World War II classes have been, and continue to be among the most highly enrolled classes in History Departments, yet there is a serious lack of good supplementary materials to match with main survey texts. This is particularly true for World War II atlases and books in general outlining the geography of WWII. World War II was pre-eminently a war of rapid and far-reaching conquest with rapid and far-reaching movement. A good sense of world geography is essential to grasping the magnitude and sweep of the contending alliances in the war. The books that already exist are quite lengthy and cumbersome to use in the classroom, not to mention often much too expensive to adopt as supplementary texts. Every reviewer agreed that a concise, affordable volume of maps was needed in the market. Ronald Story has created a relatively short book of WWII maps, which consists of 50 4-color maps covering the most significant phases of the war, each with an adjacent facing page of explanatory text.
The collection covers both conventional and non-conventional areas, and the layout allows instructors to easily pick and choose which maps to use according to what they are already covering or wish to cover in their courses. The explanatory text does three things: explains features of the conflict in question, shows changes in circumstances through map flows, and suggests longer-term consequences of campaigns. This text will provide students with a comfortable knowledge of the constantly changing borders and populations, essential to understanding WWII. Some examples of maps Story is includes are "Europe in 1914," "The Invasion of Poland (1939)," "Japan Expansion to 1941," "The Red Advance (1943-1944)," "The Conquest of Southeast Asia" and "Post-War Europe" to name a few. Story construct his manuscript from a list of maps he has already compiled and used as supplementary material in his own World War II class for the past 20 years. His experience in the classroom makes him familiar with what works best for students; this text will be a welcome learning tool for the World War II course, and promises to have some retail potential as well.