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Summary

The most terrible emergency in Britain's history, the Second World War, required an unprecedented national effort. An exhausted country had to fight an unexpectedly long war and found itself much diminished amongst the victors.

The outcome of the war was nonetheless a triumph, not least for a political system that proved well adapted to the demands of a total conflict and for a population who had to make many sacrifices but who were spared most of the horrors experienced in the rest of Europe.

Britain's War is a narrative of these epic events, an analysis of the myriad factors that shaped military success and failure, and an explanation of what the war tells us about the history of modern Britain. As compelling on the major military events as he is on the experience of ordinary people living through exceptional times, Todman suffuses his extraordinary book with a vivid sense of a struggle which left nobody unchanged - and explores why, despite terror, separation and deprivation, Britons were overwhelmingly willing to pay the price of victory.

This audiobook begins with the coronation of George VI and ends with the disasters in the Far East in December 1941. A second audiobook will tell the story from 1942 to Indian independence in 1947.

©2016 Daniel Todman (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Britain's War

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dreadful Narration

The subject matter and scope of this volume is fascinating. However the narration is appalling. A rather 'sing song' voice, combined with an unerring ability to emphasise words seemingly chosen at random, makes this a difficult listen. Such a shame and a disappointment.

5 people found this helpful

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Great Political & Social History

Gives you the necessary military context and timeline, but really shines on the worldwide and domestic political machinations. Excellent on the social and economic aspects of the conflict. Good use of contemporary comments from all social strata without becoming a unfocused quote fest.
Clear narration but a bit monotonous in inflection, leavened with a few am dram surprised/quizzical cadences.
Looking forward to part two. Wonder who wins? Ahem.

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing detail.

The detail of this book is amazing, and I have just purchased volume 2. I would have liked more military information though, as it goes into politics a little too much for me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • EJ
  • 02-05-20

Excellent Narration

Thoroughly enjoying listening to this book and I will then move on to Part 2. Both long books but superb to have during the lockdown as time passes so quickly whilst I am listening. Ric Jerrom is perfect as the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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Myth busting triumph of a book

Great research provides detailed rationale of the policy and politics of pre war and war time decision making backed up by a wealth of statistical facts Also illuminated and rehabilitated some of the myriad personalities involved , many of whom are often normally ignored or glossed over in favour of the traditional main characters . Great job !

2 people found this helpful

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Political detail from British point of view

Well researched, basically well balanced and very well read. Nothing appears to render politicians friends for long, not even an existential crisis. People themselves seem to find more unity and make more sacrifices. This was an interesting look at the two sides of the British coin.

2 people found this helpful

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Realistic

What an excellent book. Real Politick. Insightful, truthful and realistic. Russian blood, US money and Britain standing alone when it mattered. Excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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A first class read

What made the experience of listening to Britain's War the most enjoyable?

The amount of detail and back ground offered so much

Who was your favorite character and why?

Clear discriptions of All participants

What about Ric Jerrom’s performance did you like?

Clear delivery

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Had a clear style

2 people found this helpful

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I will not buy volume 2.

This book is 95% political 4% statistical and 1% military. Whilst modern wars are products of politics and as a democracy Britain had to have a robust and open political system behind the conflict the book does not achieve what it says it intends to in the introduction and lacks the balance of a book that holds the reader.

1 person found this helpful

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Innovative and insightful but a bit repetitive

Excessive focus on political maneuvering and weapon production. It's understandable to focus on this before the war starts but the continued extreme detail on these topics once war broke out began to feel slightly absurd.

The highlight was insight into Chamberlain's strategy, more nuanced than the usual caricatures, with many quotes from his private letters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eclectic
  • 13-07-20

Fascinating

A very interesting picture of Britain’s immediate pre-war and early war on many levels. Well researched with interesting portraits of Britons both famous and hitherto unknown.
The narrator does something that I usually find irking: he does “voices’. However, he does them well,
EXCEPT for a rather crude and almost burlesque imitation of Winston Churchill. We all know what WSC actually sounded like and every time he does his Churchill schtick it grates on the ear and is totally unnecessary.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Voracious reader
  • 15-12-20

Engaging and detailed war history

It seems that most accounts that try to embrace the entirety of world war 2 end up being too broad and thus unfocused, or too detailed and thus tedious. To borrow a thought from goldilocks 'This one is just right'. By focusing on Britain role in the war the book is given a central theme and is able to maintain a good pace without getting bogged down. At times the narrative focuses to give a 'day by day' account of proceedings and at other times it leaps to important events, but at all times it maintains a sense of coherence and is entertaining and informative. It provides a multitude of perspectives, strategic, economic, political and personal and weaves them together like a finely conducted symphony. This is not a strictly military history, but seeks to give a broader perspective to the events of the war. It stays away from the cliche'd version of britain's war and avoids the hagiography that tends to surround accounts of Churchill while still giving a respectful and clear eyed account of his role in the war. I though the book was masterfully read by the narrator, with the narrator switching effortlessly between accents and verbal affectations, thus adding a great deal of interest to the reading.Heartily recommended.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-05-20

Excellent performance and book

I thought this book was excellent and I'm ready to get into the second volume straight away. The broad perspective starting as early as it does is excellent for setting the stage for how the war changes British society and politics. I honestly bought the book expecting a battle by battle recount of the war on the British side because that sort of thing makes for good listening at work but I was pleasantly surprised to find how much more it goes into. I know far more about British wartime society now than I did before.

The narrator was also excellent. I can't speak to if the different voices he does are accurate but they do add a lot of texture and make it easy to remember who's being quoted. Very good. Recommend this to anybody.

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  • dell992
  • 21-06-16

Great Performance, Biased with out a warning!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes it is a good story but not to the ignorant.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Either drop the socialist revisionism or let the reader know ahead of time. Either way the book would be immeasurably improved.

What about Ric Jerrom’s performance did you like?

He did a great "American" accent I loved it alot. Additionally his ability to inflec his voice to betray the intention of the author is great.

Any additional comments?

Overall a nice read especially if you are playing a WW2 game. But it committed the cardinal sin of not being upfront with the biases of the author.

5 people found this helpful