Britain’s War: Into Battle, 1937-1941

By Daniel Todman

Dan’s book is a masterpiece in drawing on the complexities of the second world war, and creating a big book that works. Opening with one of the greatest disasters in British military history – the fall of Singapore in February 1942 – he takes us on, from his first volume, into events that make the British Empire seem intensely vulnerable.

The scale of the conflict is mind-blowing as we know, and the resources involved and actions that took place. However, Daniel helps us to never lose sight of the interoperability and the interconnectedness of the British experience – which is an incredible feat, and one that makes this compelling reading. The agony of Singapore, for example, is seen through the eyes of its inhabitants, of its defenders, of Churchill’s Cabinet and of ordinary people at home. There’s a very tactile element to his book – Britain’s War is a triumph of narrative, empathy and research, and (most importantly), it’s a bloody good book and very easy to read.

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