Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory

Overview


A gripping account, Dunkirk reveals the British Expeditionary Force’s (BEF) brave stand against the German army and the dramatic rescue of 338,000 British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in the midst of World War II. In May 1940, the small BEF was sent to help the Belgians and French against advancing German forces. Ill-equipped and under-trained, the Allied troops conducted a fighting withdrawal in the face of the formidable Germans. Winston Churchill feared that nearly all of the BEF would be killed or ...
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Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory

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Overview


A gripping account, Dunkirk reveals the British Expeditionary Force’s (BEF) brave stand against the German army and the dramatic rescue of 338,000 British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in the midst of World War II. In May 1940, the small BEF was sent to help the Belgians and French against advancing German forces. Ill-equipped and under-trained, the Allied troops conducted a fighting withdrawal in the face of the formidable Germans. Winston Churchill feared that nearly all of the BEF would be killed or captured, but thankfully most were rescued and a defeat was turned into a victory—one that lives on in the annals of history.

General Julian Thompson draws from previously unpublished and rare materials to recreate the action on the beaches of the small town—from the misunderstandings between the British and French generals to the experiences of the ordinary soldier trying to fend for his life and return to his homeland. Unlike other books on the subject, Thompson’s account gives full weight to the fighting inland as the BEF found itself in mortal danger due to the Belgian army’s collapse on one flank and the French troop’s failure on the other flank. Thompson aims to correct popular myths about the evacuation and set the history straight once and for all about the events that unfolded in May 1940.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It's tempting to compare Thompson's book to Barbara W. Tuchman's great The Guns of August, but that misses the point. Each follows the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at the start of a world war, relating the trials of a small, determined force outnumbered by the sledgehammer of a larger foe. While Guns focuses on the big picture, Thompson is focused on the tactical angles and a BEF that is much different from that fielded in 1914. As a former general, Thompson (The Royal Marines) has the rare ability to translate the importance of movements, tactics, and minutiae for the layperson and make it exciting. He unblinkingly examines the strengths and failings of all combatants. VERDICT It's a rare thing to know the outcome of an event yet still feel suspense, frustration, and the gaining of new insight. A brilliant book, perfect for informed readers looking for the next great World War II history.—B.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611453140
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/10/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,391,114
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Major General Julian Thompson served in the Royal Marines for 34 years and commanded the counter-invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982. A professor in the Department of War Studies at Kings College, University of London, he is the author of six acclaimed books of military history. He lives in London.
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Table of Contents


List of Maps     vii
Preface     xiii
Twenty Wasted Years     1
Into Belgium: First Shocks     25
Back to the Escaut and Disaster on the BEF's Southern Flank     51
Counter-Stroke at Arras     82
Fighting on Two Fronts     101
Boulogne and Calais     145
The Withdrawal: II Corps on the Eastern Flank     174
The Withdrawal: Fighting the Panzers on the Western Flank     198
Comings and Goings at Dunkirk     221
The End at Dunkirk     245
The Final Battles     273
Reckoning     295
Appendices     303
Glossary     307
Notes     315
Select Bibliography     323
Index     325
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 7, 2012

    Highly recommended if you are a WWII history reader.

    Very informative treatise with detailed descriptions of events. It addresses the leaders failures to understand the course of battle and stresses the importance of proper communication channnels that became even more important as the war waged on.

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