To make an understatement, there have been many books written about World War II. To make another understatement, it is one of the fields of inquiry that manages to produce interest in both the academic and popular imagination.

I have been reading World War II books since I was in elementary school. I have read many books, including many of the classics. However, many books on the war take the form of what historians call antiquarianism, that is a simple listing of what happened, without getting into detail about why it happened.

John Mosier, a professor of English, has written a book on World War II that not only presents a theory, but presents a theory that contradicts some of the general beliefs that have been taken for granted about the military history of World War II.

The general consensus is that World War II was militarily different from World War I due to the presence of tanks, especially in large, breakthrough thrusts, and in the presence of air power, especially strategic bombing. Before the war, these theories were put forward by General Fuller and Giullo Douhet, respectively. Mosier argues that it is more generals brought up on these theories reinterpreting events through the filter of their beliefs, than an actual change in tactics that led to this interpretation of the course of World War II.

He presents some interesting ideas and facts, such as pointing out that the Polish did not collapse in the face of German armor, but rather from having to fight a war on two fronts at once. He also points out that the Germans initial "blitzkrieg" attack through the low countries was met by much greater resistance, and caused much greater casualities, among the German forces than is generally believed. He goes on, in many a places, pointing out that many facts about World War II have either been consistenly misinterpreted, or ignored. He makes his argument both with clear, sometimes cutting prose, and a good amount of foot notes.

The book, like much revisionist history, should also be interpreted in what came afterwords, and especially in light of what is happening today. Although Mosier doesn't choose to explore the link between Fuller's rather dubious hobbies and his military doctrine, I think that the book is perhaps inspired by the "Rumsfield Doctrine", where a small, elite army of super-soldiers having elite skills will replace the hurking infantry battles of yesteryear with lightening fast raids. This book, therefore, may be a oblique comment on shock and awe and the abandonment of the Powell Doctrine.

The book does have its flaws, the major one being that Mosier doesn't do a very good job of explaining overall why World War II did proceed on a different level than World War I. Although tank breakouts obviously did have their failure, it can't be ignored that World War II did not turn into large scale trench warfare. As in many people who make a new historical theory, Mosier may be overstating his case to get people to think. For historians of World War II, as well as people concerned with the current state of American military policy, this is an important book to read.

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