Simply, this is a great one-volume history of World War II. Besides telling the story, I think the high points of this book for me were how well Hastings showed Stalin was equally evil as Hitler. Thus, for the United States, to defeat one evil required partnering with another. In a world where we all recall Hitler as evil and often bring his name up in debates about evil acts, we better not forget Stalin. Also, I think his discussion on whether or not America should have dropped the nuclear bomb was thought provoking. Its easy to sit here years later and simply say it was wrong. Maybe it was. But by the time the war has gotten there, Japan has not surrendered, Japan knows America has this weapon and America knows invasion will be far bloodier than dropping the bomb…well, maybe it was a final sad but necessary decision at the end of a horrific war.
Or maybe it still wasn’t justified. Who knows. That’s what makes reading history so fascinating. You get to put yourself in the shoes of people who were faced with tough choices and it is not easy to know what you’d do.