In A War to be Won, Williamson Murray and Alan R. Millett have coauthored more than just another broad coverage of the Second World War. The authors have written a tight and engrossing tactical/strategic analysis of the war. Murray and Millett begin in the 1920s and early 1930s with Japanese expansion in Asia and German rearmourment and conclude with the defeat of these countries in 1945. The authors divide their work into coherent time periods centering on specific battles or campaigns that mark changes in the progress of the war. Each chapter provides more insight than a general study of the Second World War, but does not go so deep into a specific battle as to loose site of the war as a whole. At the end of each chapter, the authors summarize their thoughts concerning the period and clearly state their conclusions.
Both Murray and Millett are well-respected military historians who have added much to the study of history and diplomacy. They are both prolific historians who have coauthored a number of other works. Most histories of the Second World War have tended to fall into one of two categories. Many have focused on the grand strategies of the warring countries and the broader strategic implications of these strategies. Other histories have focused on a key battle or battles as the basis of their study. Murray and Millett have successfully written an all-encompassing work that interrelates both the tactics and grand strategy as they relate to each other and to the whole of the war. This well-written book is a must for students of history or anyone wanting to learn more about the Second World War.
Reviewed by mf, 09/00. Other reviews by mf.