Author(s): Sinclair McKay
From the author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Secret Life of Bletchley Park When Churchill made one of the most inspiring speeches of the 20th century - 'we will fight them on the beaches' - he was giving thanks for the miracle of deliverance, the harrowing and breathless evacuation of over 338,000 troops from the beaches and harbour at Dunkirk. Churchill was determined it shouldn't be labelled a victory. He was already too late. Hours later, broadcaster JB Priestley was to call it 'an absurd English epic'. Those days of Dunkirk are still invoked now whenever the nation finds itself in any kind of crisis. But there is a wider story too that involves a very large number of civilians - from nurses to racing enthusiasts, trades union leaders to dance hall managers, novelists to seaside cafe owners. And even wider yet, a story that starts in September 1939: of young civilian men being trained for a war that was already 25 years out of date; and the increasing suspense - and occasional surrealism - of the Phoney War.
The 'absurd epic' of Dunkirk - told here through fresh interviews with veterans, plus unseen letters and archival material - is the story of how an old-fashioned island was brutally forced into the modernity of World War Two.
'McKay's novel way of analysing the crisis makes for interesting reading. This is a worthy addition to the Dunkirk literature. Indeed, McKay's approach may well play an influential role in how more conventional history books are written in future.' -- Hugh Sebag-Montefiore Daily Telegraph, 4 Stars 'McKay has done an excellent job of educating. A thoroughly enjoyable, yet exhausting and tragic, read. Sitting on the beach will never be the same again.' History of War Magazine, 5***** 'Sinclair McKay has uncovered the spirit of the indefatigable little ships. A powerful story of a mass mood, human nature and, above all showing how the expression "Dunkirk spirit" came into the English language.' This England 'Enthralling book brings home the importance of Dunkirk to the British people.' Good Book Guide 'Moving testimonies of the last survivors.' Choice Magazine 'Features veteran interviews and letters, which bring the Dunkirk landings alive.' Britain Magazine
SINCLAIR MCKAY is the bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bletchley Park and The Secret Listeners for Aurum, as well as histories of Hammer films, the James Bond films, and the pastime of rambling. He lives in London.