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The Battle of Britain

Narrated by: Al Murray
Length: 23 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: History, Second World War
5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

'If Hitler fails to invade or destroy Britain, he has lost the war,' Churchill said in the summer of 1940. He was right. The Battle of Britain was a crucial turning point in the history of the Second World War. Had Britain's defences collapsed, Hitler would have dominated all of Europe and been able to turn his full attention east to the Soviet Union. 

The German invasion of France and the Low Countries in May 1940 was unlike any the world had ever seen. It hit with a force and aggression that no-one could counter and in just a few short weeks, all in their way crumbled under the force of the Nazi hammer blow. With France facing defeat and with British forces pressed back to the Channel, there were few who believed Britain could possibly survive. Soon, it seemed, Hitler would have all of Europe at his feet. 

Yet Hitler's forces were not quite the Goliath they at first seemed, while their leadership lacked the single-minded purpose, vision and direction that had led to such success on land. Nor was Britain any David. Thanks to a sophisticated defensive system and the combined efforts of the RAF and Royal Navy, as well as the mounting sense of collective defiance led by a new prime minister, Britain was not ready to roll over just yet. 

From clashes between coastal convoys and Schnellboote in the Channel to astonishing last stands in Flanders, and from the slaughter by the U-boats in the icy Atlantic to the dramatic aerial battles over England, The Battle of Britain tells this most epic of stories from all sides, drawing on extensive new research from around the world. In so doing, it paints a complete picture of that extraordinary summer - a time in which the fate of the world truly hung by a thread. 

©2020 James Holland (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars

Not the usual Battle of Britain narrative.

When I bought this book I assumed it would be a new view of the air war over Britain in the summer of 1940. I was surprised when the book stared before the invasion of France. When the author started discussing Fall Gelb and building of U-Boats I almost gave it up. I didn't and I am very glad I persevered and I strongly recommend you do too. This is one of the few books I have read which puts into context the air battle and clearly shows that although The Few were rightly lauded for their achievements, the rest of the RAF, the RN, the Army and the much of the population were involved in the Battle for Britain. There are many books that give personal accounts of the pilots, some that give the strategic overview and tactics employed by both sides but there are few that encompass all aspects from both sides and give a clear picture of the Battle of Britain within the panorama of World War 2.

5 people found this helpful

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A superbly narrated and fascinating audiobook

Al Murray's enthusiasm and affinity with this subject is evident throughout his narration of James Holland's fascinating, in depth account of the momentous events of 1940. His conversation with the author at the end is a real bonus too, making this one of the most enjoyable audiobooks in my collection. If you are looking for an in depth history, not just a description of the air battles, then I would highly recommend it. I was left with a clearer understanding of not just the Battle of Britain, but the important events leading up to it. The gripping personal accounts from either side give a vivid impression of what it was like to live through, from the perspective of everyone from the ordinary civilian up to the political and military leaders, as well as the soldiers, sailors and airmen. Superb!

2 people found this helpful

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the battle of Britain By James Holland

it's the best I've ever heard,loved every second of it, James Holland at his best for sure

2 people found this helpful

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Political diatribe been done to death

Pre ordered this several months ago.

Sadly not what i was looking for
The familiar run up too the second world war from aporox 1936 lots of info on Hitlers huge study and the planing of fhe 3rd Reich. Felt like a o level school history book on ww2.

Very little to do with actual squadrons and pilots, plotters and all those who took part

The book title is sadly misleading and very much civered time and time again. Very dissatisfied

1 person found this helpful

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Superb!

Very interesting to fit the Battle of Britain into the overall situation at the time. Brilliantly read by Al Murray with his knowledge and interest of the subject really showing through. Thoroughly recommend, a superb book by James Holland.
Only very minor comment would be there’s some confusion over positive and negative G in the narrative.