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Customer Review

on 5 May 2004
Michael Dobb's novel demonstrates vividly and movingly the desperate situation Britain faced in May 1940 when the Germans overwhelmed the Allies in the Low Countries and Northern France. Winston Churchill was under great pressure from within his Cabinet to cut a peace deal with Hitler and his position was far from strong. Chamberlain and Halifax still commanded support across the political spectrum. With the prospect of much of the British Army in France being captured or destroyed, a compromise peace looked attractive to those who earlier had sought to appease Hitler.
All these tensions are well captured by Michael Dobbs and he has constructed a fine novel which gives you a real sense of the desperation as well as the final triumph of Churchill in our "finest hour".
The scenes of politicking in London are gripping and I sense that the author, with his background in the political world of Mrs Thatcher, brings experience and authority to his task. I liked too the use of Ruth Mueller as a form of "cosnscience"- someone challenging Churchill in a way his father might have done, had he been alive to do so.
The Flanders/Dunkirk scenes are less convincing. It is a nice story to have Don and Claude making their way home and for Don's father to be reconciled at the end to his son. But the strength of this excellent book remains the "inside story" of how Churchill the outsider, the man mistrusted by the Establishment, claws his way to his triumph in those memorable weeks in 1940.
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