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Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk [Paperback]

Joshua Levine
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

26 May 2011 Forgotten Voices

It could have been the biggest military disaster suffered by the British in the Second World War, but against all odds the British Army was successfully evacuated, and 'Dunkirk spirit' became synonymous with the strength of the British people in adversity.

On the same day that Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, Nazi troops invaded Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The eight-month period of calm that had existed since the declaration of war was over.

But the defences constructed by the Allies in preparation failed to repel a German army with superior tactics.The British Expeditionary Force soon found themselves in an increasingly chaotic retreat. By the end of May 1940, over 400,000 Allied troops were trapped in and around the port of Dunkirk without shelter or supplies. Hitler's army was just ten miles away.

On 26 May, the British Admiralty launched Operation Dynamo. This famous rescue mission sent every available vessel - from navy destroyers and troopships to pleasure cruisers and fishing boats - over the Channel to Dunkirk. Of the 850 'Little Ships' that sailed to Dunkirk, 235 were sunk by German aircraft or mines, but over this nine day period 338,000 British and French troops were safely evacuated.

Drawing on the wealth of material from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk presents in the words of both rescued and rescuers in an intimate and dramatic account of what Winston Churchill described as a 'miracle of deliverance'.

Frequently Bought Together

Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk + Forgotten Voices of D-Day: A Powerful New History of the Normandy Landings in the Words of Those Who Were There + Forgotten Voices of the Somme: The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived
Price For All Three: 18.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091932211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091932213
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joshua Levine is the author of Operation Fortitude and On a Wing and a Prayer. He is also a playwright and writer for television. His last book, Beauty and Atrocity, a history of the Irish Troubles, was shortlisted for the Writers' Guild Non Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Product Description


"This book, magnificently edited by Joshua Levine, is a great tribute to the extraordinary spirit of an army shattered in battle but determined not to surrender" (Peter Snow, from the introduction)

"Dramatic, detailed, intimate and immediate" (Saga magazine)

Book Description

A powerful oral history of the evacuation of Dunkirk during World War 2

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 19 Oct 2010
This account covers not only the Dunkirk evacuation but also the Phoney War period of 1939-1940 in northern France; British army units serving in the Maginot Line and Gort Line; British soldiers' relations with the French civilians, including love affairs and brothel experiences; the advance into Belgium after May 10th 1940; fighting with the Germans on the River Dyle; German air attacks on refugees on the roads, May 1940; the failed Arras counter-stroke against German armour by British tanks and infantry; Churchill's futile gesture at sending army units to defend Calais and its awful outcome; the defence of the Dunkirk perimeter, etc.

It is absolutely gripping. One can hardly put the book down.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lest we forget 6 Sep 2011
This is one of the most enjoyable and informative books on the 2WW I have read for sometime.

It retells the story and the individual stories of the many soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force who were NOT evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940 and who stayed to fight a rearguard action to allow their comrades to escape. The book draws heavily on, and quotes from, the individual accounts of those who remained. It tells of the lot of the wounded, the indescribable hardships on the long march east to captivity, the abject misery of the 5 long years under Nazi incarceration, and the bestial behaviour of some of the captors; as well as the eventual return home for those who survived the camps.

Its central premise, which is a compelling one, is that the 'heroes' of this rearguard action went largely unrecognised after the war. They had great difficulty in resuming civilian life, suffering physical and mental torments; those who remained in the services were largely overlooked for promotion; no medal was struck for their undoubted achievements; and contemporary accounts of Dunkirk emphasise mainly the achievement of the evacuation - not the cost of those whose efforts contributed massively to that achievement. This central claim prompted me to check Churchill's 'History of the Second WW' and it is certainly true there that the great man devoted just one short sentence, albeit a fulsome one, to the contribution of those who remained in France.

One small problem faced by the reader is that the author uses so many individual testimonies, that it is difficult to always follow the ongoing threads of individual soldier's stories as events impact upon them, but this is a minor issue, given the overall strength of the central theme.

This is a must read for those who value the truth, even though most of those who gave so much of their lives for those of us who have benefitted from their sacrifice, are no longer with us.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dunkirk 23 July 2010
I really enjoyed this book, being interested in world war two and having a relative who was evacuated from the beaches,and a friend who was captured and became a pow, the book deals with veterans recollections,both Army,Airforce,and Navy,and also civillians who manned the little boats evacuating troops from the beaches,the book is a tribute to the men who fought and died in france.there is tragedy,sadness ,andhumour in the book.i highly recommend it
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read 4 Aug 2010
Another outstanding book in the Lost Voices series. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in real eyewitness accounts from WWII.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dunkirk. 7 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read a few of the books in the Forgotten Voices series from the IWM.
It was a brilliant idea to use the accounts they have in their sound archives and turn them into book form.
The Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk does not disappoint!
Not only does it cover the evacuation but the Phoney War, the massacre of captured retreating soldiers by the SS,the brothels, civilian refugees being machine gunned by German fighter pilots as they tried to escape to a safer refuge plus a whole host of other events that took place during this time of trying to save as many as possible of the BEF.
This book give you a better insight into actual events from a personal point of view by those that were there!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ! 17 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book, all the accounts put you 'there'. This book is cleverly put together & gives first hand accounts of the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen & civillians who were involved in these dark times for France & Britain.
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