The Second World War – A Miscellany
It seemed a good idea to tell the story of the Second World War in the same way as for the First. The structure was the same but it turned out to be a far more difficult task. The problem was never in finding material to put in – the events, stories, facts and quotes, even though the book had a 50% bigger word count – but in what to leave out.
Whole books have been written on events like the Battle of Britain, which lasted 4 months and took place above a relatively small area of one country. To describe in a simple but effective way the major events of this global 6-year-long conflict proved challenging and many times hair was torn out.
The war in the Pacific was the hardest. I knew about Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal, but did I know the significance of Peleliu? Then there were the large sea battles, like Coral Sea and Midway, involving hundreds of ships and aircraft and in order to write succinctly about them, you have to accumulate far more detail than you will ever use. And there’s always the maximum word count hanging over the whole project. You have to be careful not to over balance by having three pages on one event that isn’t as significant as one that has half a page.
Eventually the battle was won.