It has now become a December tradition - as keenly awaited by my readers, no doubt, as the coming of Father Christmas himself - for me to post a list of my favourite books of the year. This year I did less reading than usual because of a new addition to the family; I seem to more or less invariably fall asleep within 20 minutes of beginning reading a book these days, in whatever circumstance and at whatever time of day. Hopefully this will resolve itself as the years go on and it's not the incipience of old farthood. But in any event, I did manage to finish some books at least. Here are the best 5 (cheating a little bit by including some from the same series) with exerpts from my Goodreads reviews:
1. The Third Reich at War, by Richard Evans.Each of the three volumes of this trilogy is excellent, but this is probably the best, if only for the sheer feat that it represents - condensing so much historical incident into an (admittedly long) 760 pages. What is perhaps most notable is its insistence on the centrality of the Holocaust to WWII. Quite rightly, Evans eschews much in the way of military history; the war was lost as soon as the Nazis invaded Russia simply by dint of lack of resources. The real story is the way in which an entire society was transformed from the centre of European civilisation to a nihilistic, moral void in the space of less than a decade. Evans recognises this, and brings the sheer enormity of it home in a very calm and understated way.