This image is the cover for the book Dunkirk


A look at the WWII evacuation’s remarkable effect on British morale by the bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: “Fascinating details.” —The Telegraph

When Winston Churchill made one of the most inspiring speeches of the twentieth century—”we will fight them on the beaches” —he was giving thanks for what he called the miracle of deliverance, the harrowing and breathless evacuation of over 338,000 troops from the beaches and harbor at Dunkirk. Churchill was determined that it shouldn’t be labeled a victory. He was already too late. Hours later, broadcaster J.B. Priestley was to call it “an absurd English epic.”

Those days of Dunkirk are still invoked whenever the nation finds itself in crisis. But there is a wider story too that involves a very large number of civilians—from nurses to racing enthusiasts, trade union leaders to dance hall managers, novelists to seaside café owners.

And even wider yet, a story that starts in September 1939: of young civilian men being trained for a war that was already twenty-five years out of date, and the increasing suspense—and occasional surrealism—of the eight-month quiet period of the “Phoney War.” The ‘absurd epic’ of Dunkirk—told here through fresh interviews with veterans, plus unseen letters and archival material—is the story of how an old-fashioned island was brutally forced into the modernity of World War II.

Sinclair McKay

Aurum Press