World War 2

Chaps v. Japs

14 January 2012 12:00 pm

Does anyone do derring-do anymore? Here’s the real thing. On Christmas Day 1941, despite Churchill’s call to fight to the…

The Ritz in the Blitz

3 December 2011 10:00 am

‘It was like a drug, a disease,’ said the legendary Ritz employee Victor Legg of the institution he served for…


Strategies for survival

23 July 2011 12:00 am

This is an account of the multiplicity of ways in which men ‘stole back time from their captors through creativity’ in the prisoner-of-war camps of Europe and the Far East.


Goodbye to Berlin

28 May 2011 12:00 am

Peter Parker is beguiled by a novel approach to the lives of Europe’s intellectual elite in flight from Nazi Germany

A conflict of loyalty

21 May 2011 12:00 am

What was life like in Hitler’s Germany? This question has long fascinated authors and readers alike, as books like Alone in Berlin, The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas and The Book Thief bear witness.

Pastures new

12 March 2011 12:00 am

On 20 September 1949, five days after his election as Chancellor of the newly created German Federal Republic, Konrad Adenauer addressed the Bundestag: ‘Much unhappiness and much damage’, he told the deputies, ‘has been caused by denazification .

Can it be described?

12 February 2011 12:00 am

Where was God in the Holocaust? This question confounds even learned rabbis, so let’s not linger there.

A war of nutrition

5 February 2011 12:00 am

The long summer that led up to the last days of peace in Europe in 1939 — the vigil of the Nazi assault on Poland on 1 September and the ensuing Phoney War — gave little hint of the storm to come.

Memories of wartime

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Bells did not ring out on Christmas Day in 1940. If they had, it would have been a sign that we had been invaded.


Something filthy by return

11 September 2010 12:00 am

Gerard Woodward’s Nourishment opens in second world war London.


Days of wine and shrapnel

11 September 2010 12:00 am

Virginia Cowles was a 27-year-old American journalist working for the Hearst newspapers when she went to Spain for the first time.


From void to void, with time to kill

21 August 2010 12:00 am

Just as the slaughter in the trenches of Flanders and northern France gave birth to the tragic verses of Wilfred Owen, so the experience of bombing and being bombed between 1940 and 1945 generated its own major poetry in Britain and the USA.

A dream to fly

14 August 2010 12:00 am

Undeniably the Hawker Hurricane has suffered the fate of the less pretty sister.


All eyes and ears

14 August 2010 12:00 am

Both of these books aim, in their different ways, to cater for Britain’s long-standing obsession with espionage and other forms of political and military intelligence.


The French connection

7 August 2010 12:00 am

If ever there was a novel to which that old adage about not judging a book by its cover could be applied, it’s this one.


L’homme qui dit non

31 July 2010 12:00 am

The study of history is a subversive calling.


Reverting to type

17 July 2010 12:00 am

While I was living in Tokyo, a Japanese girl friend of mine fell in love with a British investment banker.


Might and wrong

30 June 2010 12:00 am

‘Was all this the realisation of our war aims?’, Malcolm Muggeridge asked as he surveyed the desolation of Berlin in May 1945.


Aces high

23 June 2010 12:00 am

Seventy years after the RAF repelled the Luftwaffe, the Battle of Britain continues to have a powerful resonance.


Paranoia and empty promises

12 May 2010 12:00 am

It has taken more than half a century, but at last the Anglophone world has woken up to the fact that 20th-century communist history makes a superb backdrop for fiction.


The reality behind the novels

10 March 2010 12:00 am

‘I never knew peaceful times’, Irène Némirovsky once said, ‘I’ve always lived in anxiety and often in danger’.


The lady from Shanghai

24 February 2010 12:00 am

By the middle of the second world war, May-ling Soong was the world’s most powerful woman, at the centre of events in China’s history and its relationship with the USA.


Riding for a fall

17 February 2010 12:00 am

Many attempts have been made to portray the ‘Roaring Twenties’, or the ‘Gilded Nineties’, or the something-or-other sometime-else, but in truth the 1930s is one of the few decades that fits neatly into a nice round summary, with the Great Depression at one end, the second world war at the other.


Survivor syndrome

10 February 2010 12:00 am

In late middle age, William Styron was struck by a disabling illness, when everything seemed colourless, futile and empty to him.


Macabre success story

20 January 2010 12:00 am

Ben Macintyre has taken a well-known story of wartime deception, embellished it, and shown that it was even more ingenious and even more risky than we had all supposed.