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Summary

Part two of Daniel Todman's epic history of the Second World War opens with one of the greatest disasters in British military history - the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Unlike the aftermath of Dunkirk, there was no redeeming narrative available here - Britain had been defeated by a far smaller Japanese force in her grandly proclaimed, invincible Asian 'fortress'.

The unique skill of Daniel Todman's history lies in its never losing sight of the interconnectedness of the British experience. 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. Each stage of the war, from the nadir of early 1942 to the great series of victories in 1944-5, and on to Indian independence, is described both as it was understood at the time and in the light of the very latest historical research.

Britain's War is a triumph of narrative, empathy and research, as gripping in its handling of individual witnesses to the war - those doomed to struggle with bombing, rationing, exhausting work and above all the absence of millions of family members - as of the gigantic military, social, technological and economic forces that swept the conflict along. It is the definitive account of a drama which reshaped our country.

©2020 Daniel Todman (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"A historian of notable gifts." (Max Hastings, Sunday Times)

What listeners say about Britain's War

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Answers the question of why Churchill lost the peace

Excellent detailed examination of the social and political happenings alongside the more familiar war story . Very revealing and honest description of the true impact of WW2 on Britain and the subsequent collapse of our Empire

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great listen really got into it

it takes you into the back stage goings on of the war years very very entertaining listen

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Intersting book; annoying narration

This book itself is interesting and adds details omitted from other narratives, but the narrator is quite annoying. He reads annoyingly slowly, carefully - and pointlessly - enunciating every single word individually.

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Less individual focus in book 2

I felt book one had greater importance on individuals rather than purely government figures.

Still a very interesting book would recommend.

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Excellent

Tremendous book. Volume 2 as good as volume 1. The breadth of the book makes for getting a full picture of the war. Politics, the fronts and home are all covered in just the right amount of detail.

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The title says it all

No holds barred, the greatest, the most catastrophic and all points between. This (as is part one) history of Great Britain between 1936 and 1948 absorbs and immerses the listener so effectively that one feels as though one is a real time observer of events as they unfolded through those years. This is not a linear narrative. The consequences of juxtaposed events, their and their intertwined consequences are exceedingly well explained and explored. The narration is excellent and is a dramatic tour de force.

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Great

Great insight in the war other than just the fighting. So much new information on what the people went through,what the government was trying to do with keeping food on plates and waging a war. Nice to hear about the US was so helpful with its allies and wasn't doing anything for it own gain!!! How the modern world was started we live in now

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Great listen

Very comprehensive and well written. Ric Jerrom was very easy to listen to and the book was enjoyable, as well as factual.

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Exhaustive

Probably the most ambitious coverage of UK in WE2. Good rffort at objectivity and covering the war from all aspects. Learned a good deal of behind the scenes not normally covered. But very long, despite skipping much detail.

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Excellent

By far the best narrative on the impact and sacrifice of the British nation in its thankless decision to fight against Nazi Germany and the forfeit of its wealth in the process of it.

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  • dell992
  • 07-03-20

Practically everything you want to know

I am no writer so I will keep my review simple.
Writing style just as good as volume one.

Better integration of surveys into overall narrative

Focuses more on the operational side of warfare

Describes well all the political machinations that are the backdrop of every major event

Has a noticeable leftist bent to his occasional commentary

The post war chapters are the best part in my opinion

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  • Meg C.
  • 09-10-20

Summary of author’s view : “Churchill was inept”

Todman did an excellent job of providing details of inner political machinations and the domestic policy planning for post-war Britain. It felt, however, this was about furthering a particular view of Churchill, one that may be correct. The author could have provided more evidence rather than simple selective editing of events. The narrator was generally good, but his Churchill imitation was grating and followed one sentence pattern, no matter the sentence or context.

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  • L. Ford Ballard, Jr.
  • 01-09-21

Fabulously integrated history of Britain’s War

Such a comprehensive history is well worth the listen and made me get the hard copy through Amazon to read again at greater leisure, the best of any history I have read/listened to in the last 30 years