SHORTLISTED FOR THE LONGMAN – HISTORY TODAY PRIZE 2017
‘An energetic, ambitious, provocative work by a young historian of notable gifts, which deserves a wide readership’ Max Hastings, The Sunday Times
‘Bold and breathtaking… I have never read a more daringly panoramic survey of the period’ Jonathan Wright, Herald Scotland
The most terrible emergency in Britain’s history, the Second World War required an unprecedented national effort. An exhausted country had to fight an unexpectedly long war and found itself much diminished amongst the victors. Yet the outcome of the war was nonetheless a triumph, not least for a political system that proved well adapted to the demands of a total conflict and for a population who had to make many sacrifices but who were spared most of the horrors experienced in the rest of Europe.
Britain’s War is a narrative of these epic events, an analysis of the myriad factors that shaped military success and failure, and an explanation of what the war tells us about the history of modern Britain. As compelling on the major military events as he is on the experience of ordinary people living through exceptional times, Todman suffuses his extraordinary book with a vivid sense of a struggle which left nobody unchanged – and explores why, despite terror, separation and deprivation, Britons were overwhelmingly willing to pay the price of victory.
This volume begins with the coronation of George VI and ends with the disasters in the Far East in December 1941. A second volume will tell the story from 1942 to Indian independence in 1947.
Bold and breathtaking... I have never read a more daringly panoramic survey of the period...Todman has taken on a mammoth task but, at half-time, he shows every sign of completing it triumphantly. -- Jonathan Wright * Herald Scotland * The first volume of Dan Todman's new history of Britain and the Second World War is a tour de force. Taking the story up to the end of 1941, Todman provides us with a judicious guide to the road to war and its catastrophic first phase, offering in addition a shrewd portrait of Churchill which is worth the price of the book alone. Total history at its best. -- Jay Winter, Yale University [Dan Todman] has succeeded in creating something that adds to our perception of what happened during this critical period...It is a compliment to Todman that time and again in reading his book I found myself thinking that I wanted to know more about this or that aspect. -- David Aaronovitch * The Times * Todman explores every aspect of the British experience of the war...rich in telling detail and reliant on the records kept by a host of ordinary Britons as they came to terms with the events going on around them...what ordinary people thought about the time they were living through provides a texture and depth that older wartime narratives have often lacked. -- Richard Overy * Literary Review * A gifted historian...he tells the big story well but also illustrates his themes with many small stories and appealing anecdotes. -- Peter Clarke * Financial Times * This is an energetic, ambitious, provocative work by a young historian of notable gifts, which deserves a wide readership -- Max Hastings * The Sunday Times *
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