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Eyewitness to World War II

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Eyewitness to World War II brings you closer than ever before to the greatest challenge a generation of Americans had ever faced. The unforgettable story of World War II is told through the words of those who lived it—both on the battlefield and the home front—creating a dramatic tapestry of the wartime experience. Personal writings and recollections of Roosevelt, Hitler, and Patton, as well as letters composed by soldiers at battle and diaries of women serving in the military at home, present an absorbing narrative that tells the entire history of the war from several perspectives.

Hundreds of images capture fateful moments of triumph and defeat that defined the era, including rare photographs and artifacts, many never-before-seen from private collections that are placed in context with more famous photographs from the period. More than 20 authoritative National Geographic maps detail military movements and decisive battles in the European and Pacific theaters of war. These incredible, first-person stories, amazing moments of heroism, compelling imagery, and illuminating maps bring the entire history of World War II to life in vivid detail.


  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • 350 color photographs, 25 illustrations
  • 9 1/8" x 10 7/8"
  • © 2012

Author Info

Stephen G. Hyslop's many books include Great Empires, Eyewitness to the Civil War, Bound for Santa Fe: The Road to New Mexico and the American Conquest, and Chroniclers of Indian Life.

Neil Kagan heads Kagan & Associates, a firm specializing in innovative illustrated books. During his career at Time-Life Books, he spearheaded multiple historic series and has produced Eyewitness to the Civil War and Atlas of the Civil War for National Geographic. The author lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Photo Gallery

In the Press

“This book captures both the scale and the human emotion [of WWII]” –Baltimore Sun

“This incredibly dramatic and moving compilation of reportage, first-person accounts and archival photos reminds us why war is hell.” –Sacramento Bee

Book Excerpt

They still remember. People around the world still honor those young Americans who helped secure their liberty by ending the tyranny of Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini. Schoolchildren on Guam sing songs of tribute to the Marines who stormed their beaches in 1944 and freed that island from Japanese occupiers. The youngsters of Normandy wave American flags on June 6 to commemorate D-Day. The good people of Melbourne have not forgotten the U.S. troops who defended Australia by fighting and dying on land, at sea, and in the air in the struggle for Guadalcanal. In my travels to those battlefields, I have seen the locals offer both solemn memorials and spontaneous expressions of gratitude to the visiting veterans, honors received with tears and heartfelt thanks by the elderly soldiers, sailors, Marines, coast guardsmen, merchant mariners, and airmen.

People around the world also remember the evils against which the allies fought. Visiting Manila in 2000, I had the honor of accompanying a group of elderly American veterans known as the Battling Bastards of Bataan, whose determined and courageous but ultimately futile struggle to hold off Japanese invaders ended in a death march to nightmarish prison camps. a Filipino guide accompanying our tour bus had the driver stop at a low statue cut from dark rock, a memorial easily missed on the busy city street. The guide told us this was a monument to all those civilians in his country who died in the war—hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, many of them killed, he said, by Japanese troops. it was a stark reminder of what those American veterans and their allies had been fighting against. Their struggle was a “good war,” not because the combat they engaged in was any les brutal than others, nor because their generation was better than others, but because it was a war that had to be fought, against aggressors who had to be defeated. After vanquishing Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, American helped right those countries and transform them into democratic allies, thereby winning not just the war but the peace….

--Hugh Ambrose, author of The Pacific

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Amazing book


Bought this for my father, who has about every other book on WWII ever published... I do believe this might be his new favorite! Even I, without a pre-existing deep interest in WWII, read it with extreme interest. Amazing photographs, and information on the war that gave a fresh look from many different angles, beyond the usual retellings of battles and general holocaust information. Really opened my eyes, and I would definitely recommend it! A high quality, highly interesting read.




15 year old loved it


I sent it unseen to a grandchild and have heard he is thrilled. That doesn't always happen with a gift book.


Greensboro, NC


Would buy this book again and again.


I bought a copy when it was first published; then ordered two more as gifts.


Lomita, CA


Eyewitness to World War II

5.0 3