Max Hastings is the author of many books on military history, including Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War and 
Inferno: The World at War, 1939–45. His latest book is Operation Chastise: The RAF’s Most Brilliant Attack of World War II.
 (May 2020)


Botch on the Rhine

British soldiers taking cover in a shell hole near Arnhem, the Netherlands, September 17, 1944

The Battle of Arnhem: The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II

by Antony Beevor
In The Battle of Arnhem, Antony Beevor has compiled a meticulous, wonderfully vivid, and justly angry account of one of the great cock-ups of World War II.

Staying On

A tea party in Calcutta, 1890

The British in India: A Social History of the Raj

by David Gilmour
In The Lion and the Eagle (2018), Kathleen Burk’s recent book comparing the British and US imperial experiences, she notes that few American public servants chose to make their lives in their nation’s overseas possessions or client states. Most preferred to serve out their appointed terms in faraway places, then …

Smoke and Mirrors

The Secret State: A History of Intelligence and Espionage

by John Hughes-Wilson

Spy Watching: Intelligence Accountability in the United States

by Loch K. Johnson
The United States spends more than $70 billion a year on the gathering and assessment of information about its enemies—and friends. Other nations lavish proportionate amounts, which can only increase now that cyberwarfare and information games have become inextricably entangled with intelligence and counterterrorism. China is estimated to employ some …

Yesterday’s Parties

Anthony and Violet Powell, 1984

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time

by Hilary Spurling
Some decades ago, Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell were widely regarded as Britain’s foremost novelists of the modern era. Today, Waugh reigns triumphant in the literary pantheon, one of the few twentieth-century British writers enthusiastically devoured by the young. Meanwhile Powell, if not forgotten, is scarcely read by people under …

Imagining the Unimaginable

Sheet music for Irving Berlin’s ‘Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,’ from his Broadway revue Yip Yip Yaphank, composed while he was a recruit in the US Army, 1918. It appears in Margaret E. Wagner’s America and the Great War: A Library of Congress Illustrated History, published by Bloomsbury.

On War and Writing

by Samuel Hynes
War has played a part in literature second only to that of love, as the great lexicographer Eric Partridge noted, because these two experiences have “most captured the world’s imagination.” His observation is quoted by Samuel Hynes in On War and Writing, a diverse collection of essays and reviews, in …

Splendid Isolation


a film directed by Christopher Nolan

Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk: Defeat into Victory

by Michael Korda
Christopher Nolan’s epic movie about the rescue of the British army from the beaches of northeastern France in May 1940 has become a worldwide box office success. This is splendid news for its makers, and can do no harm to American, Taiwanese, or for that matter Rajput audiences. In the eyes of some of us, however, its impact upon the British people is calamitous at this moment in our fortunes. Dunkirk contains no foreigners except a few understandably grumpy French soldiers. It is a British tale that feeds the myth that has brought Churchill’s nation to the cliff edge of departure from the European Union: there is splendor in being alone.

What’s New About the War?

Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt at a meeting of the Pacific War Council, Washington, D.C., June 1942

When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940

by Robin Prior

Eisenhower’s Armies: The American–British Alliance During World War II

by Niall Barr
It is a publishing phenomenon, for which some of us who are authors have cause to be grateful, that seventy years after the conclusion of World War II, works about the conflict enjoy a popularity second only to cookbooks. This is unsurprising, because it was the greatest event in human …

How the Germans Closed Ranks Around Hitler

German civilians on an enforced visit to Buchenwald concentration camp, April 1945; photograph by Lee Miller from the exhibition ‘Lee Miller: A Woman’s War,’ on view at the Imperial War Museum, London, October 15, 2015–April 24, 2016. The catalog—by Hilary Roberts, with an introduction by Antony Penrose—will be published in the US by Thames and Hudson in December.

The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–1945: Citizens and Soldiers

by Nicholas Stargardt

Potsdam: The End of World War II and the Remaking of Europe

by Michael Neiberg
In 1943, Germans who enjoyed a joke envisaged two panzer-grenadiers sitting on a bridgehead in Russia in 1999, puzzling over an incomprehensible word they have come across in a book: PEACE. No one in their bunker understands it. The platoon sergeant shrugs his shoulders. Their lieutenant shakes his head, and …