Britain Stands Alone,
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This review is from: Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle For Britain: A New History in the Words of the Men and Women on Both Sides (Paperback)
This book forms another excellent collection of personal histories covering the early years of the Second World War. More than any standard history text could ever do it gives an insight into what it was like for Britain in the early years of the war when defeat to Nazi Germany seemed a very real possibility.
The title is slightly misleading as the book is actually divided into three sections - Dunkirk and The Threat of Invasion, The Battle of Britain and finally The Blitz. Each section is then subdivided into more specific aspects with a short explanatory history setting the scene. Unfortunately there is some cross over with one of the other Forgotten Voices books which specifically covers Dunkirk, but this only relates to a very small percentage of the text.
It's nice to see that the author has managed to balance the accounts of airmen on both sides of the Battle of Britain by quoting both Allied and German sources. This allows the reader to see how the views of the airmen actually involved in the battle match up to the myths which have been created since. The descriptions of burns victims are particularly moving in this section and it makes you realise the sacrifice these young men made.
The section about The Blitz is also very well done with accounts from people from all walks of life. It's amazing to think of this happening just 70 years ago. I'm not sure the people of London would be so united now, everybody would be putting in claims for compensation !
As a history of these early years of the war this book does seem incomplete without any reference to the role of the Royal Navy in keeping this island free from Nazi occupation. The fight for control of the sea was every bit as important as the battle in the air. However that story is perhaps best left to another Forgotten Voices book focusing on the Royal and Merchant Navy if someone from the IWM would be kind enough to write one!
As with other Forgotten Voices books this is a very British history of the war, looking at the conflict from the viewpoint of the British people. While Britain did not suffer as much as other European countries during the war it shows clearly what that generation went through to bring us peace. If Britain had not stood up to Hitler the US would never have become involved in a war in Europe, having no where to launch an invasion from. This book is a fine tribute to the strength of will of the British people.