I very much enjoyed DK Publishing's recent World War II: The Definitive Visual History (2009) and I do think that it is an outstanding book. Accordingly, I was a bit unsure of what to expect when I picked up DK Publishing's earlier release, the similarly titled World War II (DK Publishing 2004, 335 pages). Two books on the same subject, released within a few years of each other? Could they both be successful and original? In a word, yes! World War II (the 2004 release) is very possibly the most essential World War II book that I have in my library. It considers the causes of WWII, the major and minor events of World War II, the people of World War II and the post-war effects of World War II. Every theater, every personality, and every major battle are covered in clear, concise, well written prose. The principle authors of World War II -- H.P. Willmot, Charles Messenger and Robin Cross, with ample contribution from others -- have given us the best single volume history of World War II that I have found. Like World War II, the Definitive Visual History, World War II (the 2004 release) is arranged in an accessible, chronological format beginning in 1919 and ending in 1949. It is also full of excellent photographs, maps and charts. Moreover, it includes a very good guide to global memorials to the war. Where World War II is even better than World War II, the Definitive Visual History is in its factual content which is so comprehensive that even a knowledgeable student of World War II has to learn from its pages. If I could only own one history of World War II, it would be this book. World War II is the most comprehensive and readable history of World War II and it belongs in the library of every student of the War.