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The Miracle of Dunkirk: The True Story of Operation Dynamo Hardcover – August 29, 2017
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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“Lively and interesting . . . A good tale, skillfully told . . . [The Miracle of Dunkirk] is the most complete and readable account yet to appear.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Amazing and unexpected heroism . . . Well worth reading.” —Milwaukee Sentinel
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One of the most fascinating portions of the story is the utter lack of sleep of those who were holding off the Germans and those who were in charge of the evacuation. I don’t ever remember reading any story were those involved lived on as little sleep as the men and women who manned the lines.
Another item I wasn’t familiar with was the mutinous acts that occurred in the navy. The crew of three destroyers refused to return to Dunkirk. Their nerves were frayed and the lack of sleep was too much to deal with. Instead of being courts martialed, the Admiralty found other men to man the ships and send them back one more time. In a normal scenario, one would call them cowards. After reading this account and the harrowing trips across the channel, one can empathize with their plight.
Unlike the move this is a five star work!
Initially, “The Miracle of Dunkirk” was a bit confusing. As an American, some of the military terms, acronyms, and colloquial British words and phrases had me confused. Walter Lord was also able to transfer the utter confusion and chaos of the British military and political leaders about Dunkirk to his readers. After a few chapters, my confusion about what was happening turned into organized chaos and the events at Dunkirk became clearer.
The fact that 338,000 British and French troops were rescued is a “miracle”. The details that Walter Lord gives puts the readers in the midst of the chaos. There were heroes. There were cowards. The fog of war caused numerous friendly fire casualty. The execution of British POWs by the Nazis did not surprise me. I was, however, surprised at the recounting of British officers shooting and killing their own men who deserted their defensive position.
The evacuation of Dunkirk is seen as a British “miracle,” but Walter Lord’s portrayal of the French troops and their commanders gives a good background on their important contribution to the “miracle.” Without the French troops delaying the German advance, the “miracle” would not have happened. The image of all the French troops abandoned on the beaches of Dunkirk as the last rescue ships leave is haunting.
I haven’t yet seen the move “Dunkirk,” but I think I will appreciate and better understand what happened more now that I’ve read Walter Lord’s “The Miracle of Dunkirk.”
I read the Kindle edition. The maps, diagrams, and photos on the Kindle edition don’t have the best resolution so they're hard to read.