John Ellis

John Ellis is the author of The Sharp End of War.

People’s War

John Ellis, 19 February 1981

Soon, no doubt, some statistician of the absurd will tell us that the tonnage of books about the Second World War has finally exceeded the weight of ammunition expended in its course. On the face of it, the scope and variety of this literature is enormous. It ranges across much of the globe, from Normandy to New Guinea, from Tunis to Moscow. It recounts the exploits of the fighting men of dozens of nations and peoples: in Italy, for example, Maoris, Baluchis, Nepalese and Moroccans fought alongside Poles, Boers, Japanese Americans and Brazilians. It covers, moreover, an amazing variety of military activity, from the misery of the ordinary rifleman to the planning of an Army Group offensive, from bomber raids to armoured tactics, from the liquidation of collaborators to the most sophisticated mobile stage of guerrilla warfare.

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