Britain at Bay: The Epic Story of the Second World War: 1938-1941

Britain at Bay: The Epic Story of the Second World War: 1938-1941

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Power. Glory. Death. Courage. How well do we know the story of the Second World War?

A Times Book of the Year

Prizes: Winner of HWA Non-Fiction Crown 2021 (UK).

Short-listed for Duke of Westminster's Medal for Military Literature 2021 (UK).

'Britain's wartime story has been told many times, but never as cleverly as this.' - Dominic Sandbrook

In the bleak first half of the Second World War, Britain stood alone against the Axis forces. Isolated and outmanoeuvred, it seemed as though she might fall at any moment. Only an extraordinary effort of courage - by ordinary men and women - held the line.

The Second World War is the defining experience of modern British history, a new Iliad for our own times. But, as Alan Allport reveals in this, the first part of a major new two-volume history, the real story was often very different from the myth that followed it. From the subtle moral calculus of appeasement to the febrile dusts of the Western Desert, Allport interrogates every aspect of the conflict - and exposes its echoes in our own age.

Challenging orthodoxy and casting fresh light on famous events from Dunkirk to the Blitz, this is the real story of a clash between civilisations that remade the world in its image.

Author Biography: Alan Allport is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Syracuse University. Born in Liverpool, he grew up listening to family stories of the Merseyside Blitz and the Battle of the Atlantic while building Airfix kits and reading comics. He attended Liverpool Polytechnic where he received an undergraduate degree in physics; afterwards he emigrated to the United States, where he began a second life as a historian. He is the author of two previous volumes of history, Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945, described by the historian Andrew Roberts as 'Second World War history at its best', and Demobbed: Coming Home After the Second World War, which won the 2010 Longman-History Today Book of the Year Award. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

History and Archaeology


Alan Allport

608 pages

H: 198mm W: 129mm Spine: 37mm

Weight: 526 grams