[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]
World War Two: Cause and Effect by Bill Brady is not so much a narrative history as a topical anthology of the war. It is a collection of papers Mr Brady has presented over the years collected and published in one volume. According to the jacket Mr. Brady is a lifelong history buff and is a member and President of the South African Military History Society of Kwa Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa.
The book itself is 341 pages in length. The text is divided into twenty-nine topical chapters with each chapter being one of the papers presented. Unfortunately, the book as neither a bibliography nor an index. While disappointing, that lack does not seriously harm the book.
There is really nothing new or innovative about the topics covered in the book. No new theoretical ground is broken and no new facts or data about the war are presented that would tend to change the way the war is viewed. That being said, the text is clear and the writing style is quite good making this a very enjoyable read. All the topics are well covered and there are descriptions of some of the less covered events of the war. The three chapters I found most interesting covered the Battle of the River Plate, the Fall of SIngapore, and the Slapton Sands accident before D-Day.
While this book does not present any ground-shaking new information about World War II, it is a good introduction to some of the wars most famous and also some not so famous events. The analysis of strategy and tactics within follows the widespread conventional wisdom and judgement of historians. The lack of a bibliography and index is distressing but then, this is not an academic work nor does it aspire to be one. This is a book about World War II that the average person who knows little about the war can both read and understand.
I recommend this book for people who only know the allies won World War II. It provides a good, topical, chronology of the war and provides just enough information to cover it’s topics while sparking an interest to learn more. A good introduction to the war that shows both the complexity and extent of the world’s most devastating war to date.