Early on the morning of September 1, 1939, German panzer columns smashed across the Polish frontier, plunging the world into a war that was to last six  cataclysmic years, to devastate whole countries and to cost million of lives.

The principal actors in the prolonged and terrible drama were the great powers of the day. Britain, the United States and Russia on the one hand. Germany, Italy and Japan on the other. But smaller nations, the Union of South Africa among them played significant and honourable roles. South African forces helped conquer Mussolini’s East African empire, fought Rommel in the dessert, gained renown at Sidi Rezegh, suffered reversal at Tobruk, shared the laurels at Alamein, went on to slog their way up the rugged spine of Italy in probably the mos thankless campaign of all and, at the end, stood tall among the victors.

The Star World War II is the month-by-month story of the 1939-1945 global conflict and of the South African’s part in it, told largely through the newspaper reports that appeared during those momentous years. Here are the battles, the defeats, the stunning triumphs, the movements of great armies and the individual acts of heroism, described as they happened, often by eye-witnesses. The reports impart a sense of immediacy to the story, powerfully evoking the mood of the times.

Other notable features include:

  • Over 20 superb photographic essays, each of which focuses on a specific element of the saga.
  • Some 40 000 words of text, written in an informal though informative style to provide the essential narrative thread.
  • A series of Daily Round panels filled with a miscellany of incidental, often trivial, but always fascinating newspaper snippets that touch on subjects ranging from the fashion of the era through home interests and sport to stage and screen.
  • An illustrated and detailed Calendar for each year of the war.
  • An appendix listing the South African military units that were involved in the various campaigns, and an index of names, places and events.

This volume, published t0 coincide with the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of war, will appeal not only to South Africans who remember those turbulent years, but also to the student of military history and indeed, to anyone with an interest in what is undoubtedly the dramatic, and crucial segment of the world’s recent past.

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Authored by John Pitts and edited by Peter Joyce. Published by Struik of Cape Town in 1989. Hard cover bound this First Edition copy is in Very Good condition, with a Very Good dust jacket and covered in plastic. The size of the book is 306x245x26mm with 240 pages including the index. ISBN 9781868251452.

Dj and book have been frittered at head & tail, now repaired.b&w text photos thru’out. Please expect extra postage. Some yellowing to page edges and warping to front end paper.