Hugh Sebag – Montefiore provides a clear depiction of the weeks leading up from the arrival of the British Expeditionary Forces in France during the phony war up to the last man evacuating from Dunkirk.
Almost every chapter has personal accounts from soldiers ranging from private up to generals. They are compelling to read, but most of them are tragic and portrays the grimness of war. One report was a soldier witnessing his friend trying to escape across the road by rolling in a barrel but was then riddled with enemy bullets and dying in the barrel instead.
The chronological order of battles during the evacuation can be hard to follow at times. Even though there are accompanying maps in the book. This could be my fault since this is one of the first military history books I’ve read.
Interposed in chapters are also high-level talks by Churchill and his war cabinet when discussing tactical maneuvers in France and the political chivalry between the British and French military brass.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed the book, especially reading the personal heroics accounts of the soldiers. Hugh Sebag did Dunkirk justice in giving a fresh perspective on the events, lives, and impacts of the miracle of Dunkirk.
If you are interested in reading some wargame battles fought in John Tiller’s France 40 you can also read one of my After Action Report at the border of Belgium!