Britain at Bay: The Epic Story of the Second World War: 1938-1941 (Paperback)
  • Britain at Bay: The Epic Story of the Second World War: 1938-1941 (Paperback)
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Britain at Bay: The Epic Story of the Second World War: 1938-1941 (Paperback)

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Paperback 608 Pages / Published: 03/06/2021
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A Times Book of the Year 'Britain's wartime story has been told many times, but never as cleverly as this.' Dominic Sandbrook 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.

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781781257821
Number of pages: 608
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 37 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS
Simultaneously incisive but nuanced, and studded with sharp pen portraits, Britain at Bay offers a scholarly, invigorating and beautifully constructed tour d'horizon of perhaps the four most crucial years in our island story. -- David Kynaston, author of Austerity Britain, 1945-51
Britain at Bay might be the single best examination of British politics, society and strategy in these four years that has ever been written ... beautifully written, thoroughly researched and cleverly presented. I put my copy down with deep satisfaction. * Wall Street Journal *
Britain's wartime story has been told many times, but never as cleverly as this. Alan Allport begins with JRR Tolkien writing The Lord of the Rings, and moves on to the IRA bombing of Coventry in August 1939. Familiar stories such as Munich, Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain are here, but the social and cultural framing is always unexpected. ... A bracing, surprising, provocative book, and an enormous pleasure to read -- Dominic Sandbrook * The Times *
This extraordinary book punctures many of the myths that have become so influential about Britain in the Second World War without robbing the period of its spectacular drama * Professor Richard Vinen, author of The Long '68 and National Service *
Written with style and verve, Britain at Bay will make you think anew not just about the war, but about the Britain and the Britons that fought it. A book for anyone who wants to understand this crucial period in the nation's history. -- Daniel Todman, author of Britain's War: A New World, 1942-1947
Original, compelling, timely. This is a history that reminds us of the Britain behind the myth of its Second World War. It's a history that many will want to argue with. And that everyone should read. -- Lucy Noakes, Rab Butler Professor of Modern History at the University of Essex
The beautifully-written Britain at Bay is an impregnable fortress of good sense gallantly resisting the crass sentimentality, exaggeration and naive hindsight of so many accounts of Britain in the early second world war. With great elan, built on deep reserves of historical knowledge, it puts Chamberlain and Churchill in perspective, the Blitz, the Battle of Britain and Battle of the Atlantic in true proportion, and the progress of the imperial war abroad in panoramic view. Its precise and pointed judgements on events, people, and arguments are a bracing reminder of the power of brilliant history to make us reconsider what we think we know about the most familiar part of the British past. -- David Edgerton, author of Britain's War Machine and The Rise and Fall of the British Nation
Brave and bold ... much needed antidote to the "keep calm and carry on" strain of nostalgia ... Allport moves with ease, wit and insight between the high political and diplomatic, the social and economic, the strategic and military, with biographical vignettes and anecdotes, illustrating the lived experience of ordinary people * Times Literary Supplement *

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“Britain Alone?”

A powerful, persuasive and timely re-evaluation of the period that for so many to this day defines the essence of “Britishness”. I was given an advance copy of this book last month by Profile and History Hit.... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 5

“Outstanding read”

Among the best books read in last 10 years.

It's an account of Britain in the years leading up to WWII and the first three years of that war.

I thought I knew something of this period, but this book was an... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

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