There are many histories of the Second World War. Some are almost too overwhelming in their detail; other are simply too sparse. Philip Warner's WORLD WAR II neatly bridges this gap. Warner writes fluently and has a confident grasp of detail. He paints a broad, busy canvas of what happened during the war and why: the political and strategic background to events is never left in doubt. There is cogent analysis of particular battles and campaigns, of why they succeeded or failed, but the narrative never bogs itself down in arid operational details. There are fascinating analyses of both electronic warfare and the importance to Allies and Axis of their hard-won intelligence. There is a real sense of what the war meant to both governments and to individuals on both sides. On the one hand, WORLD WAR II is an extremely useful primer. On the other, it offers new and considered insights into this vast conflict.