Looking for good WW II book(s) on before and after

I’m looking for recommendations on reading material re

  1. the lead up to the war (Hitler, Chamberlain, etc)

  2. The aftermath in Europe (Yalta, Stalin etc.)

Maybe there is one book that covers both or maybe separate books would be the way to go?

It’s more a general overview than a detailed look, but you might like Piers Brendon’s “The Dark Valley”, which is a look at the 1930s in England, France, the US, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union.

This might not be exactly what you were looking for, but you might try Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”. It’s a great book, but German-centered as you might imagine.

I liked “Delivered From Evil”. It’s a narrative history, and not perfect, but does some good pre-war explanations before getting into the actual fighting.

The fact it’s a narrative makes it a lot easier to read than some of the more exacting, dry histories out there.


I just found this article on the war yesterday. It’s not a book, but it’s pretty long! And it is a great read.

The first part of John Keegan’s The Second World War has an explanation of how the Second war sprang inevitably from the First, and an overview of the social and military trends that created the First World War. I believe the chapter title is “Every Man a Soldier”.

As nutshell analyses go, it’s a good grounding in how it all got started.