Alone: Britain, Churchill and Dunkirk -Defeat into Victory

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Britain, Churchill and Dunkirk: Defeat into Victory

By Michael Korda

Published by Liveright; Dist. in Australia by Wiley
RRP $42.95 in hardcover • ISBN 9781631491320

Given the recent releases of the films, Dunkirk and Darkest Hour, this excellent book by Michael Korda is quite opportune.

The evacuation of over 300,000 soldiers from the beaches at Dunkirk was a turning point in the seemingly inevitable march of the Nazis.

The battle of Britain which followed is often quoted as the pivotal event in the war but if the soldiers had not escaped Dunkirk, British morale would have collapsed. With their return, Britain could fight on.

Part memoir, part history, Korda recounts his experiences as a young lad living through these times in England. He recalls being instructed by his nanny to include the British Expeditionary Force in his nightly prayers.

Alone expertly captures the chaos and confusion that surrounded this momentous time. He quite rightly praises Churchill for his inspiring leadership, particularly following the ignominious resignation of Neville Chamberlain.

Korda also gives due credit to Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay who was the architect of the ‘little boats’ rescue mission. Unlike the way in which it was depicted in the movie, Darkest Hour, this rescue plan had been on the drawing board for some weeks prior to the actual event.

Despite the loss of nearly 70,000 men, the evacuation was a triumph but Britain was to remain ‘alone’, albeit with the aid of its Commonwealth soldiers, until Hitler attacked Russia in June 1941.

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