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The Second World War Illustrated (Paperback)

The First Year - Archive and Colour Photographs of WW2

Aviation > Royal Air Force Aviation > WWII > Battle of Britain Colour Books Military Photographic Books WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Dunkirk WWII > Churchill WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich WWII > Photographic Books

By Jack Holroyd
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: The Second World War Illustrated
Pages: 279
Illustrations: 750
ISBN: 9781526744401
Published: 17th July 2019



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The first volume covers contributory factors leading up to the outbreak of hostilities. Hitler's amazing success in correcting the real and perceived insults to the German nation resulting from the Great War and the Treaty of Versailles is acknowledged. There followed a military operation – Blitzkrieg – which rocked the world as two super powers, France and Great Britain, were soundly thrashed on the battlefield of Europe by Nazi Germany. With the skin of their teeth the British Expeditionary Force fled across the Channel from Dunkirk, leaving most of their equipment behind. The invasion of Kent in the south of England by a triumphant enemy equipped with a cruel and oppressive regime replete with Gestapo, concentration camps and policies of racial and political persecution presented a spine-tingling threat to the British people. With Winston Churchill at the helm disparaging peace treaties with the Nazi regime, the fight back began. A few thousand fighter pilots of the RAF defeated the Luftwaffe by a very narrow margin and Hitler looked to the east for his further bullying of national groups. The first year of the war ended, in September 1940, with Mussolini threatening Egypt and the Suez Canal.

Featured in

WWII History

This is an awesome collection of photographs and other images that give a very descriptive visual overview of the events leading up to and during the first year of World War II.


An impressive photographic archive.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

A great photo book, with little text, but many extended captions.

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

Another illustrated war history that this publisher excels at. This book provides a pictorial review of the first year of WWII, supported by concise text – Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


This is one great picture album and easy reading about the beginning of WWII.
Highly recommended.

AMPS Indianapolis

Any World War II or history buff would enjoy looking through this book. I thought it was well done and built a logical narrative using pictures and captions.

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Man of la Book

As featured by

The Armourer, November 2019

This is an excellent book for any student of Military History. It covers the first year of the Second World War in a sympathetic way, not siding with one side or the other. The story is well laid out and written in an easy-going style. Photos are well-presented and well-captioned, neither glorifying nor trivialising warfare. As a first volume, I am impressed and look forward to the following volumes.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

The Acclaimed author Jack Holroyd now turns his attention to the Illustrated Second World War, with amazing photographs and a special section of coloured photographs in the centre of the book.

Books Monthly

The choice of the photos is essentially brought to the originality and to the narration, going even to find small events (like the "honors of war" granted to the French defenders of Lille by the soldiers of the Wehrmacht) that however make the book a must for the enthusiasts. This is not the usual World War II photo book, this could become the definitive collection of World War II photos!

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

As featured on The View From The Turret Vlog

The View From The Turret Vlog

The images of the troops at Dunkirk are a pleasing addition and provide the viewer with an idea of what happened and what was achieved in that event. As said previously I was very pleased and rightfully so to see what the Japanese were up to at this time. I am hoping that this is the first of a series covering World War 2 and if my opinion of this book is an indicator any future offerings will be a must have.

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About Jack Holroyd

The author has been employed in printing and publishing for fifty years. His works include five fictional titles, two books on aviation topics, five further titles on the First World War and one covering the actions of the SS Totenkopf Division in the invasion of France in May 1940.

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