Complex. Layered. Like a Mobius strip with added dimensions, the second world war has such depth and breadth that it’s hard to know where to begin, or how. Little wonder then, many of us focus on one area in particular and, as a result, perhaps overlook some of the simpler tenets: like how, and why we came to be fighting in the first place. Allport’s ‘Britain at Bay’ focuses on the first part of the war, from a British perspective, and writes a compelling narrative that draws on many contemporary references to make hard-hitting points.
Much of what you thought you knew might be called into question; many of the facts and figures take on new meaning, robustly so, in this fascinating tome. It’s highly readable and, unlike many other books, does not presuppose you’ll be up to speed on any aspect of the war itself; rather, Allport sets the scene and leads you through a cast of characters, giving every scene a new voice. Easy-to-follow and thorough, and likely to become a go-to for many years to come.