Britain at Bay

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02 March 2021
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By ALAN ALLPORT

A whopper of a book tackles the early, desperate years of WWII and attempts to correct some fondly cherished myths. The author posits this, that Britain’s self image of careless but plucky underdogs is a myth, as some sort of revelation. It isn’t. All history gets boiled down to major events, themes and soundbites for the masses. The danger of this high-minded approach is that it becomes less about fact and more about the author’s own opinion. That said, the politics of 1938 are exposed in detail, the fragility of the US-Britain alliance made abundantly clear and Chamberlain’s tattered reputation gets some kind of repudiation.

Where the book does come up short is in the military actions, where the author selectively picks quotes to back up his opinion, giving very little actual detail on the fighting. For the political situation this is first rate, for the military side, woefully inadequate.

  • Profile Books
  • ISBN 978-1-7812-5781-4
  • 594 pages. Hardback. £25

 

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