I have not read a better account of many modest actions — today forgotten, as all defeats are — in which British soldiers fought painfully and hard to check the German tide. The author has brought together scores of personal accounts to impressive moving effect…The book is full of good stories, not least that of German soldiers dozing in a captured French bunker beside the Meuse, who seized their weapons on hearing footsteps outside.
Instead of an armed enemy, they met a stunning French woman swathed in furs and scent who had come to visit her French lover. A German officer described her interrogation: She had ended up with 25 soldiers instead of the one she had been expecting, and she certainly had more balls than her Frenchman who had fled.
Mail On Sunday Several fine books have been written about Dunkirk , but none better than this. Sunday Express Gripping narrative, at times both exhilarating and painful,…illuminating… and vivid. Evening Standard Definitive account of the disastrous campaign. Want to Read saving….
Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Dunkirk by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore. Fight To The Last Man 4. Fight to the Last Man tells the story of the rescue in May of British soldiers fleeing capture and defeat by the Nazis at Dunkirk. Dunkirk was not just about what happened at sea and on the beaches. The evacuation would never have succeeded had it not been for the tenacity of the British soldiers who stayed behind to ensure they got aw Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's Dunkirk: The evacuation would never have succeeded had it not been for the tenacity of the British soldiers who stayed behind to ensure they got away.
Men like Sergeant Major Gus Jennings who died smothering a German stick bomb in the church at Esquelbecq in an effort to save his comrades, and Captain Marcus Ervine-Andrews VC who single-handedly held back a German attack on the Dunkirk perimeter thereby allowing the British line to form up behind him. Told to stand and fight to the last man, these brave few battalions fought in whatever manner they could to buy precious time for the evacuation. Outnumbered and outgunned, they launched spectacular and heroic attacks time and again, despite ferocious fighting and the knowledge that for many only capture or death would end their struggle.
He wrote the best-selling Enigma: The Battle for the Code. One of his ancestors was evacuated from Dunkirk. Paperback , pages. Published June 26th by Penguin UK first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Dunkirk , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Apr 04, Dimitri rated it really liked it Shelves: It's no walk on the beach to give Hugh his due now that there's the movie Dunkirk to compare him to. He gives us not just Dunkirk! He gives us the entire campaign! From archives on both sides of the Meuse. The Mechelen Affair taking of the 'impregnable' fortress of Eben-Emeal are particularly done in beautiful detail thanks to newly uncovered material.
Undoubtedly this is why the atmosphere tastes different from To Lose a Battle , more comprehensive. The fever of impending defeat among the Al It's no walk on the beach to give Hugh his due now that there's the movie Dunkirk to compare him to. The fever of impending defeat among the Allied High Command is less hot than the victory fever of Edwin Rommel as he races ahead of the order to halt the Panzers.
Hitler intervened in this manner several times in the course of the campaign in sudden fear of losing his preciously husbanded armour to a cut-off. Few such counterattacks materialized and none succeeded, but that doesn't mean the French Army and BEF were always on the run.
Like I pointed out for the Schlieffen Plan and the Marne , ye ol' map fails to convey the blood its unstoppable arrows are painted with. The anxiety is palable among German recollections when a stealthy river crossing suddenly turned contested. For all the legendary Luftwaffe air supremacy and scything Blitzkrieg, a lot of bitter fighting marked the river-by-river jump between lines of resistance. The wealth of first-hand accounts is peppered with Lewis gun bullets and shrapnel from Sedan to Arras. It is also stained with SS atrocities, such as the Totenkopf's at Le Paradis, that call bull on the theory that such massacres were confined to the Normandy campaign and beyond under the "dehumanizing" influence of SS service on the Russian Front.
So what about Dunkirk? Honestly, Dunkirk has more Dunkirk in it. The RAF remains too hidden behind the greasy clouds of burning oil, the prevalence of passenger ships and military vessels in the evacuation over those glory-hogging "Little Ships" is too faint and we don't spend enough time shuffling along the sands as it is.
This is one of those books where 3. Retreat to Victory 's big brother. Dec 31, Ian rated it it was amazing Shelves: Does not neglect the political story for the more dramatic military events. Mar 12, Laura rated it liked it Shelves: I'm not really a fan of military history. Around there, however, the individual stories and narratives German as well as British and French, with a handful of other nationali I'm not really a fan of military history.
Around there, however, the individual stories and narratives German as well as British and French, with a handful of other nationalities as well start to get gripping, and the pace of my reading started to pick up.
Many, many soldiers died in this period, however, and the numbers take their toll. I had to put the book down a couple of times to get some distance. The author takes the long view to his story, because this is really a story of the British Expeditionary Force's invasion and retreat, not just Dunkirk itself, title notwithstanding. And he is definitely patriotic. He kept referring the spirit of the true British soldier and the British Armed Forces.
My one area of disagreement, however, is that he was rather more forgiving of British war crimes than German though, at least as he tells it, the German incidents were larger. Still, he deals with Germans well. This is all the more admirable given that the author is a British Jew who lost two cousins in the war. Jul 21, Jan rated it it was amazing. While rooted in the British tradition for celebrating defeats loose the battles, win the war this elegantly constructed, thoroughly researched and well written volume manages to provide both a crisp overview of the defeat of the British and French armies in May-June and a series of lucid portraits of primarily British combatants.
Having read the book you will have both a sense of the lasting controversies at the political,strategic and operational level and a enduring - and no way - glorified While rooted in the British tradition for celebrating defeats loose the battles, win the war this elegantly constructed, thoroughly researched and well written volume manages to provide both a crisp overview of the defeat of the British and French armies in May-June and a series of lucid portraits of primarily British combatants.
Having read the book you will have both a sense of the lasting controversies at the political,strategic and operational level and a enduring - and no way - glorified impression of the bloody and painful carnage that hides between the anti-septic arrows and lines of the by the way excellent maps. What was sad is the breakdown of Anglo-French relations as the war rapidly deteriorated, leading to miscomm between commanders and dooming men to be surrounded by the enemy.
Equally sad was that pride and ego prevented earlier withdrawals which could have saved more troops to fight another day. I guess it is true t A poignant read of the shambolic defence offered during the German invasion of France in WWII, leading to the need to evacuate French and BEF troops via a hodge podge armada of ships. I guess it is true the real nature of any relationship only surfaces when subject to real pressure - and sad to say the anglo- french relationship nearly broke.
Feb 10, Christopher Dennis rated it it was amazing Shelves: I felt totally immersed in the many battles and rearguard actions of the BEF, desperate fighting often against overwhelming odds. So many human stories, and acts of incredible courage. I felt so proud of these British men. Also, it was very interesting to experience the relationship between the English and French, the cultural differences and aspects of the alliance. The only thing about the book I didn't so much like was that I times I felt I lost or didn't understand the big pi A brilliant book.
The only thing about the book I didn't so much like was that I times I felt I lost or didn't understand the big picture, instead learning so much about minor details. Like when the Germans broke through at Sedan, I wondered why didn't the French just send in their armoured divisions or more of their army, which was huge. Instead it seemed just a few rag tag soldiers and that seems to have cost them the whole war.
It didn't make a lot of sense to me. Oct 07, Jo Reid rated it it was amazing. This book took me all summer to read! A detailed account of the events leading up to, and including, the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers from Dunkirk in I was disappointed that throughout the book the reader is informed that more detailed info could be found in the notes at the back of the book, but the notes weren't included in this edition. I really enjoyed the personal accounts in the appendix. Worth the long summer read! Sep 29, John rated it it was amazing.
Don' t be fooled by the title, not a lot of the book happens at Dunkirk. Most of the book is the story of fighting the Germans through Belgium and France slowing their progress so that the BEF and French troops can be evacuated from Dunkirk. The book is a balanced blend of detailed military history interspersed with individual soldier's stories. Sep 22, Joel Simon rated it really liked it Shelves: As a student of the American school system, Dunkirk is one of those things that I could prior to reading "Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man" tell all I knew about it in one sentence: A large segment of the British army was cornered early in the war and, had the Germans not hesitated, would have been captured or killed and the outcome of WWII might very well have been different.
So, not wanting to wade into a shallow pool, I jumped right into the deep end and selected a monumental, highly acclaimed history of the whole Dunkirk saga, told in a whopping pages! Fortunately, more than pages are notes, maps and the index!!! In any event, I am definitely glad I read this book. Told in a compelling style, this book was relatively easy to read.
Although there is an enormous amount of detail, it never seems to get bogged down which cannot be said for France's and England's tanks that were trying to defend against the German onslaught.
Peppered with anecdotes from soldiers' diaries and notes from the front, you really get a sense of what it was like for better or worse to have been on the battle lines during this scary time for the Allies. There is also a very good discussion of the politics and diplomacy among England, France and Belgium, and a very interesting beginning in which a German officer tried to tip off the Allies to the invasion that was about to begin, but no one believed him.
You get to know some of the Allied generals and particularly the failings of the ones who blundered badly at the beginning and at the end of the book there is a section that describes what happened to some of the main players after the war. If you are interested in WWII and are past the general survey stage, I highly recommend this book if you have the time to read it!
Mar 05, Jennifer Eckel rated it it was amazing Shelves: Great book, very well researched and solidly noted.
Other reviews address how good, the title is. I will comment a bit on reading this via e-book. I don't recommend it. Simply put, it is too danged hard to flip between notes, maps, and text. I found it impossible to resume my place if some little detail needed researching.
Sebag-Montefiore blends the personal memoir with the political and introduces a varied set of characters. There is also a very good discussion of the politics and diplomacy among England, France and Belgium, and a very interesting beginning in which a German officer tried to tip off the Allies to the invasion that was about to begin, but no one believed him. Then there are the medical staff the politicians and the commanders Few such counterattacks materialized and none succeeded, but that doesn't mean the French Army and BEF were always on the run. Undoubtedly this is why the atmosphere tastes different from To Lose a Battle , more comprehensive.
I think I'll stick to fiction on the e-book and save my shelfspace what's that? Jan 26, Dianne rated it really liked it Shelves: When we think of Dunkirk, it is the saga of the little ships and news reel images of the human moles and of the weary evacuated soldiers disembarking at Dover. But Hugh Sebag-Motefiore has focussed on those troops who held the perimeter at great personal cost to keep the passage open for the retreat of the BEF and French.
This is a well researched detailed story of incredible heroism, and increasing distrust and paranoia as the Anglo-French alliance broke down. Jul 17, Jack rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really liked this book. This was the first that I read other than a smaller paperback earlier. I really enjoyed how they tied all the action in together and tried to outline the complexities among the French, Belgian, and English forces.
I do recommend this book as a way of starting to understand the magnitude of the disaster in the west as well as the miracle of the evacuations. Feb 08, Steve Jones rated it it was amazing Shelves: It includes many tales of bravery and mini-battles that I was not aware of. I highly recommend this book for those wanting to find out more about this episode of WW2.
Jul 21, Dawn Wells rated it really liked it.
Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man tells the story of the rescue in May of British soldiers fleeing capture and defeat by the Nazis at. Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man [Hugh Sebag-Montefiore] on linawycatuzy.gq *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In May of , the armies of Nazi Germany.
Excellent research and detailed description of the tireless fight of the brave soldiers. Even if you, are not a war book fan this book will grab and hold your attention. One of the best I've ever read. May 29, Venky rated it it was amazing Shelves: Hugh Sebag-Montefiore in this stirring and meticulously researched account, narrates the gallantry, grit and gumption of the British Expeditionary Forces "BEF" in their fierce albeit futile defense of France from rampaging German forces, before a miraculous evacuation back to British shores via Dunkirk. What makes this 75th Anniversary Edition an absolutely must have is the space devoted to various first hand accounts as described by a few of the valiant survivors, of the bruising battle that Hugh Sebag-Montefiore in this stirring and meticulously researched account, narrates the gallantry, grit and gumption of the British Expeditionary Forces "BEF" in their fierce albeit futile defense of France from rampaging German forces, before a miraculous evacuation back to British shores via Dunkirk.
What makes this 75th Anniversary Edition an absolutely must have is the space devoted to various first hand accounts as described by a few of the valiant survivors, of the bruising battle that has acquired such mystique and acclaim so as to secure its place firmly in the pantheons of legendary folklore. The spare, unflinching and almost matter-of-fact manner in which the soldiers describe their encounters with death or near death as would be more appropriate , desolation, destruction, and deceit makes one doff his hat in undisguised admiration of the sincere heed paid to the call of duty.