Dunkirk : Fight to the Last Man

4.1 (385 ratings by Goodreads)

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In May of 1940, the armies of Nazi Germany were marching through France. In the face of this devastating advance, one of World War II's greatest acts of heroism would be a retreat: the evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk. In "Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man," we are given an unprecedented vision of these harrowing days. Hugh Sebag-Montefiore has created a bold and powerful account of the small group of men who fended off the German army so that hundreds of thousands of their comrades could exit this doomed land. These brave troops, members of the British Expeditionary Forces and the French army, held a series of strong points inland, allowing the rest of the battered battalions to escape to the coast. Those that remained were ordered to fight to the last man. Much has been written about the efforts of the Royal Navy in shuttling soldiers to safety, but here we are given an unparalleled look inside this massive operation and the invaluable role played by the BEF. Without the ferocity and bravery of the officers and ordinary soldiers on the ground, the German army would likely have encircled nearly half a million Allied soldiers. The loss of these battalions, Sebag-Montefiore argues, could have dramatically changed the direction of the war, and enabled Hitler to invade a weakened Britain. This is military history at its best: a judicious analysis of the movement of the war, and a vivid feel of what it was like to be on the front line. Sebag-Montefiore brings these men--the forgotten heroes of Dunkirk--to life, and it is their valiant exploits and devotion to their brethren that form the heart of this important book.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 666 pages
  • 162.6 x 236.2 x 48.3mm | 1,111.31g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 0674024397
  • 9780674024397
  • 1,566,864

Review quote

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, a British journalist and, together with his brother Simon, one-half of a family duo of excellent historians, has written a fascinating and finely detailed account of these momentous weeks. "Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man" draws heavily on archival sources and interviews with the few remaining survivors and their families. Without ever losing sight of how the struggle would affect the fates of England and France, "Dunkirk" recounts many examples of personal heroism that put a human face on the fighting. Sebag-Montefiore conveys the desperate, cornered-animal atmosphere that descended over the troops and never shirks from war's gruesome realities...Discussions of the events at Dunkirk have usually focused on the action on the beaches and the little ships that ferried men out to the larger vessels offshore. Sebag-Montefiore shifts the angle, choosing to highlight the heroics of the men ordered to hold the line against the Germans and keep the pocket around Dunkirk from collapsing.--Douglas Smith "Seattle Times "
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Rating details

385 ratings
4.1 out of 5 stars
5 35% (136)
4 43% (165)
3 19% (72)
2 3% (12)
1 0% (0)
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