Antony Beevor

The author of The Second World War on reading to shed light on a global cataclysm.



Historian Antony Beevor has established himself as one of our era's most important writers on World War II in books like Stalingrad,  D-Day and The Fall of Berlin, 1945.  His latest work -- perhaps his most ambitious to date --  is titled simply The Second World War, and alternates a tight focus on individual moments with a bird's-eye view of one of the modern era's turning points.  This week, Anthony Beevor points us to three favorites that illuminate that momentous conflict from perspectives both familiar and surprising. 


Books by Antony Beevor




By Timothy Snyder


"Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin is the most important work of history for years. Snyder shows what really took place between 1930 and 1945 in the Baltic States, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine. From the Stalinist famines to the death marches of 1945 and the mass ethnic cleansing, these borderlands were the focus of both Stalin's and Hitler's ideological obsessions. This work of passionate honesty is superbly researched and beautifully written."



Life and Fate

By Vasily Grossman


"The War and Peace of Stalinism and the Great Patriotic War. This deliberate act of literary homage to Tolstoy uses the Battle of Stalingrad in the place of the Battle of Borodino and there are several parallels in construction. But the characters and the terrible dilemmas they face when confronted by the moral distortions of the system are entirely the product of the 'wolfhound age' as Mandelstam called it. Grossman, who had spent more time at the front than any other writer, accumulated stories, incidents, and extraordinarily powerful vignettes in his notebooks for use in his novels later."




By Joseph Heller


"This is probably the most devastating satire ever written about the lunacy of war and military bureaucracy. The novel, set in Italy towards the end of the Second World War, is a triumph of construction, with its fiendishly unbreakable circle of counter-logic, as the US bomber squadron is sent on more and more missions by ambitious officers, trying to exceed their objectives."

July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).