New Release Books by Max Hastings

Max Hastings is the author of Abyss (2022), Soldiers: Great Stories of War and Peace (2021), Operation Pedestal (2021), Operation Chastise (2020) and other 119 books.

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Abyss

release date: Sep 29, 2022
Abyss
From the #1 bestselling historian Max Hastings The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the most perilous event in history, when mankind faced a looming nuclear collision between the United States and Soviet Union. During those weeks, the world gazed into the abyss of potential annihilation.

Soldiers: Great Stories of War and Peace

release date: Oct 28, 2021
Soldiers: Great Stories of War and Peace
‘A gripping new collection from Max Hastings that puts you at the heart of the battle ... Compelling’ Daily Mail ‘An unmissable read’ Sunday Times

Operation Pedestal

release date: Jun 01, 2021
Operation Pedestal
Renowned historian Max Hastings recreates one of the most thrilling events of World War II: Operation Pedestal, the British action to save its troops from starvation on Malta—an action-packed tale of courage, fortitude, loss, and triumph against all odds. In 1940, Hitler had two choices when it came to the Mediterranean region: stay out, or commit sufficient forces to expel the British from the Middle East. Against his generals’ advice, the Fuhrer committed a major strategic blunder. He ordered the Wehrmacht to seize Crete, allowing the longtime British bastion of Malta to remain in Allied hands. Over the fall of 1941, the Royal Navy and RAF, aided by British intelligence, used the island to launch a punishing campaign against the Germans, sinking more than 75 percent of their supply ships destined for North Africa. But by spring 1942, the British lost their advantage. In April and May, the Luftwaffe dropped more bombs on Malta than London received in the blitz. A succession of British attempts to supply and reinforce the island by convoy during the spring and summer of 1942 failed. British submarines and surface warships were withdrawn, and the remaining forces were on the brink of starvation. Operation Pedestal chronicles the ensuing British mission to save those troops. Over twelve days in August, German and Italian forces faced off against British air and naval fleets in one of the fiercest battles of the war, while ships packed with supplies were painstakingly divided and dispersed. In the end only a handful of the Allied ships made it, most important among them the SS Ohio, carrying the much-needed fuel to the men on Malta. As Hastings makes clear, while the Germans claimed victory, it was the British who ultimately prevailed, for Malta remained a crucial asset that helped lead to the Nazis’ eventual defeat. While the Royal Navy never again attempted an operation on such scale, Hasting argues that without that August convoy the British on Malta would not have survived. In the cruel accountancy of war, the price was worth paying.

Operation Chastise

release date: Feb 18, 2020
Operation Chastise
Best Nonfiction of 2020 -- Kirkus Reviews One of the most lauded historians of our time returns to the Second World War in this magnificent retelling of the awe-inspiring raid on German dams conducted by the Royal Army Force’s 617 Squadron. The attack on Nazi Germany’s dams on May 17, 1943, was one of the most remarkable feats in military history. The absurdly young men of the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron set forth in cold blood and darkness, without benefit of electronic aids, to fly lumbering heavy bombers straight and level towards a target at a height above the water less than the length of a bowling alley. Yet this story—and the later wartime experience of the 617 Squadron—has never been told in full. Max Hastings takes us back to the May 1943 raid to reveal how the truth of that night is considerably different from the popularized account most people know. The RAF had identified the Ruhr dams as strategic objectives as far back as 1938; in those five years Wing Commander Guy Gibson formed and trained the 617 Squadron. Hastings observes that while the dropping of Wallis’s mines provided the dramatic climax, only two of the eight aircraft lost came down over the dams—the rest were shot down on the flight to, or back from, the mission. And while the 617 Squadron’s valor is indisputable, the ultimate industrial damage caused by the dam raid was actually rather modest. In 1943, these brave men caught the imagination of the world and uplifted the weary spirits of the British people. Their achievement unnerved the Nazi high command, and caused them to expend large resources on dam defenses—making the mission a success. An example of Churchill’s “military theatre” at its best, what 617 Squadron did was an extraordinary and heroic achievement, and a triumph of British ingenuity and technology—a story to be told for generations to come. Operation Chastise includes three 8-page black-and-white photo inserts and 6 maps.

Operation Pedestal: The Fleet that Battled to Malta 1942

release date: May 13, 2021
Operation Pedestal: The Fleet that Battled to Malta 1942
The Sunday Times bestseller ‘One of the most dramatic forgotten chapters of the war, as told in a new book by the incomparable Max Hastings’ DAILY MAIL

Vietnam

release date: Oct 16, 2018
Vietnam
An absorbing and definitive modern history of the Vietnam War from the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Secret War. Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the 1968 Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and also much less familiar miniatures such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed two million people. Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings, and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls, and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, and Huey pilots from Arkansas. No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the twenty-first century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.

Chastise: The Dambusters

release date: Sep 05, 2019
Chastise: The Dambusters
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER A masterly history of the Dambusters raid from bestselling and critically acclaimed Max Hastings.

Vietnam: an Epic History of a Tragic War

release date: Apr 15, 2019
Vietnam: an Epic History of a Tragic War
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ''His masterpiece'' Antony Beevor, Spectator ''A masterful performance'' Sunday Times ''By far the best book on the Vietnam War'' Gerald Degroot, The Times, Book of the Year

The Secret War

release date: May 10, 2016
The Secret War
"Monumental." --New York Times Book Review NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From one of the foremost historians of the period and the acclaimed author of Inferno and Catastrophe: 1914, The Secret War is a sweeping examination of one of the most important yet underexplored aspects of World War II—intelligence—showing how espionage successes and failures by the United States, Britain, Russia, Germany, and Japan influenced the course of the war and its final outcome. Spies, codes, and guerrillas played unprecedentedly critical roles in the Second World War, exploited by every nation in the struggle to gain secret knowledge of its foes, and to sow havoc behind the fronts. In The Secret War, Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and some extraordinary sagas of intelligence and resistance, to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history.

Vietnam: An Epic History of a Divisive War 1945-1975

release date: Sep 20, 2018
Vietnam: An Epic History of a Divisive War 1945-1975
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ‘His masterpiece’ Antony Beevor, Spectator ‘A masterful performance’ Sunday Times ‘By far the best book on the Vietnam War’ Gerald Degroot, The Times, Book of the Year

Overlord

release date: Nov 17, 2015
Overlord
On June 6, 1944, the American and British armies staged the greatest amphibious landing history to being Operation Overlord, the battle for the liberation of Europe. Despite the Allies'' absolute command of sea and air and vast firepower, it took ten weeks of fierce fighting for them to overpower the tenacious, superbly skilled German army. Now, forty years later, British war correspondent and military historian Max Hastings has drawn on many interviews and newly available documents to construct a dense, dramatic portrait of the Normady invasion that overturns the traditional legends.

World War Two

release date: Apr 14, 2018
World War Two
Within Western culture, World War Two continues to exercise an extraordinary fascination for generations unborn when it took place. The obvious explanation is that it was the greatest and most terrible event in human history. Within the vast compass of the struggle, some individuals scaled summits of courage and nobility, while others plumbed depths of evil, in a fashion that compels the awe of posterity. Among citizens of modern democracies to whom serious hardship and collective peril are unknown, the tribulations which hundreds of millions endured between 1939 and 1945 are almost beyond comprehension. Hastings tells the story of the war in a clear and compelling narrative, ranging across a vast canvas from the agony of Poland in 1939 and the horrors of the Soviet front to the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan in August 1945. This is a book which shows vividly what war meant for individuals from allied soldiers, sailors and airmen, to SS killers, to civilians caught up in the war like British housewives who endured the Blitz and the citizens of Leningrad who suffered through a siege of almost unimaginable horror.

Max Hastings Two-Book Collection: All Hell Let Loose and Catastrophe

release date: May 08, 2014
Max Hastings Two-Book Collection: All Hell Let Loose and Catastrophe
A two-book collection of Max Hastings’ bestselling works about the 20th century’s most terrible global conflicts.

Catastrophe 1914

release date: Sep 24, 2013
Catastrophe 1914
From the acclaimed military historian, a history of the outbreak of World War I: the dramatic stretch from the breakdown of diplomacy to the battles—the Marne, Ypres, Tannenberg—that marked the frenzied first year before the war bogged down in the trenches. In Catastrophe 1914, Max Hastings gives us a conflict different from the familiar one of barbed wire, mud and futility. He traces the path to war, making clear why Germany and Austria-Hungary were primarily to blame, and describes the gripping first clashes in the West, where the French army marched into action in uniforms of red and blue with flags flying and bands playing. In August, four days after the French suffered 27,000 men dead in a single day, the British fought an extraordinary holding action against oncoming Germans, one of the last of its kind in history. In October, at terrible cost the British held the allied line against massive German assaults in the first battle of Ypres. Hastings also re-creates the lesser-known battles on the Eastern Front, brutal struggles in Serbia, East Prussia and Galicia, where the Germans, Austrians, Russians and Serbs inflicted three million casualties upon one another by Christmas. As he has done in his celebrated, award-winning works on World War II, Hastings gives us frank assessments of generals and political leaders and masterly analyses of the political currents that led the continent to war. He argues passionately against the contention that the war was not worth the cost, maintaining that Germany’s defeat was vital to the freedom of Europe. Throughout we encounter statesmen, generals, peasants, housewives and private soldiers of seven nations in Hastings’s accustomed blend of top-down and bottom-up accounts: generals dismounting to lead troops in bayonet charges over 1,500 feet of open ground; farmers who at first decried the requisition of their horses; infantry men engaged in a haggard retreat, sleeping four hours a night in their haste. This is a vivid new portrait of how a continent became embroiled in war and what befell millions of men and women in a conflict that would change everything.

Das Reich

release date: Jun 15, 2013
Das Reich
World-renowned British historian Sir Max Hastings recounts one of the most horrific months of World War II. June 1944, the month of the D-Day landings carried out by Allied forces in Normandy, France. Germany’s 2nd SS Panzer Division, one of Adolf Hitler’s most elite armor units, had recently been pulled from the Eastern Front and relocated to France in order to regroup, recruit more troops, and restock equipment. With Allied forces suddenly on European ground, the division—Das Reich —was called up to counter the invasion. Its march northward to the shores of Normandy, 15,000 men strong, would become infamous as a tale of unparalleled brutality in World War II. Das Reich is Sir Max Hastings’s narrative of the atrocities committed by the 2nd SS Panzer Division during June of 1944: first, the execution of 99 French civilians in the village of Tulle on June 9; and second, the massacre of 642 more in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane on June 10. Throughout the book, Hastings expertly shifts perspective between French resistance fighters, the British Secret Service (who helped coordinate the French resistance from afar and on the ground), and the German soldiers themselves. With its rare, unbiased approach to the ruthlessness of World War II, Das Reich explores the fragile moral fabric of wartime mentality.

Editor

release date: Sep 11, 2014
Editor
Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award. In February 2002 Max Hastings retired from his position as a ''Fleet Street'' Editor. His is an enormously illustrious career which started in 1985, when he was offered the Editorship of a national institution - the Daily Telegraph - in a surprise move by its owners. This candid memoir tells the story of what happened to him, and to a great newspaper, over the next decade. It is all here: the rows with prime ministers, the coverage of great events, the daily routine. Max Hastings describes his complex relationship with his proprietor, Conrad Black. He offers an extraordinary perspective on the decline of John Major, the troubles of the Royal Family, the difficulties of dealing with lawyers and celebrities, statesmen and stars. Editor: A Memoir is above all the story of the excitement and exhilaration of almost 10 years at the helm of one of the greatest newspapers in the world.

The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939–1945

release date: Sep 10, 2015
The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939–1945
‘As gripping as any spy thriller, Hastings’s achievement is especially impressive, for he has produced the best single volume yet written on the subject’ Sunday Times ‘Authoritative, exciting and notably well written’ Daily Telegraph ‘A serious work of rigourous and comprehensive history ... royally entertaining and readable’ Mail on Sunday

Faces of World War II

release date: May 02, 2012
Faces of World War II
The follow-up to Faces of World War I, this photographic journey is testament to the 100 million military men and women, and many more civilians, whose lives were so profoundly affected by the catastrophic war of 1939-1945. Faces of World War II pays tribute to all who fought and died, and won and lost for greater human rights and freedom. Structured by year, the book includes images of the major events from Blitzkrieg to the Battle of Britain, from the invasion of Poland to Pearl Harbor. With over 17 million people perishing during the course of the conflict, brutality, suffering and slaughter are inevitably shown, and these pictures take their place alongside poignant and uplifting scenes of civilians, nurses and doctors fighting their own battles, and the endless task of clearing the battlefields and the brief moments of respite. This book remarkably captures the reality of war: the suffering, the toil and the hopelessness, as well as the mundane aspects of a world turned upside down in those seven fateful years. From enforced confinement to trench warfare and mechanization, Faces Of World War II shows every aspect of this very modern war, in images that will inform, shock, move, but always engage.

The Secret War 1939-1945

release date: Sep 10, 2015

Inferno

release date: Nov 01, 2011
Inferno
From one of our finest military historians, a monumental work that shows us at once the truly global reach of World War II and its deeply personal consequences. World War II involved tens of millions of soldiers and cost sixty million lives—an average of twenty-seven thousand a day. For thirty-five years, Max Hastings has researched and written about different aspects of the war. Now, for the first time, he gives us a magnificent, single-volume history of the entire war. Through his strikingly detailed stories of everyday people—of soldiers, sailors and airmen; British housewives and Indian peasants; SS killers and the citizens of Leningrad, some of whom resorted to cannibalism during the two-year siege; Japanese suicide pilots and American carrier crews—Hastings provides a singularly intimate portrait of the world at war. He simultaneously traces the major developments—Hitler’s refusal to retreat from the Soviet Union until it was too late; Stalin’s ruthlessness in using his greater population to wear down the German army; Churchill’s leadership in the dark days of 1940 and 1941; Roosevelt’s steady hand before and after the United States entered the war—and puts them in real human context. Hastings also illuminates some of the darker and less explored regions under the war’s penumbra, including the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland, during which the Finns fiercely and surprisingly resisted Stalin’s invading Red Army; and the Bengal famine in 1943 and 1944, when at least one million people died in what turned out to be, in Nehru’s words, “the final epitaph of British rule” in India. Remarkably informed and wide-ranging, Inferno is both elegantly written and cogently argued. Above all, it is a new and essential understanding of one of the greatest and bloodiest events of the twentieth century.

Winston's War

release date: Apr 27, 2010
Winston's War
A vivid and incisive portrait of Winston Churchill during wartime from acclaimed historian Max Hastings, Winston’s War captures the full range of Churchill’s endlessly fascinating character. At once brilliant and infuriating, self-important and courageous, Hastings’s Churchill comes brashly to life as never before. Beginning in 1940, when popular demand elevated Churchill to the role of prime minister, and concluding with the end of the war, Hastings shows us Churchill at his most intrepid and essential, when, by sheer force of will, he kept Britain from collapsing in the face of what looked like certain defeat. Later, we see his significance ebb as the United States enters the war and the Soviets turn the tide on the Eastern Front. But Churchill, Hastings reminds us, knew as well as anyone that the war would be dominated by others, and he managed his relationships with the other Allied leaders strategically, so as to maintain Britain’s influence and limit Stalin’s gains. At the same time, Churchill faced political peril at home, a situation for which he himself was largely to blame. Hastings shows how Churchill nearly squandered the miraculous escape of the British troops at Dunkirk and failed to address fundamental flaws in the British Army. His tactical inaptitude and departmental meddling won him few friends in the military, and by 1942, many were calling for him to cede operational control. Nevertheless, Churchill managed to exude a public confidence that brought the nation through the bitter war. Hastings rejects the traditional Churchill hagiography while still managing to capture what he calls Churchill’s “appetite for the fray.” Certain to be a classic, Winston’s War is a riveting profile of one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century.

Bomber Command

release date: Jan 01, 2021
Bomber Command
Bomber Command is journalist and military historian Sir Max Hastings'' compelling account of one of the most controversial struggles of the Second World War. RAF Bomber Command''s offensive against the cities of Germany was one of the epic campaigns of the Second World War. More than 56,000 British and Commonwealth aircrew and 600,000 Germans died in the course of the RAF''s attempt to win the war by bombing. The struggle began in 1939 with a few primitive Whitleys, Hampdens and Wellingtons, and ended six years later with 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes and Mosquitoes razing whole cities in a single night. Max Hastings traced the developments of area bombing using a wealth of documents, letters, diaries and interviews with key surviving witnesses. Bomber Command is, in turn, a fascinating, meticulously-researched, and vivid assessment of the RAF''s integral role in the Second World War.
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