RaveTimes Literary Supplement (UK)It is good to be reminded of just how many risked imprisonment or execution for hiding Jews under the racialized jurisdiction of the occupiers ... The vastness of Kochanski’s subject can perhaps be grasped by the division of her book into thirty-two chapters, covering every aspect of resistance, whether direct violence, clandestine publication, help for escapers and evaders from Allied forces, or hiding Jews from the Gestapo’s remorseless hunt for victims ... Kochanski sums up what the resistance achieved in a few pages of conclusion, but this is a disappointment after such a full and nuanced account of all the different forms of resistance. As with many accounts of resistance, she measures its success by what the Allies got from it and concludes that intelligence information was most significant. This view reflects the way that much of the narrative is shaped by what the Allies did and wanted, rather than starting the other way round with the history of local resistance and the communities that housed it, into which SOE or OSS intruded from outside ... an impressively researched and comprehensive account. Kochanski’s huge history will be without question the best narrative available on the origins, growth and activities of the many forms of resistance to German and Italian occupation during the Second World War. Her panorama is vast, a mirror image of the war itself, to which the resistance owed its pattern and evolution. If it sometimes seems too encyclopedic, that reflects the challenge to any author in covering a continent-wide story with anything like adequate detail. Kochanski is to be congratulated on rising so effectively to the challenge.
MixedThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)... this is not his best novel ... the central thread of the novel turns out to lead nowhere in particular. Along the way we meet the conventional cast of Second World War novels ... the twist is signalled far too clearly to come as a surprise. The scrupulous reconstruction of the wartime environment, and careful attention to the engineering detail, is all well done, but there is still a keen sense of déjâ vu. The choice of the V2 as the peg on which to hang the novel is less understandable than, say, the Enigma machine which Harris drew on twenty-five years ago, and which really did make a major contribution to the Allied war effort.
RaveHistory TodayThe purpose of this very valuable addition to the literature on the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 is straightforward. Roger Moorhouse insists that too little attention has been paid in the West to the heroic resistance of the Poles to German aggression. They were, indeed, the first nation to stand up to Hitler’s appetite for empire and they paid a grim price for that decision. By the end of the war close to six million Poles, half of them Polish Jews, had perished ... The great strength of this new account lies in the extensive use of Polish sources, all too often overlooked entirely when trying to piece together the history of the campaign ... Moorhouse is at his most original in his extensive narrative of the war. He provides searing accounts of the sheer brutality of German forces almost from day one, as they massacred local villagers and townspeople on the flimsiest of evidence that they had attacked German troops ... One thing is certain about Moorhouse’s account. He admirably achieves his aim of putting the Polish-German war back onto the broader canvas of the Second World War.
RaveThe Irish Times (IRELAND)\"This is a bold assertion running against much of the mainstream history, but it is presented with an astonishing range of evidence (some of it new or hitherto overlooked) to support a sophisticated analysis. If many Hitler books are scarcely worth the effort of reading, this one commands attention through its originality and sheer intelligence. The biography itself is now well known, though there are nuggets of fresh information to be found here. Instead Simms wants to explore much more fully the idea world that Hitler inhabited. It is Hitler’s intentions rather than the achievements that interest him and this is where the meat of the argument lies ... These are persuasive arguments, pursued relentlessly throughout the text. But they do raise problems. Simms’s insistence that the \'East\' was not central to Hitler’s concerns about the global order is surely overstated ...
No doubt Simms expects to be argued with. This is a thoroughly thought-provoking and stimulating biography which all historians of the Third Reich will have to take seriously. \
RaveThe Wall Street Journal...a profoundly significant exploration of how Europeans—both Germans and those under German occupation—struggled to make sense of the conflict by giving it some shape or meaning, or by simply accepting in the end that it made no sense ... The most thought-provoking and disturbing conclusion that he arrives at is just how swiftly under conditions of persistent crisis Europeans were prepared to abandon their commitment to a normative morality and to ignore, justify or endorse the persecutions and victimization that the German imperial authorities indulged in ... It is difficult to do full justice to the richness and range of sources that Mr. Fritzsche has unearthed. The book is very much a history from below, providing glimpses of the reality, but it reflects the way that many ordinary people experience catastrophe then and now.
RaveThe GuardianThis is a book for readers of second world war history who like the Boy’s Own version of the conflict. The cast of characters could have stepped straight from a comic strip story ... The history needs scarcely any embellishment, though he tells it with flair: the simple facts of SAS activity make the 'ripping yarns' of comic book heroes pale by comparison ... Rogue Heroes is a great read of wartime adventuring, in a long, grim war of attrition where adventure was hard to find.
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalReading these terrible accounts is a salutary reminder of that thin veneer detected by Freud between the civilized and the primitive in each of us. Ardennes 1944 ought to prompt some careful reflection on our modern age.