The Storm of War

Written by Andrew Roberts
Review by Sarah Bower

This is the paperback edition of a book first published by Allen Lane last year. It has already been described as ‘the best one-volume history of the Second World War currently available’ (Laurence Rees), a status to which it lays claim by considering the war, not only from the viewpoint of the Allies, but also that of the Axis powers. Roberts is an engaging writer as well as a distinguished historian, and blends his accounts of grand strategy with stories of individual experiences of the conflict in a way which keeps in the forefront of the reader’s mind the fact that World War Two was not only a major historical event but also gave rise to all kinds of individual adventures, tragedies, acts of heroism and bizarre turns of events. It claimed over 50 million lives and displaced millions more, and laid the foundations of our modern world, which makes Roberts’ book an absorbing read for anyone, not merely the student of the period. With a good collection of maps and photographs, and extensive quotations from contemporary sources, including the private Ian Sayer Archive, to which Roberts is so far the only historian to have had access, this an excellent account for the historian and lay reader alike.