Britain at Bay (Hardback)

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

Alan Allport

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

Shortlisted for The Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History 2021

A Times History Book of the Year

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

'Will make you think anew not just about the war, but about the Britain and Britons that fought it' Daniel Todman

'A bracing reminder of the power of brilliant history to make us reconsider what we think we know' David Egerton

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.

Publication date: 03/09/2020

£25.00

ISBN: 9781781257814

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Britain at Bay (Ebook)

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

Alan Allport

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

Shortlisted for The Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History 2021

A Times History Book of the Year

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

'Will make you think anew not just about the war, but about the Britain and Britons that fought it' Daniel Todman

'A bracing reminder of the power of brilliant history to make us reconsider what we think we know' David Egerton

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.

Publication date: 03/09/2020

£14.99

ISBN: 9781782833277

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B01NAV6GWL

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for Britain at Bay

'Britain's wartime story has been told many times, but never as cleverly as this ... A bracing, surprising, provocative book, and an enormous pleasure to read.'

Dominic Sandbrook The Times

'Simultaneously incisive but nuanced, and studded with sharp pen portraits, Britain at Bay offers a scholarly, invigorating and beautifully constructed tour d'horizon of perhaps the four most crucial years in our island story.'

David Kynaston 

'Britain at Bay might be the single best examination of British politics, society and strategy in these four years that has ever been written ... beautifully written, thoroughly researched and cleverly presented. I put my copy down with deep satisfaction.'

Paul Kennedy Wall Street Journal

'This extraordinary book punctures many of the myths that have become so influential about Britain in the Second World War without robbing the period of its spectacular drama'

 Professor Richard Vinen, author of The Long ’68 and National Service

'Written with style and verve, Britain at Bay will make you think anew not just about the war, but about the Britain and the Britons that fought it. A book for anyone who wants to understand this crucial period in the nation's history.'

Daniel Todman, author of Britain's War: A New World, 1942-1947 

'The beautifully-written Britain at Bay is an impregnable fortress of good sense gallantly resisting the crass sentimentality, exaggeration and naïve hindsight of so many accounts of Britain in the early second world war. With great élan, built on deep reserves of historical knowledge, it puts Chamberlain and Churchill in perspective, the Blitz, the Battle of Britain and Battle of the Atlantic in true proportion, and the progress of the imperial war abroad in panoramic view. Its precise and pointed judgements on events, people, and arguments are a bracing reminder of the power of brilliant history to make us reconsider what we think we know about the most familiar part of the British past.'

David Edgerton, author of Britain’s War Machine and The Rise and Fall of the British Nation 

'Expertly researched and marvelously written, this sterling history casts an oft-studied subject in a new light.'

 Publishers Weekly

'Original, compelling, timely. This is a history that reminds us of the Britain behind the myth of its Second World War. It's a history that many will want to argue with. And that everyone should read.'

Lucy Noakes, Rab Butler Professor of Modern History at the University of Essex 

'A masterfully written and hugely convincing riposte to a host of popular assumptions about World War II, Britain at Bay confirms Alan Allport's high rank among that select group of historians who can convey serious thought through engaging prose.'

S. P. MacKenzie, McKissick-Dial Professor of History, University of South Carolina 

'A welcome and highly readable retelling of the story of Britain's entry into the Second World War and its initial survival against great odds. Weaving together grand strategy, high politics and the complexities of British society at the time, Alan Allport deftly demolishes some sacred cows along the way and makes the reader think again about the choices and the odds facing Britain.'

Margaret MacMillan, Emeritus Professor of International History, University of Oxford; Professor of History, University of Toronto 

'This book is remarkable. A well-written, insightful, beautifully-constructed volume that will keep your attention with its art as well as its knowledge'

 BBC History Magazine

'Brave and bold ... much needed antidote to the "keep calm and carry on" strain of nostalgia ... Allport moves with ease, wit and insight between the high political and diplomatic, the social and economic, the strategic and military, with biographical vignettes and anecdotes, illustrating the lived experience of ordinary people'

Julie V. Gottlieb, professor of history at the University of Sheffield Times Literary Supplement

'Unusually informative and stimulating ... received ideas are deftly skewered ... a valuable book'

 The New York Times

Alan Allport

Alan Allport

Alan Allport is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Syracuse University. He is the author of two previous volumes of history, Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945 and Demobbed: Coming Home After the Second World War, which won the 2010 Longman-HistoryToday Book of the Year Award.