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Dunkirk: The Men They Left Behind

Dunkirk: The Men They Left Behind [Kindle Edition]

Sean Longden
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Serves as a great and convincing riposte to the banner-waving tale that is normally told. --Catholic Herald

A meticulously-researched, very well written and deeply moving account of the experiences of the forty thousand British soldiers who fell into German hands during the Dunkirk campaign. --Andrew Roberts

In Sean Longden [the POWs] have found a sensitive and capable chronicler, and his sensitive book cannot fail to elicit sympathy for their suffering and admiration for their sacrifice. --Dominic Sandbrook, Evening Standard

Book Description

The true story of the 41,000 British soldiers who were left behind after the evacuation of Dunkirk, May 1940.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1140 KB
  • Print Length: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (1 Jun 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002S0KBNG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33,437 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book, you won't regret it! 29 Jun 2008
My mum bought me this for my birthday. I read it in two long days! My Grandfather was captured at Calais (one of The Rifle Brigade). He wouldn't talk too much about it, only opening up a little towards the end of his life. He would talk for a while, then change the subject. He was very bitter about not being rescued like those at Dunkirk. I used to say to him, 'Had you been rescued, you might not have been here today, as you could have died elsewhere'. He felt let down by the government and therefore had no desire to try and escape. Until I read this book, I had little understanding of what he and others went through. I was not aware of the continued fighting and other rescues after Dunkirk, despite having read a lot about the War. Perhaps it was a shame it wasn't written earlier. I might have asked my Grandfather more before it was too late.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great account of an often ignored subject 20 Jun 2008
A grim and often horrific account of the men of the British Expeditionary Force that were left behind in France after the Dunkirk evacuation. The author describes the experiences of these men using a wide array of sources, including eye-witness accounts that pull no punches.

A very readable and fascinating book, although perhaps the editing could have been a little tighter, as the author sometimes repeats himself, and there are a fair number of errors in the text, though these are purely cosmetic.

Highly recommended.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Mandy
I have to admit that prior to reading this book I was totally ignorant of what our men experienced as POWs in the hands of the Germans. I couldn't put it down, and found it heartbreaking, fascinating and uplifting. The sheer strength of character that these men displayed to survive their horrific treatment by the Germans and their sense of betrayal at our own Government was amazing.

It's a story that needed to be told, as even now children at school are not made aware of those who were left behind at Dunkirk. Dunkirk is still always hailed as a victory due to the large number of men they successfully evacuated.

My main reason for buying this book was that my grandfather fought in the 51st Highlanders and was one of the rearguard. Luckily he was one of the few from the 51st who made it home without being captured, through sheer luck. He found himself, along with a few other men, separated from his platoon and they trudged through France to get to a port in the hope of finding a way home. He got one of the last 2 boats to leave from the port they reached and finally made it home 2 weeks after those from Dunkirk, by which time my great-grandmother and nana had been told he was missing and assumed to be either dead or captured! Unfortunately I don't know which port he made it home from as apart from telling us how after disabling the bren gun with hand grenades they made a run for it to the boat and how hunger during the trek to the port made them eat pig food, he refused point blank to speak about anything he experienced during WWII. Like another reviewer I wish this book had been available earlier whilst my grandfather was still alive in the hope that I could have got him to tell me a little more, even if it was just the name of the port.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last 29 Jun 2010
As I have grown older and watched the 'celebrations' for the anniversaries of Dunkirk unfold I have always had a little irritation that 51st Highland Division, still fighting, were largly forgotton. I have a particular intrest as my father escaped from St Valery through Le Harve as part of the redundant Ark Force. An uncle was killed well after Dunkirk and my fathers younger Brother was captured and endured 5 long years as a POW which resulted in his death soon after his repatriation.
I have followed the 51st in their reteat from the Somme area and spent a few reflective days in St Valery.
This book details the plight of many more of the men they left behind and is a worthy tribute to their fortitude.
I noticed for the first time that the media at the 70th Anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation spent some time reflecting on the thousands, still fighting, who were still going strong almost two weeks after Dunkirk. Unfortunatly very many of those left behind at Dunkirk and all along the coast were captured and Sean Longdons earlier book 'Hitler's British Slaves' Was a must read after completing this one.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
This book aims to tell the normally forgotten story of those left behind. It's a story that should be told: there are many reasons that it generally hasn't been. One is the difficulty in finding people prepared to talk about it. I didn't know my own father and his cousin had been amongst those left behind to fight (which they did - ferociously, as is shown by the casualty figures on both sides) until an acquaintance mentioned it when I was a teenager. He didn't talk about it even once I did know. This was common.

This book is therefore unavoidably based on evidence from only a small proportion of those involved. That can't be helped, but it presents their experience as everyone's experience. To take an early example, it reads as though all prisoners were sent back through Trier. Many were - my father probably was - but there were also other routes, with people marched from Arras and the coast up through the Netherlands to towards the mouth of the Rhine to be transported by Rhine barge. Looking at the German records shows how many transit camps (Dulags) there were all along the Rhine and there were other routes to them between the extremes of the Rhine mouth and Trier.

There are further examples, and as other reviewers have said, there are also errors of simple fact and typesetting.

So in short: I'm glad the book was written; I recommend reading it; but don't take it as the universal story of all those left behind, and watch out for mistakes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars first clas condition. as new. arrived 3 days ...
first clas new.arrived 3 days after order.highly recomended.
Published 9 days ago by thomas kear
5.0 out of 5 stars It allowed me to have a better understanding of what my father went...
Very detailed account and was quite disturbing at times. It allowed me to have a better understanding of what my father went through as he was captured at St Valery. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Rod House
5.0 out of 5 stars Facinating
What a different angle this book puts on an event that we deem to have been a success. The story of all those left behind and their attempts to return home.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. M. Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars A different take
Makes a refreshing change to read about the defeated for a change. The author tries to convey some of the despair and privations of those men marched into captivity after Dunkirk.
Published 1 month ago by S. J. Barnett
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
honest detailed report of Dunkirk every body should read it, a clear picture of what life was like after the evacuation
Published 1 month ago by gwalker
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear God, you let this happen.
A man I knew went to war as part of the 51st Highland Division, he died in 1989 of cirrhosis of the liver. He had his twenty first birthday in Stalag 8b. He was funny and kind. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. C. Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Dunkirk's aftermath. Almost more important than the actual event.
Dispel the myth of Dunkirk. Wartime propaganda ran the story at the time as a defeat turned into victory. That may be the case. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I chse
I thank Sean Longden, and all of the Veterans, so very much for taking the time to put this book together. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Gillian Alliston
4.0 out of 5 stars Dunkirk
As i had an Uncle Killed at Dunkirk retreat, the book brought a lot to light something i did not know about also an Uncle who spent five years Prisoner of war in Germany after... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. R. Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars a story of suffering endured by those who held the line
This is a book which tells the story of those who were left behind at Dunkirk ,holding off the German Army so others could be evacuated back to the UK. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Andrew Manning
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Popular Highlights

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A pre-war soldier of the Territorial Army displaying his kit, 1939. Courtesy of Norman Barnett. &quote;
Highlighted by 8 Kindle users
almost 40,000 British soldiers were alive and already being marched off into a captivity &quote;
Highlighted by 6 Kindle users
As the boats sailed off they had abandoned 2,472 guns, nearly 65,000 vehicles and 20,000 motorcycles. In the chaos of retreat they had also left behind 416,000 tons of stores, over 75,000 tons of much-needed ammunition and 162,000 tons of petrol. &quote;
Highlighted by 5 Kindle users

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