Our Military Life Blog

Books on Review – Dunkirk

Oh my readers! What a fantastic book this was! I was not aware that it was to be made into a movie, (does that tell you that my movie choices revolve around kids?) but when reading this book, I could see where the idea was born, and what it meant when it said it was more of a horror movie than of war. Ladies and Gents, this book is a MUST read. Its not a fast paced, hold you in your seat, but a very neat and orderly movement of the defeat that was in a sense, a victory. If you love history, then this book is going to float your boat (no pun intended).


World War II, was a war that had to happen. It was not so much that we were ridding the world of domination (we were), but pulling the world out of a depression that seemed as though no one nation would entirely recover from it. At the end of the first world war, it was heartbreaking to see the loss of life, and the families that would never quite be entirely whole again. But the loss of life was not enough to keep Germany from wanting to rebuild and reinforce their ideals. While most of the world wanted to relax and forget the horrors that has happened, Germany was on a race to rearm. They were going to be sure that when war eventually happened again that they were going to be ready.

While the world celebrated and rejoiced at the end of war times, Germany was rewriting their education, looking at what would have to happen to get everyone thinking to their mindset. The answer? The youth.. the youth are the first answer to most issues that will arise. Forget those already in the blush of life, the youth are the ones that will push movements. Win the youth, the rest will eventually follow. Germany realized this and began the indoctrination and mind control that would become so effective in building and maintaining troops, even as it became clear that their objective would never hold. The United States was seeing a new trend with their teenagers (how has this not always been a term??), but the example that was being set by teens in the United States was spreading. While British teens and most of Europe copied the styles coming form the states, Germany was horrified. Britain also realized the hold of the youth, and while they acknowledged the fact, it was easier to allow them to just be kids. Let them enjoy life, and ease into maturity. But the mindset would not last. With the slow takeover by the Germans, the magic faded away. Now, while that sounds nostalgic, the reality was life was economically hard. Higher pricing, depressed markets, and loss of jobs led to many living in dire straights. What could possibly pull the world out of the extremes? A war. War sadly brings economy back. But enough on that…

Dunkirk was a resounding defeat for the forces that were trying to escape the beach, and while boats were constantly back and forth to take them to safety, so too were the planes. Bombs and machine gun fire ripped effectively through the troops just wanting to leave and go home. While the German forces pushed forward to their location, the British were simply trying to retreat. Their positions had been overrun, and there was nothing they could do. Running low on ammunition and food, they were simply sitting ducks, huddled together waiting for their turn to flee. To the German army, Dunkirk was a prize to be had and held, literally stopping the British forces from moving forward. By holding that position, they could keep anything from coming in… or out. But as with all forces, some of the German high command was at war with itself. While most of the top brass held views that would have pushed them closer to victory, they were constantly curtailed and second guessed from non other than Adolf Hitler himself. Believing himself to be invincible, and with the brainwashed troops and citizens in thrall, he simply believed he could do no wrong. But as we have seen, mistakes were made that cost them the war. Instead of relying on the leadership that he had within his military, he was constantly reversing and seconding guessing orders that were being given.

Within the British government, Winston Churchill was fighting his own battle. While the incumbent Prime Minister was doing what he thought was best, Churchill was waging his own propaganda war, to quite a stunning effect. Where the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain was attempting to retain control, Churchill was rallying support and keeping support for the armed forces alive. In his turn as Prime Minister, he was a hard person to crack, one to push were men needing pushing, and known for not backing down from his ideals when he felt that he was right (which was pretty much all the time).  But he had a war to wage, and he knew that in order to do so, American support would be vital. The United States held out as long as they could, but we know that as soon as Pearl Harbor occurred, war had arrived, and Americans have never been ones to roll over and surrender. Dunkirk, was bloody, messy, and for the British, their own “Remember the Alamo”.


This book was an interesting read. I appreciated the fact that it not only held to what the British and French, but also the German and American viewpoints. It is quite simply, unlike most books ever written. While this is now a motion picture (check your theater for release dates – end of July 2017) , the fact that this was really a defeat somehow turned victory is amazing. The history and the time that this book encompasses shows the authors attention to detail, details that we do not find together. Take the young German girl who laughed at the ideals that were set forth during their education and had a Jewish friend, but refused to think anything about the treatment that was being meted out to Jews all over Germany. This books gives all the feels and emotions from the men who were on the beach. From enlisted to officers, no one was spared. I feel as though this book (and the movie) will appeal to many. It is a simple timeline, but begins a chain of events which will, quite literally, change the world.


If you are looking for the book outside the library, I have provided links below. There are also a few places where you can go to learn more about the author:

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