Thursday, 22 August 2013

Holiday Reading ("A Tale of Three Books")

The Alpha:

The summer holiday allowed me to read a book that I have on the shelf for far too long a time. The trials and tribulations of the BEF have always fascinated me. The totality of the defeat suffered in 1940 by Britain and France defies common sense logic. Having "more of things" sometimes means being capable of doing far, far less. The reasons why were touched on in Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's excellent book, but the essence was that the Allied armies command structure were designed to fight the previous war and operationally could not react to the changing pace of WWII combat (see below):

The Omega: 

Having taken only one book away with me I was rather pleased with myself to "pick up another" after I, in all fairness, unexpectedly finished the first one. I had always wanted, but never managed to get round to getting a copy of "The Longest Day" by Cornelius Ryan. A classic read (see below):


The armies that came back to France in 1944 were a very different kind of beast to the ones defeated so comprehensively in 1940. Their new capabilities in command structure, as well as their sheer quantity, showed in a steely determination in "getting things done". By contrast the 'well-oiled' German machine was a thing of the past. The striking major Allied advantage seemed to the air with the significant footnote that the Germans did not think it possible "logistics and shipping wise" to do so quickly what the D-Day planners achieved.

Onto the Cold War:

On the last day of holiday another 'read' was found to be required and one turned up in a bargain book shop (see below):


Thirty years later, the passage of time allows more secrets of the 1982 Falklands War to seep into the public domain, placed in the context of the Cold War "Warsaw Pact versus NATO" submarine activities. A good contextual read of politics, The Royal Navy and submarine operations.

3 comments:

Phil Broeders said...

Read the longest Day years ago and loved it. Started the Dunkirk book last year but never got round to finishing it. Good choices all round though.

Paul Foster said...

Nice work Geordie. Anything on the BEF is good to find and Ryan did some great work.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

"The Longest Day" was a pleasant nice read and refreshing to see how close the film stayed to the book

The BEF book was quite sad as you can never escape the pitiful onwards rush to the coast and forlorn rearguard actions

The third book showed just how much the Falklands War was such a strange war