The Second World War Illustrated - The Fifth Year

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Jack Holroyd
Other Publication Information
Paperback (6.8” x 9.7”) 320 pages with 700 black and white photographs.
Product / Stock #
Second World War Illustrated
Company: Pen & Sword - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site

Perhaps the best introduction for this book comes from the book’s online description,

“The Second World War Illustrated: 1944 follows the author's visual tour of the war by means of painstakingly researched and digitally restored pictures from the period of the key battlefields and events of the period from September 1943 to the late summer of 1944. This year marked a defining change in the balance of the war; by its end the Axis powers were in serious trouble on all their fronts.”

This is the fifth book in Jack Holroyd’s Second World War Illustrated series. The previous four books in the Second World War Illustrated series were previously competently and eloquently reviewed by three members of IPMS Review Corps:

The book is a fascinating and photographic insight into this seminal 20th Century war and is complete with extensive photographs, maps, detailed illustrations, composing the following eight chapters:

  • Chapter One – Battleground Italy: Salerno to Rome (78 pages)
  • Chapter Two – Battleground Normandy: D-Day to Paris (138 pages)
  • Chapter Three – Operation Valkyrie: Attempt to Kill Hitler (16 pages)
  • Chapter Four – Hitler’s Revenge: The Flying Bomb and V-2 (12 pages)
  • Chapter Five – Americans Advance in the South Pacific (34 pages)
  • Chapter Six – Japanese in Burma: Kohima and Imphal (10 pages)
  • Chapter Seven – Hitler Loses his Army Group Centre (8 pages)
  • Chapter Eight – Allied Bomber Offensive: Berlin, Ball Bearings and Oil (6 pages)

This book is impressive with its coverage and amazing photographs covering the battles, campaigns and events. The photographs are arranged so they tell the story (this is one of those rare books where it doesn’t matter what language the captions are written as the photographs speak for themselves). This book, as well as the series, are a great introduction to the world-wide cataclysm that was World War II. Modelers and historians will find a lot of information and inspiration throughout its 320 pages. The Foreword written by Nigel Cave adequately sums up a year’s worth of World War II in two pages. A great example is the description of the Anzio Landings and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s quote, “I had hoped we were hurling a wildcat onto the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale.”

Author Jack Holroyd has been involved with the printing and publishing business for fifty years. He has authored fictional titles, two books on aviation topics, five books on the First World War, the Second World War Illustrated series, and another book on the Totenkopf Division during the Invasion of France. With this background, the dedication to this book is poignant,

“Dedicated to the One True Sovereign

To serve as a visual reminder of the consequences when mankind persists in a course of rebellion against His rulership.”

This is a fantastic book and now I must find the previous four books in this series and look forward to the sixth book. Highly recommended for modelers and anyone interested in a concise, yet detailed, photographic history of the Second World War.

Profuse thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for providing the review sample.


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