Britain's War Machine: Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second World War

Britain's War Machine: Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second World War

Hardback

By (author) David Edgerton

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  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE
  • Format: Hardback | 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 238mm x 44mm | 762g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0713999187
  • ISBN 13: 9780713999181
  • Illustrations note: 8pp colour, 16pp b&w
  • Sales rank: 233,204

Product description

This title is nominated for "Guardian" Books of the Year. The familiar image of the British in the Second World War is that of the plucky underdog taking on German might. David Edgerton's bold, compelling new history shows the conflict in a new light, with Britain as a very wealthy country, formidable in arms, ruthless in pursuit of its interests and sitting at the heart of a global production system. The British, indeed Churchillian, vision of war and modernity was challenged by repeated defeat by less well equipped enemies. Yet the end result was a vindication of this vision. Like the United States, a powerful Britain won a cheap victory, while others paid a great price. "Britain's War Machine", by putting resources, machines and experts at the heart of a global rather than merely imperial story, demolishes some of the most cherished myths about wartime Britain and gives us a very different and often unsettling picture of a great power in action.

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Author information

David Edgerton is the Hans Rausing Professor at Imperial College London, where he was the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. He is the author of a sequence of groundbreaking books on 20th century Britain: England and the Aeroplane: An Essay on a Militant and Technological Nation, Science, Technology and the British Industrial 'Decline', 1870-1970 and Warfare State: Britain, 1920-1970. He is also the author of the iconoclastic and brilliant The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900

Review quote

Brilliant and thought-provoking ... There are moments of edgy humour, too ... This remarkable book shows that whatever the reasons for the length of time it took to bring Hitler to heel, the quantity and quality of British war material was not among them -- Brendan Simms Sunday Telegraph Edgerton's book is a remarkable achievement. He re-envisions Britain's role in World War II and with it Britain's place in modernity. In place of a plucky island standing alone, he gives us a global empire of machines, not a welfare state, but a technocratic warfare state. The period will never look the same again -- Adam Tooze, Author Of The Wages Of Destruction: The Making And Breaking Of The Nazi Economy Consistently lively, stimulating and authoritative Observer Absolutely fascinating. This book will make you think differently about Britain's role in the Second World War -- Laurence Rees, Author Of Auschwitz: The Nazis And The 'final Solution' For too long we have had a distorted view of Britain's position and role in the Second World War. David Edgerton has produced a stunning book that rectifies this misconception, and which is told with authority, clarity and compelling energy -- James Holland, Author Of The Battle Of Britain This book has certainly changed my views ... It is a necessary and timely corrective to a great deal of loosely thought-through conventional wisdom, and makes a real contribution to our understanding of the war -- Richard Holmes Literary Review An important corrective to the black-and-white portrait of the period that still prevails Financial Times A stimulating exercise in muscular revisionism ... Offers a fresh and provocative view of our much-loved and much-misunderstood "finest hour" -- David Reynolds Guardian Accessibly written and deserves a wide audience. Above all, Edgerton demonstrates that the war is a subject we haven't yet heard nearly enough about. Britain's War Machine is a considerable achievement -- Graham Farmelo Times Higher Education Edgerton has excelled himself with this highly revisionist account of Britain's national performance during the Second World War ... an unusually provocative book Twentieth Century British History, 2011 Edgerton has written what could prove to be one of the most influential books on the history of the Second World War ... majestic ... [he] has successfully shown us that we still have a lot to learn about the conflict ... it will become the required reading for all students wishing to study the Second World War Reviews in History An astounding work of myth-busting ... Inspiring and unsettling in equal measure -- Tom Holland Guardian Majestic ... a wonderful read. It has probably popped more myths than any other book on the war in recent years -- Taylor Downing History Today