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by Maury Klein

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Bloomsbury USA
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9.60(w) x 6.30(h) x 2.60(d)



The colossal scale of World War II required a mobilization effort greater than anything attempted in all of the world's history. The United States had to fight a war across two oceans and three continents--and to do so, it had to build and equip a military that was all but nonexistent before the war began. Never in the nation’s history did it have to create, outfit, transport, and supply huge armies, navies, and air forces on so many distant and disparate fronts.

The Axis powers might have fielded better-trained soldiers, better weapons, and better tanks and aircraft, but they could not match American productivity. The United States buried its enemies in aircraft, ships, tanks, and guns; in this sense, American industry and American workers, won World War II. The scale of the effort was titanic, and the result historic. Not only did it determine the outcome of the war, but it transformed the American economy and society. Maury Klein's A Call to Arms is the definitive narrative history of this epic struggle--told by one of America’s greatest historians of business and economics--and renders the transformation of America with a depth and vividness never available before.


Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Very well written and exhaustively researched, this masterpiece demonstrates that accomplished scholarly work can also be accessible. Highly recommended to both academics and lay readers.” —Library Journal, starred review

“[Klein's] coverage of the organization of American institutional, economic, military, and governmental might for WWII is both sobering and inspiring . . . reminiscent of Arthur Schlesinger's earlier, sweeping volumes on the early New Deal--uncommonly perceptive, enjoyably readable, and authoritative.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Klein's book reads like a fairy tale . . . If you haven't given Boyle's law much thought since the Reagan revolution, reading Klein will reward you with an excellent course in heat, electricity, and magnetism, at very little cost to your composure.” —Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

“Maury Klein's stories of heroic inventors creating the industrial revolution make the history of technology come alive.” —Daniel Walker Howe, NBCC Award nominee for What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

“This well-oiled colossus of a book-its moving parts working together like a mighty machine--illuminates an epic period of national growth, when the country's first big carbon footprints were made on a march toward greatness and plenty.” —Thomas Mallon, author of Henry and Clara, Bandbox, and Fellow Travelers

“For those who believe the 'grand narrative' has disappeared, I strongly recommend Maury Klein's elegant and endlessly fascinating account of America's mobilization for World War II. Combining a deft understanding of the enormous forces that won the war and changed the world's direction along with a jeweler's eye for the anecdotes that bring history alive, Klein has produced the best one-volume account to date. The shrewd analysis superb writing, and masterful storytelling sweep the reader along. History doesn't get much better than this.” —David M. Oshinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Polio: An American Story and A Conspiracy So Immense: The World According to Joe McCarthy

“'We must be the great arsenal of democracy,' declared Franklin Roosevelt in December 1940. In the five wartime years that followed, his countrymen stocked that arsenal with astounding quantities of the instruments of war--even while expanding the civilian sector of the economy as well. For all the valor of its warriors on land, sea, and air, in the last analysis it was the stupefying productivity of America's behemoth economy that constituted the nation's greatest contribution to victory. Maury Klein tells the story of the World War II 'production miracle' in all its complexity, contention, and drama. Meticulously researched, incisively argued, and fetchingly written, A Call to Arms is the authoritative account of one of America's most prodigious achievements.” —David M. Kennedy

“Thoroughly researched, objective and authoritative in tone, this is likely to be the definitive work on this topic for years to come.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[A] magisterial account. Exhaustively researched and engagingly written, this marvelous book tells an epic story. It paints on a broad canvas, yet simultaneously limns detailed and fascinating miniatures of compelling people and places. It deserves a spot on the bookshelf alongside David Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning Freedom From Fear as the definitive rendering of the World War II home front.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“This story of how America became the 'great arsenal of democracy' is the subject of A Call to Arms, and I can't imagine it being told more thoroughly, authoritatively or definitively.” —The Washington Post, one of Jonathan Yardley's favorite books of 2013

“Klein is a writer, historian and, most enjoyably, a storyteller . . . The excellent, broader story [he] tells in A Call to Arms is about a country that fought with itself before it could fight its enemies abroad.” —Dallas Morning News


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