Dunkirk was a massively successful failure in WWII. I had never learned about this story in history class so knew absolutely nothing coming in, other than this took place in the early parts of WWII. The British and French troops kept getting pushed back and back by the Germans until they wound up on the beaches of Dunkirk, France having to be evacuated across the channel. Ships came from everywhere, both civilian and navy, to evacuate these troops. Many died, but many many more were rescued. This book tells the story of what lead up to Dunkirk and how this rescue took place.
This book is also about the new movie Christopher Nolan is making on the events at Dunkirk. There's both an interview with Nolan at the start and a chapter at the end of the book about the making of the movie. Having no knowledge about Dunkirk, I found the Nolan interview at the start of the book oddly placed. I was worried it was going to spoil something further in the book and couldn't appreciate their interest in the story because I knew nothing about it yet. However, the notes at the end of the book on the film making were quite interesting. The fact that they filmed on the Dunkirk beach should make this even more authentic.
In the telling of what happened at Dunkirk, there were many eye witness accounts stitching together Levine's story. These likely come from his other book Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk (I can't help but wonder if the book is exactly the same, but with chapters added on the movie). These accounts were very interesting, but overall they were all quite short, which lead to some major pacing issues in this book. The history of Dunkirk isn't started until about page 60. Then the book is on a roller coaster from engaging and interesting to boring. At times I wondered if I should give up, but I stuck through to the end. It does get better once the troops are on the beach and the rescue attempt is underway.
I'm not a huge history buff (but do enjoy well tell stories of historical events) and feel that most parts of this book are geared towards someone of a more historical buff nature. If you can get past the first 100 pages or so, you'll learn a lot about this event and the movie that will represent it.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of this tour. Interested in trying this book for yourself? You can find where to buy it here.
|About the Author|
Joshua Levine has written six bestselling histories including titles in the hugely popular ‘Forgotten Voices’ series. ‘Beauty and Atrocity’, his account of the Irish Troubles, was nominated for the Writers’ Guild Book of the Year award. ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’, his history of the pilots of the First World War, has been turned into a major British television documentary. He has written and presented a number of programmes for BBC Radio 4. In a previous life, he was a criminal barrister. He lives in London.
Find him on Twitter or his website.