57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Do read it, but don't take it for the whole story,
This review is from: Dunkirk: The Men They Left Behind (Hardcover)
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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Initial post: 7 Jun 2010 16:55:04 BDT
Celtic Ghirl says:
Did we read the same book? I ask because you claim the author makes out all prisoners went through Trier and that he missed out those who travelled by barge. Have another look: The author covers Trier between pages 300 and 304. Between 304 and 310 he covers the POWs who travelled by barge. At no time does it read - as you claim - "as though all prisoners were sent back through Trier".
I don't think the author has claimed it to be the "universal story of all those left behind" but one thing is certain: this is the only book I know of that has even attempted to tell this story.
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