The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May--October 1940

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Overview

'If Hitler fails to invade or destroy Britain, he has lost the war,' Churchill said in the summer of 1940.  He was right. "The Battle of Britain" was a crucial turning point in the history of the Second World War and now, acclaimed British historian James Holland has written the definitive account of this battle based on extensive new research from around the world including thousands of new interviews with people on both sides of the fighting.  Had Britain's defenses collapsed, Hitler would have dominated all of Europe and been able to ...

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The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May-October 1940

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Overview

'If Hitler fails to invade or destroy Britain, he has lost the war,' Churchill said in the summer of 1940.  He was right. "The Battle of Britain" was a crucial turning point in the history of the Second World War and now, acclaimed British historian James Holland has written the definitive account of this battle based on extensive new research from around the world including thousands of new interviews with people on both sides of the fighting.  Had Britain's defenses collapsed, Hitler would have dominated all of Europe and been able to turn his full attention east to the Soviet Union. The German invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940 was unlike any the world had ever seen. It hit with a force and aggression that no-one could counter and in just a few short weeks, all in their way crumbled under the force of the Nazi hammer blow. With France facing defeat and with British forces pressed back to the Channel, there were few who believed Britain could possibly survive. Soon, it seemed, Hitler would have all of Europe at his feet. Yet Hitler's forces were not quite the Goliath they at first seemed, while her leadership lacked the single-minded purpose, vision and direction that had led to such success on land. Nor was Britain any David. Thanks to a sophisticated defensive system and the combined efforts of the RAF, Royal Navy as well as the mounting sense of collective defiance led by a new Prime Minister, Britain was not ready to give in to the Nazi onslaught. From clashes between coastal convoys and Schnellboote in the Channel to astonishing last stands in Flanders, and from the slaughter by the U-boats in the icy Atlantic to the dramatic aerial battles over England, James Holland’s The Battle of Britain paints a complete picture of that extraordinary summer - a time in which the fate of the world truly hung by a thread.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This massive volume is informative, enthralling, and moving—often all three at once...Genuinely brilliant."—Booklist

"Thoroughly researched yet written in a relaxed, enjoyable style."—History Book Review

“…Holland is a young historian who has forged a considerable reputation, especially for his intimate human portraits of the men who fought on both sides of the war…this is a notable account of an epic human experience, told with the informality and enthusiasm that distinguish Holland’s work…If the story is familiar, Holland tells it with authority and exuberant panache.”—Max Hastings, author of Winston’s War, in The Sunday Times UK

The 70th anniversary of the battle…has prompted a surge of new books and the republication of several old ones. Among the best is the comprehensive new study by James Holland… Holland’s book has all the hallmarks of his previous successes: the gripping narrative; the ability to recreate the intensity of combat, the breadth of research; and the authoritative historical judgments.”—The Spectator UK

“The novelty of Holland’s excellent book…lies in its extended time frame, and also in its use of first-hand sources from both sides of the conflict, and its assertion that the battle was not won by the RAF alone. Holland prefers his history to be about people, and his dazzling cast of characters includes civilians and servicemen, men and women, young and old.”—The Telegraph UK

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250002150
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2012
  • Pages: 736
  • Sales rank: 266,766
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

James Holland was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and studied history at Durham University. A member of the British Commission for Military History and the Guild of Battlefield Guides, he also regularly contributes reviews and articles in national newspapers and magazines. He is the author of Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-1945; Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege, 1940-1943; Together We Stand: North Africa 1942-1943 – Turning the Tide in the West; and Heroes: The Greatest Generation and the Second World War. His many interviews with veterans of the Second World War are available at the Imperial War Museum. James Holland is married with two children and lives in Wiltshire.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 22, 2011

    A New View of an Old Subject

    World War II is probably the most written about war of all time, and you keep saying to your self that no once can write anything new about it. Well, James Holland has done it. He has written an engrossing story on the Battle of Britain in a whole new way. Most scholars who write about the Battle of Britain start their narrative with the bombing of the channel convoys or the battle of the aerodromes. But Mr. Holland starts his book on May 10, 1940, the date the German Army invaded France. We get to see a wonderful description of the fighting done the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), and the fighting retreat to Dunkirk. This scholarship is something we don't see very often in books about WWII. I consider a book is extremely good if it tells me something that I did not know before. This book tells us that men, materials, and planes were sent to France after the Dunkirk withdrawal occurred, in a vain attempt to keep France in the war This necessitated a second withdrawal from France. I would highly recommend this bo0ok to anyone who is looking for a fresh approach to one of the most written about battles of WWII.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    An excellent narrative. It actually covers quite a bit more tha

    An excellent narrative.
    It actually covers quite a bit more than just the Battle of Britain.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May--Oc

    The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History; May--October 1940 is a gold mine of information on the Battle of Britain and the Battle of France, taking the reader into the cockpit of the BF 109, the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hawker Hurricane, etc. This book also talks about the british intelligence network, radar, connections with America, and the lives of both pilots and citizens. The book does the exact same amount of justice to Germany, giving it the same amount of information as it gives Britain. Although this is a history book, it gives you the feel of a novel. I would give this book 10/10 any day, and James Holland does an amazing job. Please read!   

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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