Inferno - Max Hastings


By Max Hastings

  • Release Date: 2011-11-01
  • Genre: Military
Score: 3.5
From 241 Ratings


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.


  • Enlightening

    By Philip Rohan
    This book was actually recommended by a stranger that I met on a flight to Washington DC. A great book for those who appreciate an unclouded view of fact. At no point is this book yielding to PC view or opinion. This is the first book I have read since high school and because of Hastings, I now enjoy reading again.
  • Inferno by Max Hastings

    By Emopell
    Excellently researched and documented. Recommend for historians who have widely read and studied WWII because Hastings emphasizes the human elements of the was while using the broad themes and strategies as assumed background. I give this work FIVE STARS!! Outstanding!
  • Perspective

    By JonnyG33
    A must read for those interested in the greatest modern day tragedy.
  • Inferno

    By Trent McCaffrey
    Great book, very intresting. Teaches you everything about the war. It has amazing pictures of World War Two. Sometimes a hard read, but a good buy.
  • Always Something New With Hastings

    By jabronytg
    I've read Retribution, Armageddon, Winston's War and now Inferno by Max Hastings. I learn something new about the subject in each of his books and I have read a ton on WW2. This book is a very good read but the entire war is too big a subject so Max can't cover everything in the detail I was accustomed to from Retribution and Armageddon. Winston's War was the best of the bunch and this is the weakest but still worth 4 stars. Read them all if you can
  • Inferno

    By Balogney
    An excellent account of WWII, especially if you do not want to get bogged down in the minutiae of military maneuvers. Hastings does an excellent job of telling the stories of the participants of this event.