Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Book: A People's History of the Second World War

New from Pluto Press:
A People's History of the Second World War: Resistance Versus Empire -Donny Gluckstein

 'A People's History of the Second World War' unearths the fascinating history of the war as fought 'from below'. Until now, the vast majority of historical accounts have focussed on the conflict between the Allied and Axis powers for imperialist mastery. Donny Gluckstein shows that in fact between 1939 and 1945 two distinct wars were fought - one 'from above' and one 'from below'. Using examples from countries under the Nazi heel, in the colonies and within the Axis and Allied camps, Gluckstein brings to life the very different struggle of the people's and resistance movements which proliferated during the war. He shows how they fought not just fascism, but colonialism and empire, and were betrayed by the Allies at the war's end. This book will fundamentally challenge our understanding of the Second World War - both about the people who fought it and the reasons for which it was fought.
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DONNY GLUCKSTEIN is a lecturer in history at Stevenson College, Edinburgh. He is the author of several books on Marxist history.
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  'The Second World War is so thoroughly surrounded by myth that it is hard to grasp its real character. Gluckstein offers a new interpretation, portraying 1939-45 as two parallel wars: one waged by the Great Powers among themselves, the other by the peoples against fascism. Refreshingly avoiding a conventional narrative approach, he offers new insights that provide a powerful antidote to historical mythology.' 
- Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies, King's College London and author of 'Imperialism and Global Political Economy' (2009)

 'Rigorously structuring his analysis around the two central themes of popular resistance and inter-imperialist rivalry, Gluckstein makes an indispensable contribution to understanding the reality of the conflict in all its complexity.'  
- Neil Davidson, Senior Research Fellow, University of Strathclyde and author of 'Discovering the Scottish Revolution' (2003)
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface
1. Introduction
2. Spanish Prelude
PART 1: YUGOSLAVIA, GREECE, POLAND and LATVIA - BETWEEN THE BLOCS
3. Yugoslavia: Balancing Powers
4. Greece: Allies at War with the Resistance
5. Poland's Warsaw Uprising
6. Latvia: Standing History on its Head
PART 2: FRANCE, BRITAIN AND THE USA - DIVISIONS WITHIN THE ALLIES
7. France: Imperial Glory Versus Resistance Ideology
8. Britain: The Myth of Unity
9. USA: Racism in the Arsenal of Democracy
PART 3: GERMANY, AUSTRIA AND ITALY - UNDER THE AXIS
10. Germany: Conservatives and Antifa
11. Austria: Resistance and Ruling Class Capitulation
12. Italy: The Working Class and the Two Wars
 PART 4: INDIA, INDONESIA AND VIETNAM - DIFFERENT ENEMIES
13. India: From Famine to Independence
14. Indonesia: Axis and Allies United Against the People
15. Vietnam: Anti-Imperialist Breakthrough
16. Conclusion
17. Chronology
Notes
Index

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4 Comments:

At 12:01 am, Blogger Dougal said...

Thanks for pointing this out; I've put an order in at my library. The Greek chapter will have a particular resonance at the moment. One of British imperialism's many, many shameful episodes.

Angus Calder's "People's War" is pretty old, but it's also a great book. His chapters on the reality of class divisions and the lives of London's rich and poor tear apart nationalist myths of the 'Blitz spirit'. He also has a fascinating chapter on the Common Wealth Party, which was, I think, the subject of his PhD.

 
At 2:41 pm, Blogger Resolute Reader said...

People's War is an awesome piece of radical history from below. It's well worth reading. As is Angus Calder's other book "The Myth of the Blitz" which looks at the realities of life under the bombs, as opposed to the imagery and propaganda version.

 
At 3:10 pm, Blogger Snowball said...

Thanks - one of the other interesting books on WWII is Ray Challinor's little collection of essays 'The Struggle for Hearts and Minds' - republished recently - see here

 
At 10:09 am, Anonymous David Duff said...

Alas, I cannot bring myself to read any 'history' book in which the 'analysis is constructed', "rigorously" or otherwise. However, you might be interested in a book just published by a writer with whom you might not immediately feel is an ally - but then again, as WWII demonstrated, it's amazing how many political foes climb into bed together when the bombs start dropping! I refer to Richard North of the EU Referendum site on which you will find details of his book "The Many Not the Few", a history of the Battle of Britain. Haven't read it myself but North is a good, old-fashioned 'Yorkie' with very strong views.
http://www.eureferendum.com/

 

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