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A sweeping, groundbreaking epic that combines military with social history, to illuminate the ways in which Great Britain and its people were permanently transformed by the Second World War. Here is the many-faceted, world-historically significant story of Britain at war. In looking closely at the military and political dimensions of the conflict, Alan Allport seeks to answer questions such as: Could the war have been avoided? Could it have been lost? Were the strategic decisions the rights ones? How well did the British organize and fight? How well did the British live up to their own values? What difference did the war make in the end to the fate of the nation? In answering these and other essential questions he focuses--unlike many historians--on the human contingencies of the war, looking directly at the roles of individuals and the outcomes determined by luck or chance. Moreover, he looks intimately at the changes in wartime and postwar British society and culture. Whether discussing the mixing of classes during the war or the Labour Party movement, he shows us in great detail the effects of the war, again not only on an institutional, but on an individual level as well. For better or worse, much of Britain today is ultimately the product of the experiences of 1939-1941.
A sweeping, groundbreaking epic that combines military with social history, to illuminate the ways in which Great Britain and its people were permanently transformed by the Second World War. Here is the many-faceted, world-historically significant story of Britain at war. In looking closely at the military and political dimensions of the conflict's first crucial years, Alan Allport tackles questions such as: Could the war have been avoided? Could it have been lost? Were the strategic decisions the rights ones? How well did the British organize and fight? How well did the British live up to their own values? What difference did the war make in the end to the fate of the nation? In answering these and other essential questions he focuses on the human contingencies of the war, weighing directly at the roles of individuals and the outcomes determined by luck or chance. Moreover, he looks intimately at the changes in wartime British society and culture. Britain at Bay draws on a large cast of characters--from the leading statesmen and military commanders who made the decisions, to the ordinary men, women, and children who carried them out and lived through their consequences--in a comprehensible and compelling single history of forty-six million people. For better or worse, much of Britain today is ultimately the product of the experiences of 1938-1941.
'Extraordinary' - Richard Vinen 'Will make you think anew not just about the war, but about the Britain and Britons that fought it' - Daniel Todman In the bleak first half of the Second World War, Britain stood alone against the Axis forces. Isolated and outmanoeuvred, it seemed as though she might fall at any moment. Only an extraordinary effort of courage - by ordinary men and women - held the line. The Second World War is the defining experience of modern British history, a new Iliad for our own times. But, as Alan Allport reveals in this, the first part of a major new two-volume history, the real story was often very different from the myth that followed it. From the subtle moral calculus of appeasement to the febrile dusts of the Western Desert, Allport interrogates every aspect of the conflict - and exposes its echoes in our own age. Challenging orthodoxy and casting fresh light on famous events from Dunkirk to the Blitz, this is the real story of a clash between civilisations that remade the world in its image.
Britain At Bay by Spenser Wilkinson
Browned Off And Bloody Minded by Alan Allport
More than three-and-a-half million men served in the British Army during the Second World War, the vast majority of them civilians who had never expected to become soldiers and had little idea what military life, with all its strange rituals, discomforts, and dangers, was going to be like. Alan Allport’s rich and luminous social history examines the experience of the greatest and most terrible war in history from the perspective of these ordinary, extraordinary men, who were plucked from their peacetime families and workplaces and sent to fight for King and Country. Allport chronicles the huge diversity of their wartime trajectories, tracing how soldiers responded to and were shaped by their years with the British Army, and how that army, however reluctantly, had to accommodate itself to them. Touching on issues of class, sex, crime, trauma, and national identity, through a colorful multitude of fresh individual perspectives, the book provides an enlightening, deeply moving perspective on how a generation of very modern-minded young men responded to the challenges of a brutal and disorienting conflict.
Britain S War A New World 1942 1947 by Daniel Todman
The second volume of Daniel Todman's account of Great Britain and World War II The second of Daniel Todman's two sweeping volumes on Great Britain and World War II, Britain's War: A New World, 1942-1947, begins with the event Winston Churchill called the "worst disaster" in British military history: the Fall of Singapore in February 1942 to the Japanese. As in the first volume of Todman's epic account of British involvement in World War II ("Total history at its best," according to Jay Winter), he highlights the inter-connectedness of the British experience in this moment and others, focusing on its inhabitants, its defenders, and its wartime leadership. Todman explores the plight of families doomed to spend the war struggling with bombing, rationing, exhausting work and, above all, the absence of their loved ones and the uncertainty of their return. It also documents the full impact of the entrance into the war by the United States, and its ascendant stewardship of the war. Britain's War: A New World, 1942-1947 is a triumph of narrative and research. Todman explains complex issues of strategy and economics clearly while never losing sight of the human consequences--at home and abroad--of the way that Britain fought its war. It is the definitive account of a drama which reshaped Great Britain and the world.
Britain At Bay by Spenser Wilkinson
The Churchill Complex by Ian Buruma
From one of its keenest observers, a brilliant, witty journey through the "Special Relationship" between Britain and America that has done so much to shape the world, from World War II to Brexit. It's impossible to understand the last 75 years of American history, through to Trump and Brexit, without understanding the Anglo-American relationship, and specifically the bonds between presidents and prime ministers. FDR of course had Churchill; JFK famously had Macmillan, his consigliere during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Reagan found his ideological soul mate in Thatcher, and George W. Bush found his fellow believer, in religion and in war, in Tony Blair. And now, of course, it is impossible to understand the populist uprising in either country, from 2016 to the present, without reference to Trump and Boris Johnson, though ironically, they are also the key to understanding the special relationship's demise. There are few things more certain in politics than that at some point, facing a threat to national security, a leader will evoke Winston Churchill to stand for brave leadership (and Neville Chamberlain to represent craven weakness). As Ian Buruma shows, in his dazzling short tour de force of storytelling and analysis, the mantle has in fact only grown more oppressive as nuanced historical understanding fades and is replaced by shallow myth. Absurd as it is to presume to say what Churchill would have thought about any current event, it's relatively certain he would have been horrified by the Iraq War and Brexit, to name two episodes dense with "Finest Hour" analogizing. But The Churchill Complex is much more than a reflection on the weight of Churchill's legacy and its misuses. At its heart is a series of shrewd and absorbing character studies of the president-prime minster dyads, which in Ian Buruma's gifted hands serve as a master class in politics, diplomacy and abnormal psychology. It's never been a relationship of equals: from Churchill's desperate cajoling and conniving to keep FDR on side in the war on, British prime ministers have put much more stock in the relationship than their US counterparts did. For England, resigned to the loss of its once-great empire and the diminishment of its power, its close kinship to the world's greatest superpower would give it continued relevance, and serve as leverage to keep continental Europe in its place. As Buruma shows, this was almost always fool's gold. And now, even as the links between the Brexit vote and the 2016 US election are coming into sharper focus, the Anglo-American alliance has floundered on the rocks of the isolationism that is one of 2016's signal legacies. The Churchill Complex may not have a happy ending, but as with Ian Buruma's other works, piercing lucidity and elegant prose is its own form of lasting comfort.
Demobbed by Alan Allport
What happened when millions of British servicemen were “demobbed”—demobilized—after World War II? Most had been absent for years, and the joy of arrival was often clouded with ambivalence, regrets, and fears. Returning soldiers faced both practical and psychological problems, from reasserting their place in the family home to rejoining a much-altered labor force. Civilians worried that their homecoming heroes had been barbarized by their experiences and would bring crime and violence back from the battlefield. Drawing on personal letters and diaries, newspapers, reports, novels, and films, Alan Allport illuminates the darker side of the homecoming experience for ex-servicemen, their families, and society at large—a gripping story that’s in danger of being lost to national memory.
The Raf Battle Of Britain Fighter Pilot S Kitbag by Mark Hillier
The scenes are familiar ones; the young Brylcream Boys sat at dispersal waiting for the haunting call of Scramble, lounging in their shirt sleeves and fur-lined boots, their leather flying helmets lying limp by their side. But what did the RAF fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain really wear, and what vital items would their kitbags have held?The casual air of the dashing pilots of Fighter Command in the Spitfire Summer of 1940 conceals a necessarily professional approach to their task of holding Hitlers Luftwaffe at bay. Therefore, each item of clothing and equipment they wore and carried had a role and a function, be it for warmth and comfort, communication, or for fighting and survival.All the objects that an RAF fighter pilot was issued with during the Battle of Britain are explored in this book in high-definition color photographs, showing everything from the differing uniforms, to headgear, personal weapons, gloves, goggles, parachute packs and the essential Mae West life jacket. Each item is fully described and its purpose and use explained.Relive Britains finest hour as never before through the actually clothing and accouterments of The Few.