SHORTLISTED FOR THE TEMPLER MEDAL BOOK PRIZE
A SPECTATOR, FINANCIAL TIMES AND DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020
'A stunning achievement' Max Hastings, Sunday Times
'I cannot recommend this history highly enough' Keith Lowe, Literary Review
The second volume of Daniel Todman's epic history of the Second World War opens with one of the greatest disasters in British military history - the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Unlike the aftermath of Dunkirk, there was no redeeming narrative available here - Britain had been defeated by a far smaller Japanese force in her grandly proclaimed, invincible Asian 'fortress'.
The unique skill of Daniel Todman's history lies in its never losing sight of the inter-connectedness of the British experience. The agony of Singapore, for example, is seen through the eyes of its inhabitants, of its defenders, of Churchill's Cabinet and of ordinary people at home. Each stage of the war, from the nadir of early 1942 to the great series of victories in 1944-5 and on to Indian independence, is described both as it was understood at the time and in the light of the very latest historical research.
is a triumph of narrative, empathy and research, as gripping in its handling of individual witnesses to the war - those doomed to struggle with bombing, rationing, exhausting work and above all the absence of millions of family members - as of the gigantic military, social, technological and economic forces that swept the conflict along. It is the definitive account of a drama which reshaped our country. A stunning achievement, offering a new generation of readers and students an authoritative and original version of the greatest event in human history. -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times * The best one-stop shop for those wanting to understand our country during its last existential crisis ... epic, compendious, written with confidence and verve. -- David Aaronovitch * The Times * Magisterial. Virtually no aspect of British life is left untouched ... I cannot recommend this history highly enough. -- Keith Lowe * Literary Review * The book is a superb work of research and synthesis, and with its predecessor it completes an account of the British war that will prove hard to surpass... Todman takes us to the threshold of the world in which we live in. One of the prime ordinances of history is that it should help those who read it understand why we are where we are, who we are and how we are. Todman achieves that goal magnificently. -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph * This second