions about Britain s situation, pre-war and in the early stages of the war . . . Unfailingly readable. Omaha Dispatch James Holland is the best of the new generation of World War II historians. His epic new venture convincingly challenges many received ideas about the war and draws some exciting new conclusions. Sebastian Faulks With this magnificent, hugely readable debut, James Holland s The War in the West is set fair to become one of the truly great multivolume histories of the Second World War. Andrew Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War and Napoleon: A Life This brilliant, lucid and intimate history is a game-changer, the Second World War will never seem the same again. Professor David Edgerton, Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology, King s College London James Holland has produced a gripping multi-layered study of the War in West. It weaves together accounts from all levels of those caught up in the opening stages of the war and provides an accessible and captivating narrative. More importantly still it offers a challenging reappraisal that forces us to rethink our attitudes to the conduct of the most destructive and important war in history. Essential reading. John Buckley, Professor of War Studies, Wolverhampton University and author of Monty s Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe In The Rise of Germany, James Holland weds his typically deft writing to years of research and thought about the early years of World War II. He seeksand findsthat elusive middle ground between the high politics of Hitler, Churchill, and Roosevelt and the personal experience of the soldier in the field. Holland writes on the operational level as well as any historian working today. I am already making room on my shelf for volumes two and three. I would read anything Holland writes. Robert M. Citino, author of The German Way of War and The Wehrmacht Retreats A hugely engaging, scholarly, and ambitious book that strips away the myths surrounding the Second World War anduniquelytells the human stories, not just the political and military history. A must-read for anyone with an interest in this turbulent and transformative period. Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell Holland s achievement here is presenting multiple perspectives based on extensive research in such a page-turner. This is as much a gripping drama played out on a huge stage with distinctive characters and rapidly unfolding action as it is a book on one of the most significant periods in all of world history. Thomas Clavin, co-author of The Heart of Everything That Is This book stands apart and for all the right reasons: Holland has something new to say. Every page is alive with a level of excitement and enthusiasm. Here is a perspective that turns on its head what I thought I understood about those astonishing yearsfilled with insight and detail. Neil Oliver James Holland s The Rise of Germany takes a fresh look at the familiar and finds much food for thoughtturning several conventions on their heads in a compelling and revelatory way. Al Murray A book full of surprises . . . Extremely enjoyable . . . An interesting collage of military, social, political, and economic narrative . . . The book s international character breaks down many of the war s stereotypes . . . An interesting and thought-provoking commentary [on] the early stages of the conflict. H-Net Reviews Holland nimbly weaves the complex military, diplomatic, political, economic, and social patterns that marked the conflict on a global scale . . . [He] keeps the reader engaged by showing the major events through the eyes of the participantsat the strategic level with politicians and generals, and at the tactical level with common soldiers and civilians . . . A worthy history that both general readers and WWII enthusiasts can enjoy. Publishers Weekly Holland skillfully integrates the broad political, diplomatic, economic, and military narrative with stories of individuals, civilians, and soldiers from all the belligerents. Library Journal A lively study. Kirkus Reviews Impeccably researched and superbly written . . . [Holland] skewers a number of myths about the early years of the Second World War . . . Holland s fascinating saga offers a mixture of captivating new research and well-considered revisionism. The next two volumes should be unmissable. Guardian Fascinating. Daily Mail (UK)"
James Holland is a historian, writer, and broadcaster. The author of the bestselling Fortress Malta, Battle of Britain, Dam Busters, and others, he has also written numerous works of historical fiction. Holland regularly appears on television and radio, and has written and presented the BAFTA-shortlisted documentaries Battle of Britain and Dam Busters for the BBC, among others. His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the Sunday Telegraph, for whom he went to Helmand Province in Afghanistan, The Times, Daily Mail, and BBC History Magazine. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and cofounder and program director of the hugely successful Chalke Valley History Festival, Holland has also advised the British Government on history curriculum and has his own collection at the Imperial War Museum.