Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man

Article excerpt

Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man by Hugh SebagMontefiore. Harvard University Press (http:// www.hup.harvard.edu), 79 Garden Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, 2006, 720 pages, $35.00 (hardcover).

Do you want good maps of a short land battle? If so, this is your book, for the appendix includes 21 of them. Do you want a blow-by-blow account of a short land battle, apparently down to experiences of the last private? Here it is. Do you want documentation? Dunkirk has 95 pages of footnotes - in small print, many of them citing primary sources in several languages. Do you want stories of heroism and sometimes cowardice? Here they are. Do you want new explanations of why the Wehrmacht halted long enough to permit the evacuation of close to 300,000 Allied soldiers who lived to fight another day? They are here - the gallant last stands of a few brave British men who held up the German advance. (As opposed to Hitler's delaying to give Hermann Goring a chance to do it with airpower alone or the plain exhaustion of German armored units from their long charge to the coast.) But if your reading list is focused on air warriorship and too crowded to permit tedious study of an obsessive, blow-by-blow account of an emergency evacuation that happened more than a half century ago (and one hardly likely to be repeated) , you had better move on to other works. This book contains 204 pages of back matter alone!

British author Hugh Sebag-Montefiore trained as a barrister but has taken up historical writing. …

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