Best Selling Books by Max Hastings

Max Hastings is the author of Inferno (2011), Winston's War (2010), The Battle for the Falklands (2022), Bomber Command (2013), Operation Pedestal: the Fleet That Battled to Malta 1942 (2022) and other 74 books.

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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.

The Battle for the Falklands

release date: Mar 31, 2022
The Battle for the Falklands
The Battle for the Falklands is a vivid chronicle of the political decision-making and military strategy during the Falklands conflict.

Bomber Command

release date: Sep 15, 2013
Bomber Command
Bomber Command''s air offensive against the cities of Nazi Germany was one of the most epic campaigns of World War II. 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 in the air began meekly in 1939 with only a few Whitleys, Hampdens, and Wellingtons flying blindly through the night on their ill-conceived bombing runs. It ended six years later with 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Mosquitoes, equipped with the best of British wartime technology, blazing whole German cities in a single night. Bomber Command, through its fits and starts, grew into an effective fighting force. In Bomber Command, originally published to critical acclaim in the U.K., famed British military historian Sir Max Hastings offers a captivating analysis of the strategy and decision-making behind one of World War II’s most violent episodes. With firsthand descriptions of the experiences of aircrew from 1939 to 1945 - based on one hundred interviews with veterans - and a harrowing narrative of the experiences of Germans on the ground during the September 1944 bombing of Darmstadt, Bomber Command is widely recognized as a classic account of one of the bloodiest campaigns in World War II history. Now back in print in the U.S., this book is an essential addition to any history reader''s bookshelf.

Operation Pedestal: the Fleet That Battled to Malta 1942

release date: May 12, 2022
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

Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944–45

release date: Sep 17, 2009
Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944–45
A companion volume to his bestselling ‘Armageddon’, Max Hastings’ account of the battle for Japan is a masterful military history.

Retribution

release date: Jan 01, 2007
Retribution
A chronicle of the final year in the Pacific war offers portraits of key figures in the efforts to defeat Japan and discusses such topics as the road to Allied victory, Japan''s war against China, and the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Vietnam

release date: Oct 15, 2019
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.

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.

Warriors

release date: Jan 03, 2006
Warriors
Heroism in battle has been celebrated throughout history, yet it is one of the least understood virtues. What makes some men and women perform extraordinary deeds on the battlefield? What makes them risk their lives in the pursuit of victory?Max Hastings, one of our foremost military historians, has seen combat up close and written about it for decades. In Warriors, he brings us the experiences of fourteen soldiers who fought in the wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From an exuberant cavalry officer in Napoleon’s army to an abused orphan who in World War II became America’s youngest general since Custer, to an Israeli officer who recovered from a devastating injury to save his country, each portrait depicts a unique and remarkable story. A tribute to soldierly valor and a deeply insightful study of combat, this is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand what it means to be at war.

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.

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.

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

Overlord

release date: May 14, 2019
Overlord
Max Hastings’s “exceptional” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) account of the famous World War II D-Day landings “[will] stand with that of the best journalists and writers who witnessed it” (The New York Times Book Review). On June 6, 1944, the American and British armies staged the greatest amphibious landing in history—called 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. Forty years later, British war correspondent and military historian Max Hastings shares a dense, dramatic portrait of the Normandy invasion that overturns the traditional legends. First published in 1984, Overlord “will shock those who regard the invasion of Normandy and the subsequent battles as triumphs of American, British, and Canadian military heroism” (The New York Times). Instead, Hastings provides a brilliant, controversial perspective on the devastating battles, based on the eyewitness accounts of survivors from both sides, plus a wealth of previously untapped sources and documents. “A masterly book, rich in insight, shrewd and weighty in judgement…Max Hastings stands in the first rank of writers on modern war” (Financial Times).

Editor

release date: Apr 19, 2012
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.

Going to the Wars

release date: Feb 13, 2014
Going to the Wars
''His memoirs have ... honesty, pace and readability.'' Jeremy Paxman Max Hastings grew up with romantic dreams of a life amongst warriors. But after his failure as a parachute soldier in Cyprus in 1963, he became a journalist instead. Before he was 30 he had reported conflicts in Northern Ireland, Biafra, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East, Cyprus, Rhodesia, India and a string of other trouble spots. His final effort was as a war correspondent during the Falklands War. Going to the Wars is a story of his experiences reporting from these battlefields. It is also the story of a self-confessed coward: a writer with heroic ambitions who found himself recording the acts of heroes.

Korean War

release date: Oct 20, 2015
Korean War
It was the first war we could not win. At no other time since World War II have two superpowers met in battle. Now Max Hastings, preeminent military historian takes us back to the bloody bitter struggle to restore South Korean independence after the Communist invasion of June 1950. Using personal accounts from interviews with more than 200 vets—including the Chinese—Hastings follows real officers and soldiers through the battles. He brilliantly captures the Cold War crisis at home—the strategies and politics of Truman, Acheson, Marshall, MacArthur, Ridgway, and Bradley—and shows what we should have learned in the war that was the prelude to Vietnam.

All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945

release date: Sep 29, 2011
All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945
Recommended for viewing on a tablet. From one of our finest historians, a magisterial account of the most terrible event in history – World War II.

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.

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.

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.

Finest Years

release date: Jan 01, 2010
Finest Years
"By looking at Churchill from the outside in, through the eyes of British soldiers, civilians and newspapers, and also those of Russians and Americans, Hastings provides new perspectives on the greatest Englishman and the precarious Grand Alliance. He condemns as folly Churchill''s attempt to promote mass uprisings in occupied Europe through SOE, and describes the prime minister''s disastrous but little-known Dodecanese campaign of 1943. He details Unthinkable, his amazing 1945 plan for an Allied offensive against the Russians to liberate Poland. Here is an intimate and affectionate portrait of Churchill as Britain''s saviour, but also an unsparing examination of the wartime nation which he led and the performance of its armed forces."--BOOK JACKET

Battle of Britain

release date: Jan 01, 1999
Battle of Britain
In this text, Deighton and Hastings look at how the few defended Britain in the Battle of Britain. They depict the reality of the battle and how it was enacted by those who took part, whether in the air, on the ground, in the planning rooms or at home in towns and villages.

The Korean War

release date: Mar 22, 2012
The Korean War
The Korean War is journalist and military historian Sir Max Hastings’ compelling account of the forgotten war. ''The best narrative history of the Korean conflict'' – Guardian On 25 June 1950 the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam. Max Hastings draws on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and incisive reassessment of the Korean War, bringing the military and human dimensions into sharp focus. Critically acclaimed on publication, republished with an introduction from the author, The Korean War remains the best narrative history of this conflict. ''A brilliant tour-de-force'' – Times Literary Supplement ''Excellent, readable history by a master of the genre'' – Daily Mail ''This book establishes him as one of the leading British military historians.'' – New York Times

Chastise: the Dambusters

release date: May 14, 2020
Chastise: the Dambusters
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER A masterly history of the Dambusters raid from bestselling and critically acclaimed Max Hastings.

On War Limited Edition

release date: Dec 19, 2014
On War Limited Edition
Collected here for the first time are key works by this century''s leading military historians, all recipients of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The Pritzker Literature Award honors writers whose work adds to the public''s understanding of military history and the role played by the military in civil society. In the tradition of historians dating back to ancient times, these authors and scholars demonstrate the numerous ways to write about military history. The surreal fiction of Tim O''Brien''s Vietnam is just pages from an in-depth look at General George S. Patton by today''s leading biographer, Carlo D''Este. Max Hastings and Rick Atkinson use their backgrounds to add a journalistic touch to modern studies of World War I and World War II, respectively. Gerhard Weinberg examines global leaders during World War II as Allan Millett discusses the developing technology that allowed them to further their causes. And James McPherson, the preeminent living Civil War scholar examines crisis in America with accessible and articulate literary skill.

Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914

release date: Sep 12, 2013
Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
A magisterial chronicle of the calamity that crippled Europe in 1914.

Catastrophe (Enhanced Edition): Europe Goes to War 1914

release date: Sep 12, 2013
Catastrophe (Enhanced Edition): Europe Goes to War 1914
Best viewed on a tablet, includes exclusive audio and video. The special edition of Max Hastings’ magisterial chronicle of Europe in 1914. Explore the position of armies in detail. Search the timeline for the ultimate overview. Watch footage of the protagonists, battlefields and wartime cities. Hear an exclusive author interview.

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
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