Books Reviews

Britain’s War Machine – Book Review

By Angela Youngman Jun 6, 2011, 20:35 GMT

Britain’s War Machine – Book Review

The familiar image of the British in the Second World War is that of the plucky underdog taking on German might. David Edgerton\'s bold, compelling new history shows the conflict in a new light, with Britain as a very wealthy country, formidable in arms, ruthless in pursuit of its interests, and in command of a global production system. Rather than belittled by a Nazi behemoth, Britain arguably had the world\'s ...more

David Edgerton is no stranger to controversy - many of his previous books have offered ground breaking slants on old subjects.  This is no exception. 

He has taken the familiar image of Britain as the underdog during the Second World War and set out to replace it with the picture of a vibrant, wealthy country possessing a formidable military system. 

Most people tend to forget that Britain was at the heart of a global production system during the 1940's with links spanning every continent.  Edgerton looks at the whole subject of the war machine - from weapons, food, oil, factory systems and seeks to identify its exact role.

Moreover, he looks too at the consequences of the war - what it meant for Britain in terms of industrial development.  One of the most fascinating chapters deals with Churchill as an inventor - an area few people ever consider.  Yet as Edgerton shows, Churchill had an ability to recognize initiatives and take inventive ideas to the next level, turning the most unlikely ideas into successes. 

This is definitely a different look at the Second World War and one which will be enjoyed by historians and general readers who want to know more about how a country survives under wartime conditions.

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