When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Robin Prior

Narrated By: Shaun Grindell

Publisher: Tantor Media

Date: June 2015

Duration: 13 hours 15 minutes

Summary:

As eloquent as it is controversial, this book exposes the full import of events in 1940, when Britain fought alone and Western civilization hung in the balance.

From the comfortable distance of seven decades, it is quite easy to view the victory of the Allies over Hitler's Germany as inevitable. But in 1940 Great Britain's defeat loomed perilously close, and no other nation stepped up to confront the Nazi threat. In this cogently argued book, Robin Prior delves into the documents of the time—war diaries, combat reports, Home Security's daily files, and much more—to uncover how Britain endured a year of menacing crises.

The book reassesses key events of 1940—crises that were recognized as such at the time and others that were not fully appreciated. Prior examines Neville Chamberlain's government, Churchill's opponents, the collapse of France, the Battle of Britain, and the Blitz. He looks critically at the position of the United States before Pearl Harbor and at Roosevelt's response to the crisis. Prior concludes that the nation was saved through a combination of political leadership, British Expeditionary Force determination and skill, Royal Air Force and Navy efforts to return soldiers to the homeland, and the determination of the people to fight on "in spite of all terror."

Genres:

  • Krityne Martin

    As an American reader, I found this a bit of an eye-opener. We revere FDR as "the president who stood up to Hitler"—and yet here we learn that it was Germany, in fact, which finally declared war on the U.S. Prior to the events of 1941, FDR showed remarkably little interest in the war in Europe. Nor was I aware of the widespread public US sentiment that we should do whatever was necessary to support Britain in the early 1940s. Roosevelt comes across, in fact, as indecisive and uncommitted; Churchill, while not idealized here, at least had a clear grasp of what the German occupation of Europe meant for the remainder of the western world. It's refreshing to see Churchill portrayed not simply as a great orator, but as an impassioned individual who saw the Nazi threat for what it was and struggled to communicate this to those around him. A few items I surprised me in particular: Churchill's proposal to merge the British and French empires, and the role of the U.S. in stripping Britain of its financial assets (albeit in the interest of re-armament). This is a painstakingly researched, carefully interpreted account of events of which Western civilization needs to be reminded. It may seem long-winded (mostly in the interest of thoroughness, I believe), but it's well worth checking out—and narrated with considerable skill.