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Review: I fought at Dunkirk / Mike Rossiter (2012)

June 6, 2013

Napoleon had his Waterloo, Custer had Little Big Horn, the Americans had Pearl Harbour and the ANZACs had Gallipoli. Many peoples and cultures are measured by their defeats in battles, thus is Dunkirk to the British.

As biographies go, this is acceptable as a story of seven of the few survivors of this battle.  It brings us their stories as soldiers dragged into war, who had no real idea what war was about and how battle would change them. As a history of the battle, this is excellent as it covers the period known as the “Phoney War” and the naivety of young men off to war, old leaders who had not adapted to the change of styles of war, and the brutality of the effect of the warlike, brutal and modern German war machine.

Yet to me this book just does not read well enough. The author I believe would have had more success as either concentrating on each veteran in turn in their own chapters, as it would not make the book longer or require the removal of any story, or to be more careful where he changed the story for each individual character.

This was a book that I read because I have an interest in the subject and because I started it and I chose to finish, but at the end of the day it was not a book I enjoyed reading.  But books, like food and music, are totally within the taste of the reader, so you may find this book like a fine caviar or a classic Beethoven symphony!

by Darren


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